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  • Let's go to Indianapolis (and the Beer Bloggers Conference)!

    There is a Beer Bloggers Conference, did you know that? It's really fun, I've been every year. The 2012 edition was held in Indianapolis, and that's a really cool city. I had never been to Indy before (locals like to call it Indy) and my mind was blown. The conference was full of super interesting topics, beer and food (at the same time), informative panels, and seeing all of my beer blogger friends. I took a whole mess of pictures and I want to walk you through some of them in my photo essay. I call it "the 2012 Beer Bloggers Conference in Indianapolis (in photos)."

    Indy has a lot of really great sculpture/art on the streets. This one has something to do with basketball (forgive me, I'm not a sports fan).

    When I arrived at the hotel I was very confused by this sign (it wasn't even pointing west)...

    We went to Flat12 Bierwerks while we were in town. That place was full of great people and great beer. The hospitality was of the top-est notch. 

    Dinner Friday night was very fancy. A few of us bloggers snuck out to a place called Recess. Go there, it is so worth it. Here is the salad course.

    Here's Eric (from FocusOnTheBeer.com) concentrating on his wine (more like FocusOnTheSparklingWine.com).

    This is another shot of Eric with his dessert plate.

    Here is another handsome blogger standing in front of the giant Kurt Vonnegut mural (he's from Indy (Vonnegut, not the to-remain-name-less blogger)).

    The next morning at the conference I saw this guy (total-sports-coverage). Yes, that's a helmet cam, affixed to a helmet. Some folks take panel discussions very seriously...

    This is Troy, he works at Schlafly in St. Louis, he is my pal. This is my pal working.

    There was a great presentation from Spiegelau Glassware featuring Brooklyn beers (oh, and Garrett Oliver did some talking)). I learned more about glassware in that hour than I thought possible. I am sold on nice glasses, good-bye frozen (or un-frozen) pints. Here is the piece de resistance from that talk, A Black Ops in a tulip, thanks Brooklyn.

    And then I took a plane home and the clouds looked pretty.

    Overall, my experience at the conference was a great one, and I am excited for next year. Hope you liked the pictures and if you get to Indianapolis make sure to drink a few beers for me...

    -JUICEBOX

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  • I found some beers!

    I was walking around the office today, killing time, and I kept noticing beer bottles on everybody's desks. Collector's pieces to a certain degree. Only some of these beers were New Belgium's own. In the beer business you drink some beer, and while our beer is fantastic, and available, one is bound to develop favorites outside of one's own portfolio. So I started snapping pictures of the bottles I found. Here is the photo study. Most are empty, some are full, either way, enjoyment was had...

    Hope you liked the photo study and I hope you enjoyed the beer selection. And lastly, what beer bottles would you want (or already have) on your desk? 

    Hugs,

    JUICEBOX

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  • The final part of the Clips of Faith wrap up (part two).

    To pick up where we left off yesterday, Jesse was in Davis, CA halfway through traveling around this great country with all the fixin's for a fun film and beer festival.  I would also like to present the Clips of Faith 2011 crew (in photo form), Jesse is on the far left (that's why we call him "Very Dressy" Jesse (he looks good, there is no denying it)).

    "The Last Half of the Whole Clips of Faith, 2011":

    Seattle, Washington

    ATTENDENCE: 950

    MONEY  FOR LOCAL NONPROFITS: $3,797

    RANDOM ACTS OF EVENTING: First, Gasworks Park in Seattle is one of the most strangely beautiful places I have ever spent a day. Consisting architecturally of towering industrial relics once used to convert coal and crude oil into gas, this place offers fantastic views of downtown Emerald City, heavy seaplane traffic and kite flying. Secondly, the park has a great sprinkler system, something we and the nearly 1,000 people in attendance realized when they turned on at 10 p.m. (although we had requested that they be turned off). Running away from the spewing sprinkler heads would normally be a great solution, but with the beer garden fencing in place and two slightly dark, remote exits proving to be elusive, running and screaming while continuing to be dowsed with water was the only acceptable move.

     

    Portland, Oregon

    ATTENDENCE: 600

    MONEY RAISED FOR LOCAL NONPROFITS: $1,295

    RANDOM ACTS OF EVENTING: This event was sort of poopy. By that I mean the grounds of the park we were calling home for the day were covered in a nice fresh blanket of goose crap. When scouting sites for the tour, it’s hard to account for everything. In this case, this park was not home to a flock of geese when it was visited months earlier and determined to be a beautiful green space nestled along the Willamette River that would suit our needs wonderfully. Although myself and nearly every piece of our equipment was tainted with a touch of fowl fecal matter that day, our guests still had a great time. Strangely, we did not see an increase in the sale of New Belgium blankets.

