Wednesday, December 16, 2009

East Bound And Down

I'm on the way to North Carolina, and I'm driving. I left Wednesday morning. I made it to Mt. Vernon, Illinois for the night. Tomorrow, I get to drive through Indiana. That's a new state for me. Here are a couple of road pics from the day.


Sunrise on the Colorado plains








Wind Farm about 25 miles west of Salina, Kansas

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Excellent Birds

Greetings! It has gotten chilly in Colorado. It didn't get above freezing today. I saw that it is predicted to be 2 below in downtown Denver tonight. (The airport, which is the official reading, will be even colder) It should be a little warmer where I am at, but not by much. I walked to Bear Creek Lake Park today. It seems I make this walk every winter. It is a nice walk in the snow. The lake is starting to freeze over for the winter. It is still too thin to walk on. Here's a picture and movie from today.




video

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thankful

Happy Thanksgiving! I kept with the old tradition of being active on Thanksgiving Day. I drove up to Loveland Pass and went for a hike. I climbed Mt. Sniktau (13,234 Ft.) It is a short hike. It is a little less than 3.5 miles round trip. Perfect for a Thanksgiving hike. The weather was great. Denver had temperatures in the 60’s. Obviously, it was a bit colder in the mountains. It wasn’t bad considering the elevation. The wind was not a problem until I reached the ridgeline. I had to put on the extra clothing because of the wind. It was beautiful hike. I had climbed Mt. Sniktau before in June of 2007. It is a cool short hike that is completely above tree line. Just as I was leaving the summit, I saw a bighorn sheep. I think we saw each other at the same time. I managed to get a zoom picture before he got out of sight. Here are the pictures from hike.



The ridgeline. Mt. Sniktau is not visible.








Mt. Sniktau










Looking east from Mt. Sniktau. I-70 down below








Torreys Peak









The tunnel and Loveland Ski area









Me











Bighorn sheep











Strange snow formations.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Walking on Sunshine

The weather has been beautiful this week, and it is only going to get better. I hiked to the Summer White House ruins in Mt. Falcon Open Space Park. I've been here before several times. I was going to eat lunch on some rocks that overlook Denver, but the lady bugs ruled the rocks. So I walked 100 yards down the trail to a bench that overlooked Mt. Evans and Longs Peak. It was real hard to deal with that view:)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Let It Snow (Part Deux)

It's almost 6:00 P.M. on Thursday, and it is still snowing. It has been a light snow all day. It should stop soon. I measured the snow depth at 15 inches near the spot that I measured yesterday. It looks like it might be a few inches deeper in other spots near by. I found a drift that was 2 feet deep. The roads look to be in good shape in my neighborhood. Anyway, I thought I would give another update of the storm. It is a big storm for October. It should melt quick though. 50 degree weather is expected by Saturday, plus it should be in the 60's next week. Here are a couple of pictures from today.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Let It Snow

I wasn't planning on doing a post this week, but Denver is getting a pretty good snowstorm this week. The previous snows this month have been glorified rain, but not this one. The rain switched to snow at about 9:00 P.M. last night (Tuesday). It is a little after 3:00 P.M. on Wednesday, and it is still snowing. It is not supposed to stop until Thursday afternoon. I will need a yard stick to measure snow tomorrow. I got a foot of snow at my place now.


Looking out the back of my apt. this morning







My car around 3 PM on Wed.














Out the back of my apt around 3 PM on Wed.













Ruler in the snow

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Already Gone

Charles is on his way home now. It has been fun to have him out here all week. From the great tunes of WPA, to the hiking, and to all the beer stops. I also appreciate the beer he left in my refrigerator. Charles’ beer review on my blog yesterday was excellent. It should also be noted that we did not have Odell’s 90 Shilling at the brewery (we goofed there), so it didn’t make Charlie’s notes or write-up; however, it should be noted that he had 90 Shilling at my place and thought that it was a very good beer. As for his favorite styles, hopefully he’ll make a comment about that inquiry.

