Sunday, July 10, 2011

Beer, bicycles and babies

Our week long, long-awaited summer vacation has begun! Friday, we did the always familiar flight to the Denver airport. I always did look forward to our yearly training in Denver and vacation in Aspen, despite the freezing cold weather of December. But after a frustrating stint working on the election in Colorado Springs, I vowed never again to go to Colorado.

Then Chris' sister had a baby and, well, family wins out. We designed a vacation around seeing the newborn and our big loves (well, some of these are mine) - craft beer, bicycling and National Parks.

Colorado is a different place in the summer. I suppose the snowy mountains and Colorado always had been linked in my mind. Now I have a new picture to replace it. Dry heat, flash hail storms, bicycling wide avenues, great beer and Red Rocks.

After dropping our bags off at the Public Interest Network offices and got ourselves a B-cycle. They are absolutely adorable bikes, with a bit of a Schwinn influence and a big basket. We used them to easily bike between breweries and pubs.

First stop was Fresh Craft, a restaurant with a long beer list. Then off to Breckenridge Brewery, which had an amazing imperial IPA. Next on to Great Divide, which had a great tap room set up. Just $3 for 3 tastings and all the proceeds go to charity. Unfortunately all their beers seemed to be trying to hard and were far too malt-forward. Lastly we checked out Flying Dog. Getting their 10 minutes before opening, and feeling the altitude a bit, we sat down on the sidewalk outside. But the opening bartender instead let us in while he set up the bar space and immediately brought us a tasty rare brew. A shy german shepherd greeted us too and we got a great introduction to a brewery whose motto is "Good people drink good beer." The founder of the brewery lived next to Hunter S. Thompson and all their label art is by an artist that worked with Thompson, which leads to an imaginative, grotesque bunch of labels.

While Friday was all about beer. Saturday was all about hanging out with Chris' family. We got a lot of baby and puppy time in - both of which need a lot of attention. We also got to take them out for a hike in Red Rocks. Amidst the pine-covered mountains, Red Rocks stands out. It looks like it should be in Arizona, but these rocks are naturally here outside Denver. In the middle of one of the rocks they've made an amphitheater, which looks like it would be an amazing place to see a concert. Instead during the day it becomes a workout locale for local fitness-buffs. No wonder Colorado is the most fit state in the nation. If I could run up and down the stairs in this beautiful place, I might be a bit more fit too. (Or at least I'd balance out the beer drinking.)

Next up on the vacation menu is Boulder. See you there!

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