     

    Missoula, Montana

    ATTENDENCE: 550

    MONEY RAISED FOR LOCAL NONPROFITS: $2,269

    RANDOM ACTS OF EVENTING: Occasionally things need fixin’ when you are out on the road. By “occasionally” I mean all the f’in time. At the conclusion of this event I was charged with the task of bringing four, three-feet-long 1x4’s back to the brewery for repair. The fine folks of the Missoula International Airport’s TSA squad didn’t care much for my new carry-on, as illustrated here:

    “I can’t let you on the plane with that sir,” the TSA agent said, halting the impatient security line.

    “Really? Why not? I’ve seen much longer items allowed on board,” I replied. “Some kid had a skateboard last week.”

    “Your items could be considered a clubbing threat, sir,” the agent said, very sternly.

    “These? The best I could do is spank the heck out of somebody with these,” I replied.

    She laughed. Myself, and my boards, made it safely onto the flight. And no one was spanked in the making of this memory.

     

    Asheville, NC

    ATTENDENCE: 700

    MONEY RAISED FOR LOCAL NONPROFITS: $2,427

    RANDOM ACTS OF EVENTING: This “Beer City USA” was very excited that New Belgium and 15 or so of its delicious beers were in town and ready to make friends. What this city wasn’t excited to do was announce that the only interstate heading to the airport would be closed all day Saturday, the same day myself and two co-workers were scheduled to fly out. At the risk of never being allowed to rent a car again, I’ll admit our trip to the airport turned into something out of Dukes of Hazzard. No, we didn’t jump any freight trains with Sherriff Roscoe Coletrane sucking our tailpipe, but we did exceed posted speed limits while tearing up the back roads of Buncombe County with the help of three people frantically hitting up map apps on iPhones. We made our flight, but didn’t have enough time for one of my shaken passengers to get the vodka drink he was in desperate need of.

     

    Charlotte, North Carolina

    ATTENDENCE: 250

    MONEY RAISED FOR LOCAL NONPROFITS: $777

    RANDOM ACTS OF EVENTING: Our hotel was located across the street from the NASCAR Hall of Fame. I’m pretty sure my sheets smelled like Richard Petty. What can top that?

     

    Charleston, South Carolina

    ATTENDENCE: 300

    MONEY RAISED FOR LOCAL NONPROFITS: $1,500

    RANDOM ACTS OF EVENTING: Let’s talk food. At each tour stop we’d have a great guide to the city in the form of coworkers sprinkled around the nation, Beer Rangers to you. They’d always know where to eat, where to drink and what to avoid. The result is that our team bellied up and/or chowed down at some of the best beer bars and restaurants the US of A has to offer. At this point I decided to eat regionally – basically because the South was forcing it upon us. Biscuits came with everything (so many that a coworker started pocketing them for midnight snacks) and I was once blessed with a fried tomato on my roast beef sandwich. Yes, fried. When in Rome, I decided that for the next month my time would be well spent eating as many orders of Shrimp and Grits as I could. I only managed to put 10 servings in my belly. Only so many hours in a day.

     

    Atlanta, Georgia

    ATTENDENCE: 450

    MONEY RAISED FOR LOCAL NONPROFITS: $2,440

    RANDOM ACTS OF EVENTING: Pretty standard event here, other than one of our food vendors showing up with the recreational vehicle from the Bill Murray and Harold Ramis classic film “Stripes.” And now a moment of reading silence for an awesome movie quote: “Chicks dig me because I rarely wear underwear, and when I do, it’s usually something unusual.”

     

    Athens, Georgia

    ATTENDENCE: 500

    MONEY RAISED FOR LOCAL NONPROFITS: $2,163

    RANDOM ACTS OF EVENTING: A guy from Iowa who has never been further east in the United States than Chicago can learn much traveling around the nation. Our site in Athens was a city block that ended at the intersection of Washington and Lumpkin Streets, also known as “Hot Corner.” This was the center of cultural life – and too often conflict - in the African American community during the 50s and 60s. Along with Charleston’s many Civil War relics, this summer afforded me a very important education not available growing up amongst the corn.

     

    Knoxville, Tennessee

    ATTENDENCE: 550

    MONEY RAISED FOR LOCAL NONPROFITS: $3,572

    RANDOM ACTS OF EVENTING: Like I said, learning opportunities are everywhere while traveling. That’s why when I walked in on two parks & rec workers from this fine city debating the merits of mixing Gatorade with moonshine, I dropped everything and sat down with ears wide open. Who cares if I needed them to turn the electricity on? Everything else could wait. For the record, we all ended up agreeing to be pro-moonshine Gatorades.

