Monday, October 15, 2012

Colorado: Day 6: New Belgium Brewing & Boulder

On our sixth day in Colorado, we woke on the early side to have breakfast and pack the car for the trip to the last leg of our vacation. There was just enough time for one last stop for coffee from Victoria's. Then we hit the road, crossing our fingers for no traffic so we could make our 2:30 PM tour at New Belgium Brewing in Fort Collins.

We arrived with time to spare and were happily bumped into an earlier tour time slot. This gave us just enough time to gawk at the impressively large building and for Mike to grab his first beer in the tasting room. I also discovered the tap of fruity seltzer water they had on hand for children and designated drivers.

The tour began with history of the company and a taster of Red Hoptober. We ascended the staircase to the main brew house and gasped at the beauty of the space: the high wood ceilings, the large windows with views of the Rockies, the mosaics around the  brew kettles, the mini-bar complete with tap handles just for tour groups. We have been many brewery tours and would be reluctant to describe the majority of brew houses as gorgeous. Perhaps beautiful in their own chaotic way. But this space was immaculate.

The tour continued on to a room called the "Foeder Forest", a room filled with casks (foeders) used for making sour beers.  Mike was speechless, his blue eyes wide with child-like excitement.  I sipped the tasting of the sour beer (3 times, as instructed) before deciding I didn't love it, and handed it over to my more than willing fiancĂ©. Mike tried to affix himself to one of the foeders, but the tour pushed onwards.

We toured the grounds, seeing the bottling and canning facilities along the way. Mike and I both developed an appreciation of their impressive business model, Mike even more so as he slid down the indoor slide.

We ditched our plan of heading to a second brewery, electing instead to spend the afternoon outside, playing rolly bolly (what Mike describes as "the most perfect game for drinking ever"). We asked our tour guide for recommendations for our trip (honeymoon!) to Belgium. We ate lunch from the Waffle Lab truck, sat outside, and basked in the fresh mountain air.


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