IKEA? Get Me to thee Brewery!

Originally from Matt’s graywanderings.com blog on Septemeber 30th, 2011:

Last Sunday, Lindsay and I planned a portion of our day around making the journey to south Denver’s newest addition, IKEA.  Now this portion of town might not be as ambitious as our recent overseas adventures, but it takes a bit of planning and prepping to make the 30 minute drive from our house to the Denver Tech Center. So, we went for it.  And as we approached the massive blue building from the freeway off-ramp, with the store sign reaching into the sky higher than any grand Rocky Mountain pine and the line of traffic backed-up nearly a mile, I knew we were in for something spectacular.

We finally made our way into the parking structure, when we looked at one another and commented on how it felt like our car was being pulled into a blue hole.  I immediately flashed on Star Wars and the way space craft entered the Death Star: the force brought Hans Solo and other rebel fighters through its galactic gates.  Was the force drawing us in?  Were we in a galaxy far, far away?

I wish. It took us another 20 minutes to find a parking spot, something that caused both Lindsay and I a panic attack. And then we were ushered on by a yellow line pedestrian road, and by mobs of people, up two escalators and into the “Showroom,” at which time the yellow line road appeared again and the mobs behind us began breathing down our necks.  Was there a sale?  Was there something to see up ahead?  Nope.  I was walking too slow.  This path was not meant for navel-gazing and gawking, it was meant to move forward, fast.

We plowed ahead, and ahead, and ahead.  Yes, the yellow line road keeps going, and then down an escalator to and through the “Marketplace,” finally dumping you in the “grab-it-yourself warehouse,” at which point you hit the “check-your-own-items-out” cashier.  We finally emerged, nearly an hour later, without having really felt like we’d been shopping, (other than the package of UNICEF holiday cards we bought at the last minute).

And then what?  We sprinted to the car and drove 20 minutes north, as fast as legally possible, to the nearest watering hole we could find: the Copper Kettle. And if I haven’t said it before, thank you Colorado for the ever-growing number of micro-brewery safe havens to which we can escape.

The Copper Kettle is a brand new brewery, located between Parker Road and Mississippi, a long ways from our home, but well worth the drive. I put together a sampler platter (as I’m prone to do when I first try a brewery) of some batches that sounded delicious: a Bavarian Helles, their Black Onyx, the Copper Mezzina Ale, and a Great American Beer Fest hopeful, the Mexican Chocolate Stout, (which took us both back to our time drinking hot cocoa in the markets of Oaxaca). If I was judging this weekend at GABF, it would have a lovely gold medal wrapped around its rich, spicy neck.

I would easily go back for a session with the Bavarian Helles, and Lindsay would happily wash away another day of IKEA blues with the Mezzina Ale.  The Copper Kettle is brewing distinctive, quality lagers and ales . . . a real treat to find in a new Denver brewery. And a real treat to find after escaping the IKEA Death Star.

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