Beer n’ Loathing in Durango: Ska’s Anniversary Party

Beer n’ Loathing in Durango: Ska’s Anniversary Party

I was standing on a bike trail in pitch black dark. The rear tire of my borrowed bike was (I assumed) shredded. Just moments before, a commemorative pint glass or two fell out the bag I was carrying over my shoulder, shattered on the asphalt and interacted with the tubeless rear tire. I think these are all safe assumptions because I heard the familiar sound of shattering glass followed immediately but the hiss of air escaping breached rubber and the telltale wobble of a wheel no longer in possession of a tire.

Back up 20 minutes. Our crew was gathering outside the gates of Ska’s 20th Anniversary party. We’d spent the last three hours or so drinking beers from just over 30 different breweries and enjoying music from The Mad Caddies and Reel Big Fish. We weren’t exactly sober. Many of the breweries brought some big gun beers. I distinctly remember drinking a couple barrel aged Reel Big Stouts from Wynkoop, along with their barrel aged quad, Ska’s 20th Anniversary sour (also barrel aged) and the barrel aged 471 from Breckenridge. I know there were some other non barrel aged beers like Maharaja from Avery, Fanboy from Elevation and plenty of Oktoberfest from Left Hand.


Beer suicide, anyone?

Back up 30 minutes. In fact, I posted up at Left Hand for a little bit to say hi to my old friend Sarah since she was pouring by herself. I may or may not have poured for a little bit, but there is no evidence to support or refute that scenario. One of my last clear memories before the trek home was standing by the Left Hand booth while Reel Big Fish finished out their set with their song “Beer,” one of my all-time favorites.


Back up about another 30 minutes. While standing in a short, fairly acceptable bathroom line, I heard Reel Big Fish starting their set. I hurried into the next available unit, released my used beer and hustled over to a tent to get a refill. En route to that tent, I decided to do a little crop dusting. I mean, everyone was doing it already, so why not me too? Karma that’s why. Karma is the all seeing, all knowing force of the universe that doesn’t stand for unchecked flatulence. I know this because several moments after my crop dusting, it was clearly evident that I had gambled and lost. Translation: I sharted.


Reel Big Fish’s lead singer pointing me, the sharter, out in the crowd. Or maybe not.

Ska_buildingBack up approximately 15 minutes. I was at the Left Hand tent Drinking Oktoberfest or pilsner, it doesn’t really matter. The Mad Caddies had just finished up their set and the crowd was milling around getting beers and preparing for some skankalicious fun from Reel Big Fish. I was making new friends and marveling over Ska’s beautiful facility. Four stories, tall ceilings and checkered tile all over the place. I didn’t see as much of the facility as I intended because the line for the bathroom was pretty brutal so I went to the row of porta potties.

Back up roughly another 30 minutes. I was standing around watching The Mad Caddies play the only two songs of theirs that I know right off the bat. After those songs, I went back to wandering around the crowd and sampling beers. We were given full commemorative pint glasses upon entry and each pour was about four ounces, or should have been. Some places got a little liberal. I remember thinking to myself, Man, I’m doing pretty good. I bet I make it out of this without too much trouble. This thought usually precursors the exact opposite. Unless you’re reading this post from the bottom, you already know the spoiler alerts that I did not foresee coming.


Not nearly as mad as the name might imply.

skas-fermenting-tanksBack up another, hell I don’t know, hour or so? Our group is wandering around checking out the terrain. We break apart and eventually work our way back together. There’s not a ton of space to lose people since the party was confined exclusively to Ska’s parking lot and the tap room. A few of us were slightly dehydrated from the previous night’s activities (beer drinking) and were hitting up the Skagua, Ska’s special bubbly water. It’s important to be responsible when getting ready for several hours of heavy beer drinking. I was not one of those people.

Back up however much time it takes to us standing in line waiting to get into the party. It wasn’t super long, but about one mile from arriving, my stomach made the classic grumble of gastric distress. The massive omelette I ate for breakfast was ready to get the fuck out, and quick. So instead of thinking about all the wonderful beer and music awaiting me inside, I was calculating odds and formulating exit strategies in case the situation went to code red status. It was touch and go for a bit, but thankfully the line shrank like a penis in cold water and I was able to duck walk, extremely tight cheeked, to the first stall. It was immaculate. The port-a-john was completely untouched and I took it’s delicate poop virginity with reckless abandon.

So the hard lesson here: I should not have been surprised when I gambled and lost. Also, I should have been grateful it wasn’t too bad of a breach since I literally watched two thirds of Reel Big Fish’s set before going and tending to the problem. That said, I regret nothing.

The party was amazing. I doubt I would do much different except try to drink a little more Maharaja at Avery’s tent. That shit is divine. Also, maybe I would get more of Ska’s anniversary sour. As a man who isn’t much of a sour beer fan, that shit was also divine. Oh yeah I also wouldn’t have carried the bag with the pint glasses. And maybe not get so far out in front of everyone so I thought I was lost when I got the flat tire. Oh and I wouldn’t have gambled on that crop dust. I guess I would’ve done a lot different. Oh well, there’s always next year!

Samuel Sly
Written by Samuel Sly

Homeboy seemingly came out of nowhere. Michigan? Colorado? Truth be told, no one knows where this motherfucker came from. Rumor has it he dwells in Denver and drinks ram piss.

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