On Friday afternoon, Donna and I walked along the trail by Cattail Pond out of the Boulder County Fairgrounds. We hit Boston Avenue and headed east. Our destination was Longmont’s most well-known brewery – Left Hand Brewing Company. It was warm out – in the upper 80s, but the walk was nice – close to a mile and a half.
We had a reservation for a brewery tour. The brewery is housed in a much smaller facility than I expected – they brew a lot of beer here. Their beer is distributed in 40 states, the District of Columbia, Europe and Japan. There were only three participants in the tour – Donna, me and a guy from Lyons. The tour guide told us about the beginning of the brewery when they searched for a suitable location in 1993. They found this building and thought it would be ideal. It had concrete floors with built-in drainage. Keeping the gear and brewing environment clean is a very important part of a successful brewery.
When she told us it was formerly a meat processing plant called Green’s Sausage, I was stunned. I lived here in 1976 and was a laborer on the post setting crew for Anderson Fence Company. In the ’70s and probably well beyond, almost all fence building contracts along the Front Range north of Denver were held by Anderson. We fenced this property back then when it was called Green’s Whole Hog Sausage! I didn’t recognize the place as back then it was the only building in the area surrounded by farms and horse properties. Now it’s on a busy street with a greenbelt along the St. Vrain River next door.
The brewery runs three shifts producing beer 24/7. It’s a very efficient operation brewing 60 barrel (1,860 gallons) batches simultaneously in several fermenters. It’s a wonder they are able to fulfill worldwide demand from this relatively small operation.
After the tour, Donna and I each a sampler flight of beer and followed it up with a pint – milk stout for me and porter for Donna. Left hand is known for their quality stouts. In my opinion it’s more difficult to brew a fine stout than it is to brew a hop monster IPA. Stouts are more delicate and flaws are obvious while a hoppy, bitter, high-gravity brew can hide some flaws.
We walked a different route back and got three miles of walking in to offset some of the beer. I’ve lost about 15 pounds since the end of RAGBRAI in Iowa and wouldn’t mind to take another seven or eight pounds off.
We tracked Hurricane Harvey as it hit the Texas coast. We stayed in Rockport, Texas a couple of years ago. They took the brunt of the storm in Rockport and Port Aransas. Rockport suffered major damage and people are still missing there. We can only hope for the best. My daughter Jamie was spared by the worst of it in Robstown, just outside of Corpus Christi. It’s amazing what a difference 30 or 40 miles can make in a situation like this. The story is far from over though as widespread flooding will continue for days to come. Our thoughts are with the people of Texas.
Donna was up early Saturday morning. She headed out before sunrise on her bicycle two and half miles to the start of the Venus de Miles cycling event. Venus de Miles is a fundraiser for Greenhouse Scholars and Donna received over $500 in pledges. She opted to ride the century distance – 100 miles. The participants were all women.
It wasn’t an easy ride. The elevation change over the course added up to 4,380 feeet of climbing. It was also very hot out – the temperature here in Longmont topped out at 94 degrees. I went to the finish area around 4pm and saw Donna cross the finish line after 102 miles of riding.
Committing to a century ride is commendable – riding 100 miles in one shot isn’t easy. Donna felt like this was a good time to do it as she felt strong after training for RAGBRAI and making the ride across Iowa.
After the finish, Donna was treated to a free massage while I had a free beer from Bristol Brewing – a brewery in Colorado Springs. Donna also had a free meal at Comida – a Mexican restaurant across the street from the park at the finish. I headed for home while she went to the restaurant with her new friend from the ride. And then she rode the last two and half miles back to the campground.
High pressure continues to dominate the weather here. We can expect mostly sunny days with highs in the upper 80s to low 90s for next few days. I think we’ll stay here until Wednesday, then head down to Colorado Springs.