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  1. #1
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    Denver/Golden in comparison to Bend, Or

    Hi all,

    I am an avid MTBR (and I like skiing as well and live in Bend where mountain biking is very good. I have long wished to live in CO (up in the mountains), but recently I was asked about a business opportunity which would require me to move in or near Denver.

    I know Denver is not Bend, but is there anything anyone can tell me which would make me believe I would like it as much living over there? Someone suggested Golden as a good alternative.

    How are the trail systems in and around there? Are there lots to choose from? I'm guessing the riding is similar to Bend around Golden?

    How far is it from there to more serious high elevation rides that CO is so known for?

    Thanks for any help you can provide!

  2. #2
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    Do you like city living at all?

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    Golden is nothing like Bend as far as riding goes. I lived in Bend a long time ago and I am sure it has changed, but I moved to Golden/Denver right after.

    In Golden, most rides are long sustained steep climbs, not much rolling up and down stuff.

    Golden is great access to the high country, about an hour to Breckenridge and vicinity. Lots more options for skiing, but lots more traffic if you are weekender.

    Personally, I loved Bend, but its somewhat limiting career wise and I found the mountain biking to be very one dimensional (again, that may have changed).

    Certainly a move here would be a big change, but with an open mind you might find you love it.. I did and I was really a small town guy (gunnison, bend)..

    Good luck.

  4. #4
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    Golden - the trails are drier and rockier (is that a word?) and the beer is better...and I'm NOT referring to anything Coors produces.

  5. #5
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    Thanks all.

    @SkaredShtles I moved to Bend from Portland so I am used to a city. However I prefer a smaller town. Hate the traffic thing.

    @Josie7 Good info. Yeah Bend is somewhat one dimensional I would tend to agree. Probably better than when you lived here before, but Bend has a great deal of XC trails which are fairly rolling, not many very steep climbs. A few sustained climbs, but the highest you will climb around here is 3500 feet in a ride once the higher country trails are free of snow. Not a great deal of big views here either.

    @calzonical Have you been to Bend? Bend is pretty dry. And rocky in some sections, although I am sure CO is rockier in general. I love technical riding and rock gardens, so no problem there.

    Regarding the beer, you must not know a lot about bend! I was in CO in June and was very disappointed in the beer selection. I stayed in Vail, and there was 1 single IPA available which was a Ranger from New Belgium. And New Belgium is not on my good brewery list

    cheers!

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    You are basing beer selection in CO on one bar in Vail?

    Riding in colorado is based on what you want and how far you are willing to drive. Golden has the easiest accesible out the door rides.

    Sent from my SGH-T999 using Tapatalk 2

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by sketchbook View Post
    ...Regarding the beer, you must not know a lot about bend! I was in CO in June and was very disappointed in the beer selection. I stayed in Vail, and there was 1 single IPA available which was a Ranger from New Belgium. And New Belgium is not on my good brewery list ...
    Yeah, you didn't wind up somewhere that was pouring anything good. Ranger is not awful in my book, just kind of cookie cutter--sort of a mix of sweet and hoppy. Kind of the Bud Light of microbrews, available anywhere. New Belgium is pushing the limits of the definition of microbrew. They are big. But I buy their products sometimes just because they are such a great steward of community stuff. They sponsor lots of stuff here in the dinky town where I live.

    That said, my Colorado favorites tend to be beers from:

    1) Elevation Brewing in Poncha, 5 miles from where I sit right now
    2) Ska brewery in Durango
    3) Amicas (also right here in Salida)
    4) Phantom Canyon
    5) Del Norte Brewing Co.
    6) Oskar Blues

    Denver/Golden is bigger than Portland. Feels busier. Getting up into the mountains on weekends is a full-on rat race.

    Rocky as a description of Front Range riding I think tends to be more granitic, dense rock. Often you'll find heavy babyhead rubble. From what I remember of the riding I did in bend, lots of the rock was pumice. Low density sand-papery foam rock and lots of really fine dust.
    Tom Purvis - Salida, CO - http://teamvelveeta.tom-purvis.com

    "I like my wimmen like I like my beer--cold and bitter!"

  8. #8
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    You won't have a problem finding good beer, seems every day there is a new brewery around here..

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    I put Boneyard Brewing up against anything in Golden, heck even colorado and we have some incredible places! I think Bend has 20 breweries now.

