27 Reasons to Love Colorado in the Summer
Everyone knows about our famously beautiful winters, but Coloradans know that our summers are equally stunning—and, dare we say it, maybe just a little bit sweeter.
Because we don't wait until the fall to celebrate beer
- Rocky Mountain Brewfest
Estes Park, June 12, Epbrewery.com
Pint Pick: Estes Park Brewery's Estes Park Renegade
- Colorado Brewer's Festival
Fort Collins, June 26 & 27, Downtownfortcollins.com
Pint Pick: Not Brown Ale from CooperSmith's Pub & Brewing
- Colorado Brewer's Rendezvous
Salida, July 10, Coloradobrewersguild.org
Pint Pick: Amicas' Bomber Blonde Ale
- Breckenridge Beer Festival
Breckenridge, July 17, Breckenridgebeerfestival.com
Pint Pick: Breckenridge Brewery's 471 Small Batch IPA
- Summer Brew Fest
Denver, July 23, Denverbrewfest.com
Pint Pick: Dale's Pale Ale from Oskar Blues Brewery
Because Denver has become an ice cream mecca
In the past few years, top-shelf ice cream has come to the Mile High City in a big way: Little Man Ice Cream in LoHi, Red Trolley in Highland, and Sweet Action Ice Cream on Broadway have exploded onto a market that had, until recently, been cornered by the citadel of all Denver sweets shops, Bonnie Brae Ice Cream.
Bonnie Brae earned its spot on high over the past two-plus decades, with owners Bob and Cindy Pailet and Judy and Ken Simon at the helm. And the foursome is still enjoying the wild ride that has become one of Denver's most iconic landmarks.
They've, of course, had some help along the way. Their kids have worked at the shop. They've employed up to 50 staffers at a time during the busy summer months. They have a longtime manager, Kerry Jacobucci, who trains their people on proper (yes, there's a correct way to do it) scooping techniques. And they have a secret weapon in their ice-cream mastermind, Richard Brown, who has been with the shop for 23 years and has created more than 130 recipes for ice cream flavors. (One of his most recent inventions is a grapefruit-and-peach-swirl sorbet.) But it's the tried-and-true flavors, like mint-chocolate chip, Rocky Road, and French vanilla, that find a regular spot on the shop's constantly rotating lineup of 28 tubs of goodness. According to both Bob and Judy, their party line has always been "don't look at the price of an ingredient, find the best ingredient." The philosophy has obviously worked, attracting some seriously long lines of people who are all waiting for a taste of Denver's most famous dessert.
Because we consider learning to fly-fish crucial postgraduate educatıon
Living in Colorado necessitates a certain skill set. It's expected that every Coloradan can make it down a ski slope in a reasonable fashion. We all have to know how to set up a two-man tent in less than 10 minutes. And, when the occasion calls for it, each of us should know the basics of fly-tying and casting. Of course, it's easy to find someone to teach you to ski—and tents come with instructions—but grasping the basics of fly-fishing really requires some formal training. And that's where Evergreen's Sage Fly Fishing School comes into play. With three class options—Fly Fishing 101, Fly Fishing 201, and Advanced Casting School—this hybrid organization (a team effort between the Blue Quill Angler and Sage Manufacturing) teaches wannabe fishermen and advanced anglers the ins and outs of wetting a line. Rod rigging, knot tying, entomology (yes, you need to know about bugs), fly selection, casting, wading practices, and water reading are all part of the extensive, multiday courses. Classes run through September 2010. 303-674-4700; www.bluequillangler.com
Because snow isn't out of the question in June
After a long winter full of chilly temperatures, anything above 55 degrees feels pretty darn warm. But the Mile High City logs an average mean temperature of only 67.6 degrees in June, which means that we still get some nippy days—and even, sometimes, snow. No, it hasn't full-on snowed in Denver in June since 1947, but it's gotten close: On both May 21, 2001, and May 24, 2002, we got a taste of the white stuff. Of course, flakes fly well into June and July in the high country—which makes a few slushy turns at A-Basin or backcountry skiing in places like Berthoud Pass a uniquely Colorado summertime activity. www.arapahoebasin.com; www.berthoudpass.com
Because Todd Helton never quits
When he muddled through an injury-filled and comparatively unproductive 2008, many wondered if Todd Helton's career—with the Rockies, and in general—was winding down. Instead, the Goateed One attacked 2009 with an enthusiasm renewed by the promise of a young team and his obligation to lead them. Although his power numbers have dipped in recent years, this 36-year-old baller has aged like a fine wine. Helton still gets on base with the best of 'em, and provides the steady defense, work ethic, and indefinable presence that, day after day, reminds us all of his true legacy: the greatest Rockie ever. —Luc Hatlestad