This is my first blog post and my first opportunity writing for an audience. Bear with me because this could get grizzly! Yes, pun intended. I’m starting this blog because I have decided to strike out on a new path and a learn a whole new set of skills, I’d like to share my experience with you.
I have been in the restaurant hospitality industry for fifteen years now. From bussing tables to slinging drinks even running my own kitchen. I thought I’d experienced all my skill set had to offer. Until now…
Four years ago I attended Culinary School in Orlando at Le Cordon Bleu and took an externship in the beautiful Denali Alaska. Lots of hiking, adventures, exploring, partying and beer, lots and lots of beer. They have a brewery called 49th State Brewing, great beer, great food and a great atmosphere. They hosted events that were exciting, inviting and, kept customers coming back. It wasn’t my first, I had been to a few breweries already but they seemed to have something special.
I used to think that IPAs were the only craft beer that was worth a damn. Bitter and strong, a flavor you can taste, and you knew you were going to get drunk quick! 49th State didn’t disappoint there Solstice IPA is just that, bold and flavorful.
If culinary school taught me one thing it’s to forever be expanding your pallet and that’s how I fell in love with a new style of beer. 49th States Belgium inspired triple Golden Dahl, is the love of everyone’s life in Denali. Weighing in at 9.0% ABV (alcohol by volume) and a low IBU (international bitter units) of 19 it is palletable and before you know it you’re smashed!
Another local restaurant, Salmon Bake, provides a large selection of craft beer had giving me the opportunity to try another type of beer I’d never expirenced. A farmhouse saison called Tank 7 from Boulevard Brewing. 8.5%ABV and 38 IBUs, tasty and dangerous as well. My excitement for beer was growing and I began trying new flavors and styles I would never have ordered before. My love for beer was growing.
Working seasonally opens up a lot of opportunities to travel. In Denali they had a job fair where other companies have the opportunity recruit you for their season. Copper Mountain Colorado was a no brainer. Legal weed, snowboarding, and hundreds of breweries to explore. My mouth was watering at the thought of it. I started my first season in the winter and stayed for the summer.
During my stay my buddy and I had an idea for a restaurant that we were going to pitch to the Copper Mountain Corporation. I designed a menu using local ingredients and dishes that were specific to the area. Our idea was that if you’re in Colorado enjoy the tastes of Colorado you should be including the local beer selection. We traveled to brewery after brewery in Denver, Fort Collins, Colorado Springs, Breckenridge, Dillon, Boulder, just to name a few, the list goes on.
At each location we purpose our ideas and we were given the opportunity try multiple beers from many different breweries. They treated us like kings! Taking us on private tours, we even got to speak with brew masters and my mind was expanding. Now my buddy is a big hefeweizen fan but hates porters and stouts. I didn’t mind them but to me they were all the same. After being forced to drink them I changed my mind. So dark so tasty so full.
Each brewery had their own unique signature profiles and it peaked my curiosity. I started experimenting with heffiwezens, just to spite my buddy, but the beer persuaded me to enjoy it’s light spiced, fruity taste. Another style that my tummy sing and head buzz.
Great Divide introduced me to barley wine with Old Ruffian. I had no idea barley wine was a thing until then and what a way to get introduced to it. Despite it’s name barley wine is very much a beer and very alcoholic. Again my pallet was expanding and I was begging to understand the difference in brewing style and ingredients used in these tasty liquids sent from the gods.
There were flavors I didn’t even know could be in beer and that’s what really started inspiring me. Mockery Brewing blew my mind with a smoked lager. It tasted like pork, campfire and an earthy taste of pine. Funky Buddha neapolitan porter with the taste of vanilla chocolate and strawberry that comes at you in waves tasting each flavor by it self one after the other. My favorite is their Sweet potato casserole, it’s their seasonal spin to counter all the pumpkin beers which don’t get me wrong I love. I’m like a white girl when it comes to pumpkin flavored beers, I run straight for them.
Everywhere I travel to I visit local breweries.
With each beer and every new flavor, my passion for food has started to take the back seat. The thought of brewing these blissful liquids to tantalize tastebuds and fuzz the brain won’t escape me. I’m obsessed!
Last week, while enjoying a few brews with some friends at TBC, I took a step towards this new obsession. I purchased my first kettle and beer brewing kit. I even named it! Short Bus Brewing.
Visualize and materialize right? So raise your pints, goblets, chalices, snifters and tulip glasses and cheers me to a new adventure!