Northwest Passage: Colorful Colorado

Colorful CO

The mountains are calling, and I must go -John Muir

After days of driving the windy plains of Nebraska and Wyoming (there were literally tumbleweeds rolling across the highway), we were giddy when the Rockies came into view.

When we arrived at Aaron and Heather’s in Ft. Collins, we quickly unloaded  the car and took the bikes to a local brewery and restaurant. Luckily for us it was trivia night.  Luckily for those Colorado State Students, we pedaled home early!

Drew's inspiration for the journey

Our team name: “Lewis and Clark.” Drew’s inspiration for the journey.

We started our day with a hike in the Cache La Poudre River valley.

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It felt great to stretch our legs in the fresh mountain air.

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Drew looks manly in that flowery camera strap

Drew looks manly in that flowery camera strap

Hungry and tired we stopped at Big City Burrito.

The potato burrito did not disappoint. Thanks, Brad!

The potato burrito did not disappoint. Thanks, Brad!

From there we went to New Belgium Brewery.

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I started the tour  skeptically.  I was sure that New Belgium had to have “sold out” to go from a project in some guy’s garage to the #3 craft beer producer in the country. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that while their production has sky-rocketed, they have stayed true to their values.

They are now 100% employee-owned(meaning that all stock is shared by employees without outside investors), with a “Director of Fun”.  The brewery features a rock wall, an indoor slide, pool and fooseball tables, and sand volleyball courts.  Each employee gets a free “New Belgium” cruiser bike at their one year anniversary.

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 They produce their own methane-gas power and clean their own waste water for the city of Fort Collins (free of charge).

Their in-town promotion and delivery vehicles are fully electric. 

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Their bottling operation is fully-powered by a massive solar panel installation.

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Even if you don’t drink beer, you have to acknowledge that the world would be a better place if all companies valued their employees, their community and the environment the way that New Belgium does.

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And did I mention that they make great beer?

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In addition to the wheats, ambers, and other Belgian-style beers, New Belgium does a "sour-style."  It is produced by aging their beer in French white oak barrels that previously held Cabernet.  The result seems strange at first but is definitely worth a try

New Belgium makes a “sour”style that  is produced by aging their beer in French white oak barrels that previously held Cabernet wine. The result may seem little odd at first, but don’t be surprised if after a few sips you find yourself looking for “La Folie”on your next beer run! We do.

We then spent the afternoon basking in the Colorado sun on the patio at another Ft. Collins staple, Odell.

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A perfect date night in “Old Town” was the icing on the cake.  Ft. Collins definitely lives up to the hype!

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