Wednesday, August 4, 2010

I’ve Been Everywhere, Man

This summer has been crazy; I’m honestly surprised I managed to brew even one batch of beer given that I’ve been out of town nearly every weekend. I’ve touched on it in several posts, but let’s summarize through the lens of the beer tourist:

Las Vegas, NV 

The beer was so bad, Gene would barely drink it. At nine bucks a bottle the casinos aren’t the only ones picking your pocket. Forget the local beer, the only thing brewing in Las Vegas is depravity. Scratch that; depravity lite.

Flagstaff, AZ

With three microbreweries within a stone’s throw, flagstaff has it going on. After visiting the Lumberyard Brewery though, it’s unlikely you’d be able to hit any of them with even moderately large stones. The breweries are after all, the size of a broad sided barn.

Grand Canyon, AZ 

The Grand Canyon Brewing Company makes some decent beers, which are available in the park restaurants.  If I were planning a hike in hundred degree weather with treacherous cliffs mere inches from my stumbling feet, it would definitely be my diuretic/intoxicant of choice.

Sedona, AZ

Tourist trap central would be an understatement; only five percent of visitors leave town for the beautiful terrain, which although magnificent has no beer in it (and hence no relevance to this blog.) As for the beer in town, let’s just say I’m glad I bought a twelve pack of New Belgium at Target in Phoenix. Target in Phoenix has a better beer selection than the town of Sedona; think about it.

Shawnee on Delaware, PA

Shawnee Craft Brewery is the best thing to hit that resort in a long time, especially considering the floods of 1955, 2004, 2005, and 2006. El Nino? Global Warming? Who knows, but building a brewery in a building that has been underwater three times in the last six years takes guts. Needless to say, every time I am there, I drive by the Gem and Keystone for a pint. I hope I don’t need to take a boat next year.

Denver, CO

Great Divide, which is one of my favorite breweries, was not available at Rock Bottom Tavern which is literally around the block from it. I ordered one of their “award winning” brews and gave it an award of my own. “Best Way to Make Me Never Want to Come Back.” It was a tough call, I really wanted to give the award to Thrifty, who charged me $900 for five days rental but at least the car didn’t smell like urine.

Breckenridge, CO

Surprisingly enough, Breckenridge (known for Skiing) was pretty busy in the summer. They even had a beer festival the Saturday I was there (with Great Divide!) Unfortunately I didn’t make it; it directly conflicted with the wedding I was attending.  I hope people had fun, although $30 for a “sample” glass seemed awfully steep considering the four hour time frame. They had New Belgium Fat Tire at the wedding though, so I was happy.

Branson, MO

The last stop on our tour is Branson, Missouri. It’s known as the entertainment Mecca of that part of the Midwest, with such acts as Yakov Smirnoff (famous around 1980), Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede, and tons of others. While the general tone of the shows isn’t my cup of tea (or mug of ale), it certainly seemed like an entertainment oasis in the literal middle of nowhere. As expected however, the beer selection was typical American fare, generally with a choice of Miller Lite, Bud Lite, or Coors Lite. I think there’s a pattern there, but I can’t quite see it. Anywho, I had some local beer called Boulevard Wheat (from Kansas City.) I’ll review that next week, so stay tuned!


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