The Ancient Açai

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My journey began as a small child, but is far from finished. I grew up in the vast wilderness of the Rocky Mountains, there I learned to survive the extreme elements while advancing my skills in combat.  A small band of mercenaries recruited me at an early age and now I travel the world in search of the rarest items and artifacts known to man.

Five months ago, I was contracted to retrieve an açai berry in the North East quadrant of the Sahara Desert. Who placed the bounty is uncertain as all the buyers remain anonymous, but I don’t ask questions. After my failed attempt to procure rare fruit from an iceberg in the Pacific Ocean, I had to complete this contract in order to stay in the good graces of the guild.

With no leads I decided to visit a town called No Name. It’s  a small town located in Colorado and is a well known watering hole for elite adventurers. After talking to the bartender I was able to gain useful information regarding the ancient açai berry. For most of my international expeditions, transportation has been difficult to come by. I do not have a passport and I wouldn’t consider my self wealthy. However, this never stopped me before and I knew exactly where to start.

I hitch hiked to New York and managed to sneak aboard a cargo ship heading to Tunisia. After what seemed like a lifetime, I was thrilled to be off the boat and back on dry land. I wasted no time in finding my next mode of transportation and purchased an old dune buggy. I then headed South East, straight into the Sahara Desert.

I arrived at the coordinates provided to me by the bartender in No Name, Colorado. It was a large canyon, much too rocky for my buggy, that had a crystal clear river running through it. Overhead, the clouds began to darken and I knew I wouldn’t have a lot of time. I ditched my ride and headed into the canyon on foot.

The sky was darkening and rain began to fall, I needed to increase my pace. Then like a mirage, I stumbled upon a campsite. Engraved into the canyon wall directly above was an eagle. I quickly but quietly drew my pistol, expecting an ambush. Instead, a man emerged from the rain soaked tent and yelled “come in”!

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I darted towards the tent but the man began to sprint away from me. Confused as to why he was running, I ran after him. Within moments, I was engulfed in a deadly flash flood. The campsite was swept away and we were both helplessly pulled under the waves. I felt the man grip my hand and hoist me out of the flood and onto a dry ledge. Before I could catch my breath and thank him, my eyes filled with wonderment. We had made it to the tomb that held the ancient açai berry.

Upon entering the tomb, we encountered many dangerous traps. With his expertise combined with my survival skills though, we reached the treasure room without a scratch. Inside, the room was damp and cold but we found a bright golden chalice, overflowing with perfectly ripe açai berries. The man turned to me and finally introduced himself as The Pathfinder. He began to go on about how he needed these berries and how they were vital for his ultimate project. He insisted he needed all of the berries, but I was just happy to be alive. We worked out a deal and he compensated me fairly in exchange for allowing him keeping all the berries. We exited the tomb, exchanged info, and went our separate ways.

The Pathfinder was heading back to Denver, Colorado and I almost joined him. However, returning to the guild empty handed would mean grave consequences. Somehow that didn’t bother me though as my whole life has been spent wandering. I knew I could start fresh somewhere else. I wasn’t sure where to go but all I knew is that I was ready for another adventure.

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Written by: Aidan Warner-The Wanderer

Piña Pacific

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I’m an adventurer. I find relics, trinkets and rare items that were believed to be myths and tall tales. I was on my way back to Denver from a recent visit to Reno, Nevada, where I investigated a Sasquatch sighting.  Needless to say, I found one and she now has her own nature documentary.

I decided to stop off in a small town I pass each time I drive west on I-70; a town called No Name. That’s when I saw her; a small, nimble, old woman with her walker. She came right up to me staring into my eyes through her thick pop bottled lenses. “Have you seen my husband? He’s about 6 feet tall, heavy set, has a thick gray beard, wavy gray hair, great talker, and smells of whiskey.”

