Since purchasing my lovely husband a basic beer brewing kit for his birthday in very late August, I’ve become a beer geek. Most probably geekier than even my DH himself. I blame the dyeing of yarn mostly. Because once it’s dyed, it has to be washed, dried and re-skeined. Thanks to my washing machine (Soak and spin with water supplies shut off, only! Do not send any skein of yarn through a regular wash cycle it will ruin it. You’ve been warned.) and a lovely drying rack and fan setup those parts of the process don’t take very long. But the re-skeining….oi, the re-skeining takes forever. So I started listening to knitting podcasts. But there just weren’t enough to keep up with the hours I spend watching the yarn go round and round. So I moved on to sports. I play fantasy football, so that was great. But once I got through all the pertinent backlog the knitting and the sports podcasts weren’t enough to keep up. I moved onto the beer and brewing podcasts. With their huge backlogs, and frequent updates, I’ve been a happy skeiner for a couple of months. Of course when you spend hours a day listening to a plethora of education programming on brewing and tasting beer, you might just turn into a Beer Geek by osmosis. Your Darling Husband might also laugh at you and accuse you of being slightly obsessive. Your mother might start to worry about your drinking habits because you show up for all family events with at least a 6 pack of home brew, and politely demand the empties so they can be sanitized in time to bottle the batch of stout in the secondary.
The Beer Geek inside might also strongly suggest she’d like to visit a brewery as part of the Thanksgiving travel plans…..and that is how we ended up at the New Belgium brewery on Black Friday with my MIL & FIL. It was a great trip. Very interesting, even though we weren’t able to take a guided tour. We arrived in the early afternoon (I was having slight misgivings about going tasting in the early afternoon, given the prohibitionist attitudes towards alcohol here in the USA.), and all 140 tickets for a guided tour had been gone since 10 am that morning. Apparently, the Black Friday craziness had set in because there were people lined up outside the brewery before they opened. The tasting room was standing room only when we arrived, and the very hospitable New Belgium employee inside the door cheerily told us to make our way to the bar, as this was a lull and he anticipated a crowd making it’s way there in the near future. So after about half an hour we were seated and had the fun of ordering up four tasters of the beers of our choice.
Let me say that if you have any interest in beer, and are in the Denver area, you absolutely should visit a brewery. If you are near Fort Collins, you absolutely have to visit New Belgium. It’s a crazy fun place and everyone there is happy. The beer was great and the people there were even better. Despite the large number of people waiting to be served, our bar tended took the time to answer our (OK, my.) inquiries about their beer and ingredients. He even took the time to make me a photocopy of the ingredient lists for every one of their beers so I could try to replicate them here at home. Before we went, I was a huge fan of New Belgium based in their great beers, and after visiting them, I think I might be slightly fanatical. I love it when I find a company that I like outstrips my expectations.
Cheers, go find yourself some Fat Tire or Sunshine today!