So this is how the day started yesterday: The two of us and our good friends Shawn & Jessica were heading up to the mountain town of Nederland for a crazy outdoor celebration/drink-fest knows as Frozen Dead Guy Days. Unfortunately, when you have an outdoor festival in the Rocky Mountains the first week of March, things can get squirrely. On this particular Saturday frigid weather and cold winds caused the Dead Guy Fest to cancel most of their events, leaving us looking for a Plan B. What better day to start our Colorado Brewery Challenge!
We decided to visit Oskar Blues in Longmont for several reasons. First, Jeff and I had been there last year and really, really dug the place. Second, they have a fun and super-tasty restaurant called Home Made Liquids & Solids just a hop-skip-and-a-jump away from their actual canning facility and tap house, the Tasty Weasel. That meant that we could hit 2 beer spots in one day. Finally, it was just far enough out-of-town to justify the car being full of road-trip food we’d already packed. I have to give all the credit to Jessica for making this suggestion. Once she mentioned it, we all quickly decided it was a done deal and hopped in the car to Longmont.
Since we made it into town around 11 AM and the Tasty Weasel doesn’t open till noon, we hit Homemade Liquids & Solids first. Now while they don’t actually brew beer at this location, they do smoke their own BBQ in-house, and although none of us were hungry, everything looked delicious. Since we were sticking with beer, it was great to see that HL&S has an amazing selection of craft beers. When we got overwhelmed with the selections, our friendly bartender Nate was always ready to give a suggestion or a taste. Like everyone at Oskar Blues, Nate seemed to know a lot about beer and gave us lots of info on Oskar Blues. In a word, Nate was awesome!
I cannot say enough how much I love Oskar Blues in general, and this place in particular. Its vibe is a comfortable, down-south, BBQ joint with some Cajun flair. The craft beer selection is amazing. They have their own farm nearby (Hops & Heifers) where they raise their own cows & pigs (and hops, of course), and scraps from the restaurant go to feed the livestock. You’ve got to appreciate a place that understands the importance of sustainability in addition to making damn good grub.
We partook in several beers at HL&S. Oskar Blues website proudly boasts “No Imports. No bottles,” but finding a good brew here was no problem. We had a few Oskar Blues beers, including the Priscilla Wheat which we’d not even heard of before (very tasty). We also tried some more unique varieties, such as Maui Brewing Passion Pale. I know the boys in our group (both hop lovers) really enjoyed the Boulder Cold Hop. Needless to say, it was hard to pry us away from the bar after a while, but the Tasty Weasel was waiting so we reluctantly moved on.
The Tasty Weasel Taproom is located inside the Oskar Blues Brewery, so you can enjoy your beer whilst in the shadow of the fermentation tanks. Having visited here before, we knew to sign up for the tour as soon as we arrived, and were also shocked how much the brewery has grown their canning operations! It made the tap-room a bit cozier, but still just as much fun. We were lucky enough to be there while they were tapping a small batch Double Dry Hopped Deviant Dale’s. Wow, that’s some hops! I opted to do the sampler flight, but didn’t quite do the math on how much beer that meant I had to finish before our tour began. Needless to say, the quality of our pictures (and my memory) during our Tasty Weasel time was significantly affected. Still, everything was good, especially the beer. My favorites are always Mama’s Little Yella Pils, Ten FIDY, and of course, Dales Pale Ale. I would tell you the favorites of the rest of the group if I could remember. Let’s just say, it was all good.
Our tour guide for the day was Garrett. I’m sure he’s experienced dealing with our sorts before: wide-eyed, somewhat-buzzed home brewers who are full of nonstop questions. Garrett was great and we learned a lot about the operation, even more than our first tour several months ago. The new canning line that’s been added since our first visit is incredible, and huge! I wish we could have seen it in action, but know that even the most dedicated brewery employee deserves a few days off, so I understand it not operating on weekends.
After the tour we had more beers at the Tasty Weasel before deciding we really needed some food, and making our way back to Homemade Liquids and Solids. By that point in our long day of beer sampling we decided to stick to non-alcoholic beverages. However, the food was all great! I could live on their Mac & Cheese alone (though that would probably be ill-advised).
So, that’s it for our first TWO brew stops! We had a really fun time, and learned a few things about future brewery visits… namely, try to get the details and photos done before you sample too many of the beers. If the photos here aren’t enough for you, check out our pictures here: Oskar Blues day on Flickr.
Until next time – Cheers!