Greetings from the Catalyst Espresso Bar and Beer Tasting Lounge in Fort Collins, aka Choice City. Yesterday started with coffee, muffins, and beer. Not that I’ll get to drink the beer for a while, but I gotta buy at least a bomber (22 oz. bottle) a day, and since I was near southwest Colorado, I picked up Nefarious Ten Pin (Imperial) Porter from Ska Brewing in Durango. Can’t wait to try that rude boy.
If any day’s drive will be prettier than this, I’ll be stunned. I-70’s pass through the Rockies and over the Continental Divide (over 10,000 ft.) provided nonstop postcard views of evergreens surrounding Aspens glowing with yellow leaves set against the errant snow-capped peaks. Before heading down, Half Pint and I stopped briefly in Idaho Springs, as quaint a mountain town as you can hope for, and found Tommyknockers Brewing. Though they had a couple of amazing sounding beers like a cocoa porter winter warmer and imperial maple nut brown ale, those fools only sold a select few individually, so I added a 12 oz. bottle of Butt Head Dopplebock to my road cellar.
Once in Ft. Collins, our first stop was at New Belgium Brewing. Half Pint was so excited, justifiably so. We got on a tour with Tom as our capable guide. He offered the best explanation I’ve ever heard on such a tour for how yeast works. (To paraphrase: if you invite a billion guests to a party with lots of booze, they’ll get their freak on. Once the booze, or in this case fermentable sugars, run out, they pack up and are ready to head out.) But the main part of the NBB experience is learning that employees not only get a free cruiser, but they get to own the company, plus they get to play foosball, volleyball, go on field trips and have an on-site climbing wall, and generally have the best jobs in the world. As for beer tasting, we tried their Grand Cru, but I most enjoyed their newest offering: Giddy Up, an espresso ale! A great breakfast beer if ever there was one.
I should add that Tom was aware of my book and led the way to get some of Half Pint’s and my favorite NBB beer ever, Eric’s Ale, a sour ale brewed with peaches from their homegrown line in the Lips of Faith series of brews.
Then it was time to hit Choice City Butcher & Deli. This is the place where, when I was in town initially to interview Kim Jordan, the owner, Russ (pictured), said that when my book comes out, he wants to host a book signing. Well, here I am. Thanks a ton to Susie and Jackie from the Book Rack (pictured) for handling book sales! And to Kyle for pouring free samples of NBB’s new Saison. That’s right, folks, they had free beer on hand for the event. I met a bunch of cool, um, Fort Colliners, Russ kept me in awesome brews including Odell’s Bourbon Stout (I learned Odells is only sold in Colorado), and I’m telling you, this is the best place to eat in town. That’s why we’re heading back later this morning for my all-time favorite, the corned buffalo hash.