Jagged Mountain Brewing – LoDo Denver

Jagged Mountain Brewing – LoDo Denver

NOTE: No trail with which to match their beers as I was working an RV Adventure and Travel Show at Convention Center in Denver.

RV-ing is alive and well in America.  For the 100th year of National Parks – make reservations early!!

Located in lower downtown Denver at Lawrence and 20th streets is the corner brewery, Jagged Mountain. jaggedmountainbrewery.com   They are not a restaurant. They are part of the trend of breweries who  have a rotating list of food trucks and concentrate on brewing.  As with Liquid Mechanics in Lafayette, the formula for Jagged Mountain a tremendous success.

THE BEERS – the good, the bad, and the amazingly complex!

These are my opinions – The Sky Pond Pale Ale is a refreshing beer that would be easily consumed pint after pint.  Good body, low alcohol but does not suffer for it, and enough hops to satisfy most hophead palates.  Sidewinder Single Hop Session – up the hops a level and also drinkable and refreshing!   Take it up another two levels to the Sawatch American Pale Ale in ABV and IBUs and this is a hophead go to at this brewery but…  try everything is my suggestion. The bad.  The Ptarmigan Black IPA really has no identity and even has sort of a thin funky flavor.  Turned half my 4 oz sample back in and sent it to the sewer rats.  Drinkable and sweet is the Cherry Wheat.  A 4 oz sample was fine and would satisfy the fruity beer people nicely.  Now for the surprises!  Saisons are difficult.  Most, to me, are glorified belgian beers and have no identity.  The Cougar Slayer is a blackberry saison that is their best seller.  Wow, nice beverage with the complexity of what a saison is supposed to have, so many flavors in a synergistic concert playing on the taste buds.  The best saison to me was the Indian Summer India Red Rye Saison which had even more flavors mixing with the rye, the hops, the belgian yeasties and a slightly spicy overtone.  Sitting next to me was a regular.  He was drinking the Grand Cru – a seasonal.   This was the amazingly complex to which I made reference.  A blend of Belgian Dubbel, Breckenridge Bourbon Barrel aged Belgian Quadruple, and a Cognac Barrel aged Russian Imperial Stout.  Holy golly what a beverage!  Will go back as I did not try them all.  Mile and a half walk back to motel in single digit temps.  Happy tastes buds and happy brew year!

La Luz Trail to La Luge!

La Luz Trail to La Luge!

How beautiful are the Sandia Mountains above Albuquerque?   A jaunt up the La Luz trail will be convincing.  On New Year’s day 2016, a layer of clouds capped the peaks and hung down to within 6 to 7 hundred feet of the trailhead.  Weather was cold, a few swirling breezes, low 20s, so I bundled up appropriately.  I parked 4 tenths of a mile below the trailhead in a free spot as there is a $3 state park fee.   The trail is steep and switchbacks are the norm for the La Luz trail which covers 4000 vertical in 7.7 miles to the top of the Sandia Crest.  The top was not my goal for this day but sometime this year it will be.   Feeling good, I turn on my Garmin GPS  to map the trail and maintain a slow steady pace.  Nine cars were in the parking lot which is always a good sign that locals use the trail regularly so it would be packed down at least for a distance as I had hoped.  Saw several people who were coming off the trail, from one serious hiker in major gear, from telescopic walking sticks, alpine boots, ski goggles and a south pole parka.  Others were hikers with not much clothing, street shoes, no gloves, no hats and probably did not go far.  A short jaunt to get the New Year started.


FEATURED BREWERY – Chama River Brewing Company  – chamariverbrewery.com  This place gets three thumbs up for the beer.   There were three stouts on draft, an imperial, rich and full of flavor,  a milk stout, softer and delicate than the imperial and so drinkable and their oatmeal stout, aka, the Sleeping Dog Stout, is  in between the other two but if blended with vanilla ice cream, with the chocolate and coffee overtones would make for one wonderful milkshake.  Great beer.  Their golden ale is refreshing, as I had come off the mountain run – I like to try something lighter.  It worked.  Next came the Copper John Pale Ale.  For a low IBU, the beer is an excellent balance and as their menu describes it, crisp.  On to the hoppiest, the Jackalope IPA.   IBUs of 80 satisfied my need for the lovely bitterness I needed and yet there is no lingering of too much hops.  Hops are reported to have anti inflammatory properties, which, after long runs, are used for medicinal and pleasure purposes.