I didn’t take notes like Charles, so I don’t remember everything that I had. I generally liked or didn’t mind (there were exceptions) a lot of the beers that Charles liked. The IPA’s were usually the worst of the beers we sampled. I recommend Z Lager by The Fort Collins Brewery. Fat Tire has been a favorite of mine for a while. It was great having it only 10 minutes old at New Belgium. The tour of the New Belgium Brewery is a must. Reservations are recommended. While waiting for the tour to start, I had an Adam’s Ale (I think that was the name of it). It was very good; however, I don’t see it listed on their website. So I don’t know what their plans are for that beer. Odell Brewing Company has some good beers. 90 Shilling is still my favorite of theirs. I need to try the rest of their regular beers. I’ve been to Tommyknockers several times now. Maple Nut Brown has always been a favorite of mine. Ornery Amber Lager and Rye Porter rated well for me this time. I also recommend a stop at Walnut Brewery in downtown Boulder. My favorite of theirs was a specialty beer that unfortunately I can’t remember its name. Anyway, that is it for my beer ramblings.

As for having a new post every day as it has been this week, don’t expect it. This is a unique occurrence for this past week. I have no idea if that will ever happen again. As for now, I’m ready for a break in writing the blog. If you haven’t checked my blog in a while, I suggest clicking on some WPA tunes, then scroll down and enjoy the pictures from the recent barrage of posts.
<a href="http://wpamusic.bandcamp.com/album/wpa">Always Have My Love by Works Progress Administration</a>

Here’s a video that was shot to try and show the wind on Colorado Mines Peak that we were dealing with yesterday. It is a lot worse than what the video shows.
video

Until next time, whenever that may be.

-MM

Friday, October 23, 2009

Breumyer

Today, we have a first for my blog. We have a guest blogger. Charles is doing the the write-up for today and a review of some the beers we've had this week. Pics at bottom. Enjoy...

-MM


I am privileged to spend time in this Rocky Mountain state and I thank Mike for this opportunity and his knowledge of the area. It is an honor to be his guest blogger today. We have hiked close to twenty miles this past six days, each one being different and exciting. I like the wide open spaces and the distant views when on top of a mountain. Today, only hiked a mile up Colorado Mines Peak starting at Berthoud Pass. Half way up is 12,000 feet, which is as far as we got. Just too windy, blowing snow, and temperatures likely in the 20’s. Not every enjoyable. Afterwards we went to Tommyknockers and tried their beer sampler.

While I did come out here to visit Mike and to do a little hiking - I took advantage and sampled many of the fine craft and micro beers. Mike and I sampled about sixty beers, taking notes about each ones’ brewing technique, ingredients, and flavors. Each sample was about four ounces. I admit to sampling some two
and even three times. It is these specifically (and a few others) that I would like to briefly describe.

First, some good tasting beers:
ODell Brewing - Town Pump Pale Ale 5.1% dry hopped, whole flower hops gives a fresh flower and an interesting middle taste. St. Lupulin 6.5% pale ale, dry hopped gives a medium hops flavor and a dry quick finish. Isolation Ale 6.5% their winter beer is very malty with a long finish, a little heavy. Strong Golden Ale 11.5% soft tannins and toffee like malts give scant aroma, reminds of cream sherry toffee at end, good sipping beers on a cold day, do not drink much.

Fort Collins Brewing - Z Lager 5.4% hops is dried over beach wood fire gives light maple smoke and a light sweetness of caramel. Chocolate Stout 5.4% this is not heavy, rather velvet smooth, chocolate is scant to none, a very slight smoke taste. Harvester Lager 5.3% gives mild hops, slight honey tones, a mild beer.

Left Hand Brewing - Sawtooth gives mild hops, clean. Jackmans Am Pale Ale 5.2% give flower taste, some lingering bitterness. Black Jack Porter 6.5% gives malty then chocolate taste, bittering late and only slight. Snowbound Ale uses cinnamon, ginger, orange zest, cardamom, cloves, honey giving smell mostly of cloves, long cinnamon taste at end, makes a good Christmas time beer.

Tommyknocker Brewing - Ornery Amber Lager has good hops balance, very drinkable routinely. Maple Nut Brown Ale has a light woody maple taste, quick finish, hints of caramel, maybe chocolate.

New Belgium Brewing - I leave this to you. I really enjoy their beers including Fat Tire, 1554, Abbey, Sunshine Wheat, 2 Below, and La Folie. Some, others may enjoy, but not myself include Trippel, Hoptober, and Mighty Arrow. Give them all a go, and follow your folly.