     

    All in all, 11,000 attendees helped Clips of Faith raise nearly $59,000 for nonprofits around the country, bringing the two year total to $91,000. We even kept it green, our recycling and composting efforts resulting in an average waste diversion rate of 91 percent. Not bad for a beer company. If you’d like to attend 2012 Clips of Faith, keep tabs on tour planning at clipsoffaith.com. Cheers.

     

    Thanks for the wrap up Jesse, sounds like you had a great summer (and spring and fall) and the fans of Clips of Faith (present and future) thank you for your contributions to the summertime-highway-of-laughs-and-good-times-as-presented-by-the-New-Belgium-Brewing-CO. 

    See you next year,

    Juicebox

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  • An Awesome and Hilarious Clips of Faith Wrap Up, part 1.

    Every year at the end of eventing season I send out a few emails to my dear friends in the New Belgium eventing department requesting season wrap up kind of material, you know, the juiciest of details, in order to inform you, the reader, about the inner workings and outer statistics of the season's best events.  I put these updates on the blog periodically for you folks to take it in.  This year I had our very own Clips of Faith road warrior, our man from Souix City, "Very Dressy" Jesse (pictured during a very normal commute to work, at right) respond to this request in the bestest and funniest possible way, a 3000 word opus of NBB eventing shenanigans.  He nailed it, all the facts and figures are straight, as well as the small stuff he used to really personalize it.  It's as if this guy used to be a reporter for a well known regional paper (he did).  I present this to you now, in two parts (part two to follow tomorrow).  So, here it is, part one, entitled "The First Half of the Whole Clips of Faith, 2011":

     

    The world was rumored to be heading to its demise on May 21, 2011.

    I'm really glad it didn't.

    If this most recent warning of the apocalypse had gone as predicted, my last weekend on earth would have been spent exhausted, dripping wet with rain, covered with grass and mud, assisting in the relocation of a dozen or so soiled port-a-potties between the hours of midnight and 1 a.m.

    Yes, that weekend was my first working as an Eventer for New Belgium Brewing Company. Eventers go by many names at NBB – roadies, road dogs, and, my favorite, carnies. Regardless of the name, the gig is the same - travel from town to town spreading NBB love. In my case, I spread BeerTD's via the Clips of Faith Beer and Film Tour, an outdoor philanthropic celebration of handmade beers and films that made its way across 18 cities this summer. Think of it as a beer and film carnival held in a park where all the proceeds from the sale of ale go to a good cause. The job was basically this: Show up to a town, organize some volunteers, spill the contents of a 26-foot trailer out onto the grass of an outdoor space, show some movies, serve some beer, pack it all back up and go to bed.

    From a brush with a sideburn hating movie extra to a pornography-related introduction, my summer was a blur of time zones, weather patterns, airports, new friends, delicious beers and only one near death experience. It was also one I will never forget.

    And now, for your reading pleasure, a recap of my life as a Clips of Faith Eventer:

     

    St. Louis, Missouri

    ATTENDENCE: 250

    MONEY RAISED FOR LOCAL NONPROFITS: $2,110

    RANDOM ACTS OF EVENTING: Turns out the Midwest in May is kind of a weatherman’s dream, an eventer’s nightmare. The rain, rain wouldn’t go away on this day, making for a really long start to the tour. This stop could have been considered two events as the inclement weather forced us to tear down our site – a dozen or so 10x10 tents, tables, chairs, artwork, sound system, 400-pound inflatable movie screen – and drag it all up a slippery, increasingly muddied hill to a large shelter.  The results were a questioning of my decision to take this job and the loss of what would be the first of many pairs of shoes. These particular classic Asics had picked up such a unique funk from tromping around in the slop that, upon returning home and setting them out, my girlfriend scolded the dog for peeing on them. That’s the only thing that could have made them smell so foul, she figured.

     

    Kansas City, Missouri

    ATTENDENCE: 800

    MONEY RAISED FOR LOCAL NONPROFITS: $6,561

    RANDOM ACTS OF EVENTING: With many friends in attendance at this one, the pressure was on for me to perform my new gig at a pro level. That’s why it was extremely embarrassing when I overlooked one cord – the one connecting a DVD player to the projector – resulting in a few minutes delay to the start of the night’s film showing. Only about 800 people noticed. Funny thing about throwing events – so many things can go wrong or get overlooked that the ones that do are often the most noticeable.

