It’s actually Day 11. I’m on a plane heading back to the City of Brotherly Love and Beer, experiencing turbulence, wearing my Great Divide Hops Disciples t-shirt, sipping a Coke with too much ice. I’m listening to Death Cab for Cutie’s Plans album and trying not to rock out too hard. So it goes.
On Sunday following GABF, Ray and I decided to take it easy. We had both sworn off alcohol until dinner, that is, until Ray ordered his first Bloody Mary from Olivéa, which has the No.1 Bloody Mary in town (good enough excuse), with breakfast. We took the day to tour the Denver Zoo, bummed that the sea otters weren’t cute-ing it up, but pleased to see the mama tiger and 4 cubs playing.
Following the zoo, we headed over to the Highlands area for dinner at Root Down, a restaurant that sources at least 80% of its produce, meat and dairy locally, serves reverse osmosis water, and is just generally hip. We made a meal of small plates, thrilled with the organic carrot and red Thai soup and the carrot gnocchi with wild mushrooms and baby zucchini. I enjoyed one of the beer specials, which was Bittersweet Lenny’s R.I.P.A (Rye IPA) from He’Brew (a brand from Shmaltz). It was my only non-local beer the entire trip (aside from GABF) and was rather good. Ray enjoyed Odell’s IPA.
Off to Boulder! Our first stop was the Pearl Street Mall as we waited for Mountain Sun Pub to open for lunch. We poked in and out of shops, but we were mainly there for Mountain Sun. 11:30 hit and we headed in for an early lunch: I enjoyed a Resinous Rye, while Ray had the Illusion Dweller IPA. To get to the restrooms, you walk by the brewery. I highly recommend breathing in deeply on the way to the loo … it’s heavenly.
Then, it was over to Redstone Meadery, also on Pearl Street, but on the opposite end, away from the “main street” hustle and bustle. Nestled between an auto body repair shop and an oil change joint, Redstone Meadery is a gem. We just missed the noon tour, but had the chance to sample 4 Nectars, Black Raspberry, Bosenberry, Sunshine (Apricots) and Nectar of the Hops (dry hopped with Amarillo and Centennial); 6 Mountain Honey Wines, Traditional, Juniper, White Pyment, Pinot Pyment, Blueberry and Plum; and for a nominal fee, we purchased 1 oz tastes of Redstone’s reserves, 2005 Black Raspberry, 2004 Cyser and 2003 Boysenberry, all of which were phenomenal.
As we mulled over our samples of the Reserve selections, Ray and I played a rather un-cutthroat game of Scrabble, where French, Spanish, slang and abbreviations ran wild (we also didn’t bother to keep score). 3:00 came and it was time for another meadery tour; this one we didn’t miss. It was interesting to hear about the process, and see how the owner was able to use a variety of brewing and winemaking equipment for his meads. After listening to his entire talk, we decided to skip buying the Sunshine Nectar (which we had fallen in love with at GABF and again at the tasting room) and instead purchase a bottle of the Traditional mead.
We originally decided to stick around town on Tuesday, opting for yet another mind-blowing breakfast at WaterCourse Foods. But then, instead of exploring more of Denver proper, we decided to head out to Golden to hike Triceratops Trail (basically a trial run before our Thursday hike to see if my knee and healing ACL was up for it) and check out the town.
The trail was a bit hidden, but definitely an interesting 1.5 mile hike. I enjoyed geeking out over dinosaur tracks, raindrop and frond imprints, and the various flora and fauna we came across. After working up an appetite, we headed into town, and upon a suggestion from one of my fellow Ladies of Craft Beer Micki, we made a beeline for Woody’s Woodfired Pizza in Golden. We shared an excellent Whiskey King pizza, and I enjoyed Dale’s Pale Ale straight from the can (my dad always said ladies drink from a glass, but he wasn’t there, so straight from the can it was!), while Ray had yet another Odell’s winner, 5 Barrel Pale Ale.
Possibly the best thing about Woody’s was the local honey they brought to the table for the crust. We were BLOWN AWAY! I wanted to make a mead with this honey, stat! I kidded with Ray about stashing the bottle in my purse; little did we know how lucky we were going to get.
While Ray was in the restroom, the general manager came over to ask me how the pizza was (it was a new addition to the menu) and compliment me on my beer selection. I told him how much I enjoyed Oskar Blues beers and how it was hard to find them on the East Coast. I also complimented him on the honey, and that’s when I found out that not only was it local, but Woody’s had invested in the beekeeper’s business in order to generate the amount of honey the restaurant would need. Awesome! Small business helping out a small business, Love it.
I told him how much we loved the honey and found out that its a blend of 2 hives in the area. Then I found out we could buy it and I was overjoyed. We didn’t buy enough to make a mead, BUT we got a bottle for ourselves and a bottle for our foodies friends who would appreciate the local gift.
What could be better than local, delicious honey? Local, delicious BEER. A short drive took us to what looked like a house—it wasn’t. It was Golden City Brewing, proudly hailed as the “Second Largest Brewery in Golden” (the first is Coors. Yuck). We sampled tastes of everything on tap, missing out on the Evolution IPA and Mad Molly’s Brown Ale that had been cleared out by GABF, and selected a pint of Legendary Red for Ray—their most popular—and a snifter of Cuvee #1, a bourbon barrel stout.
We grabbed the travel edition of Sorry!, pulled up a table in the shade of the patio and settled into our beers. We were wowed by what we had in front of us, and after a lot of back and forth, I finally kicked Ray’s butt in Sorry! GCB was a real gem, and it was nice to see that even on a Tuesday afternoon between 2:30 and 5, the place could draw a crowd with pints and pitchers, and even a few well-behaved dogs.
Finishing our beers, it was back to Denver to rest and hit Euclid Hall for a late night supper. I was excited to visit, reviewing their menu online and considering the options. Unfortunately, it didn’t do it for us. Euclid Hall is not only a pub, but a rather well-known building. According to the website, Euclid Hall was built in 1883 as a house for Dr. Byron Albertus Wheeler, Euclid Hall has been home to the Masons, the Colorado Women’s Relief Corps, The Cootie Club, Maudie’s Flea Market and is even rumored to have once been the very fancy headquarters of a brothel catering to government officials, law enforcement and members of the media. The decor is cool, but the big screen TVs boasting a variety of sporting events and the schizo music selection were major turn offs.
The prices on their list of “special” beer bottles was outlandish, and their regular bottle list had a pretty hefty markup. We stuck with drafts to keep our wallets a little less squeezed; I opted for Ska Brewing’s Buster Nut Brown and Ray has Boulevard Brewing’s Tank #7, a farmhouse ale. We tried poutine for the first time, which was pretty good, and noshed on sandwiches. While the service was good and the food was perfectly fine, we found ourselves disappointed. It was as if Euclid Hall wanted to be both Tria and The Dive Bar at the same time, but it just didn’t work for us. That said, we definitely want to give Euclid Hall a second chance the next time we’re in Denver.