So, while we waited, we went on vacation! Great plan, right? On Friday, we headed to Denver for a graduation and a birthday party, AND some hop-related activities, of course. We visited two Colorado breweries while we were there: Odell Brewing Company in Fort Collins (www.odellbrewing.com) and Oskar Blues' restaurant, Oskar Blues' Homemade Solids and Liquids (eat.oskarblues.com) in Longmont. We had a blast! Our kids, well, they got pretty bored, but WE had a great time.
At Odell, I was impressed at how beautiful the building is. The modern industrial meets mine shack design welcomes you as soon as you arrive. The hop vine bike rack surprised me, and so did the fact that four legged guests are just as welcome as two legged ones. (We saw the cutest pair of labradoodles while we enjoyed our beer.) We were tight on time, so Tyler and his brother ordered two sampler trays, each with five beers.
Tyler was super excited to be able to drink his favorite IPA, Odell's India Pale Ale, in the building where it's made, next to a beautiful painting of the label itself - wow. Another great aspect of Odell's tasting room is the availability of a food truck. The food looked and smelled delicious, but we had a lunch date, so we had to run.
Later, we hit Oskar Blues' eatery for dinner, and it was impossible to miss, because a giant beer can marked the spot off the highway. Once we pulled in, I ogled the waterfall decorating the building's face, that featured a keg and other beer implements, and I was amazed the sheer volume of people. The parking lot was PACKED, and we ended up waiting a bit for a table. As we did, I was caught up in the decor. There were at least a couple hundred unique tap handles mounted to the ceiling above the bar, which intrigued me to no end. Then, when we visited the ladies' room, the walls were lined with old album jackets that I couldn't take my eyes off of.
So much fun! And then, there was the beer. I was driving, so I only had a couple sips, but between the two breweries, Tyler managed to hit his goal of sampling 24 beers in one day for his Untapped app, to earn a special "badge." Yes, he's that big of a beer nerd...
At Oskar Blues' we were able to order a perfect mix of samplers and pints, of all types. Sherry Butt Sour Pilsner by Oskar Blues and the new Colorado Native Double IPL topped Tyler's list for this visit. Our "Resident Craft Beer Geek" aka waiter, didn't even realize this new Double IPL was out yet, until Tyler started asking questions, and then he couldn't wait to try it himself! As a final note, the food was like the cherry on top of an amazing night out. The family meal we ordered came in a 5 gallon keg that had been sliced in half, and was absolutely mouth watering.
This morning, as we left the Niwot Inn, (which is a gorgeous bed and breakfast tucked away in the sweet little town of Niwot, a few miles from Boulder), we stopped to see a local hop farm. It was so neat to see the hops starting to vine up the coconut rope. It made us hopeful and nervous for what awaited us at home on our own hop yard.