Greetings from Denver!

It is absolutely gorgeous out here and we couldn’t have asked for better weather. It’s been clear blue skies for two days, and the high yesterday was 57 degrees. Take that, freezing cold tundra that is Iowa! ;)

We arrived via plane Saturday morning and were absolutely giddy to see the mountains in the distance as we drove into town!

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We’re staying at my little brother’s apartment in downtown Denver – an absolute perfect location to walk to all the hustle & bustle, and entertainment that Denver has to offer. I will say, I’m a wee bit jealous!

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We dropped our bags off at the apartment and immediately hit the pavement. First stop was LoDo – lower downtown Denver, CO!

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Oh but first we had to stop for my morning crack pick me up – Starbucks. Then, we were on our way… :)

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Downtown is very unique and special – containing sculptures like these painted sheep. Can you spot IGE?

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They’re known for their 16th Street Mall, which was all decked out for the Holidays. Super cute!

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There was also these really interesting painted pianos that we randomly found throughout the city. They were free to anyone to sit down and play for as long as they liked.

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We sat and listened to this girl for awhile. She was good!

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Downtown Denver also contains a little district called Larimer Square, just off of 16th Street – which is where we headed next. But not before posing with this bear statue we found. There’s a lot of wild life statues around – I dig that! Very representative of the area.

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Ahh – here we are! I’m telling you – this little square is so adorable. Lot of little unique shops and restaurants. We’re going to go back at night because the whole street has been lined and strung with Christmas lights. I can only imagine how beautiful it will be!

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Oh look, we found another piano!

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This time Ben gave it a go.

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He doesn’t even know how to play the piano, yet busted out a tune on the spot. How does he do it, I wonder?

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Sooo, downtown was all well and good – but we have priorities. It was time to tap the rockies – the Coors Brewery Tour was calling our name! :D

The Coors brewery is in the tiny town of Golden, Colorado. It was established during Colorado’s gold rush, and is just as cute as can be!

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It’s about 15 minutes outside Denver, and the drive there was just beautiful.

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Ahh, here we are!

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To get to the actual factory, you park and take a shuttle. All aboard!

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The complex is absolutely massive and looks like it’s floating on water.

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The factory uses water found deep underground to make their beer with, and any surface water is used to cool down the equipment.

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Here’s one of the first brewing kettles used in the 1800s. It was massive!

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Soon enough, we were whisked inside and started the tour. We were given self guided sets that you could hold up to your ear and listen about the entire brewing process. I tried to pay attention as best I could. Here goes…

These are all the beer brands that are produced by Coors. I was surprised by a few!

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Here are the barley, hops & cereal grains that go into every batch of beer.

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The ingredients are combined, “malted” and then brewed.

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These are the giant kettles where the brewing actually takes place. This room smelled like toasted barley – really, really yummy smelling, actually!!

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We also learned that after the beer is separated from the “mash” – ie those grains, hops and barley – they are dried and taken to local farms for livestock to eat. It’s all about giving back! ;)

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See – trying to pay attention… :) 

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Ben too! DSC_0069  

Everything that goes into a bottle or can of beer is produced on site. From the filtered water, to the can making to the…I can’t remember actually – everything though!!

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Soon enough, the tour ended. :(

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Not without some tasting though! :)

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We wet our whistles with some freshly brewed, ice cold, crisp and snappy Coors Light.

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It was truly delish.

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Time to go home? No siree! After our tasting, we headed to the Coors Lounge, where we were treated to three, free beers of our choice. Nice!

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Oh, as soon as we walked in, they handed us the picture they had taken of us at the beginning of the tour. The real picture was $20. The picture of the picture that we took was free. You do the math…

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The lounge was setup just like a real bar, with such nice bartenders and a great selection!

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It was bumpin’!

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And decorated for the holidays. Nice touch, Coors!

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Ben and I grabbed a couple beers, settled in and cheers’d to our first day on vacation!

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I drank a Full Moon (a tad too dark for me) and two Blue Moons (my favorite beer on the planet.)

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It was so great!!

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Free beers will make you do crazy things.

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Luckily, we had water to stay hydrated with. :)

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Look at this gem I found in the gift shop! HA! Don’t worry Ben, I’d never do it. ;)

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Soon enough, our adventure at the Coors Brewery was over!

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While we waited for the shuttle to pick us up, Ben channeled the Larimer Square Bear. Nice job!

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‘Til next time Coors Brewery!

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That night, per your suggestions, we headed to the Cherry Creek district of Denver, to hit up the Cherry Cricket Restaurant.

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Cherry Crick is tres chic, so it was cool to find this cozy, casual restaurant amongst stores like Neimen Marcus and Hermes. 8O

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We got a little cricket stamp when we walked in the door. It was PACKED!! 

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I decided I severely needed vegetables in my life, so I went with the Moroccan Salad. Mixed greens, topped with a marinated flank steak, and artichoke hearts.

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I literally thought I had died and gone to HEAVEN when I tasted this steak!!! 100% hands down, the best steak I’ve ever had in my entire life. It was fork tender and that marinade was so smoky, sweet and Moroccany?? It was absolutely unbelievable in every way. I gobbled the entire thing up!

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The Cherry Cricket is also famous for their Cricket Burgers and Green Chili – so Ben got the best of both worlds when he ordered the Mexican Hamburger. A cricket burger smothered with green chili.

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Seriously – no words. No words can describe how amazing this was!!! We have already decided that we will be eating our last dinner in Denver here at the Cherry Cricket. It cannot be beat!!

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On our way back to the apartment, we spotted this gem. It’s new in town – Wole Foods. Yeah, I hear it’s a lot like Whole Foods?? 

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Kidding!! I almost crashed our vehicle trying to swerve into the parking lot after I spotted this out of the corner of my eye – I adore Whole Foods! I also adore their gelato, so I had some Fleur de Sel Caramel Gelato for dessert.

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Heavenly. Savory, sweet, gooey and an absolutely wonderful way to wrap up our first day in Denver, CO!

Day 2 was a tasty one, recap coming soon, but today we’re off to hit the breweries and see the sights of beautiful Ft. Collins, CO. Viva Vacation!