When I went to bed last night the temperature read 24 degrees and this was also the temperature when I got up just after dawn, so it likely didn’t get too much colder than that during the night. While I was washing up after breakfast I made an interesting discovery: all of the water in my water bottles were super-cooled so that it appeared liquid, but when poured it formed slushy piles. Pretty darn cool! I guess the implication is that it got below freezing inside last night, but I was still pretty cozy and slept well.

I went for a morning walk in Walmart before going to the library to do some more work. At 11:30 I headed over to the New Belgium brewery for what proved to be a very good tour. In addition to a ton of free beer (and some that hasn’t been released yet!) we also got to see most aspects of the brewery’s operations. The excellence of the tour came from the opposite end of the spectrum as my tour high-water mark of Karben 4 in Madison, WI. Whereas Karben 4 was awesome for its in-depth, nerdy intensity New Belgium was awesome for just being a ton of fun. In both cases passion for the job and the craft were key. Also nice was that, unlike most boring brewery tours, they didn’t spend a huge amount of time on the actual beer making process. I think they figure that those who really care already know or will ask. Instead they focused on New Belgium as a brewery, a story, a culture. It worked!

Here’s a video of some wort getting stirred in a giant pot. Pretty mesmerizing:

In addition to beer stuff the brewery was covered with a lot of cool art. Here was a favorite of mine. Sort of an opposite bike:

Big ol' oak wine barrels used to make sour beers

To the left is a view of the room where they make all their sour beer. These big barrels are old wine barrels that are now perfect for making such a brew. It was cool how each barrel was a different size and shape and this gave the room a very whimsical character. Below are views of their bottling and canning lines. I’ve watched enough “How It’s Made” to know all about what goes on down there, but it was still very cool to see it.

After the tour I stuck around for one paid glass of a very strong beer and was pretty darn drunk when I left. A few more hours at the library didn’t help as much as I wanted so I headed over to Big Al’s for a 60/40 burger. That’s 60% beef and 40% bacon. I must have looked pitiful or something because they threw in a monster side of fries for free. The burger was good, but I’m not sure I noticed the bacon. Thus improved I only needed another hour or so in the library before I was sober enough to drive back to Denver for the weekend. Walking back to Van Halen I noticed that New Belgium looked very nice at night.

New Belgium at night

A learning moment: When I opened the driver’s side blinds I bunched them up just behind the driver’s seat, which completely blocked my blind spot. As a result I almost got smooshed by a very big truck as I was merging onto I-25. Very scary and I’ll never make that mistake again.

Other observations:

  • Nice train tracks

    All the towns I’ve been to so far have been beautiful at night with lit-up trees. I think Ft. Collins took it a little too far, though. These trees probably hamper the function of those train tracks quite a bit.

  • Joe Walsh’s “Life’s Been Good” is barely bearable when it’s 4 minutes or so. The 8+ minute extended cut is so god awful that it really makes me doubt the sanity of whatever DJ played it.


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