You know the old cliche, "time flies when you're having fun?" That couldn't be more true and it doesn't seem like nearly two weeks ago that we were heading to Denver for a week-long pause from roughing it. But, two weeks ago we headed to Denver via a stop-over cum pilgrimage to the very reason Ryan and I are together, here and now: New Belgium Brewing Company (NBBC).
Three years ago we each signed up to volunteer at a bicycle advocacy festival in Washington, DC called Tour de Fat, which is sponsored by the New Belgium Brewing Company. Our paths crossed at the volunteer happy hour on the Thursday before the event. We exchanged conversation and phone numbers, and well, here we are! So, it was only appropriate that we pay our respects and it turns out that the tour of NBBC is one of the all-around best brewery tours in the US! Guests can reserve a tour online, and we got lucky enough to score two spots day-of. We showed up to the brewery, had a pint and headed on our way. Our guide, Morgan, was full of energy, and extremely knowledgeable about the beer-making process, as well as NBBC's products, business ethos, company values, and sustainability efforts. The tour included four different 4oz tasters (plan accordingly), one of which we poured ourselves from the tap. And, best of all, it is completely FREE! Not only was the tour fantastic and engaging, staff (including Morgan) were eager to hear our story and very generously offered us beers on the house! Cheers to you, New Belgium.
While Ryan has been to Denver multiple times, this was my first time here - and in Colorado really. The whole area (Denver, Boulder, Ft. Collins, and RMNP) is stunningly beautiful, and we both are fortunate enough to have friends in the area who kindly showed us hospitality and a great time - from introducing us to the Denver Bicycle Cafe and a happy hour conveniently aligned with a local brewer's tap takeover, a relaxing meditation session, a baseball game, to countless tastes of delicious Denver beer (Renegade, Great Divide and Jagged Mountain). I was pleasantly surprised by the Mile-High city and impressed by its green space, bike lanes, food-access initiatives, live music, local breweries, and not to mention the friends we have there.
Denver offered the perfect respite from five weeks of camping. More importantly, it offered us a chance to catch up with friends new and old and to meet new people and laugh about "small world" coincidences. We are so grateful for all of the hospitality and generosity that was shared with us! Shamylee, Ari, Megan, Ollie, Liz, Mary, JR and Karan, it wouldn't have been the same without you!