Continuing our exploration of microbrews here in the Denver area, we decided that before we left town for Boulder, an hour away, we'd like to sit down for a beer and a bite. We chose Breckenridge Brewing Company
for this task, unaware that this establishment is located across the street from Coors Field, home of the Colorado Rockies. And this being Sunday, a day game against the Cubs was beginning in about an hour, which meant the place was obscenely overcrowded - with notably more Cubs fans than Rockies fans. We all slugged a pint, and having fulfilled half of our endeavor, went to knock out the other half.
We dropped into the Denver Diner
on Colfax Avenue, where I filled myself with eggs, bacon, hash browns and a side of biscuits and gravy. As much as I miss my cream chipped beef, biscuits and gravy are a worthy substitute. The plate shown is Sarah's, which was so massive it doesn't even look like fun anymore.
Arriving in Boulder, we drove into town and directly to (surprise!) a local brewery, called the Mountain Sun Brewery
on Pearl Street. The restaurant was on the smaller side and almost every seat looked to be occupied. We approached the counter, and a bearded guy with a big smile said, "Hey guys! I've got room, come this way!" or something to that effect. He walked us over to a table and dropped a big basket of fries onto the table, saying they'd made an extra order by accident and they were on the house. This is a town I could get used to.
We ambled down a few blocks to Old Chicago
, where we were promptly met by some good friends of mine from home. Chuck, who has terrific taste in hats, is a buddy of mine from high school and one of the most talented bartenders the world has ever seen. Chuck and Melissa, both pictured, met some years back and produced little Brody here, who is destined to be the greatest Phillies fan in the history of the world. This was my first time seeing him since game one of last year's World Series, so he'd grown a bit since our last meeting.
Also joining us was my good friend and fraternity brother, Clay, shown in the back next to me. He and I went to rival high schools, met in college and spent way too much time together for our own good, sharing a house off campus during our senior year. Clay and Chuck's families have known each other since before any of us were born, and they were all in Boulder for Chuck's sister's wedding. This lucky coincidence made the evening much more enjoyable, because once little Brody was home for the night, there were six of us instead of three.
While Chuck and Melissa were putting Brody to bed, the rest of us wandered off to insulate our stomachs for the evening, doing so at the Lazy Dog Grill
. I devoured a burger smothered in BBQ sauce, while Joey ate some kind of veggie-filled pita, apparently not yet ready to go back to beef. On tap, and in our glasses, was a savory local beer called Hazed and Infused
by the Boulder Beer Company
, which I'd sampled months beforehand back east and eagerly anticipated to this day. Hit the spot.
Soon we'd all collected together again and found our way over to the Boulder Draft House
on 13th Street. This city was getting more and more fantastic with every passing restaurant; it seemed like about half of them brewed their own beer. This place was no different, boasting a slew of multicolored taps amounting to about ten different selections. And this being a Sunday, we were finding the bars to be comfortably underpopulated, so we were generally finding seats at the bar without any trouble.
Shuffling down the street, we piled into one establishment where practically nobody was inside, but there was still a kid at the door checking IDs. Half of us got in before the kid got to Chuck, and notified him that his license had expired the day before
. Clay ran in and stopped everyone from ordering drinks, which was funny because we would have doubled the bar population inside if we had stayed, but instead we all left and didn't spend any money there.
Finally we got to a comfortable Irish pub called Conor O'Neill's
, where we were met by the serendipitous sounds of traditional music. There were fiddlers, flautists and a lad on the banjo, who came together without lyrics and really livened up the atmosphere in the place. Aside from this mighty band, we were, once again, the only other people in the establishment.
Chuck was able to record a sample of the encouraging sounds on his phone:
And we all know how things go from there. Irish Carbombs are a terrific drink - correctly served, it's 2/3 of a shot of Jameson's Whiskey, floated with 1/3 of a shot of Bailey's Irish Cream, then dropped into a half pint of Guinness and chugged before the cream curdles. However, this isn't a drink that authentic Irish people take very kindly to, for the fact that car bombs have been a reality to some people in Ireland, and there's nothing funny about it to them.
Here in Boulder, they had them pre-mixed. And after a few of these, there was nothing to do but hit the hay. I don't know who drove but it sure wasn't me.
Cheers to Boulder, and to Clay, Chuck, Melissa and Brody for coming out and helping us enjoy our last day in Colorado.