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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Hike in Red Rocks

The great thing about visiting Colorado is all the beautiful scenery. Even just driving on the highway was beautiful. Looking out the window on a long drive I was comforted to be followed by mountains. The jagged Flatirons met us first and then gave away to the majestic Rockies. I'm envious of those who have this view on a regular basis. On our last full day in Colorado we drove to Red Rocks Park to take a hike around some beautiful rock formations. All four of us (Steve, Emo.Matt, Alice and Myself) brought along our cameras and we made it a photo hike. Of course, Steve's photos turned out way better than mine (no surprise there) so I'm happy to share some of his snaps with you. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Fort Collins Brewery and Funkwerks

After our trip to New Belgium we stopped in downtown Fort Collins for a quick bite to eat and then we were back on the beer trail. Our next stop was Fort Collins Brewery which was a nice departure from the insanity of the New Belgium tap room. This tap room was smaller, quieter and just plain peaceful.
FCB offers a nice variety of special flights for tasting. Here myself and Alice stare wistfully at the bar while deciding what we want to drink.
It was lovely outside by the time we got our beers so we decided to have a drink on the patio. This is me making the most horrible face when a car alarm started going off. It ruined my tranquil beer moment.

So, on to the beer! I love stouts and porters and FCB offers a seasonal porter flight. Perfect! It came with a Vanilla Porter, Coconut Porter, Mint Chocolate Chip Porter, Double Chocolate Coffee Stout and some beer that Steve picked (the red one).
Clearly we had no problem drinking all these beers. My favorites were the mint chocolate porter and the coconut porter. Mint chocolate is my favorite food combination and I wasn't disappointed by that flavor in beer.
After FCB we took a little trip down the road and ended up at Funkwerks. Besides having a delightfully funny name, they have very Funky beer. This is because they only offer Saison style beers which have a slight tangy yogurt flavor to them.
I totally dig their drunk looking glass mascot.
They stamped FUNK on my hand. I had the FUNK all day.
As this was later in the day, I can't remember exactly all of the beers that we ordered. Their taproom site has a good list of what they offered. I remember trying the Montage, Saison, Tropic King and the Mistral. The others, not so sure. I was pretty beered out by this point. And I was getting sleepy. Day drinking is a tiring proposition.
And just look at this beautiful sunset that waiting for us as we stepped out of Funkwerks. Man, I love Fort Collins.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

New Belgium Brewery Tour!

When Steve and I planned our Colorado trip, we knew there would be lots of beer. Both Steve and Matt are avid home brewers and I knew they wanted to geek out over beer. When Matt suggested we spend a full day in Fort Collins drinking all sorts of tasty brews and touring local breweries, how could we say no? So Saturday we headed out bright and early to the New Belgium Brewery. The tours book up way in advance and we didn't have tickets, but we were told if we got there early and waited around, we could get on a tour. We got to the tap room just before 12, gave our names to the hostess and ordered a taster from the bar. Before I even took my first sip we were informed that there was a cancellation and we could jump on the 12:30 tour. Talk about good timing! Also, the tour is free. And filled with LOTS of free beer.
New Belgium is now entirely 100% employee owned and it seems like one of the best places to work. All of the staff were not only friendly to us, but really good friends with each other. Every employee gets a special bike on their one year anniversary so the brewery is filled with assorted bicycles. For their fifth anniversary employees get to a trip to Belgium with their brew-master to try tons of beers. For their 10 year anniversary they get a 6-week paid sabbatical to do whatever the hell they want. That is my kind of company!
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Doesn't this look like a church that worships beer? The pointed ceiling, bright lights and mosaic floors made this the prettiest mash tun I've ever seen.
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Throughout the tour we got to taste lots of beer. LOTS OF BEER. They were handing it out so frequently that I had barely any time to finish my little tasting glass before they were giving me another.
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This is the room where they make all their special barrel aged beers. But look closely at the back wall. Notice something? It is actually an employee rock climbing wall. The story goes that when their first employee hit the 10 year mark they asked him what he wanted and he asked for a rock wall. This person now has the official title of Director of Fun.
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This beer is made by Satan.
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Oh hello, I'm just another glass of some fancy-pants barrel aged beer.
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I can't even comprehend how much beer is inside of these silos. I would like to get all Scrooge McDuck on them and put on my bathing suit and go for a dip. If I take a shower first I won't contaminate the beer, right? ;-)
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The decor of the brewery was pretty neat. I especially liked all the lighting fixtures that were made out of bottles and cans. This is possibly the classiest dorm decor I have ever seen. Frat boys, be jealous.
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Just look at that bottling line. I feel like I could watch factories in process for hours. Perhaps that's why I always get sucked into Unwrapped on the Food Network.
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And the best part/most random moment was the celebration of "Jean Shorts January." This event is celebrated by the staff in the tap room who were all wearing jean shorts. If a visitor chose to participate and cut their jeans to shorts right then and there, they would take home some free tasty beer. This poor fellow is loosing his pants for some suds. The jeans weren't doing much for his shape or butt so I think he made a wise choice.
If you are ever in the area, go on the New Belgium tour. It is the best brewery tour I have been on and has the best ending. SPOILER: you go down a giant spiral slide.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Colorado Airstream Kitten

Happy Monday! I hope you had a great weekend. I celebrated my friend Jesse's birthday in style at a Pajama Jam (Party where everyone wears PJs). He throws it every year and I always have a great time. Saturday night I saw Yo La Tengo (loved it!) and Sunday finally saw the new Paul Thomas Anderson film The Master (didn't love it). I also had a lovely run on Saturday morning and I'm feeling a lot more confident about being able to run another half marathon. I'm trying to love myself and be more comfortable with my body's abilities.
These pictures were taken at the New Belgium Brewery during my trip to Colorado last week. Steve and I went to visit my best friend from college Emo Matt, (I might be the only person who calls him that anymore) who lives in Boulder. Matt was the absolute best host and he planned a weekend packed with tons of fun stuff for us. One of those days was a trip up to Fort Collins to check out the New Belgium Brewery Tour (full post on that to follow) and drink a lot of other awesome local craft brews.
When we pulled up to New Belgium we noticed they had an awesome shiny sparkling fantastic airstream in the parking lot. As soon as I saw it I knew I wanted to take some pictures with it because it's so damn sexy. Inside the airstream is a cardboard model of the brewery as well as a word-mural of the brewery's history. I mean, New Belgium is already super cool and this just upped the ante.
I know this sweater has been making the internet rounds but it was just so cute that I couldn't pass on it. So what if tons of other people have it? It is a cat sweater and I NEED IT. I'm in love with this sweater and I kinda wish I could wear it all the time. But I doubt it's "work appropriate" unfortunately.
Oh and my ever favorite space leggings made another appearance. There were a lot of drunk hippies who were in love with my pants at the various tap rooms we went to. I can't blame them- the tights are pretty bad ass and I'm sure they are even better after you have been drinking non-stop for 5 hours.
Sweater: Indressme
Tights: Romwe
Socks: Betsey Johnson
Hair Flower: Gift
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