Grinning, I asked her, “Do you lose him often?” “No, I do not lose him often! He just gets wasted and wonders around the town. “I am sorry ma’am, I have not seen your husband. I am just passing through. “

She continued, “I recently sent a young man to find a “myth” off the coast of Hawaii. Calls himself the “Wanderer” for some reason. Anyways, this young guy left two weeks ago and was supposed to be back this week to share his successful find with me. Needless to say, like my husband, he has gone missing and hasn’t reported back. I need you to go find him.”

“The date was 1817 when this iceberg was first sighted and reported. It is a mysterious Iceberg that encases some special fruits that are said to be the greatest flavors around those parts. It only appears off the north east coast once every 50 years, Bring me a taste of the Iceberg’s treats, and don’t forget to bring back the wanderer! He’s probably starving out there.” She said to me as she began her walk away to ask another person whether or not they had seen her better half.

She hadn’t given me much to go on, but no one ever really does, that is why I love doing what I do. I walked into a bar and ordered a drink. I overheard an old man speaking with a duo about “El Dorado”. I recalled how I had failed on my last attempt to discover that city years ago. I paid my tab, slammed my drink and left them a note telling them to follow my marks to the City Of El Dorado.

I awoke the next day, booked a flight to California and lined up everything for this trip. Arriving in San Francisco,
I went down to the dock to locate a ship heading to Hawaii. I found a worthy ship and captain.

Once we set off on our course, the captain began telling me about himself and his history. His story lasted for 10 days when it was abruptly interrupted by the sound of booming thunder and roaring winds. “We’re here. The Iceberg is a few miles away. We should sail around it and look at the local islands for your friend before we go into the storm. If he’s alive, we will find him. If he’s not, the sharks already have.”

Several hours passed before I saw an island with a symbol embedded in the sand next to an “S.O.S” attempt. I dove off the boat and swam to the island. After about an hour I found the wanderer sitting in a homemade hammock slurping the water out of the coconuts.

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The Wanderer saw me and hollered “A-hoy! Welcome to the Wandering Island! I am the acting president and they call me the Wanderer. What brings you here?” His face filled with the relief of being rescued. “I’m here to get you off this island, then bring back a portion of The Iceberg” I replied.

We returned to our ship and took our positions headed into the storm. The wind beat us left and right while the rain reminded us that we were no longer in control. We finally spotted the giant block of ice floating in the dense fog. It’s looming presence sent chills down our spines. None of us would have expected to see a real Iceberg in The Northern Pacific.

I jumped off the bow of the boat and caught my grip with an ice pick. I began hacking away and throwing chunks of The Iceberg onto the ship. As the pieces piled up, I heard the echo of both my crewmates. “You won’t believe what is in this Iceberg! It’s incredible!,” they both exclaimed.

I slid off The Iceberg and landed on the ship only to be greeted by piles of frozen pineapples and coconuts. While looking through the blocks, an odd whistling began to sound around us. We looked at each other, then back at The Iceberg to see that it disappear into the open ocean, leaving us with 2000 pounds of frozen coconuts and pineapples. We headed home.

Once we docked, the Wanderer and I parted ways, making sure we exchanged contact information for future  adventures. I made my way back to No Name and found the old woman with her walker.  She was thrilled with my news that the Wanderer was alive and well but she was even more excited about the coconuts and        pineapples I acquired for her from The Iceberg. She kept a small portion and the remainder went with me back to Denver.

 

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Written by: Eamonn Colgan-The Explorer

The Great Wampus Battle

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Generally our adventures are planned over the course of months but in this instance, we didn’t want to waste another minute.

While discussing our plans in a bar in No Name, Colorado; a town local came over with an unsettling smirk. The man leaned in, but the whiskey from his breath won the race to greet us. After a brief grunt he said,” I heard you fellas were planning an adventure.” Then let out a burp as if he was Rick from “Rick and Morty.” We laughed and replied with complete confidence, “We sure are and this may be the best adventure yet.”

We told him how we had finally found the exact coordinates for the lost city of Atlantis. All we had to do was find ourselves a submarine… and well.. a captain too. After that, we’d be on our way to unsound glories and global recognition.

