There is no reason to apologize for where I’ve been. I haven’t been anywhere. And you shouldn’t have been anywhere either. While I do have back content I could work on, it feels disingenuous to continue with this charade of pleasantries when the world feels like it is falling apart around us and at any given moment I will be on my knees, pleading with the Canadian border patrol to grant me refugee status to enter their country. As we speak, I sit a mere forty minute drive from Ontario, and knowing that despite being so close, I couldn’t be further from entry destroys me. When I wrote my last post in March, I was unemployed but hopeful. I was planning on going back to Denver, probably. I was planning on going back to my job at ink!. I was planning on resuming my graduate degree in the fall.
I had so many plans. We all did. We planned to get married or divorced, to have baby showers and graduation parties and road trips and European adventures. Our job offers were rescinded, our internships canceled, our workplaces closed permanently. We planned to drink at beer gardens and taprooms with doors open to the summer sun, laughing about the blip on the radar, our brief time out in April.
But we didn’t get any of those things. Here we are on the eve of August, and we are backpedalling. We are pushing kids into schools where they will spread disease to one another and then back to their parents and teachers. We are implementing mask mandates now that should’ve been put in place months ago. We are watching as the entire world turns their back on us, these infected, sickly little monster’s plagued by disease and American exceptionalism. We haven’t gotten back to our lives. Or beer.
I’m still unemployed, for those wondering. Of course I am. I apply to jobs and they respond to me with charming emails like “lol we actually aren’t hiring right now sorry” or “this position no longer exists.” I haven’t been to a bar since March 6th. Even longer since I’ve been in a brewery’s taproom. I left a life behind in Denver that I will never get to resume, a life that was broken and incomplete and inconsequential. A life that in the moment seemed dull, tedious, expensive, but now like a specific kind of freedom that only months of being locked up with your family at 27 years old can reveal to you. I miss both the mountains and the desolate eastern Colorado landscape. I miss letting middle aged men talk to me in exchange for them buying me a beer, getting their hopes up and dashing them when I walk out without concern. So, here is today’s post. A long forgotten memory of a brewery I visited back when my Mercury Sable had power steering. On this day, I went to Pueblo.
My trip to Pueblo started as most of my trips did, with no intention. I believe it started with me driving to Colorado Springs to go to Target. Did I need to go to a Target forty five minutes away in Colorado Springs when I lived half a mile from a Target that also had a Chick-fil-a, dispensary, and strip club all in the same parking lot? No. Of course not. Although I did hate that Target and would usually go to one in Aurora anyways. But I was gonna go to Colorado Springs that day. I did that sometimes. It was an easy drive down I-25, listening to music, sun shining, warming my unheated car although it was January.
But I cruised through Target and landed my ass in Pueblo. And it was so early in the day that there was nowhere to drink because who opens a brewery at 10am? Yeah, that’s how early it was guys. Like 10 in the morning. I drove around the small town, that I found charming with their colorful murals and small shops. I think my first intention was actually to get coffee, not beer, but I failed to find somewhere suitable for coffee. I couldn’t tell you why, though, because it is now August and this happened, as I have previously stated, in January.
I think I spent a lot of time just driving around Pueblo. I must’ve. But, like I said, the memories are hazy now. But at some point, as the morning grew to late morning, I figured I could probably find a brewpub to lunch and liquor. Beer and brunch? Neither of those are totally accurate but “lunch and beer” don’t flow as well. Alliterations aside, I couldn’t find a brewery in Pueblo that was open that early in the day to feed both my stomach and my soul. But in West Pueblo*, I found a place that had sandwiches and beer. My love languages**.
Wow. I just dove into my notes to discover that I have none, which is not a surprise to anyone who’s been following this journey with me. The last brewery I have notes on is Danielmark’s and the only note on that one is “these people are so racist that they’re making fun of a Jewish man for practicing Judaism and observing Hanukah. And metal straws? Very weird about me coming in. It’s fine. I’m fine.” If you guys read that post, none of those notes should surprise you. I just didn’t talk about them in that post because for some reason, I felt like I needed to protect the people of that brewery because I did end up having a good time there, which yeah. I’m sorry, but I befriended said Jewish man who was mocked for practicing Judaism so I did my part that day. (I did not befriend him because he was Jewish in an act of tokenism, I just befriended him. He was from Glendale! Wisconsin. Not Glendale, Colorado, which is kinda where I lived at the time.)
But we are not here to talk about the Jewish man, lesbian, and romantically involved child I encountered at a different brewery in a different state that already had a post. We’re here to talk about the beer I drank at Reservoir Brewing.
Except. Again. No notes. I checked into one beer on Untapp’d. The beer was called the Speedboat and I gave it 4.5 out of 5 stars. It was an American IPA. I must’ve really liked it.
