Eat. Drink. Denver.

In a rare moment of freedom during Philly Beer Week, I figure that, since I don’t have an actual beer in my hand (an odd feeling during this most holy of beer weeks) I should write a post about…. all those other beers I drank.

Lemme rewinds a bit: Upon realizing I would, in fact, graduate and have gainful employment, my first thought was I SHOULD TAKE A HUGE ENORMOUS TRIP TO CELEBRATE!! Then, I remembered I gave all my money to Penn for that fancy degree, so perhaps the better move would be a smaller, equally exciting trip that might not break the bank. Enter: Denver!

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What better place to visit than the first spot I vacationed DURING my grad school career? You might recall I headed out to Denver in October 2012 for Great American Beer Festival, arguably the coolest beer event I’ve ever been a part of since falling in love with suds… But this weekend, I wanted a little bit more relaxation. A little bit less scheduled events. And probably the same amount of delicious beer.

No surprise: Denver delivered.

Highlights included:

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Great Divide Brewing Company: Located in the heart of Denver, this was one of those spots you enter and you immediately feel at home. The speakers were blasting “We Built This City“, the bartenders were singing and dancing along with it, and the taproom was full of all types of folks. Bachelor parties, gal groups, older couples, there were even a few little ones scampering around (don’t worry, they were carded and forbidden to booze.) Friday afternoon was an excellent opportunity for a little brewery tour and happy hour of our own, so Melissa and I enjoyed a tasting flight of 6 beers before entering the touring area.

Spoiler alert: if you’re wearing flip flops, and don’t have glasses on, you’re in for a treat.

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That’s right. Jordan Maura Price rocking…. Crocs. *Shudders* Hopefully, never again. But, I get it…. safety first. Style: last.

The tour itself was pretty basic, very little new knowledge to the seasoned brewery tour vet like myself…. but the beer at the end (and at the beginning): woo, baby! Their Rumble IPA toed the line between hoppy, sweet, and complex. An IPA aged in oak? I can get behind this stylistic trend. Up next…

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Crooked Stave – An artisanal brewery/taproom located at The Source, this space was gorgeous. The pickins, unfortunately, were a little slim for us, but their sour ale/kombucha blends were refreshing and interesting and, when it came to a more classic sour style, tartness was brought by Between the Staves, a wild ale aged in cognac barrels. A nice boozy bite, I, clearly, was a fan.

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I shared SOME with Melissa…. but honestly, I get selfish around sours. SORRY NOT THAT SORRY!

Oh yeah, we also ate some stuff.

ImageJust an INSANE banh mi from D’Deli, Golden, CO’s premiere deli sandwichery, is a hop/skip/jump away from the Coors Brewing Factory. Which really didn’t mean a lot to me, since we didn’t go there, but it’s ALSO right around Mount Falcon and Red Rocks, where we enjoyed a casual 6 mile hike featuring a run-in with a rattlesnake and playing “dodge the mountain biker”. It involved drenching myself in sweat and caking my body in dirt. LOVE NATURE (I’m only 80% sarcastic right now.)

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After all that hiking, we really felt as though we earned those sammies. And as sloppy delicious as they were…. they really paled in comparison to the true (non-alcoholic) treat of the trip.

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OMG OMG OMG VOODOO DOUGHNUTS! Clockwise from the top right: Old Dirty Bastard (Raised yeast doughnut with chocolate frosting, Oreo’s™ and peanut butter!), blueberry cake doughnut (blueberry dough with a glaze), and the coup de grace, the Memphis Mafia (Fried dough with banana chunks and cinnamon covered in a glaze with chocolate frosting, peanut butter, peanuts and chocolate chips on top!)

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Me, for scale. That bad boy was about the size of my head…. and tasted far better than I imagine my head would taste.

I got back to Philly around 1 a.m. Sunday night (err… Monday morning technically?) and crashed the hardest. But not too hard… See, there’s this little Philly Beer Week thing with like, a thousand events, and I couldn’t very well miss that.

Cheers, Denver. You were good to the last drop/bite. I can’t wait to head back!

 

Surprise Samurai Ale Review!

I bet you thought that my night was over.  You think I just go have random surprise date nights and then that’s it?

Ye of little faith.

I have another treat for you.

Treat for you? More like a treat for ME!

Tonight’s beer was one I’ve been holding onto for a little while.  But I’m not too upset, it was worth the wait.

A little brewski from the fine folks at Great Divide Brewing Company, this beer was not quite as delicious as that Hercules Double IPA I enjoyed at Milltown last week.  But man, was it drinkable.

Samurai Rice Ale, described by the brewer:

An easy drinking, unfiltered ale that changes the status quo for unfiltered beers. The addition of rice gives Samurai a slightly fruity, crisp, refreshing and clean taste. This is definitely not your everyday unfiltered beer.  5.1% ABV

Samurai Rice Ale, described my MOI:

This beer comes out a beautiful golden color, a teensy bit cloudy but that faded fast, with a little bit of sediment on the bottom of the glass.  One thing I liked about this beer was the amount of carbonation in it (i.e. quite a good amount!)  I smelled malts and maybe like… cut grass. It smelled clean and good.