     

    Bloomington, Indiana

    ATTENDENCE: 1,100

    MONEY RAISED FOR LOCAL NONPROFITS: $2,857

    RANDOM ACTS OF EVENTING: One interesting aspect of the job was sharing hotel rooms with co-workers. Being a new employee, I was meeting most of these people for the first time. This can lead to some memorable get-to-know-you moments. My roommate for this stop was a coworker hailing from Chicago who came to the home of the Hoosiers to help us put on the party. He wasn’t expected to reach the hotel until the wee hours. Not wanting him to arrive to a dark room and a sleeping stranger, I turned all the lights on and turned up “Avatar” to help me fight off sleep. Didn’t work. While I slept away, this coworker entered the room to find that “Avatar” had ended and had been followed by a rather risqué flick. He entered the room as the plot was reaching… um… a climax of sorts. At first he thought he had caught me watching porn, but upon learning I was out like a light, worried that I would wake and accuse him of watching porn while I slept.  After a quick discussion the next a.m., we became fast friends. We didn’t turn on the TV that night.

     

    Madison, Wisconsin

    ATTENDENCE: 450

    MONEY RAISED FOR LOCAL NONPROFITS: $1,487

    RANDOM ACTS OF EVENTING: Our tiny but mighty team of three took a tremendous blow this week when one of my coworkers went down with a vicious rec league softball injury. A pop fly was called. A pop fly call was ignored. Feelings were hurt. Ribs were damaged. That’s why when I called my still standing co-worker from O’Hare Airport, the one already in Madison, to tell her that my connecting flight from Chicago to Madison had been canceled, the news didn’t go over very well. One well-timed compliment regarding how great the ticketing agent’s recent manicure looked and I was on the next flight. Madison, like most of our stops, turned out to be a very impressive city. Aside from its scenic qualities, Madison’s population seemed extremely engaged and carried out civic duties with fervor. The streets circling the state capital were home to a tent city of union workers protesting a move by the governor to limit the collective bargaining power of teachers and other public workers.  The same streets were also home to one of the biggest farmer’s markets I’ve ever seen, where strangely, everyone browsed by walking around clockwise. We learned this when we started walking in the other direction. We didn’t get far.

     

    Des Moines, Iowa

    ATTENDENCE: 550

    MONEY RAISED FOR LOCAL NONPROFITS: $3,544

    RANDOM ACTS OF EVENTING: 3 a.m. End of an18-hour workday. Six New Belgium coworkers sitting around drinking beers in a downtown Des Moines hotel lobby. One really drunk hotel guest who decides to run up a two-story escalator while security decides whether or not to chase him. Perfect end to a great day in the Hawkeye State.

     

    Boulder, Colorado

    ATTENDENCE: 1,000

    MONEY RAISED FOR LOCAL NONPROFITS: $6,689

    RANDOM ACTS OF EVENTING: The 18 short films shown during the Clips of Faith tour represented a great collection of independent filmmakers sharing a variety of messages. At nearly every tour stop the film “Scrapertown” brought tears to a few eyes. This flick told the story of “Original Scraper Bike King” Baybe Champ, a young Oakland resident who started a club that aims to keep at-risk youth off the streets by engaging them in the act of building scraper bikes.  These bicycles are budget-friendly customs made by spray painting the frames and wrapping the spokes of the wheels with tape, tinfoil or anything else a person can think of. In Boulder, we were lucky enough to have Baybe Champ in the audience and he was pumped to get on the mic for a bit of freestyle rapping and to spread his message of violence prevention via bicycling. When people ask me why New Belgium would spend a grip of money on this tour that racks up the bills but doesn’t pay any, I reference this night in Boulder. Not only did the residents of this community come together to raise nearly $7k for a local bike-related nonprofit, they also gave a young man the attention, acknowledgement and applause that just might encourage him to keep trying to change the world, two wheels at a time.

     

    Flagstaff, Arizona

    ATTENDENCE: 480

    MONEY RAISED FOR LOCAL NONPROFITS: $3,379

    RANDOM ACTS OF EVENTING: Ever heard of a haboob? Go ahead, Google it. Nothing graphic will appear, I promise. A haboob is a sand storm of devastating proportions. We’re talking a 5,000-foot tall wall of sand rolling through towns at crazy fast speeds. We missed the Phoenix haboob by one day. We didn’t miss the monsoon that followed, which, a bit north in Flagstaff, is widely known to occur during the exact week we were there to put on an outdoor event. The rain was a bit of a damper (ba dum tsh), but luckily it had stopped by the time one of the lights we used to illuminate the event grounds started on fire due to a manufacturing defect.

