With good weather I went for an excursion into the Rockies to remind me of the absolute beauty of ColoRADo.
To start a beer day itís always good to get some fine grub...so first stop in Denver is Luciles - 275 South Logan St., Denver, CO, 80209 - 303-282-6258. Hearty New Orleans style food with good sauces. You like biscuits...ooooohhh baby yeah theyíre good!! Thereís also a Luciles in Boulder and Longmont. Another great Saturday or Sunday breakfast place: the Bump and Grind - 439 E 17th Ave, Denver, CO 80203 - (303) 861-4841. The food is good and hearty, itís near downtown, and I canít tell you the really special feature on weekend mornings, but I guaraaaaantee youíll remember this experience for a lifetime!!
First beer stop: Oskar Blues Grill & Brew - 303 Main Street, Lyons, Colorado 80540 -(303) 823-6685. Very good food, on the edge of the canyons (same town that Rockygrass music fest takes place), and some great beers. On tap now is Gordon ( 9.2%), Old Chub, Daleís Pale Ale, One Nut Brown, and guest beer Left Hand Octoberfest. Sadly, they just pulled the Chuburbon - Old Chub aged in bourbon barrels.
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From Lyons you can take 36 NW thru the canyons and into the mountains where the Aspen dot the hills in their fall yellow colors. Estes Park Brewery -http://www.epbrewery.net/index.html - is on the edge of the Rocky Mountain National Park. The brewery has an assortment of brews and you can get free tasters downstairs, except the seasonal Coffee Porter that is only on upstairs, a beautiful restaurant setting overlooking the brewery operation inside, and the Rockies outside. The beers range from OK to very good, with the barleywine at the better end, but not available this time of year. Heading into the RMN Park at this time of year nearly guarantees you some elk sightings. I saw about 15 and have some close up pics from the roadside. The Rockies are spectacular any time of year, but Spring and Fall really stand out in beauty. Above treeline the marmots are mostly hidden 15í or more below ground in their cozy winter havens, but the little squeaky picas can be spotted and heard. Across the park (give yourself 2 hours if youíre stopping for lots of pics) you arrive in Grand Lake, one of the most picturesque towns in Colorado). Here also lies Grand Lake Brewing Co., with a sign that says "Under New Ownership" but showing their same standard beers. If youíre lucky you can get their Grand Lake Super Chicken Barley Wine. Unfortunately for me, they are closed Tuesday and Wednesdays :(
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Next stop in this mountain circuit, Moffat Station Restaurant & Brewery - 81699 US Highway 40, Winter Park, Colorado 80482 - 970) 726-4211. Years ago when I first visited they had an interesting seasonal Belgian. On subsequent visits there were only a few standard brews, this time with a wheat, pale ale and dunkel weiss. I thought the pale ale was tasty. At half regular price the appetizers during happy hour are also decent, with some spicy sauces for their wings. Anybody like sauces...itís amazing I donít weigh 400 pounds with my love of sauces...and good biscuits...aiyeee!!
Crossing the pass from Winter Park towards Idaho Springs and Denver is a heck of a beautiful, curvy, mountainous drive any time of year, and yesterday there was rain and a little snow coming down at dusk. Visitors should dress warmly for your GABF evenings.
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In Idaho Springs is Tommyknocker that has some fine regular brews, and on tap now their 10% Imperial Nut Brown made by mischievous elves - a bolder version of their Maple Nut Brown, and really good on tap. Next stop was Ratmanís, but you wonít find it in the phone book. He does, however have Hoptownís IPA on tap, and a homebrewed wheat. Also got to try Lagunitas Freak Out...dude!!! Finally I hit Kokopelliís, 2233 Larimer St, Denver, CO 80205 - (303) 292-6622. I mention this for those of you liking live blues oriented music...this is the old Mannyís Smoke House - same location but without Manny or BBQ. Two blocks from the Falling Rock it has Guinness :()
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Note: The beer places I visited in the above text are not the best in Colorado, but nice excursions to see the mountains. Shorter alternatives include going from Lyons to Boulder to the south, or NE to Longmont or Ft. Collins for beery fun.
I hope all visitors have a mighty fine time while here in the Mile High City :)