It’s not hard to convince me to go to a beer festival, especially if it’s in an area of the country where I’m relatively unfamiliar with the local breweries. And thus, I was headed to Vail for a beer festival. Brandon’s fiancé is a beautiful woman: smart, attractive, caring. So caring, she went to the grocery to make sure the three of us had an extremely hearty breakfast to spend the day drinking on.
It’s about two hours to Vail from Denver, give or take an hour or two. Traffic is a bitch. I had only been in Colorado for three days, and I couldn’t stop repeating the Dumb and Dumber line, “that John Denver was full of shit man. The Rocky Mountains don’t look so rocky.” Of course I knew better, and was super excited to final see them. To penetrate the Rockies. Yes.
As life would have it, the guy we were staying with is the cousin of some close friends in Louisville. Life works out when you let it. The beer festival was great, for me. If I hadn’t have been brand new to the Denver beer scene I would shave been bored out of my mind. But I hadn’t heard of, let alone tried, most of the breweries represented there. I was able to keep myself more than entertained.
The diversity of beer styles was super limited. It seemed that Belgian styles and lagers were all over looked in favor of IPAs, reds, and browns. The stereotypical American brewpub beer list was the norm for the entirety of the festival. There were exceptions (there always are). Honestly, few of the beers were that memorable. The ones that stick out were memorable for all the wrong reasons. Butterscotch is not a flavor I enjoy in a beer (and subsequently have begun to not enjoy in anything because of the negative affiliation it has in my sick mind).
Eventually, all of us needed food badly. As we exited, I watched in perceived slow motion as a grown man flipped his hover-round or rascal machine. It was something out of a comedy movie: over weight man in hover round goes up handicap ramp onto a sidewalk and somehow still manages to flip backwards bouncing his head off the concrete. It wasn’t pretty, and shouldn’t have been funny. We quickly ran over to assist him. My laughter could wait until we knew he was alright. I had seen his head bounce off the concrete, and knew there was a better than average chance he could have brain injury or a neck injury. First rule of head injuries is not to move the person about.
Of course, the first person on the scene was a self-proclaimed ambulance driver. What did he do? Sat the guy upright and messed with his neck and head. I tried not to yell out, and my light protest were dismissed. Fuck it, my Wilderness First Responder and CPR certificates are all out of date: I have no responsibility to act. I would have, but it wouldn’t have involved me touching his neck.
The other amazing feature of this drama: the man’s family was with him – his wife, daughter and grandson. The daughter said she was a nurse. None of the family assisted the man. They watched as others did their best to stabilize their dad/husband/grandfather. It was very upsetting to see members of a family not able to help another family member. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and say they were traumatized. But still….
Once that ordeal was over, I recalled the mental imagine of him falling. In a way similar to watching someone get hit in the testicles, it made me laugh. Non-lethal human suffering can be quite funny. I’m not proud of that, but I laughed. And smile now when I recall it.
We headed to a raclette spot. Vail is a beautiful town, but is horribly touristy. The raclette spot was no different: the service staff was dressed as if they were about to film a Ricola commercial and the prices were stupid high. A plate of shitty, out of season vegetables for dipping in the cheese was almost $30. To add meat was even more expensive. And the food quality was shit. Tourist towns sure can be exacerbating.
We finished the night off at the local drinking hole. Fortunately there wasn’t a large tourist crowd out still, so we got to enjoy some beverages in relative peace and quiet. Once we were back to where we were sleeping, I realized how breath taking the stars were. There is hardly any light pollution in Vail, as there aren’t a lot of major cities or industries around. The Milky Way glowed through a starry night. I could have happily stayed awake for hours, and did spend almost two hours outside. The conversation was lively and the celestial show was outstanding. But eventually the effects of over consumption caught up and it was time for rest.