colorado hops

Eight reasons to visit Colorado

Colorado is the home of the Rocky Mountains, the gateway to the West, filled with pioneer history, real life cowboys, hip towns, hot springs and some of the best hiking, biking, camping and climbing you’re ever likely to find – all only one direct flight away, with British Airways flying to Denver seven times per week.

Winter here is rightly famous, but the adventure lasts all year. In summer, wildflowers carpet the mountain slopes; in autumn, golden hues race through the forests. There are 300 days of sunshine a year, more 14ers (mountain summits over 14,000-feet) than any other state and a festival scene that doesn’t quit - from the spectacular Snowmass Hot Air Balloon Festival where hundreds of balloons fill the sky with colour, to the slightly mad Iron Horse Bicycle Classic (fancy chasing a steam train up a mountain anyone?), Colorado’s got you covered.

Powder dreams

Photo by Dolly1224 on Pixabay

European ski resorts might get all the airtime, but for true winter junkies a Rocky Mountain trip is a must. Powder here is drier, lighter and perfect for carving, plus the runs are empty and enormous. The amount of choice is superb too, from the wide-open bowls of Vail and Breckenridge to the fast lines of Aspen and Snowmass, as well as more than a dozen other world-class winter resorts within a short drive of each other.

Elevated adventure

Photo by Unknown on Pixabay

Colorado is home to 12 national parks and monuments, offering everything from backpacking and horseback riding to rafting, rock climbing and even, in Great Sand Dunes National Park, sand boarding among North America’s highest dunes. Most ski resorts stay open year-round, switching from pistes to downhill mountain biking trails and keeping the lifts running for high-elevation hiking and easy-to-reach panoramic views. The town of Grand Junction makes an excellent adventure base-camp, with some of the best outdoor activities in the state right in its back yard.

Some like it hot

Photo by on kahern Pixabay

Combining the spectacular scenery of the Rockies with five of the hippest hot spring towns in the country, the 720-mile Historic Hot Springs Loop is the best way to soak up Colorado’s healing waters. With 30 natural thermal pools open year-round, highlights include the largest mineral hot springs pool in the world at Glenwood Springs, the soothing natural vapour caves of Ouray and the bubbling delights of Steamboat.

National Parks

Photo by Niagara66 on Wiki Commons 

Rocky Mountain National Park is legendary: a 415-square-mile wilderness of jagged peaks and high alpine lakes home to coyote, black bear and moose. The fun mountain town of Estes Park, a great base from which to explore it, is just 1.5 hours from Denver. There are lesser known national parks too such as Black Canyon of the Gunnison, a spectacular 2,000-foot gorge that rivals the Grand Canyon but draws a fraction of the crowds, and the cliff-dwellings of Mesa Verde, one of the best preserved examples of Native American culture in the country.

Red Rocks Amphitheatre


If you’re after something a little less strenuous, try Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre – by day it’s a free city park just 30 minutes west of Denver with hiking trials and giant rock formations, by night, an outdoor music venue that has hosted everyone from The Beatles to local jazz, rock and bluegrass artists.

The Wild West


From ghost towns and vintage trains to working cowboy ranches and the largest rodeo in the world, Denver’s annual National Western Stock Show and Rodeo (as well as the first: the Deer Trail Rodeo which started in 1869) – the Wild West is alive and kicking in Colorado. 

Saddle up or join a cattle drive, and you’ll feel the spirit of that old frontier still; footprints of dinosaurs embedded in stone, petroglyphs carved into cliffs, rivers where you can pan for gold. 

Want to look the part? Head to Rockmount Ranch Wear in downtown Denver, where Western icon, Jack A. Weil, invented the first cowboy shirt with poppers instead of buttons and popularised Western wear into popular culture.

Hop Heaven 


With more craft breweries per capita than any other state, Colorado is heaven for hop heads. Denver’s Great American Beer Festival is the largest craft beer event in the country while the Telluride Blues & Brews Festival is set in a spectacular valley. But, it’s the little-known gems that really catch the eye: The Grimm Brothers, serving fable-inspired brews in Loveland, and the mountain views from Avery’s enormous outdoor patio in Boulder, are two local favourites. 

Get the true lowdown on a self-guided tour along the Denver Beer Trail and sample everything from stouts to lagers.

Sports Mad

Photo by colour line on Wiki Commons 

Denver is Bronco’s country. When Colorado’s American Football team plays, the whole city dresses in orange to support. Catch games live at the Blake Street Tavern in the heart of downtown. But with seven premier sports teams in all, don’t stop there. On a warm summer night, hot dog in one hand, cold beer in the other, there’s no better place to be than Coors Field, home of The Rockies baseball team.

