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2006

In 2006 I took several short trips around Florida and two longer road trips. One of these was to Colorado, in August and the other was my usual fall trip to western North Carolina. The Colorado trip, in August was a family trip; I organize the trips and try to fit in something for everyone. The trip was planned with many varied interests in mind, good beer being mine and several other members of the party. Many meals were at brewpubs and good beer was along for most of the trip. We enjoyed Wynkoop in Denver, Dillon Dam Brewing along the way to Aspen. In Aspen there was good beer but no brewpub; I recently read that one has opened. This means that we have to go back to try it sometime! The trip ended in Boulder, a good beer town if there ever was one. Our parents were married there in 1946 so the sixtieth anniversary celebration was enjoyed there. We enjoyed Walnut Brewing, B J's Brewery, where the anniversary dinner was, and Redfish Brewing Co. A trip to Fort Collins included CooperSmiths Brewing and a visit to New Belgium Brewery which was in a small facility on my 1997 visit and now is the ninth largest brewery in the US! The Fall trip included Athens, GA, Asheville, NC and a return along the east coast of Florida where several favorite brewpubs are located. Earlier in the year I celebrated my fiftieth birthday at Tampa Bay Brewing and made a day trip near Melbourne and enjoyed Charlie and Jake's BBQ and Brewery.

Barley Belgian Golden Ale Beer with Foam Head Hops Beer and Food
Tampa Bay Brewing Co Tampa, FL
50th Birthday Party

Tampa Bay Brewing Company - Ybor City, Florida

Each March for the last 25 years I have attended the 12 hours of Sebring sports car race. I go with several good beer drinking race fans; the race is great fun usually beers are popped for the start at ten in the morning. In earlier years we camped out at the track; more recently we go for the day then drive somewhere different for good beer, food and hotel beds. This year we decided to go to Tampa after the race. There is a new hotel within walking distance to the brewery so once we got to Ybor the car would be parked and the party would continue! This was the start of my fiftieth birthday celebration and it was done in style. TBB has 12 of their own beers on tap and 12 guest beers at any given time. This is a great selection; I don't know many brewpubs that constantly keep that many beers on. The bar is located in a 100 year old stable converted into a very cool pub with an upstairs area for busy nights. Our hotel was two blocks from the brewery and we walked over for drinks and dinner. We were joined by my niece and several friends for the party. Many different beers were had; the Old Elephant Foot IPA is my favorite using Cascade hops for some of its intense flavor. A special beer was a double amber ale, which was memorable. It was smooth, tasty and was probably a one time thing. It was written on the board; there was no other mention of it as far as I can remember. This was a fun Saturday night, not too crowded but jumping pretty well. TBB has a menu for any taste; the Shepard's Pie is classic; there were many items for everyone else also. At one point someone walked outside for fresh air and I joined them. As it turned out this was so they could set up a small happy birthday cake and ice cream. It was fun and a good start to the two week long birthday celebration. The picture to the left is of our party, taken with my new digital camera which has been really good to have to help remember these events. It was a long day but really worth it. The early start at the races followed by the evening at TBB will be a memory forever. We finished up and got ready to walk back to the hotel. Although only two blocks that walk took well over an hour. The reason was that a Belgian Beer bar got in the way on the walk home. That part of the story is below in a separate listing. Website: www.tampabaybrewingcompany.com

New World Brewing Ybor City, FL

New World Brewing - Ybor City, Florida

As we left TBB our intention was to walk back to our hotel, going by a place I had been to several years ago. That was New World Brewing. NWB no longer brews but they are still a good local pub. It is about two blocks from TBB with an outside seating area as well as a funky inside. The place could be right out of the 1970's complete with hippies and tie dye shirts. That's cool but now they are a great beer bar also. As we came in I could see some familiar micros on tap as well as some unusual ones. It was a bit busy so we looked around and noticed a cooler filled with all Belgian beers! This required more investigating. So we proceeded to order different beers and tried to drink their entire stock! At least that is what I thought the next morning. The clientele is mostly local and there is music outside. A good time was had by all and we would like to return as there are some beers we don't remember trying! It might be good to get there earlier; I'm getting too old for these two to three AM nights. It was a great birthday; we'll do it again. There is no website.