     

    Santa Cruz, California

    ATTENDENCE: 750

    MONEY RAISED FOR LOCAL NONPROFITS: $5,495

    RANDOM ACTS OF EVENTING: Taking advantage of my seaside location with a paddle boarding session should have been the highlight here. But only one day prior the Clips of Faith team had a brush with fame in the form of a “Howard the Duck” extra. This man, who harbored a deep hatred of sideburns evident by his not only shaving them off, but ensuring no sideburns at all by shaving up into his temple area, walked up to us as we ate lunch. Confused and thinking Clips of Faith was an open casting call, he offered up his services, his only resume mention being the bit part in the film about a humanoid alien duck who is sucked to earth, to Cleveland, no less. Sadly, we had no work to offer him. I wonder if he knew our overnight hotel clerk, the lady who wore the golden cape and was pissed she missed the “Harry Potter” film premier.

     

    Davis, California

    ATTENDENCE: 1,250

    MONEY RAISED FOR LOCAL NONPROFITS: $5,400

    RANDOM ACTS OF EVENTING: An illuminated, musical custom bicycle; many large men wearing wee bits of spandex and capes; a rather strong Jamaican contingent; finding hotel rooms for “service” dogs; bicyclists refusing to bathe; an invite to a rowdy after-hours party with HEAVY dance floor petting.  I’ll leave it at that. You should visit.

     

    Please stay tuned friends, the exciting conclusion (entitled "The Last Half of the Whole Clips of Faith, 2011") will be out tomorrow with everything required to finish such a great story.  Until then...

     

    XOXO,

    Juicebox

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  • Bend, Oregon, it has beer and fun and stuff...

    I spent the recent Thanksgiving holiday in the great Pacific Northwest of the United States of America (Bend, Oregon (specifically)) and it was super fun.  I have some family up there, a brother, sister-in-law and their lovely and obedient child.  My wife and (equally as cheerful) child accompanied me up there and when all was said and done my parents also graced us with an appearance.  Family gatherings are the bees knees, there are hugs and kisses and big meals, reminiscing about the good ol' days, hilarious and kind of mean jokes about the clothes that we all used to wear in the 1990's and free baby-sitting.  This last one is pretty special because it is about the clearest win/win of all time.  The grandparents want to spend as much time as possible with the little ones and the parents are looking to have some laughs and time away from their loved (but ever-present) children. 

    Wednesday afternoon was the perfect escape.  The grandparents were primed for some babysitting and the parents loaded up and headed into town to explore some of the local craft beer offerings.  Bend is known for beer, there are something like 12 breweries in town varying in size from pretty big to really small.  There were 4 of us and reaching a tap-room consensus was close to impossible, but with the help of some rock-paper-scissors and one round of spirited thumb wrestling we settled on Bend Brewing and 10 Barrel Brewing Company.  A short list indeed, but the baby-sitting time was limited and the sister-in-law performing the designated driver duties was also performing dinner cooking duties and still needed to do some shopping and roasting and chopping and such. 

    First stop 10 Barrel.  When we got there I was taken aback by how busy it was.  It was 11:15am on a Wednesday.  They do serve food and it was a holiday week, but wow, there were a lot of people in there (very good sign).  We ordered a sampler, 10 beers organized on an arching stainless steel tray that suspended the beers off the table top, giving the beverages a very modern feel, so I used an old-timey camera app on my phone for a great juxtaposition.  The tray came with every beer that was on tap that day minus the cask conditioned Big Black Stout (which I ordered separately).  They were all pretty tasty but the Sasquatch Session was great.  Hoppy but not overly so, just bitter enough to be quenching and a good sweetish, malt backbone for balance.  But I do have to say upon my first sip I didn't like this beer.  After I put it down that first time I figured I would just concentrate on the rest of the beers, but a few minutes (like 10) later I went back to it by accident, I thought I was grabbing the IPA but took the Sasquatch by mistake.  In that 10 minutes this beer opened up.  Maybe it was the warmth it took on, giving it time to breathe, whatever, that beer started to sing a little louder.  This beer turned from a side note to a symphony and I am glad I went back, even if I meant to grab something else.  The malt was more pronounced and struck a better balance with the hops.  The bitter profile was still present but after warming the Sasquatch became more of a two sided beer.  And I love the low alcohol, session beers, it's written into my genetic code.  So when a craft brewery makes an approachable, low octane beer my heart rejoices, nice work 10 Barrel, Sasquatch is a winner.  Some other highlights from the tray were the Pumpkin, the Red and the non-cask Stout, wonderful beers.  After working our way through the tasters and noticing that soft pretzels were not on the menu (that otherwise looked delicious) we moseyed towards the door with Bend Brewing Company on the mind.

