Just have to share my college field trip to Fort Collins, Colorado for my brewing class.
Pulled in about noon on Friday and checked in with the University Best Western. Clerk recommended sandwiches up the street at the Cheba Hut. I was instantly reminded Colorado is legalizing weed when we ate there. As the bumper-sticker on the wall stated "Where our sandwiches are toasted and some our customers are fried" and many other references to the culture. Not sure if I got Oregano or a magic brownie with my sub or not. We headed up to Odell Brewery.
Highly impressive Brewery. I had only tried their Mercenary IPA in the past which I am not a hop head and did not care for. We had the master brewer and another guy not sure who he was. They started off the tour with a glass on tap of our choice. I found they had a Porter on the Nitrogen tap and instantly grabbed one thinking in the past they only way I would ever get one on Nitro would be if I went to Ireland to the Guiness Brewery. Tasty Porter. We stepped into the brewery and checked out the equipment and engaged in the conversation of the brewing process and the science behind it. About an hour into it they topped us off at a tap they had in the back with their 90 Shilling in it. (Another tasty treat). We walked through the hops coolers and got to stick our faces in the hop barrels and then walked into the cellars where they were aging their Cellar Series and talked about a few experimental beers they are working on and discussed a new beer they are rolling out in the next couple months. Talked about the expansion of the business and met employees off an on. You could look around and tell that these people loved what they did and embraced each others creativity as they still brewed at home and bring stuff in to try and help develop new beers. These guys loved what they did and it was not just a job to them. Nearly a three hour tour and it was worth five hours in the car to visit.
We then left the vehicles in the lot and walked a few doors down to another brewery I won't mention by name in which we called up our contact who was the master brewer. We were not offered any free beer but could take one with us if we bought one. Each was $5 on up and it was happy hour! I paid $6.50 for a Double Bock. This kind of off set us on a low note as fatigue was also setting in. We went back to their malt room and basically got quized by the brewer with a series of questions with the malting process. By this time fatigue was getting to some more than others. Many of us as we spent the night before studying for finals late and had to get up early and sit in a car for 5 hours and just had a 3hr tour that gave us free beer and now this. He almost seemed a bit confrontational, like why are you here or these people know nothing. Not many of us engaged in conversation as it turned more into a show and tell. Tour lasted about an hour and we walked back to Odells and ordered a beer as we contemplated what we wanted to take home. I bought 2 bottles of their cellar series and a porter glass for a total of $49. Looking forward to trying the Deconstructed Ale and the Woodcut no6. Others bought two or three growlers as we marched out of there happy once more.
We dropped off our beer and went our separate ways from the professors with the exception of one who was wheelchair bound. We pushed him all the way back to Beau Jo's and sat down for an awesome pizza (Thanks for the tip). We then hit the Drunken Monkey with the swings for bar stools, The Mayor and took the professor back to the hotel and went back down town. We hit several bars until 2am and headed back to the hotel.
It was pretty cool seeing carolers, peddlers, one guy on a unicycle juggling, some people setup with drums and we were sure to tell 5 cops we approved of their city. Even though they seemed to try and ignore us. It reminded me of a Southpark episode with the hippies invading etc. Oh, and there was this commercial on tv that kept waking me up at night after we got back to the hotel.
What really impressed me were the number of bars and restaurants that supported the local craft brewers. I saw no Bud Light, or Miller lights despite there being a Budweiser brewery on the north east edge of town. Couple places had coors but a vast majority were serving craft beers and the locals in particular. Couple places had over 100 beers on tap and most all of it was craft beer. It's really cool to see people recognize piss water beer for what it really is and embrace the craft beers. Really a cool little town and I look forward to going back soon.