Charlie and Jake's BBQ and Brewery
Charlie and Jake's Melbourne, FL

Charlie and Jakes BBQ and Brewery - Melbourne, Florida

Charlie and Jake's is a brewpub combined with great Florida BBQ. The original store was a local BBQ joint with cooking taking place out back on a big pot bellied slow cooker. The brewery location was opened in 1996 and I have visited many times. It is about three miles from I-95 and makes a great pit stop on the road. I have had lunch there and been back on the road in less than an hour. The food beats any regular stop made at any exit and the service is quick and friendly so a trip can be continued. I have done this many times; it still is a great place to enjoy god beer and great BBQ for extended times also. I visited twice this year; once on the way to Palm Coast and the other on the return from my fall vacation. Both times they had a great nitro IPA available; this was one of their best beers in quite some time. Although it is a brewery they have several guest taps (Dogfish 60 minute, Shipyard Ale) and serve bottles as well. The locals drink a lot of the big three and that has taken its toll over the years. I have been there when the beers were not so hot for various reasons. They lost a lot after a hurricane and I believe they have changed brewers several times. One time my Indian River Red tasted like a wheat beer! That red used to be their best; now it could or could not depending on the batch. I know that the red style has fallen out of favor; very few places have it now. The ownership has changed, but still a worthwhile stop for great BBQ. Hopefully the recent issues with the beers will clear up and Charlie and Jakes will pour good beers again. Website: CharlieandJakesBrewery.com

Appaloosa Grill - Denver, CO

Appaloosa Grill - Denver Colorado

Located in the "LoDo" area this was a great find late on a Friday night. I flew in late and would not meet the rest of our group until the next morning. I stayed at a hotel nearby and needed a place to relax before retiring for the night. Coming from Miami my watch already read 1:00 AM when I found this gem. I could hear jazz music outside and decided to check it out. It is a small place with the small jazz band in one corner. I saw good beer taps and asked what they had. There were several locals but one stood out; an IPA on hand pump! I can't recall the brand but it was a great first beer in Colorado the home of so many. They have a late menu; the black bean chili sounded perfect for a late snack. The band played on and I had another IPA. It was great just relaxing and enjoying the music. I was alone but spoke to several patrons, all having a good time. One gal left her drink near me; she was so bombed that it was forgotten which was just as well. The band quit and I spoke with them and got their CD. Closing was coming; my watch now read 3:00 AM! (Miami time) I headed back for a good nights sleep; Pikes Peak and Wynkoop Brewing awaited the next day. Website: appaloosagrill.com

Wynkoop Brewing - Denver, CO

Wynkoop Brewing Company - Denver, Colorado

Our group was seven strong and would be vacationing in Colorado for the next week. The first day was spent at and around Pikes Peak and Wynkoop was our first dinner together. I had visited many years earlier and wanted to come back to enjoy an evening there. My earlier visit was for a sampler and a few beers with several friends at the bar. I remember having a sampler with eight or more beers. This wasn't all they had; when we asked, other beers from mysterious handles and taps appeared. I think we probably had twelve. I enjoyed good beer then but really didn't have the appreciation that I have now. This visit was dinner with the group; two tables were put together for us in a downstrirs corner. I remember Railyard Ale and had it first. My next beer was the IPA. I don't think they made it on my 1997 visit; very few brewpubs did then. Now the style is "required" if you want to satisfy your "hop head" patrons. Wynkoop's IPA is mellow and served on hand pump so it differs from typical American IPA's. Wynkoop matches their great beers with an excellent varied menu. I had the Stout braised pot roast a Koop specialty. The entire party had a great night; there was something special on both the beer and food menus for everyone. I wondered around to check the place out. Upstairs I found the 90 degree pool table that I remembered and found other areas of the place I didn't know existed. A guy gave me a wooden nickel good for a beer on my next visit. I would try to get back on this trip but time didn't allow it. Since I didn't get back and still have the nickel, I'll just have to return! Wynkoop is a must stop on any good beer drinkers visit to Denver and I will return. Perhaps in Feb 2008....Website: www.wynkoop.com BeerDrinker of the year 2008 Beer Resume

