|My wife trudging along with our son and my daughter prancing towards the modest yellow box that is Guanella Pass|
- Living in the Denver-area causes one to forget what Colorado really looks like. The Mile High City is a fine city indeed but it is a city and more similar to other American metros of similar size than different. Colorado’s tourism industry doesn’t rely on people visiting Denver, it’s the mountains that beckon vacationers. Our half-day trip into the hills was a needed reminder of our state’s majesty, even if we were never more than a stone’s throw from I-70.
|Brew equipment at Guanella Pass|
|Guanella Pass taproom|
- Bold opinion: Guanella Pass in Georgetown is the quintessential Colorado brewery in terms of the actual building and location. It is, of course, in the mountains which has got to be the first thing checked off the list. The surrounding shops and museums ooze of classic Old West false front architecture. Its own building is a modest cinder block affair half sunk into the ground; a simple structure reflecting our state’s down-to-earth citizenry. Though the brewery’s housed within rudimentary building material, the cheery yellow paint and Tibetan prayer flags serve to remind one of Colorado’s New Age, hippie streak. And no Colorado brewery is truly complete without a patio to catch those 300 days of sunshine! Perhaps you have a different idea as to who claims the title of most prototypical Colorado brewery but, as far as I’m concerned, until John Elway and Trey Parker team up to open a brewery made of recycled skis and bricks of recreational marijuana, Guanella Pass is it.
- What is happiness to you? It’s an emotion that comes in small and unexpected moments. A warm day juxtaposed with snow on the ground, on a patio gazing up at a green wall of pine with my wife and kids, sipping on a flight of Guanella Pass beer, that’s where I find my Zen. For a few minutes—nay, moments—everything felt right. Beer, family, and Colorado have that effect.
talk about those beers. Honestly, this
trip happened right before Thanksgiving and my memory’s a bit fuzzy due to the passage
of time. I really should pay more
attention to the beer since this is a beer
blog and all, but I increasingly find myself living in the moment and not in a beer
journal, and I'm okay with that. Not that I could write anything down anyway, what with a squawking one-year-old and a
jabber-jawed three-year-old distracting me all their waking hours. This is more than a beer blog, though, it’s also
a travel log and a family diary.
Hopefully the other aspects of this blog are enough to compensate for my unsatisfactory
My happiness, visualized
- Two bits of pop culture trivia I can tell you about Georgetown off the top of my head: a fight scene from Every Which Way But Loose was filmed there as was the Ben Affleck movie Phantoms which is primed for a re-make because the Lovecraftian plot has a lot of potential, the film just suffered from piss-poor execution. Also Ben Affleck was in it, and he was not “bomb” in it as Jay & Silent Bob decree.
the point in the blog in which I contradict myself. Before I ever visited Westbound & Down I
heard its praises sung for it eschewed the local, mining town ambiance, opting
for a more Scandinavian modernist vibe. In
principle, I’m not down with that. A
brewery should embody its place. I don’t
necessarily condone conformity but I do appreciate a respect for location and
local history. I don’t like sore thumbs sticking
out just for the sake of being different.
On the other hand, down the block is a pizza joint with a logo of crossed
pickaxes and directly across the street is an outdoor apparel company also with
a crossed pickaxe logo. So, I guess I
understand the need to stick out every so often. In a town such as Idaho Springs where they’re
only known for one thing (mining) then you might as well make a hard left and decorate
your brewery sleek and sophisticated.
Alright, Idaho Springs, you like crisscrossed axes...
...like, you really like them
- Another reason I’ll give Westbound & Down a pass for its decidedly un-Colorado atmosphere: it’s partnered with their neighbor The Buffalo Restaurant & Bar which exudes Old West antiquity like the prop closet on the set of a John Wayne movie. The businesses are connected inside, but the interiors are black-and-white distinct. If you yearn for an old timey saloon, step out of the urbanity of Westbound & Down and into the ruggedness of The Buffalo.
|Inside Westbound & Down|
ordered the 9 & 11 Pale Ale brewed with nine grains and 11 hops. I once heard from an expert brewer that it if
you use more than three grains you’re using too many. Well, I don’t really care about that, the beer
was tasty enough. Were there so many grains
that they all melded together making it impossible to discern one from another? Yes. But
I’m a beer drinker before I’m a beer judge and I found it to be a perfectly
Fancy-ass water dispenser at Westbound & Down
- I’ve always found it amusing that the local high school team’s mascot is The Golddiggers. They might as well call themselves The Nose-Pickers.