I posted once about my distaste for high-end clubs and rubbing elbows with the social elite. I’ll re-emphasize: I would rather sit in a dive bar talking to a guy speaking indecipherable gibberish, fearing for my life than go to a club and fist pump with a bunch of goofy-haired, designer-clothed baboons. Yet, in that same post I also said people need to step out of their comfort zones from time to time. Since I try to practice what I preach, I agreed to take a trip somewhere for New Year’s Eve of 2012 I wouldn’t normally think about going to party. The year itself was a roller coaster of personal highs and lows, and thinking back about things that didn’t turn out how I expected, I surmised partying in establishments where I normally wouldn’t be caught dead could yield interesting insights to life, beer and the pursuit of buzziness. Our location: Aspen Colofuckingrado.
It’s a small mountain town with some serious star appeal. I can see why, though. It’s tucked neatly away in the Rocky Mountains miles away from any interstate. It’s not like you have to get through a two track to get to it like Telluride, but it’s in the right location to make you feel strangely snug despite being in a full sized town. The town itself is basically the base of three different mountains. There is no “official” resort since the town fills that gap. At any point in the day you will see people in ski and snowboard garb cruising around town or stopping for a bite to eat or drink. I’m going to be honest here and say before my experience, Aspen held a spot in my mind as a place where beautiful people go to drink their wine, artisan cocktails and judge people. It’s actually a cool little town that embraces a lot of Colorado’s spirit, including beer, but with a glamorous twist. This multi-part story I’m about to dive into may, or may not, capture Aspen’s charm. There’s your warning.
I’m pretty sure most enthusiastic drinkers have had marathon drinking days where your friends are talking to you the next day, amazed you even were able to walk. My trip to Aspen contained one of those days. I guess I should throw some facts in here about Aspen to legitimize the story. Well, it’s fucking cold in December and the air is thin. The whole town has roughly the square mileage of a hot air balloon and there are cougars (the sexy kind) everywhere. There. Facts.
The story starts with our arrival on Saturday night. We are two truckloads of assholes fresh off a day of riding Breckenridge (and enjoying some of their beers as well). After much hoopla and wasting fuel trying to figure out who’s staying where we take our first bus trip to downtown Aspen for dinner at Above the Salt. It’s a cool joint. The food is tasty, everyone is super accommodating, the setting is cozy and we knew the manager. This evening was basically the calm before the shitstorm. I ate pizza, I drank New Belguim Snow Day and I managed to nab a shot of the house’s Lemoncello. I behaved myself for two reasons that night: We might be going snowboarding in the morning and a lift ticket is $120. I did NOT want to waste that lift pass. So I enjoy a nice evening with my friends and try not to disturb the peace for the other 20 people in my friend’s restaurant. Simple enough.
Next morning: apparently I was the only one who drank responsibly because NOBODY is getting their ass in gear to actually make it onto the mountain. Eventually the clock hits 10 am and as far as I’m concerned, riding is shot. We make an executive decision to go get some breakfast at a little diner called Hickory House Ribs. This place boasts the best ribs in Colorado. What did I think? I don’t know because I skipped the ribs and ordered the best damn breakfast on the menu. Sausage, eggs, hashbrowns and corned beef hash. MY JAM! Now what goes the best with breakfast? If you said Bloody Marys, you get two points. I start getting into those shits like I’m 19 and didn’t get carded. I kept telling myself, “C’mon Sly. When in Rome you gotta drink like the Romans do.” That was the first of several really dumb decisions.
What other dumb decisions did I make? Did I end up accepting Aspen for the beautiful and exotic beer haven it is? Did I find any real craft breweries? Did I desecrate a local monument and find myself in trouble with the law? Come back in two weeks when I continue the saga of Aspen, Colorado and find out! Until then, just remember…
An open mind and a few beers can make anywhere an adventure.