On the Rails

Photo by Carol M. Highsmith on Wiki Commons 

The steam-powered Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railway, built in 1882, cuts spectacularly through the canyons and remote mountains of the San Juan National Forest – a journey taken by Colorado’s first pioneers more than a century ago.  While vintage train lovers will adore Pikes Peak Cog Railway, near Colorado Springs. The highest cog railway on the planet, it climbs to the 14,114-foot summit of Pike’s Peak, the view from here inspired the song America the Beautiful

Plan your Colorado holiday with British Airways

Words by Aaron Millar

Header Photo by VISIT DENVER

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Rupture by Odell Brewing Co.

Rupture is not a very nice-sounding name. In fact, it makes me think of Rupture Farms, the meat processing plant that would give Upton Sinclair a coronary from the game Oddworld (old school PS1 yo!). The meaning behind the name is that Odell has a machine that ruptures whole hops to get that fresh hop oil essence. Odell, from Fort Collins, Colorado, makes quite a few good hoppy beers and this is one of them. There’s lots of citrus and resin hop flavors and they do indeed taste bright and fresh. The bitterness is mid-level which is actually nice because the hop flavors shine through better that way. The beer has a good dry finish. Overall, I’d say Rupture hits the sweet spot in between an American pale ale and an IPA. I would definitely drink this again. 


Harvest was a great success. Last year we tackled infrastructure in the field, this year it was all about perfecting the harvesting and drying parts of the process. Since a whole year’s work can be lost in one hour in the drying table it was a moment of great pride and joy when Scott at Odell’s gave the Hippie Chicks an “A” rating on our dried hops! The dehumidification system was designed by local HVAC contractor, and good friend of the Hippie Chicks, Mack Newman. Mack enjoyed researching the hops drying process — it was a fun challenge for him. “In my trade, the jobs we take on are pretty repetitive and similar. So it was fun to do something a little different this time,” he said. After braving about a six inch stack of research, his resulting design managed to achieve ideal moisture content without using ANY heat, the hops were dried quickly with high airflow in the barn which is naturally warm during our sunny Colorado summers! As beer lovers know, heat kills the alpha acids in the hops… and we can’t have that! Larger farms often have to use heaters to hurry the process… but our small farm doesn’t have that problem.

We babied those bines all season, and boy did it pay off! We averaged about 5 lbs. (wet) per plant. With this being our second year in production, we are right on the mark for the data, as quoted in the Expected Yield Tables for Second Year Hops Field.

Our alpha acids were amazing! We surely see the power of clover, composted chicken manure, and fish emulsion! And let us not underestimate the power of Hippie Chick love and energy!

Thanks to the hundred thousand lacewings eggs that were hand planted in June for keeping the pests away. They consider the aphid and spider mite the equivalent of prime rib — and they are even more aggressive than ladybugs!

Finding the apple sorter — a vintage gem — was “like winning the lottery, finding that damn machine so well preserved!” Julie said. With the help of April and Dano it was converted into a hops picker! A big thanks to everyone who helped make this year another successful harvest — including all of our diligent helpers, and our friends and fellow hop growers in Palisade, The Pinnts at Palisade Hops farm. What an amazing stroke of luck that David and Karen are willing to let us use it! We are also so grateful for all of the support from Colorado Breweries: Odell Brewing Company, Tommyknocker Brewery, Crazy Mountain Brewery, Wynkoop (owned by the governor of Colorado, and Falling Rock Brewery in a collaborative effort with Odell. 


I think for the time being, it’ll be quality not quantity posts (so: random, long posts are going to be coming your way).

Since the last time I saw you guys:

  • Tori’s sister got married! I got to spend last weekend on the coast with @themidwestpeach and @unexpectedsmile and my family and witness the nuptials and have libations with my friends and laugh a lot a lot.
  • Tori asked me to be her MOH. It is such a serious honor and I will use that cup while fulfilling my duties in Kansas come October. (Also I accidentally dropped my box in the hotel parking lot just minutes after being asked, and confetti went everywhere…starting it off on the right foot, folks)
  • The Fall semester is over. Final grades submitted, final last ditch efforts for higher grades denied. I am taking a few days off from any and all things school related.
  • Currently: IN COLORADO. I hopped a plane Tuesday night, 24 hours after my last class, and I get to hang out with Oso for a wholeeee week. By some crazy coincidence, a big snow storm rolled in Tuesday, too, which cancelled school and work in CO and a lot of morning flights out of DIA. Luckily, my flight was late enough that I missed all off the delays and cancellations and landed on time, getting to experience 16 degree weather and real, legit Christmas snow.
  • I also: have slept in, worked out a few times, got a Christmas tree with the OS (which is still currently frozen, since it hasn’t gotten above 32 degrees in the last few days), and started the Star Wars movies.

Solid start to my Christmas Vacation