Trust me, I’m as disappointed as you are. How could we possibly just get started on this Daze of Beer train to just derail it with a Throwback Thursday post about a trip I made to a brewery nearly two years ago? I am sorry, my dear reader, for letting this happen but sometimes content doesn’t flow smoothly as Miller Lite from a vortex bottle. Sometimes you have to dig for the content. You have to work for the content. You have to reach for it.
So here we are today, on this fine Thursday, reminiscing about visiting the New Belgium Brewery in Fort Collins. As stated, this tour took place in the heady days of 2015. It was a simpler time. Obama was president. Adele had just released her smash single Hello. I was unemployed and had not yet learned the true drudgery that is adulthood. It was a sunny, warm November day in the mountains high above the sea. While most people visit Colorado for the scenic hikes, death defying rock climbs, and legal marijuana, I am neither a hiker nor a rock climber, though I am sure that others in attendance on this journey would have loved a beautiful stroll or vertical crawl through the mountains, and after a showing display of me being so aggressively not a hiker the previous day at the Grand Canyon, beer seemed like a safe bet for my kind of person. But more than a safe bet for me, it was a sure bet for David, who loves beer.
We did not plan ahead for this tour and when we walked into the tap room and gift shop, a kind man sitting at a table asked us if we had reservations. Spoiler alert: We did not. He then informed us that the tours typically fill up months in advance but it was our lucky day and they had space available on their next tour that was to start in approximately ten minutes. I am not sure if he was bullshitting us on the “months in advance” joke, but it honestly would not surprise me. The tours are free, first of all, which right there makes it worth the trip. But secondly, I think throughout the course of the nearly hour long tour we got five samples a piece. And I’m not talking little sips. We were getting four ounce pours.
My memory of my trip to New Belgium Brewery is a bit hazy, to be completely honest, but I do remember our tour guide was genuinely passionate about being an employee of the brewery. He believed in the brand and the product and was proud to be apart of the organization. He spoke quick and excitedly about the history of the brewery and all the things that set them apart from other craft beers. It was an inspirational story of a man, who maybe is named Jeff?, and how he went on an “Eat, Pray, Love” journey to Belgium to study the art of brewing and he came back and started a microbrewery that in only a few short years exploded into a mega-popular no-longer-micro craft beer producer. There’s just something about people achieving their dreams of becoming master brewers that really warms my heart, if we’re being honest.
Since it was November, I remember us trying their pumpkin lager that I believe Nicole did not like, I was okay with, and David appreciated. I don’t think there was a single beer that David outright did not enjoy, but I think it’s because he was a mature man with a mature beer-loving palate that can discern all the subtle hints of whatever the tour guide says. I also distinctly remember us trying a porter that was made in partnership with Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream that was a brownie flavored porter? I also remember not liking it. David did though, because again, he has a mature taste for beer and at the time I was just coming off that mean Landshark phase that had sprung up in Florida.
But this was also the place I first discovered one of my all-time favorite beers and the first IPA I was ever able to tolerate. New Belgium’s Citradelic Tangerine IPA. Boy, do I love this beer and this beer and I have stories together now. All because of this brewery tour. It introduced me to Citradelic Tangerine and now we have shared a string of life and times together that are unrivaled by almost any other beer. (Except for Landshark. Landshark and I also have stories together.)
At the end of the tour there was a fun little slide you could go down, which David and I politely declined to do. I vaguely remember Nicole deciding to go down the slide, but that might be a false memory because by the end of the tour we were all feeling the effects of drinking alcohol at 5,000 feet above sea level.
Then, after the tour, we went to Culver’s which was David’s first time there and he ate the entire order of cheese curds I believe we intended to share among the three of us. That’s okay though because there aren’t many vegetarian friendly options at Culver’s, but also, how could you possibly be mad at someone who becomes immediately enamored with the fried glory of breaded Wisconsin cheese? But I digress.
In summation, I apologize that this was a throwback post, and a fuzzy one at that. My life has changed so much since this day in Colorado. My brain is slowly melting and remembering fine details of a day so aged in memory is difficult, but guys. It was great, okay? Remember that next time you journey to Colorado and find yourself dissuaded from hiking and partaking in the devil’s lettuce. And as previously stated, there is so many other breweries to check out here too because every city has a budding “craft beer industry.”
I’ll catch y’all on the flip side when hopefully I will had gone to another brewery and continue this arduous journey that is Daze of Beer.