But, here’s what I do remember and will say about this brewery. It was welcoming. I mean, there was no one in there at noon on a Friday in January. But the owner, Mike, shook my hand and greeted me and bullshitted with me about beer and the brewery. I love that. I love bullshitting with men at breweries, especially ones who don’t talk down to condescend to me about beer because I am a woman. (To be noted, I love bullshitting with all folx everywhere, breweries, coffee shops, gas stations that inexplicably have the best chili in town, everywhere). I don’t know if craft beer is becoming more inclusive towards women or if it’s just my charming personality (this is a joke), but I am finding it easier and more fulfilling to talk to men who are passionate about beer without feeling like they’re being a dick to me. I mean, maybe it’s specifically men in the industry that are easier to talk to. I still encounter plenty of men who are just enthusiasts, such as myself, who are dicks. But whatever.
I love shaking hands with brewery owners. Or, I mean, I used to in the Before Time when I wasn’t so aware that a handshake could lead to an infection that I could give to my grandfather and kill one of the few men I love. I love brewery owners. I love people who have turned their passions into careers. I think that is why I refuse to let this oft-neglected blog die. I don’t know if I want to professionally write about beer, but it is something I am passionate about. Drinking beer and making snide remarks about it months later on the internet for one person to read (‘sup Smittsonian).
I also had a flight of beers while I was here that I made no notes on, don’t know the names of, and cannot make any comments about. But I did enjoy my time here.
I also met a married man, who gave me his phone number at this bar, and while I should not be exchanging contact info with married men (especially not married men who’s teenaged son calls while I am putting my number IN THE MARRIED MAN’S PHONE), I do like talking to these people. I like talking to these fucked up, broken, wrong, inappropriate excuses of humans to figure out how they got to this point. Also, this married man was a train engineer and worked on high speed rail technology and we had a great conversation about how high speed rail technology is real, feasible, and accessible in the US but our politicians and governing bodies refuse to allow us to implement the structures that are VERY real and work for other countries. He was a good time. Until he wanted my info and said that if I had had too much to drink (I hadn’t) I was welcome to sleep it off at his place (I didn’t).
I think part of the reason why I haven’t been able to write about any of these places since the pandemic started is because of fear and sadness. I am afraid to check in on places like this to see that the pandemic has forced them to close their doors permanently. But I am happy to report that while trying to get the link to their main website, I also saw a news article about how they’re managing to stay afloat despite the new challenges to business.
Some of my best memories in Colorado involve me drinking alone at these out of the way breweries. We know that it was a constant joke about how I refused to write about anything I drank in the city of Denver, and I held that promise pretty damn well. I don’t think I ever wrote about any Denver proper breweries. I mean, I still could. There’s still time. I went to enough of them. But it was these breweries in Pueblo West or Walsenburg or Sterling where I met and connected with people. Don’t get me wrong, I made some great friends in Colorado (maybe one great friend, but I love her to death. Hey Ally if you’re reading this. I miss you.) but a weird quirk of my introvert-ism is that I flourish in nearly empty taprooms, listening to middle aged men bitch about sports and traffic. I might hate large crowds (even pre-pandemic) or going to parties where I only know a handful of people or turning up to places I am invited alone. But I love being alone in public. And I miss it.
I miss drinking out. I miss beer on a Wednesday afternoon. I miss craft beer culture. I miss being pretentious. I miss saying talking about different kinds of hops earnestly. I miss all of it. But I’m not running back to it right now. We can’t give up. We can’t stop fighting. Please wear your masks. Wash your hands. Get your beers to go. Drink with pals on Zoom or in backyards where you meticulously measured out where the lawn chairs can sit (I have done this). I want to get back to public intoxication but I need your help. (I also want to see my grandpa who I haven’t seen since Christmas and that breaks my heart because it’s 81 and although he’s healthy now, he’s getting older and has so many health problems in the past and still technically has breast cancer although we don’t talk about it because I don’t think it matters? But like, he has cancer? But it’s just like… treated with a pill and I think in December they will finally declare him cancer free but like? He’s an old man with breast cancer, I love him and that is super weird of him to have breast cancer and I don’t love that he got cancer but I love that my weirdo grandpa had to get breast cancer because he is a weirdo and has to be weird about everything. Also, I want my grandpa to see another, real true baseball season, not this shitshow that they are putting on. Okay. That’s enough about my grandpa.) I just miss beer, my dudes.
*I cited this as West Pueblo but it has come to my attention it is actually in Pueblo West. I couldn’t just edited it, but we all know that I believe in complete and total transparency here on this blog.
**This is a lie. I do not like sandwiches in general.