On a whim and the wing of a cohiker’s iPhone for directions, after Saturday’s hike I journey 5 miles up the road to a destination recognizable to the lot of ya:
Bypassing the alluring charms of historic little Golden is no easy feat. But I’ve got bigger fish to fry. A tour.
That thar kettle’s the original, ma ‘n’ pa, back from when Adolph Coors, an immigrant from Prussia with little money in his pocket and a big dream in his mind, started up the brewery with another fella. The year was 1883.
The two eventually parted ways and Coors became sole owner; the family business continues to this day.
Prohibition put the kibosh on so’s the Coors folks, aimin’ to stay afloat, put the kettle to use makin’ malted milk. Eventually it was taken outta service an’ put here on display to celebrate the 120th anniversary of the brewery’s founding.
At the plant, cold water’s thrown on my plan. The tour’s so popular that, aside from reservations, they accept only busloads from the corner of 16th and Ford Streets, where folks wait upwards of an hour and more to see the innards of the brewery that’s blossomed from 3,500 barrels a year (a barrel = 31 gallons) in its infancy to 20 million-plus today.
My plan’s not a total washout. Sure, I can’t venture into the plant. I’m welcomed, however, to visit the gift shop if so inclined; I’m not.
And thanks to my oh-so-fashionable paper bracelet taped around the wrist sample three free beers from the tasting lobby, second floor.
Not bad for a drop-in!!
The tasting room’s awash with happy visitors, photographs and plaques recounting the Coors’ tale.
After examining the faces, I pick this fella as the one I’d most like to meet. Were he alive.
The line to the taps is long but moves at a clip. Pickins are easy from the seven or eight items on the blackboard menu, thanks to a process of elimination.
I plan my beers accordingly, beginning with the Colorado Native, a crisp amber comprising some 98% local ingredients.
Chilled, oh does it hit the spot after a three-hour hike in the sunshine!
Next is Batch 19, a lager resurrected from a Prohibition recipe. Not crazy about it.
However, it IS free so I can’t complain too loudly. And these aren’t Dixie-cup samples either, they’re pony-sized glasses so I REALLY can’t!
Capping off my tour from the table is an old friend Blue Moon, with a slice of orange
Sparkling conversation — a cliche but really — with Chris from Montana and Elizabeth from Florida is a perfect accompaniment to a tabletop tour.
For accompaniments of the edible sort, small bags of pretzels are available for a buck-25 from vending machines and for the kiddies and others who don’t imbibe, soft drinks in lieu of beers.
A couple hours pass by in the blink of an eye and a nod in the tasting room, where frowns are few and friendly interactions are many, from the staff collecting empties, in a timely manner too, to the pourers to the patrons. The vibe’s bustling but never rushed.
And visitors are from everywhere. Why, just behind me in line for glass 3 is a couple from Wales!
So a proper tour must wait for another day.
In the meantime, it’s pretty darn cool that drop-ins can make due with a free tabletop tour via photos and plaques on the walls and suds from the tap.