Tapping into the Denver Summer: Loveland Breweries

20150807_070314Merri Beth and I had a great first day in Denver, visiting with a few friends and exploring the beer at Denver Beer Company. But today was a fresh start with a full day of activities planned. I started the day with a run along the Platte River. The morning was a bit cooler and I got about 5.5 miles in.

Our first stop was Elitch Gardens, an amusement park in downtown Denver. The hotel shuttle dropped us off close to the park and we started to make our way towards the park entrance. We already purchased discount tickets online for $32.00 and made our way to the gate. Our first stop was a really fun roller coaster called the Mindearaser. We sat in the front seat and had an amazing start to our day at the park. We’re glad we did this ride first, because we noticed the line to ride was getting really long when we exited.

20150807_104403We had a few more roller coasters to try out. The Boomerang is an interesting ride that starts by taking you up backwards, drops you through the station, then goes over several loops. And of course, boomerangs return right? Once we stopped, we did the entire track facing backwards. Great stuff here!

It was a rough ride on the Twister II a wooden roller coaster. Box checked, we won’t ride that again. We also checked out a few other rides like the Dragon Wing and Ghost Blaster. Finally, we went 250 feet up to the Observation Tower and enjoyed some amazing views of the surrounding Denver area. They have a waterpark that looks fun, but we’ll save that for next time.

Loveland and Windsor breweries

20150807_144659MB and I grabbed some lunch before heading up to Loveland. We found this authentic Mexican place call Los Carboncitos on Pescos Street. Great food, cheap prices. I got a giant burrito but should have gotten the tacos. They looked really good when I saw them go to another table.

Our first tasting stop was Grimm Brothers, a fairy-tale themed brewery with beers named Once Upon a Time, The Huntsman, and Little Red Cap. All the beers we tasted were top-notch and the artwork was awesome.

Our second tasting was at Verboten, and the theme is “Beer for All.” Their name is “derived from the ‘forbidden’ ingredients that were rejected by the German Purity Law for beer, the Reinheitsgebot.” We enjoyed most of the beers here. Pro tip, download their mobile app and save $2 on a taster.

20150807_175007Our last stop was at High Hops Brewery in Windsor, not to far away from Loveland. A very family-friendly establishment with beers like The Golden One, The Dark One, The Honeyed One, and The Power of Zeus (Zeus hops, get it?). Each of us got a sample of 5 and enjoyed sitting outside watching  the day dwindle away with some cloud cover moving in to cool things off.

Chimney Park

Time to see more friends! I called my friend Jason Shaeffer on Monday, who is the chef and owner at Chimney Park Bistro, to let him know we’d be in town. We finally synced later in the week and he told us to come to the restaurant for dinner on Friday night.

We arrived around 6:30 pm and were seated at a lovely table on the patio, overlooking the lake. A few minutes later, we were surprised when Jason’s parents, Jim and Mary Lou, joined us. They are retired and spending some time in Denver. A while later, Jason’s wife, Joanna, joined us as well.

We had a spectacular dinner and great conversation. Merri Beth and I split the crab cake appetizer. I enjoyed a beet salad. The salmon entree I ordered was amazing, while MB enjoyed the Bison steak dish.

Before we said our good-byes, Jason and Joanna took us across the street to see the new restaurant he is opening in September: Hearth. It’s going to be a wood-fired pizza place with 16 beers on tap. The space looks amazing and I can’t wait to try it out next time we visit. I’m very proud of Jason and the name he is making for himself as an established chef. I hope Hearth is a huge success, I know it will be.

It was great to see Jason, Joanna, Jim, and Mary Lou and enjoy a very nice meal at Chimney Park. MB and I made the drive back to Denver, where we immediately crashed from a full day of exploring.

On tap: Breweries in Boulder and the Jason Aldean & Kenny Chesney concert.

Pictures from Elitch Gardens, Grimm Brothers, Verboten, and High Hops

About Shibby

Jason Hibbets is a senior community architect at Red Hat which means he is a mash-up of a community manager and project manager for Opensource.com--a publication and story-telling platform for open source communities. At night, he wears a cape, and is a captain for the Open Raleigh brigade, as well as a co-chair for NC Open Pass. Jason is the author of a book called The foundation for an open source city--a resource for cities and citizens interested in improving their government through civic hacking. While writing the book, he discovered his unknown super power of building communities of passionate people. Jason graduated from North Carolina State University and resides in Raleigh, NC with his wife, two kids, two border collies, chickens, lots of tomato plants, and a lazy raccoon somewhere in an oak tree. In his copious spare time, he enjoys surfing, running, gardening, traveling, watching football, sampling craft beer, and participating in local government--not necessarily in that order, but close to it. You can follow him on Twitter: @jhibbets
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