Grand Junction, CO – Two for One Post

What a nice change of environment, three plus days out of the Houston heat and humidity. The only drawback – I wasn’t able to share this trip with my wife. I know sooner or later  the benefits of a mostly empty nest will be evident. What does mostly empty mean? Our oldest son has finished all of his on campus requirements for graduation from LSU’s Construction Management Program – one remaining class that can be completed via distance learning. It is cheaper to have him in Houston with us until all of the boxes for graduation are checked off and the job search begins.

The second night of the stay my workmate and I visited the Rockslide Brewery & Restaurant. Side note; the state of Texas has taken a giant step forward with recent legislation easing some of the restrictive regulations for small brewers and brew pubs but still lags far behind Colorado, California and others. The next night we drove about 15 minutes out of town to the little village of Palisade. The drive took us through some of the vineyards and orchards that cover the Colorado River Valley in this more temperate part of Colorado. There is a mall brewery in Palisade, Palisade Brewing Company.

Let’s talk about Rockslide Brewery and Restaurant. Located on Main St. in the old downtown section of town that has been nicely remade. The road has been shrunk to two lanes that meander around small plaza like areas sprinkled with benches and pleasant landscaping. It definitely slows traffic but adds a nice quaint old town feel. The restaurant is bright, clean and was hosting a party celebration of some sort in the back half of the upstairs seating area. The waiter had decent knowledge of the beer offerings and I have to admit, the food menu was broad enough to satisfy most visitors. My travel mate tried the Widow Maker Wheat – “pleasant and easy to drink” were his comments. Me, I went with the four beer flight, Rabbit Ears Amber, Cold Shivers Pale Ale. Kokopelli Cream Ale and the Horse Thief IPA. They were all very good beers, the IPA was my favorite but that shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone.  The food fare – my work mate had the fish and chips with a twist. The twist was  – the fish was battered salmon rather than cod. He said it was surprisingly good. I had the steak salad, medium rare and it was perfect with their house Balsamic dressing.

http://www.rockslidebrewpub.com/

Rockslide flight of beers

Rockslide flight of beers

Rockslide Beer list.

Rockslide Beer list.

Palisade, small village as I mentioned before, and the journey to the brewery is only for those that know where they are going, have been there before or you are paying close attention the GPS. We had a driver, one of the client reps that attended the training session, who also happens to like good beers. He was a bit tentative but eventually we turned down the right street and pulled up at the brewery adjacent to the railroad tracks. We had the good fortune of live music out on the patio on a perfect evening for  dining and sipping al fresco. The seating was ample but all three of us noticed an odd split in the seating designations. At least 75% of the seating is designated for SMOKING! That is right, only 25% labeled for the non-smokers. If it hadn’t been for the three of us occupying 3 of the 20 plus seats on the no-smoking side it would have been empty. The smoking side was packed! Another observation, I felt like I had been transported back to the 60”s. The crowd was very reminiscent of SFO’s Haight Ashbury in the heyday of the 60’s hippy movement. I wonder if the 2012 ballot initiative that passed in Colorado had any influence on the seating arrangement and attendees.  More about being transported back in time later in this post.

Food was typical pub food with lots of Jalapenos available for every dish if you so desired. James, my workmate, had a huge appetizer portion of Nachos with the Blonde Ale offering. Our client driver, Rob, hmmmm, I forget what he ate but we both ordered a flight of beers, 6 beers served in 4 ounce Mason jelly jars. High marks to the brewery. Not a bad or even average beer in the bunch. I gave high marks to all 6 beers sampled.  Rob enjoyed the High Desert Red, James the Laid Back Blonde Ale  and me, the IPA, so well in fact, that I followed up with a pint of that nice IPA……Rob was driving! The “Off Belay IPA” was really, really good in my estimation……that is why I sampled it twice in order to confirm my first impression.

http://www.palisadebrewingcompany.com/

Palisade Brewery flight of beers in jelly jars

Palisade Brewery flight of beers in jelly jars

Uber healthy brisket, cheddar and Jalapeno sandwich. I paired it with a cucumber salad to solidify the healthy aspect!

Uber healthy brisket, cheddar and Jalapeno sandwich. I paired it with a cucumber salad to solidify the healthy aspect!

Dirty Hippy T-shirt from Palisade Brewery

Dirty Hippy T-shirt from Palisade Brewery

Upon return to the hotel I realized why it felt like I had been transported back to the 60’s. Parked out front was Emmett “Doc” Brown’s “Back to the Future” 1981 DeLorean, flux capacitor and all! I peaked inside and sure enough the dials were set to 1969! Not really, I am stretching the truth a little. Look at the photos and I think that you will agree that it is a remarkable replica of the movie vehicle. Why was the car there? I’ll tell you.  http://www.fireballrun.com/teams/182

Doc’s car and a companion car, a fairly stock DeLorean, are participating in the Longmont, Colorado to Riverside, California Fireball Run. The Fireball Run is a 2000 mile long scavenger hunt designed to create awareness for missing children and obviously raise funds. Check out the info online and the Facebook page to read about the successes they have had finding missing children. I made my donation to Doc and Team # 15. It is “small world after all”. Team #15 is driven by Paul “Doc” Nigh, a 4th year participant and from my home town of Bakersfield, California. He is a bit younger having graduated from North High in 1974 but sure enough, we had a few mutual acquaintances!

https://www.facebook.com/fireballrun

Look close - set to 1969 - Not

Look close – set to 1969 – Not really but could have been!