    We walked in the door and were immediately hugged by the greatness that is the Bend Brewing Company.  This has been a favorite place of mine since I first went to Bend in 1999, way back when I was not much into beer, but the friendly nature of the staff as well as the wonderful libations have always kept BBC close to my heart and here and now, in 2011, their spot (in my heart) is growing.  Again we ordered the taster tray.  All the beers came on a branded tray marked with a spot for each beer.  Along side the full time offerings were a few seasonal and special release beers, the two that caught my eye right away were Sexi Mexi and Ching Ching.  Sexi Mexi was inspired by Mexican spiced chocolate and carries the sweet/spice of a deep and rich mole' sauce.  Drinking this beer was a deep and warming experience.  Sexi Mexi is strong and bold and if I ever encounter it again I will have a full glass, it was very good. Ching Ching was also sitting on the tray begging to be tried.  I missed this beer at GABF and I am really kicking myself for not trying it there, Ching Ching took home a bronze medal in the American-style Sour category in 2011 and that is a category special to all New Belgium co-workers (think Le Terroir).  Ching Ching is a tart Berlinerweisse spiced with hibiscus and pomegranate.  Looking at the taster glass on the tray Ching Ching looks like pink champagne, very light in color, vaguely turbid, bubbly but little head to speak of.  I sipped this beer and was blown away.  It was markedly sour with a punchy and crisp flavor, the pomegranate jumped out to sweeten the tongue and fine bubbles of carbonation tickled the back of my nose.  It finished dry and clean and really made me want more (and more) Ching Ching, so I bought a bottle that will make an appearance at the next classy bottle party that requires my attendance (send me an invite).  We also sampled some food at BBC.  Alas, they didn't have soft pretzels either but at this point we were to hungry to be picky, fries with mustard and some dip of the spinach/artichoke variety was consumed and I relaxed with a big glass of Outback (which is an Old Ale and a very good beer) for the pairing.  After plates were cleared and beers were finished we headed towards home, happy, satisfied and ready to relieve the baby-sitters.

    This trip to Bend was a great one and if you ever find yourself there drink some beer, you will not regret it (at all).

    -Juicebox

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  • A Fractured Pelvis and Somersault, a Pair to be Remembered

    So it was Sunday July 3rd (one day previous to America's birthday) and I was headed to breakfast.  A few of us were going to eat freshly cooked eggs and toast (with jam) and then go mountain biking.  The group was strong and ready to get a jump on the day's trail shredding.  I had the eggs and toast (with jam) and some hash-browned potatoes on the side.  Upon completing breakfast we headed up the hill, bikes on the roof and smiles on the face.

    The trail is a lollipop, about 5 miles of stick and then 3 miles (and change) of actual lolli.  We rode the stick up, crossed the many creeks and hit the lolli.  It's fun, a big climb through a meadow and then some sweet rock features.  We were almost done with the lolli when we came upon a section that just isn't very fun, it looks like an asteroid field and the rocks are loose and big and it's short.  It's here that we turned around.  We decided to ride the lolli back the other way making the ride longer and more enjoyable.  Climbing the rock features was hard, but worth it because at the top was that big ol' meadow briefly mentioned above.  This meadow is ripping fast going down.  There are beautiful wildflowers and mountains and cliffs to stare at while descending this section, but you would be best served watching where you're going while cruising at a high pace (and not staring at the lovely scenery). This is where the fractured pelvis comes in.  I must have been staring off (not taking my own advice), enjoying the way the sun was reflecting off the purple patch of monkshoods because all of a sudden I hit the ground, very hard.  I was worried that some damage may have occurred on the internal side of things because I was immediately woozy and nauseous and screaming and it felt like someone had pushed me out of a moving car, hip first, into a pile of New York City trash cans.  My friends stopped and looked worried and I took their worried looks to mean that bones must be poking out from skin so I got up and did a quick compound fracture assessment (there was none).  So the next thing I could think about was laying down in my bed, so I got back on my bike and very slowly and with a tremendous amount of pain finished the lolli and the stick and then rolled back towards the parking lot.  At this point I could not walk, not even a little bit.  I needed help into the car and then someone drove me back into town where we met up with my wife and the two of us proceeded to the urgent care center.  X-rays showed a crack in my pelvis.  Then a couple days happened and shooting pains accompanied that passing of time and now I offer to you the pairing of a life-time: SOMERSAULT AND A FRACTURED PELVIS!

