Thursday, July 8, 2010

Two great things that go great together: Beer & Trains!

It's been a crazy month for your intrepid Beer Geek. Fran and I have bounced from Snowmass to Alamosa to Portland, Oregon (entry on that trip coming soon).

As reported last time, we were about to the 3rd Annual Rails & Ales Festival.  As expected, it was a good time.  Trains, beer and a fantastic mountain meadow setting combined to make it one of the most unique festivals you'll find in any state.

The photo to the right was taken before the second train from La Veta pulled in, but with several hundred people in attendance it still made for an intimate setting. For now. It's only a a matter of time before this thing goes Big Time and gets as big the Snowmass Chili Pepper & Brew Fest or the Telluride Blues & Brews Festival.

Here's some video taken on the nearly 2-hour gorgeous and leisurely train ride (on an old fashioned steam train no less) up to Fir, situated at just under 10,000 feet.

Alamosa is an interesting little town. It's a way-point for road weary travelers jetting from Point A to Point B. One of those places on the map that you're forced to drive straight through the middle of town and will miss if you blink. A word of advice:  don't miss it. Aside from being home to the Rio Grande railroad, it's also home to the San Luis Valley Brewing Company. Being the only brewery in the area (located right on Main Street), it attracts a lot of interesting locals and travelers "jetting from Point A to Point B."  Case in point:  a gent by the name of Jolan Truan who lives in Tempe, Arizona.  While Fran and I were sampling the many fine brews at SLVB...

Jolan sat down and started doing what all good bar flies do - chat up your bar mate! Turns out this traveling man was nothing short of a walking encyclopedia. During our hours long conversation we talked about history, politics, sports (the U.S. had just lost to Ghana in the World Cup) and of course... beer.  Seeing that I was a lover of history and craft beer Jolan excused himself, went to his car and came back with a book entitled, "Brewing in Trinidad, Colorado." Printed in 1992 and written by Mike Hennech, it attempts to document Trinidad's beer history. With reference dates going back to the mid/late 1800s it's proving to be an incredibly interesting read. What's more, it's given me an idea... one I'm not ready to reveal just yet. ;)

If hitching a ride on a train for a beer festival sounds like fun you won't have to wait an entire year to experience it. The train for the 3rd Annual Oktoberfest Rails & Ales will leave the station on Saturday, October 2nd . Highlights include a scenic train ride from Alamosa to La Veta to experience their 24th Annual Oktoberfest, plus  there will be great samplings of Octoberfest style beers available on the train! Lively Bavarian music will be playing during the train ride and German cuisine will be featured for lunch.  Contact the Rio Grande Scenic Railroad ticket office at (877) 726-RAIL (7245) for tickets/information. We plan on being aboard this Bavarian beer train!

Until next time...


1 comment:

Ilya Feynberg said...

You really can't argue this. A great scenic train ride and beer were made for each other. I haven't personally been on the one from Alamosa in Colorado, but I've been on the old coal mine train that heads out from Silverton if my memory serves me right out to I Durango.

I don't recall if it was against the rules or not, but we snuck on some great beers and enjoyed the two or so hour ride back. The views were breath taking, the beer was cold and incredible (all local brew of course!), and the weather was perfect.

It's a perfect pairing. When you're drinking great local brew crafted by passionate local breweries while taking in the state that you're in and you become a part of history and the present...well it's just something else. :)