First Climbing Trip of the Year

It took forever for spring weather to get here, but now that it’s nice, we can start taking climbing trips again. This past weekend we made it to the New River Gorge, WV.

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We got some great and some scary climbs in and were joined by Katy and Andy mid day. Later, for the hike out, K & A broke out the beers they carried in with them!  They had a couple of good looking IPAs and I got to try my first Cigar City beer. I had the Jai Alai IPA by Cigar City Brewing of Tampa, FL at 7.5% abv.

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It had an orange tropical papaya fruitness to it along with the resinous piney IPA bite.

After checking out the climbing shoes at the local gear shop, Katy and I got some beers while waiting for the boys.

I started dinner off with the Ayinger Bräu Weisse at 5.1% abv.

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An unusual pick for me, but quite tasty and refreshing.

Climbing and Hogshead Brewery

More climbing! Actually I’m gonna throw a few random pictures in here before I get to the cute little brewery we found.

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After a day of climbing, we went out in Boulder that night and got Mexican food. Emma and Ben also joined us! It was great to get a chance to see all of our friends that recently moved to CO!

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The next day we climbed some more! It was crazy hot and there was no shade. I recall huddling under a small bush for a while, trying to stay out of the sun!

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But that night we were back in Denver and went out in search of dinner and drinks. Hogshead brewery sounded really awesome so we stopped by, the only downside was that they don’t have a kitchen. This seems to be a common theme for small breweries in CO. But I kept finding it surprising.

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Hogshead has nothing but cask beer! Cask beer is unfiltered and is secondary fermented in the cask. There is no additional CO2 or nitrogen used to carbonate the beers. When being served a cask beer, the bartender will have to “pull” or hand pump the beer into your glass.

(I love the t-shirt on the wall in the picture, F*CK CO2, I should have gotten one! Damn!)

Hogshead was really cool because they focus mostly on traditional English style beers, so I knew I would find something I would really enjoy. I got the Gilpin Black Gold, a porter.

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Maybe I was just ravenously hungry, but I thought this beer was delicious! If I only could have ordered food I would have spent all evening in this taproom!

A subtle and well done porter. Nice hints of coffee but I wouldn’t call it robust. English malts and semi sweet chocolate. Very smooth. Not completely flat, but exactly what I would expect of cask beer. Velvety and creamy mouthfeel .

Jack and Liz also tried different beers, while I cant remember what they ordered, I know I took a little sip and they were all fantastic. This little brewery was a gem of a find!

Amber and Odell Brewery

Ok, finally I can continue with the Colorado trip! Jack, Liz and I drove up to Fort Collins to and picked up Amber for a day of climbing!

Just getting to the climbing area was really exciting. We had to wade across a river. Its CO, so the water was freezing and ended up coming all the way up to our butts! To top it off there was a moderate current and lots of little rapids! It took a lot of careful little footsteps to make it across without getting any of the gear wet or falling in!

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But once we got there the climbing was awesome!

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We climbed at an area called Miners Wall because there was a creepy little mine entrance. Unfortunately after getting in only a couple of climbs each, it started to rain. We tried to wait it out but it didn’t seem like it was going to let up. We decided to call it a day and check out some of the awesome places to have beers in Fort Collins.

We first went to New Belgium, but they were closed. So we headed over to Odell Brewing Company and signed up for a tour!

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We had time before the tour for a beer so I got the Cutthroat Porter at 5.1% abv.

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I was concerned the porter would be too hoppy, but it was really spot on and well balanced! Nice dark roasted malts, creamy, robust with hints of coffee and molasses. Almost borderline with a stout. Really enjoyed it!

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The tour had about 25 people and seemed kinds crowded. We only saw one or two rooms and the guide was so-so. It wasn’t a bad tour, but I’ve had better. I think I was spoiled by Belgium.

Anyway, when we finished the tour we were given free little samples of their Easy Street unfiltered wheat beer.

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Amber loves beer too so we were in heaven!! Since they didn’t really do any sampler trays we decided to get two more beers and all split them.