    Quote Originally Posted by calzonical View Post
    Golden - the trails are drier and rockier (is that a word?) and the beer is better...and I'm NOT referring to anything Coors produces.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by sketchbook View Post
    ...
    @calzonical Have you been to Bend? Bend is pretty dry. And rocky in some sections, although I am sure CO is rockier in general. I love technical riding and rock gardens, so no problem there.

    Regarding the beer, you must not know a lot about bend! I was in CO in June and was very disappointed in the beer selection. I stayed in Vail, and there was 1 single IPA available which was a Ranger from New Belgium. And New Belgium is not on my good brewery list

    cheers!
    Yes, was out in Oregon for a 14 day tour in '97. we hit up Sisters, Bend, Hood river, Mt Hood, Portland and the west coast from Seaside down to the dunes. enjoyed Deschutes National forest. Most of riding I did near Bend was close to Mt Bachelor. So no I'm not an xpert on Bend trails. but I prefer the trails we have here.

    And really you're going use Vail's beer selection as a direct reflection upon colordao microbrews - Really. As TomP points out Colorado has some fine brews, but that can be settled over a pint or two or three when you move here Happy trails!

  11. #11
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    I forgot to comment on the riding Golden vs Bend. I spend a few weeks in Bend every summer and quite familiar with the trails. I agree with Cal that the riding in Golden is better IMO.

    Bend does a fabulous job with what they have at in town. Whoops and all the trails that they made to ride like a bmx track is awesome and i love all the obstacles that they have incorporated into the trails but they lack the technical and big climbs and downhills that Golden has to offer.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by sketchbook View Post
    Thanks all.

    @SkaredShtles I moved to Bend from Portland so I am used to a city. However I prefer a smaller town. Hate the traffic thing.
    Hmmm...

    Might be a deal-breaker for you. Unless you can get away with a reverse commute wherever you are working. Although that won't help you with the heinous traffic on weekends.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by TomP View Post
    <snip>

    That said, my Colorado favorites tend to be beers from:

    1) Elevation Brewing in Poncha, 5 miles from where I sit right now
    2) Ska brewery in Durango
    3) Amicas (also right here in Salida)
    4) Phantom Canyon
    5) Del Norte Brewing Co.
    6) Oskar Blues
    No mention of Great Divide...


  14. #14
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    "'Regarding the beer, you must not know a lot about bend! I was in CO in June and was very disappointed in the beer selection. I stayed in Vail, and there was 1 single IPA available which was a Ranger from New Belgium. And New Belgium is not on my good brewery list"

    Huh?

    Ummm beer---Vine Street Pub and Brewery
    Golden City Brewery
    Breckenridge Brewery Falling Rock Tap Room
    I went to Renegade Brewing Company Saturday
    Avery Brewing
    Great Divide Brewery Tour

    And that's just a start.
    A blind man searches in a dark room for a black hat that isn't there. Dashiell Hammett

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by calzonical View Post
    ... Colorado has some fine brews, but that can be settled over a pint or two or three when you move here Happy trails!
    I know Oregon in general and Bend in particular have an incredible culture of good beer. As I pointed out in the previous Bend-related thread, way back in olden times, 1991 if I'm not mistaken, I tasted my first microbrew beer. It was a Full Sail in Corvallis.

    But CO has a pretty remarkable microbrew culture. You'll find out if you move here as calzonical points out.

    That said, one of my routine buys at the local package store is half a dozen glass receptacles of Deschutes Inversion IPA. Imported from Or Ee Gahn. I find it quite tasty, and it's actually a few pennies cheaper than lots of the CO stuff, including Oskar and New Belgium.

    EDIT: I know it's supposed to be pronounced Or-ih-gun. Just a little joke--midwesterner talk.
    Last edited by TomP; 12-24-2012 at 09:32 AM.
    Tom Purvis - Salida, CO - http://teamvelveeta.tom-purvis.com

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  16. #16
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    Smile

    Plenty of places for you to live within 30 min of denver, you would need to fly out and look for yourself and see what you like, you could end up 30 min north, south or west of denver. With a big variety of change. Where to ride is endless and depends on where you want to ride. You can ride all year round, and ride the well known places like ski resorts, buffalo creek, curt gowdy, boulder area, golden area and endless other great trails within 2 hours. As everyone has stated the weekends at the ski areas are very busy but you can make it work. In my opinion CO is unmatched.

