I recently retired. Hooray! I ought to sit around, watch TV, and — like any retired Coloradoan — leave my couch for the occasional mountain hike or golf game.
And I do those things. But, you know, they say one of the best things you can do when you retire is make sure you have goals. So, I began working on having some goals. I’ve always been very goal oriented anyway, but I digress. There I was, working on my goals — like any responsible retiree, sitting in a mountainside bar — with a college buddy of mine. He and I trained in beer drinking at the same university. (Go Buffs!)
We’d just climbed a 14er together — Huron Peak, near Leadville. We talked about setting a goal together: trying to climb every 14er in the state of Colorado. It seemed like a good idea. I’ve climbed four 14ers already, I ski regularly, and at 62 years of age, I’m in decent shape. But as we sipped and swilled and ordered a couple more, Huron continued to remind me — by way of my aching legs and overall fatigue — of a significant point: I am 62 years old. And climbing 14ers isn’t going to get easier at 63. Or 64. Or — you get the picture.
So like any two sensible grownups, we ordered another round and decided, nope, climbing every 14er in the state would be too hard. So we swilled and sipped and settled on a goal equally as specific, achievable, and measurable but significantly more realistic. And fun.
We’d visit every microbrewery in Colorado.
Little did I know, there’s a helluva lot more microbreweries in Colorado than we even thought. During one drinking sojourn, I came across the indispensable Drinkers Guide to Colorado. It listed 427 microbreweries! Although that number includes cideries and meaderies, I’m an equal opportunity drinker. If it ferments; I’ll taste it. So, 427 microbreweries it is. And the 427 blog is where I’ll notch each one I visit. I figure achieving this goal might take longer than climbing the state’s 14ers. But I’m undaunted.
Like I said, I’m a goal-oriented guy.
Another factor in setting my goals (gotta have goals!) was that I wanted to visit the parts of Colorado that I hadn’t seen for years. I wanted to see the Colorado I grew up in and the Colorado of today. My wife and I moved away for about 20 years. We lived in Missouri and Michigan and then returned. We have grandchildren here. (Not all of them, but I’ll leave that goal to the wife.)
I love Colorado. I want to experience all the beauty this state has to offer, and in my mind craft beer sits as high on that list as Rocky Mountain mountaintops. To make my goal possible, I decided to merge it with another goal — making use of my decades of retail and financial experience growing businesses — so I could do my part to ensure these microbreweries that make this state so great, thrive, grow, and continue to crank out mindblowing creative beers.
We call it the Colorado Craft Beer Hall of Fame, an organization dedicated to recognizing and help to promote great beer (magna dolor!). At the same time, it’s a public service of sorts. A mission, if you will, for the greater good.
When you visit a microbrewery that’s been made part of the Colorado Craft Beer Hall of Fame, you’ll know it subscribes to quality standards. You’ll know you’re about to experience a quality beer. It won’t be easy, this mission of mine. But it’ll be tasty. I’ll do it for you. And let’s face it, it’ll be a helluva lot more fun than climbing a bunch of 14ers.