    I woke up from a nap this afternoon (not going to work because of the busted pelvis has really allowed me to take the number of naps that my body requires) and I felt like a beer.  Crutching out to the fridge in the garage was probably not a good idea based on the stairs and the various obstacles in the way but I did it, I made it all the way there.  But when I opened up the fridge door and decided on a Somersault the next problem presented itself... how was I going to carry the beer back up the stairs, past the obstacles and into the house (I was wearing pajamas (pocket-less pajamas)).  Upon thinking long and hard I decided to clasp the beer bottle in my teeth and slowly make my way towards the couch.  There were trials and tribulations in the choice (ups and downs along the way) but I made it to that couch.  I sat down, cracked the bottle and tried to figure out why tremendous pain, crutches, a fractured pelvis and Somersault go together so well, and the answer is this:  Somersault is great, light, refreshing and carries a wonderful hint of apricot.  This wonderful summer beer just screams summer.  You can sit back and sip a Somersault and think about all the great summer-i-ness that is happening around you, the rope swing into the river, the margaritas on the patio, the mountain bike shredding on the trails, but not actually have to do any of it.  You can just sit there and enjoy the beer and know that if your pelvis wasn't broken you would totally being doing something outside, but it is broken so the beer and it's wonderful refreshment is all you have to do today.  The pair is perfect because the beer does all the work, it is so perfect that as soon as I can find a fanny pack within reach I am going back out to that fridge for another Somersault.  This busted pelvis isn't so bad after all.

    -Juicebox

     

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  • 20 years today, a toast.

    Today marks the 20th anniversary of the New Belgium Brewing Co.  It wasn't so long ago that Fat Tire was being made in a basement and sold from the back of a family station wagon.  Love and talent drove then, and love and talent drive now.

    So cheers to you good reader, without the support of our Fat Tire sippers we never would have gotten to where we are today.  We here at HQ are not only celebrating and remembering the last 20 years of creating something that makes people happy, but we are also celebrating those happy people.  Thank you.

    Here's to 20 years! And to 1000 more!

    -juicebox

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  • The Great River Missouri Beckons!

    Friends,

    I am heading out on a bicycle adventure, I will miss you and we can talk soon (I promise).  Until then this should hold you:

    Have a great week.

    -JUICEBOX

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  • Saturday was great, so was Sunday.

    Man, it's Tuesday, I slept most of Monday (I have terrible tennis elbow and it needs the rest (not to mention the very busy preceding days)) and now I am finally out of bed, in a clean shirt and back at work, ready to ruminate on what just happened.  This weekend was chocked full of craft beer fun and shenanigans and I am here to tell you about it. 

    It all started Saturday morning with a blazing alarm clock and then some homemade breakfast.  I put a chopped up hard boiled egg on a bagel with some St. Louis salami and Swiss cheese, covered the whole thing in hot sauce and made with the masticating.  Had it not been a work day this would have been a perfect pairing for Blue Paddle Pilsener (maybe even a Blue Paddle breakfast beer).  The refreshing bit of bitter in that Blue Paddle would have been a splendid addition to the heat from the sauce and the earthy bite from the salami and Swiss, but alas, looking at an 8 hour Saturday shift in the Liquid Center it wasn't a good morning for drinking.  Post breakfast I pushed off on my bicycle towards that 8 hour shift with a full belly, a big grin, and only a little bit of a headache.  When I got to work I met Pamela; my day was forever changed. Pamela was our Lips of Faith winner at last summer's cLips of Faith beer sampling challenge.  She correctly identified three beers in one pitcher and won a chance at designing her own New Belgium beer.  Pamela was sitting at the LC bar when I showed up and I immediately shook her hand and asked her what kind of beer she wanted to make.  She responded that she was looking to make something good and floral and earthy and bitter and bold and drinkable, she was going about APA's and IPA's and she was super excited and that excitement was contagious, I caught it.  I spent the whole day with my insides trying to jump out to my outsides, trying to have the best time I could with as many people as possible (it was a busy day, there was a whole lot of people).  Carrying this excitement through the day was east as it was assisted by the knowledge of the forthcoming evening, I was going out to a classy dinner with Pamela and her accompanying gentleman, as well as a few New Belgium folks.  We would eat and drink and be taken away with the total merriment of the evening.

