El Cazador makes the trip to Colorado Springs

Last week we took a trip out to see my brother who’s stationed at Ft. Carson. He was home on leave from Iraq and had 2 weeks of R&R. It was a great trip although short and of coarse we fit in some Mexican grub and how could you go to the micro-brew capitol of the world without a brewery tour. In the 4 days I was there we packed a weeks worth of stuff. We drove up Pikes Peak, see the above stolen pic since I forgot my camera. Walked around Red Rock Park and Garden of the Gods, both were amazingly beautiful. I’ve seen Garden of the Gods in the winter which was even better but it was nice to see it in the fall too.

The first stop was the Oskar Blues Brewery in Longmont, just outside Denver. They make some tasty brews, all canned not bottled. My first introduction to them was 4-5 years ago on a camping trip when a buddy brought some Old Chub. Its a Scottish style Ale thats sweet and malty. That opened the door to try Dales Pale Ale, their killer hoppy ale. Mama’s Lil Yella Pilz, a great take on an American Pilsner which has become my go-to basic beer as it has the flavor I would expect in a Bud which Anheuser-Busch obviously left out.

Anyway, we made the trip from the airport directly to the brewery outside of a pit-stop to grab a FRESH sixer of Fat Tire. Side Note- Everytime I’ve tried Fat Tire in Atlanta its completely hit or miss. Some bottles are fresh and taste great, some taste like piss-warm chango(thanks Desperado). This had to be guaranteed fresh…and it was. Nothing like a cold beer at 10am. Upon arriving at the Brewery we walked up to their cozy bar and ordered a round of Old Chub’s. It was our first foray into the Oskar Blues world so it was first up on our taster. It was everything we could have wanted. The smooth malty goodness, the sweet caramel with a hint of molasses and a thick head that hugs the glass. It was the perfect start to our tour. We then split a Gordon’s IPA that had been aged for 3 weeks in a Whiskey barrel. They were at the bottom of the keg so we got a pint about 3/4 of the way full(thats right I’m an optimist) thus we split it. Wow!!! they told us the barrel didn’t increase the alcohol content but you could have fooled me. It came out of the tap black as oil and way more flavorful than the Old Chub. It was intense to put it lightly and was a little much for my pallet. I then grabbed a pint of Dales Pale Ale, my favorite and we were on our way through a tour of their facilities. We got a really personal tour since it was just the 4 of us. It was very laid back and our guide gave us plenty of time to ask all kinds of stupid questions and deal with 4 meatheads cracking jokes.

After the tour we made our way back to the bar and ordered a couple rounds of pints. Our guide was talking about one of their new concoctions called “The Gubna.” He basically described it as a glass of noble hops with 2 more handfuls thrown in to make sure they didn’t measure wrong the first go around. Well he wasn’t lying. I have never had a beer this hoppy. This thing blew away any IPA I’ve ever tasted. It emanated hops through every one of the five senses. I could hear the damn hops! My buddy described it as smelling and tasting like a glass of pot. I didn’t get high after one pint but who know’s the outcome if we had stayed any longer. I then finished up with a glass of Mama’s Lil Yella Pils. It was a great finish to an awesome tour and set us up for the lunch we were about to have at Oskar Blue’s restaurant just up the road in Lyons.

Their eatery is a great place with your standard American fair with a Southern twist. We all ordered our own plates of food but pretty much split everything. We kept the liquor flowing with a round of beers, this time I tried their own Wheat beer which I wasn’t really digging on and switched back to the Pils. It was a little too citrusy for my tastes. I love a good wheat beer but some have too much spice and coriander for me. The food however was fantastic. Outside of the peppered and spiced Chuck Norris burger that my buddy Adam ordered nothing was even remotely Mexican so I’ll limit the dribble in it.  He needed something to sear his tongue after trying a hebrew brew that tasted like it was filtered through a Rabbi’s beard. We had a pot of mussels( I love me some mussels) that were steamed in Dales Pale Ale that were great but a little bitter. Perhaps the Mama’s Pils would have been a better cooking choice. A chicken fried steak(wonderful), a fried oyster po-boy(equally as great) and my shrimp and grits rounded out the meals. If I’m ever in the area again I will surely swing back. The Oskar blues guys are always pushing the limits of their brewing and would love to head back to both the restaurant and brewery.

I’ll be posting the Mexican ‘rants  and other doings we stopped into in following posts as to not clutter one gigantic thread.

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