So I went to Denver over the weekend.  Here are my initial thoughts: SWEET.  Yeah that sums it up.  We started at a place called Cooper Smith’s, New Belgium, and Odell’s on day one.  And yes all were awesome.  Day two we took it easy apparently, I am one of those people prone to altitude sickness.  Although sick I still made it out to Tommyknocker on day two.  Day three I rallied and we visited Breckenridge’s Ballpark location for lunch, followed by some of the best canned beer ever at Oskar Blues, and finished up with Great Divide before heading to the airport.  Oh and the airport led to more drinking.  Once there we stopped into Boulder Brewing for a drink and the Chophouse for supper and a sampler.

I hinted that I thought Denver made some genuine mistakes in beer.  One is the prevalence of taprooms versus brewpubs.  It caught me off guard that places like Odell’s, Great Divide and some others don’t feel the need to have a restaurant style environment.  I really think this hurts the business.  There is a movement to show beer belongs on the table just like wine.  A brewpub is the place to show that.  Secondly, the crowd was very young at these places.  Occasionally you would see a couple with kids, but not often.  The inability to create an environment that is truly kid friendly limits the people who will come and sit and sample your beers.  Finally, out of towners (like myself) need a place to sit and relax.  I felt without food I had to drink less.  Now I do understand adding a restaurant takes things like space and management and capital and blah blah blah.  Regardless, I think if some of these establishments truly want to achieve long term bliss it is a critical way to reach your market.  At least to me I felt many of these places where way out in the middle of nowhere.

The other problem?  GABF.  Yes I think GABF being in Denver is a problem.  Not really for Denverites (is that what they are called?), but for the rest of the country.  This obviously requires a much longer and dedicated post.

I plan on writing reviews of each brewery I visited along with tasting notes on a number of beers.  So stay tuned and of course my thoughts on GABF will come before this years event.


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