Brewery Road Trip: Denver to Aspen
Most of the time when we take road trips for short weekend trips, we want to get there ASAP and maximize our time at our destination (like when we go from STL to KC, for example). But when the drive takes you through amazing places - like the Rocky's - we like to make some stops and get the most of our journey.
Our first stop we made after picking up the car was for breakfast at Snooze in Denver city. Both of us had previous great experiences at Snooze's in AZ and CA, so we figured it was an easy choice. It wasn't as quick as we hoped since they took a while bringing out our food. But because of our wait, they gave us coupons for free pancakes!
Once we got on the road, we made two major stops along the way. Since we are all fans of craft beers, we centered our trip around local breweries (make sure you agree on an (unlucky) DD).
outer range brewing company // Frisco, Co// 1.5 hours from denver
The first stop we made was pretty short. Enough for a flight, a bathroom break, and a leg stretch before we were back on the road. I loved the rustic meets modern look of this place, and their beers were surprisingly high in ABV, given the altitude change. I mean, it may just be an urban legend, but I've heard that in Denver, Bud Lights are brewed at half of the ABV because of the way high altitude affects your tolerance. My favorites were the Luminous Flux brew (Belgian Blonde) and the On Descent (Belgian Pale).
Casey brewing and blending // glenwood springs, Co // 3 hours from denver
Casey Brewing & blending
Okay so this stop was SO cool. First thing to know: you have to get a ticket online in advance. Due to the overwhelming popularity of these beers (think lines starting and people camping overnight for the next day open), they had to restrict the selling to 2 times a day, and only for people who purchased tickets. You can sign up for the tour and tasting at 11AM or 2PM.
So, you may be thinking as I was, what makes this beer so special? It can honestly be summed up into TLC:
- They get 99% of their ingredients locally. The only ingredient that is not local is the hops, but apparently Colorado doesn't have good hops.. and we want good beer.
- Fermentation occurs in hand selected vintage oak barrels. They brew mostly sour and fruity beers.
- For their fruity beers, they then add local farm fresh fruit in the gallons to their saison, hand picking the barrels for the special type of fruit.
- All of the beers are aged for a long time (months) to get the perfect flavor
I'm no beer savant, but basically what I got out of the tour is that this beer takes time and a lot of care. Our tour guide was lively and fun too, which made the whole process exciting.
My favorite part was for sure the location, sitting right on the Roaring Fork River. It was basically set up for the best photo shoot.
Also in Glenwood Springs, Slope & Hatch was our pick for lunch.. and it was so good! The tacos were amazing, quick, and cheap. Plus, they had like 15 beers on tap. The space is small so we were lucky to find seating enough for the 4 of us. For tacos, I always order some type of fish, so I got their tilapia and shrimp ones. They were so flavorful and fresh!
After lunch, we drove the final hour stretch to Aspen!