He looked unamused and frankly disappointed, which we weren’t expecting. Frustrated by his reaction, we began explaining what made this mission so important as if he’d never heard of Atlantis.  As we finished our pitch he responded,” Oh I know of Atlantis and I know where it is as well.” In fact, he’d already been there.

Smiling and blinding us with his gold tooth, he suggested “Atlantis is full of treasures that you can procure whenever you choose. However, the spot I’m going to tell you about will only present itself but once this decade.”  We bought the man a beer and found ourselves a table. For hours he told us of a city of gold… a city where everything is gold. A city that only comes out when the sun hits a specific spot in the sky. The city of “El Dorado.”  The bar was nearing close and we were eager to leave for the city of “El Dorado”, desperate for its treasures.

We drew  a map and booked our flights to Colombia. The plan was simple, follow the map, survive the jungle and head home. As we paid our tabs and began walking out, we stopped, turned around and looked at the stranger. Why hasn’t he  already gone to acquire the treasures?

“Here’s the catch” he said us, chuckling. “A beast that has claimed many adventurers resides within the jungle to guard the treasures. A beast that has never lost a fight. To me, there is no treasure worth battling for. There are no pictures, videos or drawings of the beast because no one has survived.” Suddenly excitement was drained from our souls. We had many more questions to ask but    before we could ask him another question, he asked for another beer. We dashed to the bar before last call and ordered one last round.

Returning to our table, we saw that it was empty except for a note. We shrugged, sat down and read the note.  It said,  “I can not help you anymore. Follow the mark of the “Shaman” and you’ll have the best chance of survival. Thanks for the drinks”- A fellow  adventurer.

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One month later, we landed in Bogota, Colombia and began the expedition. We rented a Wrangler and drove for 3 days until the  jungle got too dense to continue. We busted out the machetes and began the second part of the journey when we noticed a weird symbol. The same symbol the man at the bar left on the note. The mark of the “Shaman.” We were now confident that we were on the right track. We followed every symbol until we had no other choice but to make camp as night fell.

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The next morning we awoke to the brightest sunrise my brother or I had ever set eyes upon. As we wiped our blurry eyes, we gazed upon the one and only, City of Gold. The Great City of El Dorado. With  the prize right in front of our eyes, we began our final          ascent.

Stepping towards the light we heard a rustling and out of the deep rain forest, a 10 ft long Wampus Cat emerged from the dark.   Staring us in the eyes, it let out a ghastly roar and prepared to charge us.  Searching for our weapons, we realized that we had left  them at camp. The Great Wampus Cat let out another roar.

Nearby, a strawberry plant shook so much that all the strawberries fell to the ground.  Having no other choice, we used those     strawberries as ammunition to fight off the Great Wampus. The Great Wampus cat began to shelter itself with the strawberries. Looking at each other, confused and trying to understand how this was working, we kept throwing the strawberries. Shortly thereafter, the cat ran off and disappeared into the jungle.  It appeared that we had defeated the Great Wampus cat. We returned to    Colorado with  something more precious than gold……the strawberries we use in our seltzers.

 

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Written by: Warren Wood-The Pathfinder

 

The Weather Outside is Frightful, But With Seltzer, It’s So Delightful.

When snow falls and ice is in the air as the seasons change from fall to winter, we all have different reactions. Some hibernate indoors with hot chocolate, blankets and holiday movies. Others continue their daily lives but add an extra layer or two. If you are like me, you might develop a fever, and the only prescription? Fresh chowda’! Some people think we are sick in the head, or even insane. Especially when we say things like, “shred that gnar” and “love me some pow,” or even “I totally had a yard sale off that kicker last year.” But, we’re not crazy, it simply means winter has come.

