Saturday, September 12, 2009

Into Thin Air...

If you want to destroy my sweater
Pull this thread as I walk away

—Weezer, "Sweater Song" *

Downtown Denver is dreary and oddly desolate today. Sixty-something degrees, with a slight breeze that recalls November in DC. Rain threatens, clouds loiter. And when it comes, a pathetic drizzle, people sprout from the pavement like mushrooms. Odd.

I wake early in the rented room 10 stories above Champa Street with a slight headache and a timid malaise that isn't sure if it wants to rule the day or not. Getting out of bed is a coup. Below, outside, cyclists glide by silently in their own little hard-earned lane, safe and secure while the white lines last. Along neighboring 16th Street, horse-drawn carriages compete with human-powered pedicabs. LoDo and the ripples around it belong to cyclists, no doubt there. I feel at home.

Last night was a modest tour of the town, tour-de-force style, on foot. Great Divide is a small and unassuming red-brick building, industrial, with a functional bar area that believes in drink but not food, with plenty of locals lounging inside and out. No Hercules, no Hades, no DPA; all of it kicked. Not much left from which to choose. Two new 100-barrel fermenters couldn't forestall the unexpected shortage. Success has its would do well to remember that. Settled on the Tripel, which left me wanting (alas, Russian River and Allagash are pretty much the only two American breweries that can consistently make an enjoyable Belgian, as far as I'm concerned)—I knew better, but a man has to drink, doesn't he? Marco's Coal-fired Pizzeria has very good pizza and a disappointing beer selection, but the sultry charm and built-for-speed chassis of our waitress made up the difference. Monica. Who would have guessed? Hades, like the Tripel, needs some work, but it went down, all the same, and no better offerings meant a lower bill in the end. See the good in the bad, right?

Today, we hit Wynkoop Brewing Company on 18th Street, where a very dry but nonetheless interesting oak-aged barleywine started me off. That drained, I moved on to a Silverback Porter, whose disappointing sour taste (where's the coffee nuance?) put an early lid on things. Followed that joint up with a trip to the Falling Rock Tap House on Blake Street—"No Crap on Tap" and they mean it. Reminiscent of Charm City's Max's on Broadway. Pliney the Elder, Damnation, Modus Hoperandi (what a name!), Hopsickle, name your passion, it's all there. Willie G's Oyster Bar is calling to me now, and I won't keep it waiting much longer. Breckenridge Brewing Company figures into tonight's plan, and that should wrap it all up nicely.

SSWC09 is a week away, and I'm about as prepared for it as I am for La Ruta de los Conquistadores. Want proof? Okay, this should do: the Monkey is still in fixed mode—been that way for more than three months—and unless I can find a well-stocked bike shop between now and next Saturday, I'll be riding the course with an even greater disadvantage than my meager talent normally fronts. But apathy settled in weeks ago, and I don't know how to kick it. Whatever; I'll handle it as it comes, when it comes.

What else, what else? Oh, I'm the artist for a new stage race from the guy who brought you the Leesburg Baker's Dozen and Snotcycle races. Okay, I'm supposed to be the artist. Trying to finish up my design this weekend. Rob, have patience; I won't let you down.

Lastly, those looking for a conclusion to my report on Big Bear, well, keep hope alive. I mean, why not? It's free.

*One of the songs playing in Marco's Pizzeria. Great Divide featured a Pavement track, "Shady Lane." Ah, nostalgia.


Jon BALER said...

welcome back. See you in Durango!

gmr2048 said...

Good to see you bangin' out them purty words again, my friend. Looking forward to a long report on all things SSWC-related.

Blue-eyed Devil said...

Thanks, gents, you're too kind. Good to be back. Hopefully, it'll last.

Todd said...

Nice to see you writing again. I've really missed looking up words on Google.

Awesome usual.