Monday, February 27, 2012

Beer Mecca 2010: Part 1

In conjunction with the trip to see the in-laws and GABF 2010, I decided to take a day to myself and visit my personal Beer Mecca: Fort Collins.  I started with Anheuser-Busch/Budweiser, since #1-it's located north of town and I could work my way back south and #2-it's free.  Upon my arrival, I found that they offer a Beermaster tour, where you get to actually go out on the facility floor and get a bunch of Bud/A-B swag for the sum of $25.  No thanks, there's better beer to be had and paid for.

The 10 Millionth bottle of Bud to roll off the line, sometime in the 1960's.

So, I'm a train geek, too.  Someone did this awesome diorama in HO scale of an A-B icing depot.  There were stations like this along the major rail lines across the country back when they had to use ice to keep things cold in rail cars.  Enter mechanical refrigeration, then improvements in insulation, and stations like these went the way of the buffalo.

I nearly caught Rocket in the midst of making his own
contribution to the production numbers...

If I remember correctly, Danny is the newest addition
to the Ft. Collins hitch.

The brewhouse. Freaking huge.

Very sterile.  The visitor's outlook is behind
glass, and everything is stainless steel.

The calandria of the largest brew kettle. I
forget the numbers it holds.

The whole place just lacks the character
of the Coors brewhouse.  No copper to be
seen, hardly any smell of hops and malt.

The combined control center and in-house brewing lab.
If you spring for the Brewmaster's Tour, you get to go
down on the floor and drink samples in the lab.

Sampling cup.  I think it was about 6 feet long.

I think this was part of the canning line.

A historical look at A-B labels

OK, so you get to see the primary fermentation cellar, which you
don't get to see at Coors. Kinda cool.

No trip to A-B is complete without seeing the production facilities, I mean, the clydesdale stables. This is Rocket, one of the most 
experienced horses in the Ft. Collins hitch.

The beechwood aging tanks.  The beechwood "chips" are
actually 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick strips about a foot long.
You actually get to take home a used chip as a souvenir.
Somewhere, mine got lost.

I don't recall what I drank for my samples.  Maybe Wild Blue and Bud Light Golden Wheat?  I didn't finish my second sample and didn't stick around for the third.  There's better beer to be had in Ft. Collins...

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