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  • Writer's picturePaige Latham Didora

Today I Learned : don’t panic, Denver

Den airport

dining room table of locals while considering how lucky I am to be traveling.

Rewind to 24 hours ago and that was not the case.

I was worried. I was worried about everything… that I wouldn’t have a place to stay for night one, that I wouldn’t know how to get around without renting a car, that I wouldn’t have fun by myself, that the beer in my suitcase would break. But I am here to report that so far all of these things have worked out, and very well, I would add.

Is it surprising that I worried myself into a headache while waiting to board the plane? Not at all. But it is also not surprising that things worked out.

Den bustix

Yesterday I also learned that sometimes if I simply take a nap, I wake up with a totally new perspective.

After falling asleep on the plane generally terrified and picturing myself stranded somewhere wondering why I took a vacation in the first place, I woke up excited about the adventure ahead of me. It was like a magic nap.

Finally, I also learned that asking for help pays off, more than I ever imagine it will. This also is a reminder to me that everyone around me is an expert in something, even if it is as simple as when the next bus will come.

And come it did. I took the Skyride shuttle from the airport to downtown, and look — Denver uses these old timey paper bus tickets that get punched by hand! Adorable.

Den tommyknocker maple

And so the Whittier Pub (with the same name as my treasured Minneapolis neighborhood) was where I had my first Colorado beer, made my first local friends (Adam and Andy) and chatted with the bartender like a local.

The Tommyknocker Maple Nut Brown was a good entry point. For the style it is on the thin side with somewhat less body than expected, but this wasn’t a fault. It was refreshing and moderately sweet. The maple and nut played well together and neither was overwhelming. I would drink this one again, but I doubt I would crave it.

Den Tommyknocker vienna

I enjoyed a BLT with avocado with a spicy ranch salad. The next beer was the Tommyknocker Vienna Lager, which was simply average. Now, I am coming from the land of one particular gold-medal-winning Vienna Lager here, so my hopes were high.

To me it did not demonstrate the depth of malt and characteristic balance between complex sweet notes and dry finish. It was enjoyable with my dinner and conversation but I didn’t need another.

Den Whittier handles

I headed back home on my bike after discussing food politics and Denver neighborhoods.

Oh, and I also learned one more thing: biking in this thin air is something serious. I was breathing faster than I care to admit.

Stay tuned for more Mile High adventures over the next week and a half!


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