The taste was tart on my tongue, and very crisp. It finished with very little mouthfeel, and there may have been some sort of bitter fruit taste in there too.  My favorite part about this beer was the drinkability, without question.  If it weren’t a little out of my price range, I’d want to drink these all summer.

I’m not sure what exactly made this a rice ale, I’m sure it’s something beyond my knowledge of beer, but I’d enjoy trying another rice ale in the future to know if it’s anything similar to this Samurai Ale.

Have you ever tried a rice ale?

Do you like a little sediment in your beer?

Milltown & Great Divide Brewing’s Hercules Double IPA

Good evening friends.  Hope you made it through Monday.  I’ll admit, after a lovely weekend of loafing (with a hearty amount of cleaning yesterday) I expected to jump into the exercise sea with arms wide open. But alas, the world (and my anxiety levels) had other plans. So after a long day at work, I rushed home, got the mail, paid the rent, got a toilet repaired, and started organizing what I’m going to need when the beau leaves at the end of the month for Philly (i.e. what he’s going to take with him.) On the list:

  • TV
  • Knife set
  • More body pillows to cuddle with and cope with my loneliness

Those are the big three, I guess.

But body pillows aside, I will truly miss having him around and given my glum thoughts about the future sans beau, it only made sense to nix cooking and have a date night!  We decided to finally make good on a LivingSocial deal that I got FOREVER ago for Milltown, a “gastropub” in Carrboro, a town that I feel like could be described as “Chapel Hill’s artsy hippy little sister.”  The last time I was at Milltown was during Lent, when I had given up eating red meat, so my dreams had been thwarted.  However, this time, I knew they could come true. “What was my dream?” you may be asking…

Bahn Mi ::$9
Miso Marinated Grilled Steak with Radish, Baby Carrot, Pepper, Red Cabbage, and Bok Choy Slaw Tossed in Asian Vinaigrette on a French Roll

Doesn’t that just sound sexy?

Patience, my friends.

Appe-teaser!

Noting the beau’s craving for wings as we passed Ba Da Wings (located conveniently across the street from Milltown), I knew he needed some, and needed them fast.  I’d add a description of the wings from the menu, but they seem to have mistakenly put the description of the nachos, because I know these chicken wings weren’t offered as “topped with chicken”.  They had a sort of spicy Asian-inspired sauce, with a (maybe?!) blue cheese, whipped kind of dipping sauce. I had two, and left the rest to the cravings of the beau.  He was pleased as punch.

In the meantime, we split an appetizer beer (what? You don’t have those?)

Founder's Brewing Centennial IPA

This Founder’s Brewing Centennial IPA was a great kickstart beer, with a fruity smell but not overly floral, which I liked. It had a nice maltiness which counteracted the slight sweet fruitiness. Ryan said he probably could not have had more than one of these. I think I could’ve…. But I didn’t.

Because all of the sudden, guess who was coming to dinner?

Bahn mi?! FOR ME?!

On the menu was the Bahn Mi: Miso Marinated Grilled Steak with Radish, Baby Carrot, Pepper, Red Cabbage, and Bok Choy Slaw Tossed in Asian Vinaigrette on a French Roll.  All this for $9.   I’d seen a friend of mine eat it before…. the image didn’t do it justice. The steak was juicy, slightly chewy but accented so well with the slaw that the crunch was present enough for me.  The fries, skinny and lightly seasoned, were delicious and had just the right about of softness to fold into two. Which I love to do. Just in case you were curious….

The other star of the show?

Great Divide Brewing Company's Hercules Double IPA

From the brewer:

Hercules Double IPA is not for the faint of heart. It is, however, fit for the gods.  HERCULES delivers a huge amount of hops from start to finish. Its hefty backbone of nutty, malty sweetness balances its aggressive hop profile.  10% ABV

Considering the high ABV, I thought this was surprisingly smooth.  The color was orange-golden color, with very little froth/head to it (which was important considering it was only a 12 oz pour). Initially, it smelled like apple juice to me.  I really couldn’t even taste the alcohol, I tasted malt and I tasted a sneaky little fruit (the sneakiness of the taste was more like…. I could smell it through my mouth. If this doesn’t make sense to you, I apologize, but if you’ve ever had this happen, you know what I mean.)

Both beers were great. Ryan had the Smoked Cheddar Mac and Cheese with Smoked Ham, and it tasted like a warm, gooey hug in the most delicious way possible.

This night filled my belly with great food and beers, and my heart with great feelings. Though soon, we’ll be living far away, (SAP ALERT BEWARE!) I absolutely love and cherish every date night we have together. He’s just the best dining and drinking buddy, and the most fun to talk to, and too many gushy things to put in public.  I’ll get over the whole not living together thing soon enough, but I’ll never get over what a pleasure it is to date your best friend.  That’s something that just won’t go away.