South Park, Co & Beer

Little did we know, when headed to Fairplay, Colorado (and the sister city Alma, Co) we would be visiting the real life South Park from the Comedy Central cartoon. Up at 10,000 ft elevation, Mr. Hanky, Kyle, Cartwright, Stan & Kenny are sprinkled throughout. You can pan for gold, enjoy some good food, shop at Al-mart & drink lots of delicious beer. Unfortunately for us, we missed the Burro Days festival.  The main feature of this fest is a 29 mile burro race over rough terrain & approx 3,000 ft elevation gain from downtown Fairplay to the 13,000 ft summit of Mosquito Pass. The winner gets $1,000, previously the winner received an ounce of gold.

“Haulin’ Ass”

A Documentary by Trevor Velin, 2010

Quick! What’s the only sport indigenous to Colorado? That’s right: pack-burro racing, in which competitors lead (not ride) their burro companions along mountainous paths. The pace of individual competitors can range from a flat-out run to a stand-still (stubborn as a __), but it’s certainly a physically demanding competition in high altitude.

This documentary follows Curtis Imrie, an old-time racer who returns annually, driven by a passion for the sport and the community; Roger Pedretti, who travels from Lacrosse, Wisconsin to carry the torch of a family legacy; and Hal Walter, a family man with a true talent for the sport who is still discovering what burro racing truly means to him. They compete for the “other” Triple Crown of racing.

It’s inconceivable to ride a burro 29 miles at the elevation much less run with it, but drinking beer is pretty easy. Our first stop was the South Park Brewery – craft brewing at 9,953 feet. Don’t think I wasn’t drunk as a skunk after 1 pint & 4 little beers in a flight, despite eating a yummy Applewood Smoked Pork taco.

Here is a list of the delicious beers I tried:

Basil Peppercorn Pale
A light pale ale single hopped with Pekko hops and finished with fresh basil and black peppercorns. A very easy drinking fresh ale you must try. 35 IBUs, 4.7% ABV

Cucumber Saison
This light, refreshing Saison is brewed primarily with German wheat malt and is finished with a bushel of fresh cucumber giving a light, refreshing taste. 30 IBUs, 4.7% ABV

Cherry Blonde
A light bodied blonde ale with over one pound of real cherries per gallon added to fermentation to give all the cherry flavor with not all the fruit sweetness. 28 IBUs, 5.2% ABV, Bronze medal – 2016 Denver Intl Beer Competition

Open Range IPA
Our IPA is a balanced, malt forward IPA. It is a medium bodied and dry hopped with Chinook and Cascade hops to give a nice aroma of pine and citrus. 60 IBUs, 6.5% ABV, Silver medal – 2016 Denver Intl Beer Competition

Mad Juicy IPA
Our version of an East Coast style IPA! Light yellow in color, hazy and bursting with flavors of pineapple, citrus and tropical fruit. An excellent summer IPA. 60 IBUs, 6.5% ABV

I went for the Cherry Blonde, but I went back for the Basil and Cucumber beers!!! I highly recommend this to all beer lovers.

Next stop: the South Park Saloon in Alma, Co. At 10,578 ft, it is the highest saloon in North America and open for 25 years. They feature the brews of the Left Hand Brewing Co plus a full bar & satisfying menu. Friendly staff & the music changed from the Dead to heavy metal about 15 minutes after we arrived.

Highly recommended:

A little Juju voodoo – fresh ginger kisses the lithe malty body, copulating with the hop in this pale ale ancestor. Emancipate yourself from the dead of winter, none but the vernal equinox can free the light. A refreshing frivolity. Hey mon. Shuccha fwangaa! Better a witch doctor than a trouble maker. Quit yor’ bitchin’ an’ get to witchin’.