So much of food and beverage writing is focused on criticism, whether it be high praise or brutal, honest disgust. From Yelp to Wine Spectator we are saturated with other people’s perspectives about what we are going to eat or drink. And there’s nothing wrong with this. In fact, it’s quite helpful.
But another category of writing interests us a bit more here at Colorado Brewery Days: the story. Not is something good or bad, or worth a 10 hour drive or not worth a second of our time, but what happened while you were there? Why did you go? What did you see? Who did you meet?
Last Saturday, I left my parent’s home in California at 5 am, headed back here to Denver. I decided to make the thousand mile drive in one day. It’s a long push, but I’ve done it before. For twelve hours the beautiful scenery whipped by, the miles disappeared into the desert expanse, and the In n’ Outs of Las Vegas and St. George kept my belly full.
At about 5:30 pm I crossed into Colorado. I felt fatigued, dazed, thirsty and hungry. On the horizon I could make out the small town of Fruita just west of Grand Junction and home to a recent addition of the Colorado Brewery Scene: Suds Brothers.
A half hour later, I sat at the bar with a large steak sandwich, a dinner salad, and a cup of beer cheese soup. I’d explained to the bartender the long day of driving behind me and the four hours left ahead of me; he kindly poured me one-ounce tasters from a selection of their beer.
Locals sat at the other end of the bar, a double date was in progress at the booths behind me, and a musician tuned his guitar. Though I would have liked to stay for the performance, I anticipated the energy and excitement and good beer and laughter that would fill Suds Brothers Brewery as the Saturday night rolled on. I thought about the dozens of other brewpubs across the state getting ready for similar evenings.
And as I paid my bill and left, I smiled at the thought of other travelers stepping into these other unfamiliar breweries, welcomed as friends, served hearty, reliable food, and poured delicious beer to wash away a few miles. There are simply times when we don’t need Yelp or beer reviews, just a little bit of faith that hand-crafted Colorado beer and the food accompanying it will be exactly what we want for a roadside reprieve.