During our "off day" of the hockey tournament we traditionally find somewhere to go and play. This year we took a drive up to Rocky Mountain National Park for a hike and some tourist gawking. A lot of the park and all of the passes are inaccessible due to several feet of snow above about 8500'(2600m). Because of this, many of the elk that normally move to the high country right about now are hanging around Estes Park, enjoying the grass and shrubbery and leaving their calling cards on lawns and in parks. It had snowed and more was forecast but we got a bit of a window and took advantage of it. Unlike the mob scene that will occur in 3 months, no one was around and we checked out the alpine meadows, giant snow drifts, and spectacular views.
One staple of this trip is always a quest for the perfect brewpub. We have not found it as yet but will continue the relentless pursuit as long as we are able. We hit the Estes Park Brewing Company, New Belgium Brewing, Fort Collins Brewing, and the Left Hand Brewing Co in Longmont, CO. Left Hand was by far the most intriguing. My friend Davey came back from the men's room and informed us that he couldn't find the flush handle for the toilet and until he noticed it was on the left hand side of the tank; every thing in the brewery was geared for lefties. As a left hander, I was pleased by the right handed angst this caused. Even more impressive was the great jazz combo that was playing and the cask ESB on tap. Readers (and beer drinkers) in England take cask conditioned, hand pulled real ale for granted but when we find it over here it causes more excitement than the mountain goat we spotted up in the park. Needless to say we bellied up and the foolishness ensued. I'm not sure if we were supposed to be ZZ Top or Jake and Elwood but by then it really didn't matter.
Today we explore Boulder, CO and then down to Denver for the battle of the Catholic schools, Notre Dame vs Boston College for the national NCAA Division 1 hockey championship. Coincidentally we discovered that the Wynkoop Brewery, 4 blocks from the arena, also has cask ESB. Boy, we really like this Colorado front range area.