BTF car

BTF car and sister DeLorean in the background

Oh by the way, if your beverage of choice is wine, the area is dotted with small wineries with growing reputations. If you are on Interstate 70, make the decision to slow down and visit Grand Junction, Palisade and Fruita!

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly

Bishop

Advertisements

Kannah Creek Brewing Co.

Grand Junction, Colorado is my stopping point for the week. Colorado in general is synonymous with good craft beers. Grand Junction is blessed with 3 local breweries and a couple more in nearby towns.

Kannah Creek brewery was my first stop for lunch on my first day. I ordered the beer sampler expecting to provide some input for the choices. They offer 10 brewed in-house brews. I expected 5 small glasses of beer. I was partially correct. The beers were small, about 4 ounces. The beer count was 10, one of every offering! A man has got to do what man has got to do! (any English majors cringing right now?) Seven everyday brews and 3 seasonals. I worked my way through this daunting task.

The Seasonal pilsner was just ok. Good lace easy to drink beer

ESB Extra Special Bitter It was pleasant with good lace and not overly bitter.

Indian Creek Brown ale like a mellow Newcastle
Island Mesa Blonde was a nice and easy to drink best suited for my wife who likes Blonde Ales.

High Side Hefeweizen is very nice, it puts Bluemoon to shame! Well made beer! Kathy, you would definitely like this one!

Lands End Amber very drinkable beer, feels and tastes more like a session beer with body but not exceptional.

Broken Oar IPA The dry hopping is evident in both the nose and on the tongue! It was one of my two top choices.

Standing Wave Pale The ale was smooth in the mouth, had a nice aroma and was a pretty tasty IPA.

Pigasus Porter I like it. Not over to top with the heavy roasted flavors- subtle flavors of roasted malt and chocolate. I would like another pint of this one!

Black’s Bridge Stout- It was the last beer i sampled. The warming of the beer while I worked my way to it was perfect. Velvety feel in the mouth and the flavors are subtle but distinct. The nitrogen head on this beer lingered well.

Katrina was my waitress and beer guide. Awesome beer knowledge and definitely the free spirit – just back from working the summer in Alaska. Interesting young lady!

Now off to Rockslide Brewery to sample their offerings. I have heard good things about the Ale House so I may have to flip a coin!

20130917-195253.jpg

Spiced Avalanche Beer Jelly

I have arrived in Rangely Colorado and it is chilly but also beautiful! At dinner we asked for a Colorado beer and the young waitress recommended the Breckrenridge Avalanche Ale – an amber ale. Her recommendation was pretty darned good. I went to the website to take a more detailed look at the beer, – you know – which malts, hops, bitterness and of course the ABV….this one was under 5% and that is not a bad thing. Crisp and clean beer. They also provided a recipe tab for the beers – see below.

Because of my love of canning and making jams one of the tabs caught my eye. Breckenridge Brewery in Breckenridge Colorado. Check them out.

http://www.breckbrew.com/about/story

The Players

  • (2) 12-ounce bottles of Avalanche Amber Ale
  • 2 sticks cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
  • Grated zest of 1 orange
  • 2 cups 100% apple juice
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 5 1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 pouches liquid pectin

Details

Put beer, cinnamon, cardamom and orange zest into a medium-sized, stainless steel pot.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  Remove from heat, cover and allow ingredients to steep for 20 minutes.  Remove and discard cinnamon sticks.   Transfer beer mixture to large, stainless steel pot.  Stir in apple juice, lemon juice and sugar.  Heat on high, stirring constantly.  Bring mixture to a full, rolling boil that can’t be broken by stirring.  Add both pouches of pectin and continue stirring.  When mixture comes back to a full, rolling boil, continue boiling hard and stirring constantly for two minutes, or until mixture begins “sheeting” off a spoon.  Remove from heat, quickly skim foam and fill hot jars to 1/4″ head space.  Wipe rims with clean, wet cloth and cover with lids and bands.  Tighten bands to fingertip tight (just until you feel resistance).  Place jars into water bath canner.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and cover.  Process for 10 minutes at sea level, 25 minutes here in Castle Rock, Colorado.  After 25 minutes, turn off heat and remove canner lid.  Allow to sit for 5 minutes, then remove jars to clean towel on countertop.  Allow to sit for 12 to 24 hours until all jars have “popped,” indicating an adequate seal.  Reprocess or refrigerate and promptly use any jars that don’t seal properly.

I Just gotta make this soon – I made some Serrano Pepper jelly last year that was yummy spread over soft cream cheese as a dip….I may have another choice now

This morning in Rangely Colorado…..wonderful crisp morning.

About 7:20 AM this morning from teh Rangely College Campus....

About 7:20 AM this morning from the Rangely College Campus….

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly

TTFN

Bishop

Colorado Bound

I am sitting in the Houston airport ready to fly off to Denver, so many good beer opportunities there, then to Vernal Utah -” hey Mr. Romney, know of any good beers in town?” then drive over to Rangely Colorado for a couple of days. My expectations are not real high for good craft beers in Rangely! In fact the best they could do on my last visit 6 years ago was some aged Coors Banquet Beer…,, FYI, it does not age well.

If the layover in Denver is long enough I know that they have Odell’s on tap in the B terminal. I’ll tweet an update if I get lucky….. With the beer!!!!

Remember to drink local and drink responsibly! I guess Coors would be considered local – I hope I can do better than that!

TTFN
Bishop