Sunday, September 17, 2017

Golden Days Brewfest

Golden Days Brewfest

Saturday, September 16th 2017Santa Fe Ski Basin

 Raise a glass!  We had an amazing time at Ski Santa Fe's First Annual 'Golden Days Brewfest'.  With 10 Breweries on hand there was plenty of great beer flowing and quite an impressive turn out.  The event was well organized and the weather was perfect - sunny, but with a cool breeze - great hoodie temp!  Oh, and did I mention that all of this was situated in the heart of the Santa Fe Ski Basin?  At 10,000 feet?  With the aspens just beginning to turn golden and a sky so very blue I am not sure what more one could ask for from a beer event.

The New Mexican Breweries in attendance we simply AWESOME.  Dialogue Brewing was a stand-out, as normal.  With a Raspberry Sour, Berliner-wise, Belgian Single (w/ Golden Raisins), and a knock out Lager they were most certainly one of our favorites on the day.  One of our usual festival favorites, Second Street Brewery was also in attendance.  Their 'Summer Days Sour' was Kristine's favorite brew of the day and the Foreign Extra Stout was one of mine.  Boxing Bear was a big hit with their Uppercut IPA and (GABF Gold) Milk Chocolate Stout; at too was La Cumbre with the debut of their Oktoberfest.  Chili Line was back in action with their lineup of Rauchbeers and we really enjoyed a strong showing from Broken Trail Spirits + Brew(holy cow, the Moscow Mule on tap!) and Bloody Maria(hands down one of the best mixes I have had).

It worked out wonderfully that my folks could be in town from Arkansas and go to a beer event with us.  There were so many wonderful people that we met throughout the day.  Sharing a pint with a stranger, nothing in common but the love of beer, is an absolute joy.  Give it ago!

 Santa Fe Ski likes their SiliPints.  These fun, colorful pint glasses made from silicone are just great for hitting the trail or shredding the hill.  At this festival they had a true rainbow of colors, I was just so inspired that I simply had to take a picture.

Kristine took one for the team - she was out DD for the day.  Picture is her enjoying her one and only pint.  Thanks Kristine for getting us all home safe!

We met some of our friends from the Ski Pajarito at the festival.  They will be hosing UllrFest next week on Saturday, September 23rd!

My dad LOVES La Cumbre!

Drink the Rainbow.

So very excited to be bringing you beer festival content and stay tuned for UllrFest - coming to a blog near you. 
Get out there and explore the world (of beer)!

Cheers! - Jason (@jrutled)

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Costa Rica Part 2: Monteverde

 Our stay in Monteverde was spectacular!

We stayed a total of two days, 3 nights right on the outskirts of town in a super cute Airbnb cabin rented to us by two charming brothers who are local night hike tour guides in the area.  Upon arriving, they set us up with our Organic Coffee Farm tour - Cafe San Luis (they arranged for a van to come pick us up and take us to San Luis for the tour)!  They were also nice enough to alert us to a wild 2-toed sloth in the area!

 Monteverde (Santa Elena) is such a cute little town, only slightly touristy due to it being a prime zip-lining location in Costa Rica.  Although the town center is small, it is loaded with cafe's, pastry shops, restaurants and souvenir shops. 

Our time in Monteverde Included:

Day 1: Organic Coffee Farm Tour
Day 2: Hiking in Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve

Besides these two activities, we also frequented Beso Espresso for our morning coffee fix. Monteverde also ended up being where we did the majority of our souvenir was the cheapest town for souvenir items we came across during our time in Costa Rica. 

We happened upon a craft brewery here in Monteverde...the one and only brewery we encountered on our trip.  The "Monteverde Beer House" had a nice selection of beer and also had pretty amazing Mediterranean food. 

Below I have added a few photos from the town center of Santa Elena....

One of my favorite things about this small town was the amount of beautiful murals located around just about every corner!

Getting our Espresso Fix @ Beso Espresso

Day 1: Coffee Farm Tour
Our Organic Coffee Farm tour was a very memorable part of our trip.  It is one of the last remaining purely organic coffee farms in Costa Rica.  We learned so much about the process the coffee beans go through to get to that end product.  Being a coffee fanatic, it was such a cool experience to actually see a working coffee farm! The farm we visited was Cafe San Luis in San Luis (pictured below).  (appx. $30 US per person)

Organic coffee plant

 Learning about the process of removing the layers of the coffee beans

Pictured below are the views coming out of the San Luis Valley.  It was STEEP - do not attempt unless you have 4-wheel drive (luckily we had the van to come take us to the farm and back)!

Day 2: Hiking in Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve

No, we didn't do the hanging bridges...but yes, there was a hanging bridge on our hike!
When planning our trip to the Cloud Forest, I was like "Wow, I must do these hanging bridges!"....after seeing how much it actually costs, I quickly took it off the list of things to do.  The  hike had it's own hanging bridge and was gorgeous - that feeling of being in the clouds, the moisture on your face..ah, so refreshing!  Once we made it to the overlook (pictured below) we could see how surrounded by clouds we actually were. It was amazing just to sit and watch these clouds move quickly through the trees. (entrance fee approx $20 US per person)

 Hanging bridge..
 Photos from the hike...

 The overlook of the cloud forest 

The Road to Monteverde...
If you have done any research on Monteverde, you have probably come across the many articles and blog posts that mention the rough road getting there.  I had so much anxiety about this road, having rented a small, compact car.  I kept having these visions of being stuck in a ditch with no cell service in the pouring rain! After doing tons of research on this matter, I decided that taking the slightly longer route from La Fortuna (Hwy 606 from the South ) would be the best bet.  Every post I read said "do not drive this road during the not drive this road at not drive this road without 4-wheel drive".  Well, guess what...I drove this road in at the rain....with a 2-wheel drive, low clearance car!  I wouldn't recommend doing this, but it can be done if necessary! 

 If you don't have much experience driving on dirt roads, renting 4-wheel drive may be the way to go.  It is steep, with lots of pot holes and large rocks and is a good hour drive of unpaved pothole/boulder dodging.

 When chatting with the locals about our drive in, we were reassured that hwy 606 from the South was the better route to drive in our small car.  So, if in doubt, drive in from the South!

Other Local Attractions:
The Monteverde Butterfly Gardens 
The Hanging Bridges
Coffee, Chocolate or Sugarcane Tours
Birding Watching (try and find the Quetzal!)
Of Course...Zip-lining! 

Travel Tip: Want to eat cheap in Costa Rica?
Instead of going for the touristy or more popular restaurants, try out the local places!  They will be called "Sodas" and have amazing local food for much, much cheaper than the alternative. Average meal will run you between $5-10 US and it is normally a TON of food. 

Enjoy your trip to Monteverde and feel free to ask me anything!


P.S. 2-toed Sloth!