With the arrival of winter, many of us start planning that yearly trip to a cabin or ski resort with family and friends. It could be for snowmobiling, snowshoeing, hitting the slopes or just hanging out on Main Street in Breckinridge. After a long day of romping through the snow, we head back to the cabin or condo with one thing on the brain, hot tub time. It’s a tradition spanning back to the 50’s (some might say even earlier), then in the 70’s and 80’s, came the addition of ski bunnies and skin tight, multi-colored jumpsuits. The attire and slang might be different, but that warm fuzzy feeling you get at the end of each day spent with friends and family remains the same. Our society even went as far to honor these moments with the movie Hot Tub Time Machine, proving snowy vacations are as good as any.

One thing that has served as an anchor through the decades, snowy regions of the world, and winter activities, is having a drink during and after these winter escapades. Today we have a wide variety of options, especially compared to 60 years ago, and for the first time ever hard seltzer will be part of your winter fun.

One of the greatest, simple joys in life is cracking open a cold one on the chairlift or warming up with a glass of whiskey after a day on the mountain. While these traditions won’t fade, a new tradition has arrived – seltzer in the snow. Seltzer is the perfect summertime drink, but it’s so much more. Seltzer is a great way to keep a buzz while staying active no matter what season. It is a great compliment for things like golfing, fishing, hiking, and many other warm weather activities. However, the same reasons we drink seltzer during summer adventures apply to winter ones. Seltzer keeps you more hydrated than other adult beverages, it doesn’t make you feel full, and it doesn’t slow you down. So the next time you hit the slopes, hop on a snowmobile, or snowshoe through the woods, grab a pack of hard seltzer.

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Written by: Aidan Warner

Colorado’s First Seltzery

This year, hard seltzer has taken flight and began landing in the hands of more and more consumers every week. The fact is that most seltzers are gluten free, low in calories, and provide a higher level of hydration. But those are only a few of the reasons they’ve become more popular. Seltzer has eased itself to be the perfect compliment to hiking, kyaking, mountain biking and golfing. It has also become a necessity at those sweet summer hangs, pool parties, and barbecues. As a whole, it appears to be the ideal drink for the wonderful state of Colorado.

It’s no surprise that a new way of drinking alcohol has blown up in Colorado, but the real shocker is that only a handful of established breweries have began making seltzer. With seltzer flowing out of the doors of liquor stores and being able to craft like beer, it is time we put Colorado on the map. That’s why Elevated Seltzer has become the first Craft Seltzery. We have pulled our focus from beer to create a brewery and taproom dedicated to hard seltzer and exploration of its potential. Here is Our Story.

Our overall mission is to create a wide variety of delicious flavors to have on draught in our taproom, at your neighborhood bar and on the shelves of your favorite liquor store. All while leading the way in seltzer innovation. We want to push the boundaries of this industry, such as creating exciting cocktails that use our seltzer as an ingredient, crafting the perfect winter seltzer, and even a Dry Hopped White IPA Seltzer. The sky is the limit and we have only just started our ascent into this great unknown. Along our journey we will be learning everyday and be constantly evolving. All in an effort to create the perfect hard seltzer right here in the beautiful state of Colorado.

Check out what The Westword had to say about and follow us on Facebook and Instagram! Plus, you can always pull up our website and check out upcoming events, where you can buy our product, and what we are currently working on. Thanks for reading and we hope you enjoy being a part of the Elvtd movement just as much as we do!

 

Written by:

Aidan Warner and Warren Wood

It’s the Barrel Age.

What was the newest style of beer you experimented with? Was it barrel aged? It wouldn’t surprise me if it was.

Before I get into things, let it be known that barrel aged beers have been around for a very, very long time. In fact, all beer up until the introduction of steel vats was stored in wooden barrels. It’s only just recently that breweries have been labeling them as “barrel aged.” This is because they’re aging them in barrels that have previously contained a spirit of some sort. The most common barrels used are Bourbon and Rum barrels.

This fairly new twist has finally established barrel aged beers as a “have to try” among beer enthusiasts. Their sales and demand has sky rocketed since Goose Island released the first documented barrel aged beer 22 years ago. Although most of these beers are either seasonal, limited edition or experimental, the trend has earned these unique beers a place in known styles.

