Monday, July 1, 2013

The Collected Colorado Brewcation Journals - Part Two

This June, I traveled to Colorado for my wife's cousin's wedding in Crested Butte. As we often do, we turned our little trip into a full-blown beer vacation. 15 Colorado breweries in seven days. Apparently we were up to the challenge.

Read part one.

Day Three:

The Eldo Brewery - Crested Butte, Colorado

After a fairly lazy morning, our group got ready for the most casual wedding in the history of weddings. Before meeting up with the rest of the attendees for the short trek up a foothill for the ceremony, we stopped by The Eldo Brewery in downtown Crested Butte. With the brewhouse itself on the ground floor and the pub upstairs, the brewery had a laid back feel with a mining town look.

The Eldo Brewery - Crested Butte, Colorado

The beers I tried were all above average, with a piney Hooligan IPA standing out, but also a summer blonde for anyone who wanted lighter fare. After the ceremony, we even stopped back in for another brew before switching to Pacifico Clara once again at the reception.

Day Four:

After waking up still tired from the wedding, we grabbed breakfast in downtown Crested Butte, said our goodbyes, and then broke east over Cottonwood Pass. At the Great Divide, we stopped for photos in the snow, and I cracked open a Thunderhead Brewing Golden Frau Ale my in-laws thoughtfully brought along to celebrate surviving the switchback gravel road on the way up.

Golden Frau Arches

Eddyline Brewing - Buena Vista, Colorado

Continuing down the other side of the divide, we stopped by Eddyline Brewing in Buena Vista for lunch and shared a flight. Most of the samples were somewhat mediocre, aside from a bright and hoppy pale ale called River Runner CPA. They were out of several of their seasons, so our selections were a bit limited. Everyone seemed to enjoy the food more than the beers in this instance.

We looped back around south and west to Gunnison and checked into our lodge. Homey and rustic, we didn't waste much time settling in and grilled up a simple dinner of burgers and beers. Sitting by the fire, beers in hand, helped us relax and really embrace being on vacation after the somewhat hectic days traveling.

Day Five:

After getting tips from locals on must-see locations in the area, we headed west (adventure always seems to lie west) to visit the Black Canyon. More specifically, we traveled to the North Rim of the canyon to get a look at the chasm view itself. We had know idea what incredible sights awaited us there. A sheer drop to the river far below, rapids roaring even from our view high above. Streaks crossed the far canyon wall painted by the hands of a long past.

The Painted Wall - Black Canyon, Colorado

Horsefly Brewing - Montrose Colorado

Once we'd had our fill of mind-blowing nature, we traveled around the north end of the canyon and stopped in Montrose for a quick flight of beers at Horsefly Brewing. Unfortunately, nothing there really grabbed our attention, aside from a fairly tasty Belgian IPA. Maybe nothing could live up to what we had just witnessed at the canyon. We hit the road unsatisfied and hot as hell from the brewery doors opened wide to the 90+ degree heat outside.

Flight at Horsefly Brewery - Montrose, Colorado

Gunnison Brewery - Gunnison, Colorado

We turned east to head back to camp and decided to stop by Gunnison Brewery along the way. At least here the temps were 15 degrees cooler and the beer significantly better than our previous stop. I went with the Hopster first, but that just made me even thirstier. I switched to the Symbiotic Sour. Thirst quenched.

Gunnison Brewery - Gunnison, Colorado

Although we could've easily called it a night, we decided to travel back to Crested Butte to spend a little more time with family while we could. While there, a pleasant surprise emerged from the fridge in the form of a bomber of My Antonia by Dogfish Head. Not exactly local, but relaxing after a long day on the road. We finally turned in at camp, thoroughly worn out and ready for tomorrow.

Up Next:

Day Six - Tommyknocker Brewery in Idaho Springs, Colorado

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