So two of my college friends are working at an organic winery on the Western Slope of Colorado, and SWMBO and I have been meaning to go visit them for awhile. Things came together for this weekend, and I even got the whole day off on Friday.
So Friday, we made the 5 hour drive out there, and even had time to stop at Rising Sun Farms, home of coloradoorganichops.com
. It's a bit hard to find and way back on tiny roads, but luckily I found it, and Glen Fuller, the owner was sitting out in front of his house. He took me up to the warehouse, where I got 1/2lb of Cascade, and he even threw in some Nuggets for free. I think it was even cheaper than my LHBS for hops- plus it's organic, from Colorado (so kinda local), and I got to see the place it grew, and meet the guy who grew them. Great purchase.
Where the hops grew:
Got to the winery to find out that they had some frost, and so picking and crushing had started full steam. So our friends were working 12 hour days, but we still got to see them somewhat, and eat some amazing food.
On Saturday SWMBO and I went up to Grand Mesa National Forest. Gorgeous, but a bit cold, with some snow on the ground.
When we got back, our friends were crazy busy, so I got to help them out a bit. Helped juice the Chardannay, prepped the grape cake for grappa, helped juice the Pinot Gris. I got incredibly sticky- I had no idea that grape juice could be that delicious and sweet.
One cool thing I learned is that they're all organic, and biodynamic as much as possible. So that means they do a natural ferment for most, if not all, of their wines. Last year was the first year they did it, and the wine is just phenomenal.
They also are a distillery, so I also got to watch/taste a batch of peach eau de vie go through. Learned how to identify the heads.
Of course, there was much sampling of all their products, and I also learned that adding freshly pressed grape juice to Fat Tire makes it quite delicious.
And on the way home, got to try the No Name Nut Brown Ale at Glenwood Canyon Brewpub.
So this weekend was a great mixture of friends, beautiful scenery, and the trifecta of brewing, winemaking, and distilling. I just had to share... this is a weekend I will remember for a long time.