    All of that stuff happened, the eating, the drinking, the merriment.  Work ended and the dining party met for fancy dinner and a vault of great company.  Beers were paired with food, I learned what an amuse-bouche is (on Saturday it meant a little piece of smoked salmon on a little piece of a Bar-b-qued potato chip (very yum)), I also learned that a high school English teacher from the same home town as me is going to make an amazing beer here at New Belgium.  Stay tuned and get thirsty, way more details about this on the horizon. 

    The dinner ended and hugs and hand shakes were handed out freely and ol' Juicebox headed off towards home.  I needed a bit of rest for the upcoming Sunday.  I woke up early, sans alarm and made another home made breakfast.  Blueberry pancakes and Sunshine Wheat.  It was Sunday, not a work day, a breakfast beer was totally in line with the plan for the day, and these two make quite the pair.  The sweet/tart combo of the blueberry pancakes matches well with the hinting citrus and lovely sweetness of a Sunshine, and the breadiness of the flapjacks complimented the great mouthfeel that comes with a good wheat beer.  And the day's plan was as sound as breakfast; there was going to be some major bicycle exploration into another township for a pulled pork and a brewery visit (not at the same time and not necessarily in that order)).

    The cycling exploration party left Fort Collins at about 11am which was going to be just about perfect for the 1pm opening time of the Grimm Brothers Brewhouse and Taproom.  I had only heard great things about Grimm Brothers beer but leading into Sunday I had never sipped a one, and by-howdy, was I ready to give their beers a try.  But first the ride.  We only had a vague idea as to where the Brewery was and wanted to take the long way anyways, on the way we rode on pavement, asphalt, smooth dirt roads, real shitty wash-boarded dirt roads, pea graveled bikeways, the hay covered hillside of freeway entrance ramp, and a full on dam.  A true adventure indeed.  It is amazing where you will go on a bike when "mostly south and a little east, but really, just barely east," a street name, and two of the three address numbers are the only directions you're following.   That bike ride was fantastic and we rolled into Grimm Brothers pretty soon after their opening, so the timing was perfect as well.  But none of it, the ride, the timing, none of it was as good as their beers.  Man this place is onto something.  If you have never had their beers you should try them, a nice variety and all had wonderful flavor.  I particularly like the Little Red Cap, smooth, interesting, clean, full.  Would have paired impressively with fish tacos (man, I wish I could have had some fish tacos with that beer) with a red, mellow salsa.  Anyway, the beer was great, you should try it.  Pushing a year this summer Grimm Brothers is a great addition to Northern Colorado craft beer. 

    On the ride home we stopped and enjoyed that pulled pork and everyone knows that Fat Tire is the best pulled pork pairing beer of all time, so that was a no brainer and very much enjoyed.  A very uneventful, but very fun and talkative bike ride home finished the day off.  I pulled into the garage after 50 or so miles, a bunch of great beers, a big ol' sandwich, and an even bigger smile.  Then I hung up my bike and promptly took an early evening nap to finish off my Sunday.

    -Juicebox

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  • My Joy Ride

    I moved to Colorado in 1996 from the great state of Missouri.  In Missouri, in 1996 the craft beer landscape was not as vast is it is now, I thought beer was warm light American lagers, turns out I was very, very wrong.  I moved to Denver not knowing anyone and I was eager to make friends and eager to start drinking warm American lagers with more people than just myself. 

    In the building I moved into there were a few dudes that lived upstairs from me and they seemed about my age and about my caliber (which was (and maybe still is) pretty low).  One Thursday morning I crossed paths with one of the fellows that lived upstairs and we struck up conversation.  By the end of our chat he had invited me to their apartment that night to enjoy a couple beers and fill in for their missing forth in a game of Eucher.  I had never played Eucher before but I was pretty good at drinking beers and needed some friends so I agreed.  That night I showed up and met the rest of the occupants of 3C and they offered me a beer, it was a weird looking beer with a funny bottle neck and a fancy label, to be honest it was the strangest looking beer I have ever seen, then I took a drink.  Holy crap, there was flavor, and a lot of it, I was taken aback.  I must have had a crazy look on my face and a little beer dribbling down my chin from the agaped-ness of my mouth because my new friends started laughing at this very mid-western transplant.  I said (maybe even shouted with excitement) "what is this?!"  One of the guys responded coolly "it's Fat Tire, it's made in Colorado."

    My taste in beer was ever changed at that moment and to this day I consider those guys my best friends and Fat Tire my favorite beer.

    -JUICEBOX

    PS>  For more Joy Rides click here and enjoy.

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