With that said, the demand for barrel aged beers is high but the availability of the barrels are scarce. These are the reasons why:

  • Each barrel can only be used once.
  • 98% of these barrels are used by Scotch distilleries leaving 2% for the craft breweries to divide.
  • Ideal temperature for aging is 67 degrees Fahrenheit

To illustrate the scarcity of these barrels, Goose Island alone requires 3000 bourbon barrels for a full batch of their barrel aged beer. That’s only 1 out of 3,464. I know that not every one of these breweries are putting efforts towards producing a barrel aged beer but a good majority of them are. If done right, a barrel aged beer does nothing but help the credentials of the brewery along with the resume of the brewer.

So how does the aging process work?

  • Cold causes the barrels to contract which tighten the pores and traps flavors
  • Heat expands the wood which in turn expands the pores and releases flavors
  • Time provides the high alcohol content

To give you some insight to the flavors are produced and how, it is important to know the process before the beer is put in. Most of the time, oak barrels are charred before they are used. This creates most of the flavor and color. Charring the barrel infuses the sugars in the wood which is in turn responsible for the robust wooden and vanilla flavors. After charring and prepping the barrel, the beer is added and time is allocated. The ideal time to age is 1 year which ensures all the flavors are extracted and a well-balanced beer is produced, 1-2 months creates very strong vanilla and bourbon flavors but lacks the delicacy.

Whether your favorite brewery produces a barrel aged beer or not, it is definitely the Barrel Age.

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The Notorious IPA

What began as a kick has developed into something much, much more. To get to the point, IPA’s have blown up in the craft beer industry.

The India Style Pale Ale started as a “hipster” beer but soon evolved to something that only a select few would have fathomed. This style of beer has successfully become the most preferred and sought out by craft beer enthusiasts.

Why? I don’t know. When I first got into craft beer, I strongly disliked them. With a passion. I couldn’t imagine purchasing a six-pack or even a single bottle. This all changed when I caught myself enjoying a Firestone Walker IPA and quickly found out which liquor stores in my area sold it. There was something about that hoppy goodness that forced me to accept it into my top life of craft beer. Was it because I wanted to feel what everybody else was feeling? Was it because I didn’t want to accept their “hipster” label? No, I believe that IPA’s are an acquired taste and is common among hop lovers.

Don’t believe me, let Kate Bernot of DRAFT magazine back me up. In her article she states, “IPAs continue to increase in both sales numbers and the number of brands offered. Last year alone saw the introduction of 117 new IPA brands to grocery store shelves. (That’s not even counting bottle shops and smaller retailers.) In 2014, consumers could choose from 741 IPA brands at the grocery store, compared to 215 in 2009…IPAs and pale ales account for 30% of all craft beer sales in restaurants and bars; far outpacing lagers, seasonals, wheats, etc.”

It has been made clear that The Notorious IPA has made its mark and is here to stay. Although its widespread popularity was slow to start, it can be argued that it was among the first beers in the Americas. The India Style Pale Ale was first introduced in the 1700’s and was created in order to ship beer from England to India without being spoiled. Although other beers were still being shipped, it was the higher alcohol content and preservation the hops provided in IPAs that made them a safer to ship.

Now we have dry, double and triple hopped IPAs along with being considered English, American or an Imperial style IPA. There are also styles such as: Red, White, Black, Belgian, Wild, and Rye. New styles and classifications of IPAs pop up every day which drives away loyalty.

This is good and bad for breweries. For the breweries with established names, it is bad. Established breweries rely on people consistently buying their brands to match their large production levels. For smaller, less established breweries who are trying to break through the wall, it is good. These breweries are looking for their golden ticket into the main stream and experimental drinkers help unlike any other.

Regardless of different opinions, stereotypes and other factors relating to IPAs, it can be easily inferred that they are here to stay.