I’ll wrap up the Rockies Loop adventure with one final article that probably won’t interest the majority of 12 Mile Circle readers. Please feel free to skip this one if you like. I won’t mind. Then we’ll start with a new topic next week.
Breweries and brewpubs grew in abundance in this area and of course we visited a bunch of them. I’ll offer the usual caveats. Most importantly, we concentrated on small samples at each location, focusing on quality not quantity. That simple formula seemed to work for us before, and it worked again. My total lifetime number of brewery visits ticked ever closer to the 500 mark, a feat I once considered practically impossible. Nevertheless, even I grew tired of brewery visits by the end of the trip.
I won’t talk about every visit although a few stood above the rest for reasons totally independent of beverages served and consumed. After all, 12MC isn’t a beer blog even if the topic manages to creep in occasionally.
We found a couple of brewpubs during our overnight stay in Laramie, Wyoming. I wanted to focus a little attention on Laramie because I hadn’t been to a lot of places in Wyoming. In fact, I tripled my lifetime number of breweries in that state in a single evening. That didn’t take much effort though. I’d only been to one other Wyoming brewery before this trip so now my total stood at three.
I really needed a beer that evening too. We’d survived a vicious hailstorm a few hours before and I still felt a little rattled. Coal Creek TAP became our first stop, a place that started as an outgrowth of an adjacent coffeehouse, oddly enough. That by itself seemed worthy of 12MC recognition so it made it onto the list. See how it works? Nothing to do with the range or quality of the beverages served there, although it had plenty of both.
Then we wandered over to Library Sports Grille & Brewery. I couldn’t figure out the underlying premise for the whole library thing. The sports theme came through just fine though; a typical sports bar with lots of televisions showing multiple games simultaneously. I almost forgot about the drama that I’d endured earlier in the day. Thank you Laramie for a welcoming respite after a such a trying situation earlier in the day.
I mentioned in an earlier article that we toured through the area somewhat between seasons, when tourists normally avoided the Rockies. Skiers left for home several weeks beforehand with the melting of the snow. Summer still loomed a few weeks away, arriving later at this altitude than one would expect. Locals called this Mud Season, a time when mountain towns emptied and those who remained caught their breath. We got to meet lots of locals.
We found ourselves at the Aspen Brewing tap house in the heart of Aspen, Colorado one fine Tuesday after a full day of hiking and sightseeing. The place rocked with a boisterous crowd during a late afternoon middle-of-the-week session. We felt lucky to even find a couple of seats at the bar. Then the crowd suddenly disappeared, hopping onto bikes in a single large pack and peddling down the road to their next destination.
The bartender explained that we’d stumbled upon a local tradition called "Tuesday Cruiseday," a midweek alcohol-fueled bicycle bar crawl. Somehow the tourist sites I consulted failed to mention Tuesday Cruiseday. I guessed it didn’t fit Aspen’s upscale image.
They also served their beer sampler in a ski. I really liked that design. Someday I need to write an article on all of the inventive sampler paddles I’ve seen during my adventures.
I love geo-oddities and I love breweries. A special kind of mental happiness happens when I’m lucky enough to combine the two.
Last Summer we traveled through New Mexico and Colorado. I mentioned my unexpected delight at being able to visit a brewery in tiny Broomfield County. This time we concluded our trip by staying with the same friends who lived just beyond Broomfield’s borders. This offered another opportunity to visit Broomfield’s breweries and I hit three more: 4 Noses; Rails End and Wonderland. I’m pretty sure I’ve now exhausted every brewery in that diminutive county although I’m sure more will appear before I return.
Our friends saved another surprise for us — dinner at a Nepalese restaurant. A small Denver-area chain called Yak and Yeti actually had a brewery at its Arvada location called Spice Trade Brewing. I love breweries at places that seem like paradoxes. I had to admit that combining Nepalese cuisine with craft beer brewed on premise fell mighty high on that peculiar list.
Articles in the Rockies Loop Series:
See Also: The Complete Photo Album on Flickr