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We got the Myrcenary at 9.3% abv and the 5 Barrell Pale Ale at 5.2% abv.

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These two were not quite my preferred style and were much hoppier, but splitting them was a good idea. I think I preferred the 5 Barrel Pale Ale a bit more because its more of an English style Pale ale and was not overly hoppy for my palate.

We left in high spirits even though we got rained out of our climbs earlier. But they day didn’t end there, we then headed to another bar but ill save that for next time!

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More climbing!!

After a fantastic day on the rock with fantastic people, we got back to the cars, and the coolers, and proceeded to have some tasty beverages!

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I started off with a fantastic beer by one of my favorite breweries. I had the Merry Monks by Weyerbacher Brewery of Easton, PA at a buzz inducing 9.3% abv.

It seems a shame to drink it straight out of the bottle, but on climbing trips I suppose we must sometimes “rough it.” Fantastic flavors. Banana and cloves. Moderately bubbly, it would be so pretty in a glass. Sweet malt and yeast, fruits like apples and pears. And on a cool evening, a wonderful warming beer.

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We just chilled in the chilly air by the cars for almost an hour, till we got a bit too cold and hungry.

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Then of course we went to Pies and Pints again.

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I have to admit, I was actually brought the wrong beer. I had ordered the Ayinger Celebrator, and got the Ayinger Ur-Weiss by Brauerie Aying of Aying, Germany at 5.8% abv.

But I was happy anyway. And sometimes its hard to continually try new beers when you know for certain there are beers available that you love. So I thought of it as a good mistake.

It’s a wheat beer, but a dark one. Really great mouthfeel, chewy. Ripe fruit, caramel and toffee. Heavy on the malts and yeast. If you like Belgian beers then this might be the wheat beer, or Dunkelweizen, for you!

Spring Trips to the New River Gorge, WV

I love spring climbing trips! Although when we went it was still a bit chilly. After an awesome day climbing (I sent another 11a!) we got back to the cars and opened a few beers.

Jack and I split the Liefman’s Goudenband which is a Flanders Oude Bruin by Brouwerij Liefman’s of Oudennarde, Belgium at 8% abv.

It was the perfect temperature, since it was a cool day. Wonderfully tart, sour berries, caramelized sugar.

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Of course we then headed to our favorite place to eat in Fayetteville, Pies and Pints!

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With dinner I had another beer, I wanted something darker with the pizza and I got the Breckenridge Vanilla Porter by Breckenridge Brewery of Denver, CO at 4.7% abv.

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A tasty, hearty beer. Especially after tasting a sour beer, the vanilla in this porter really jumped out at me. Along with creamy chocolate, toffee and light coffee flavors. Soft and somewhat like cream soda. Delicious!

Red Rocks Nevada

This spring we have been super busy going on climbing trips! One of the earliest ones of the season was our trip to Red Rocks, Nevada!

Red Rocks is a really awesome place to visit for many reasons. Its only 10 minutes outside Vegas! (Yay cheap casino rooms!) Its got multiple different kinds of climbing available like sport leading and multi pitch climbs. And even if you aren’t a climber the paths, hiking and scrambling over rocks is breath taking.

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I focused mostly on sport leading. There are already bolts in the wall and as you go up you clip your rope into them. Usually with sport climbs you push your limit of climbing and are willing to climb something hard and rick taking a fall. The falls are safe, the rope will catch you, but they’re still a little scary.

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There were beers had but I have to admit, I was having such a good time climbing and hanging out that I didn’t always have my camera on me for a good picture. But thank you to our friends Terence and Nadia for sharing their homebrews with us! They were very tasty!

On the last day of climbing, I found an amazing climb and pushed myself really hard and sent my first 5.11a! I was so psyched!! The Canadians that were climbing next to us offered my a victory beer and even though it was a Coors Light I couldn’t say no!

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I was so happy to send 11 that the Coors tasted awesome! I was also a little dehydrated and since its pretty watery so it was refreshing!

This is gonna be a good year for me for climbing, I can just feel it!!