Dillon Dam Brewery Dillon, CO

Dillon Dam Brewery - Dillon, Colorado

Our group was headed to Aspen and Dillon Dam is the perfect lunch about half way through the trip from Denver. We made a brief stop in Idaho Springs as I remembered it was a cool town to explore. It was too early so the local brewpub, Tommyknockers wasn't open yet. I will have to return one day to experience that pub. Dillon Dam is a two level place; the upstairs looks over the bar and big windows let the outdoors inside. We ate upstairs at several tables together. Service was prompt and friendly. They have a good selection of beers; I had the Pale Ale and the Sweet George's Brown. Both were tasty and were good examples of their respective styles. Others in the party had different beers; I know the stout was enjoyed by our dark beer drinkers. I only tasted the stout; a Dry Irish which was very smooth. DDB has an extensive menu; they have pub classics and Colorado standards. I enjoyed "The Dam" a Buffalo burger with bacon. Buffalo is common in Colorado and has really improved since my visit almost ten years ago. Lunch came to an end and we got back on the road for the trip to Aspen via Independence Pass. Website: www.dambrewery.com

Enjoying Pardee's Pub!

The Grog Shop / Pardee's Pub - Aspen Colorado

While in Aspen the good beer continued to flow. We found The Grog Shop, near the base of Ajax Mountain to have a good selection of Colorado brews. There are several breweries in western Colorado that don't get distributed out of the area. One of these is The Palisade Brewery out of nearby Palisade Colorado. In stock at the Grog was Red Truck IPA and Farmers Friend Irish Red Ale. The Red Truck was one of the best bottled IPA's I have found; when poured it could have been from a tap. Farmers Friend is an authentic Irish Red also very fresh and quite tasty. We found the service friendly and prices reasonable and would return anytime. Nearby, Pardee's Pub, coincidentally had the same two beers available! Our group enjoyed happy hour at Pardee's Pub with great snacks, billiards and good company. The pub also has an incredible wine collection with Colorado sports memorabilia on the walls. After happy hour we went upstairs for a great "home cooked" meal. Our group will remember this evening, our last with my cousins in Aspen, as one of great microbrews and good times. A visit to "The Bells" and lunch at Hickory House BBQ (Aspens Best - trust me!) would round out our days in Aspen. Brewpub note: While rafting on the Colorado River near Glenwood Springs I spotted Glenwood Canyon Brewpub. As I floated by I wondered how I could visit the pub. Alas the chance never came so I'll get it next time. Update 2008: I have heard rumors about a new Aspen Brewpub (McStorlies ?) No web info yet but by the next visit there should be! Roll over the picture for an additional shot! Palisade Brewery website: www.palisadebrewery.com

 

The rest of the year is reviewed below. They wil be expanded as time allows.

Walnut Brewery - Boulder, Colorado

Great beer selection with the best menu of the three brewpubs visited in Boulder. St. James Irish Red and Indian Peaks Pale Ale were both excellent beers. Big college bar; we got a "quiet" booth off one side. Logo glasses for everyone!

B J's Restaruant and Brewhouse - Boulder, Colorado

A chain brewpub that has good beers! We celebrated the sixtieth anniversary here with a late dinner and brews. They were accommodating and helpful with the celebration. Chicago style pizza went well with their beers.

Redfish New Orleans Brewhouse - Boulder, Colorado

The least enjoyed of the three we visited. Service was spotty in a strange setting. One side was garage doors and the other went onto another bar! The beer wasn't memorable. Acceptable but needs inprovment. Prices a bit high.

CooperSmith's Pub and Brewing - Fort Collins, Colorado

This one's a classic. First visited in 1997 they are still going strong in 2006. They have two sides to the place; the pub and a pool room each has their own beers! Great beers and selection; late lunch before visiting other local breweries.

New Belgium Brewery Tasting Room - Fort Collins, Colorado

Now in a new beautiful facility they are the 9th largest brewery in the US! Very cool tasting room experience; you choose a "racing" name and four beers from a list of eight. Great atmosphere; they will mail a "coaster card" anywhere for free!

Cooper Creek Brewing / Wild Wing Cafe - Athens, Georgia

On my annual October vacation I stopped in Athens as I heard Cooper Creek had opened. Unfortunately, I chose a rainy Sunday and the pub was closed. Wild Wing was just down the street with Terrapin Rye on tap and decent food.

Mellow Mushroom - Asheville, North Carolina

It's "back to the '70s" at the 'shroom in Asheville. On a beautiful October afternoon lunch was enjoyed before a visit to Tom Wolf's house, nearby. Varied food menu with fresh pizza special, great beer selection and tie dye everywhere!

 
 
 
 
 

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