Walnut Brewery - No Notes for this brew pub; however, it has good beer, good food, and even better prices.

There are beers that I would be happy, and even thankful, to never taste again. ODell IPA Nitro 7.0% hops, hops, hops smell and taste, make you squint. India Barley Wine 9.7% smell of fruit, like rotten peaches, bitterness is mild. Fort Collins Kidd Lager 5.4% little bitter, smoke, like smoked fish. Left Hand -Expreso Milk Stout, smell coffee, taste coffee, not drinkable, sipable at most. These beers do have their place. They give and bring up aspects of brewing that can be used by us individually in forming our opinions and descriptions of beers. Also, by the brew masters, so they will -- every so often, create that one outstanding beer that we might enjoy tasting.

Now, I suggest that everyone go to the refrigerator, get a beer, and taste what is in that bottle -- enjoy! Once again, thank you Mike. Thanks everyone and remember to follow your folly whether it is beer, hiking, or -- heck, anything!

-----charles



The climb up Colorado Mines Peak out of Berthoud Pass
























Tommy-
knockers

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Left Hand

Today, we hiked Lily Mountain (9,786 ft.) The mountain is just outside of Rocky Mountain National Park near Estes Park. It is a four mile round trip hike. It is not particularly hard. There is a mild rock scramble at the top which leads to a spectacular 360 view. Longs Peak, the Keyhole, Andrews Glacier, Moraine Park, Estes Park, etc. are all visible from the top. The weather was nice and sunny.




Charles on the Lily Mtn Trail








Me on the Lily Mtn. Trail







Longs Peak










On top of Lily Mtn.










Zoom view of Longs Peak and the Keyhole







Zoom view of the Keyhole









View of Moraine Park









Charles on Lily Mtn.





After the hike, we drove to Longmont and visited Left Hand Brewing Company. We sampled their beer. There were some good brews and some bad brews.





Charles at Left Hand Brewing Company





After Left Hand, we went to Pumphouse Brewery and Restaurant. It is also in Longmont. We sampled some of their beers and had dinner. They were out of the beer that I really wanted to try. They had some ok stuff. It is worth another visit. As far as favorite beers from this week, stay tuned…




Sampling the brews at the Pumphouse

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Beerhunter




Charles in the wet snow in Lakewood












The weather changed from rain to snow this morning. No big deal to me. This was a pretty wimpy storm. It was more like rain. In fact, as we traveled north today, it was rain. With the weather being on the soggy side today, we went to Fort Collins to see what the town had to offer. The first stop was Odell Brewing Company. We sampled their fine brews and toured the brewery. The Odell Brewing Company is small, but they are expanding. Construction was in progress while we were there.






Odell Brewing Company








Life on Easy Street










First sample of the day.











Line them at Odell's










After lunch, we went to New Belgium Brewing Company, the home of Fat Tire. New Belgium is becoming a large brewery. We did the tour at New Belgium. It is an hour and a half tour. You get to sample beers along the way including Fat Tire that was only ten minutes old. It looks like a cool place to work. They got ping pong, foosball, volleyball, slides, etc. not to mention the beer. It was a very relaxed tour.






Going for a bike ride in Fort Collins













New Belgium tour stop













Fat Tire






The next stop was The Fort Collins Brewery. It is a very small brewery. I overheard that they are moving. They do need a bigger place. We sampled their beer there. They have some fine brews. After that, we called it a day. We got a place to stay in town and had dinner.





Outside The Fort Collins Brewery







Maybe I can drive this truck for a living

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Walnut Grove

Today, we hiked to Bear Peak (8,461 ft.) on Boulder Mountain. I had done this hike before. This time I did it without the snow and dangerous ice. It is a tough hike. I believe Charles got a good work out. Round trip is around 8 or 9 miles, and there is an elevation gain of about 3,000 feet. Pops, do think you could do this one:) The weather was pretty good at the start of the hike. Shortly after we got to the top of the peak, the clouds started rolling in. The temperature dropped a good bit. We didn’t stay on top too long because of that. After the hike, we enjoyed some fine brews at Walnut Brewery in downtown Boulder.




Charles with Boulder down below







Almost There










Look, the top of Bear Peak









On top of Bear Peak








Looking towards the Continental Divide








Going down Bear Peak