  17. #17
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    [QUOTE=TomP;10003540

    That said, my Colorado favorites tend to be beers from:

    [/QUOTE]

    Missed a couple. The best ones.

    Odell IPA - Odell Brewing Company - Fort Collins, CO - BeerAdvocate

    Myrcenary Double IPA - Odell Brewing Company - Fort Collins, CO - BeerAdvocate

  18. #18
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    CO is a pretty fantastic place. The traffic can stink at times, but obviously a lot of people feel the end justify the means or the traffic wouldn't stink. I don't know how the beer and the rides stack up to Bend as I know nothing about Bend, but I also know that I love it here so much that I could really care less. Please don't take that in a snide p*ssing contest way.

    In 30-60 minutes drive I can find just about any type of trail I want to ride from flow to tech.

    In 120 minutes drive I have weekend rides that are "vacations" for a large number of riders.

    In a 5 hour drive and I have a weekend getaway to places like Creste Butte, Taos, Moab, etc.

    I can get a solid Mar-Nov MTB season in, and also Oct-Apr ski season in. October, November, April, May, and June are "take what the weekend gives me" months and I love that. Maybe I'll ski today, maybe I'll MTB, and sometimes I do both that day.

    The people are great, the beer is great (except Vail I guess), and it's a good place to enjoy life. If you've already found this someplace else, why move?

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by hypokondriak View Post
    CO is a pretty fantastic place. The traffic can stink at times, but obviously a lot of people feel the end justify the means or the traffic wouldn't stink. I don't know how the beer and the rides stack up to Bend as I know nothing about Bend, but I also know that I love it here so much that I could really care less. Please don't take that in a snide p*ssing contest way.

    In 30-60 minutes drive I can find just about any type of trail I want to ride from flow to tech.

    In 120 minutes drive I have weekend rides that are "vacations" for a large number of riders.

    In a 5 hour drive and I have a weekend getaway to places like Creste Butte, Taos, Moab, etc.

    I can get a solid Mar-Nov MTB season in, and also Oct-Apr ski season in. October, November, April, May, and June are "take what the weekend gives me" months and I love that. Maybe I'll ski today, maybe I'll MTB, and sometimes I do both that day.

    The people are great, the beer is great (except Vail I guess), and it's a good place to enjoy life. If you've already found this someplace else, why move?
    I like your style

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by xcguy View Post
    "'Regarding the beer, you must not know a lot about bend! I was in CO in June and was very disappointed in the beer selection. I stayed in Vail, and there was 1 single IPA available which was a Ranger from New Belgium. And New Belgium is not on my good brewery list"

    Huh?

    Ummm beer---Vine Street Pub and Brewery
    Golden City Brewery
    Breckenridge Brewery Falling Rock Tap Room
    I went to Renegade Brewing Company Saturday
    Avery Brewing
    Great Divide Brewery Tour

    And that's just a start.
    Glad somebody mentioned Avery. They've always been one of my favs!

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by hypokondriak View Post
    CO is a pretty fantastic place. The traffic can stink at times, but obviously a lot of people feel the end justify the means or the traffic wouldn't stink. I don't know how the beer and the rides stack up to Bend as I know nothing about Bend, but I also know that I love it here so much that I could really care less. Please don't take that in a snide p*ssing contest way.

    In 30-60 minutes drive I can find just about any type of trail I want to ride from flow to tech.

    In 120 minutes drive I have weekend rides that are "vacations" for a large number of riders.

    In a 5 hour drive and I have a weekend getaway to places like Creste Butte, Taos, Moab, etc.

    I can get a solid Mar-Nov MTB season in, and also Oct-Apr ski season in. October, November, April, May, and June are "take what the weekend gives me" months and I love that. Maybe I'll ski today, maybe I'll MTB, and sometimes I do both that day.

    The people are great, the beer is great (except Vail I guess), and it's a good place to enjoy life. If you've already found this someplace else, why move?
    Nicely said, agree 100%

  22. #22
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    we could turn this into a beer thread..haha..

    my favorite CO brews..lately..

    Oskar Blues
    Ska
    Renegade
    Prost
    River North
    Hops and Pies (well not a brewery, but best taphouse)

    Never really had a Beer from Bend I really liked, but Oregon has quite a few good choices..

  23. #23
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    I'm moving to the Lakewood/Golden area from Seattle. I've ridden Dakota ridge before and love that style of riding. Reminds me of what I was used to back in the Appalachian part of Virginia (rocks, rocks, rocks). The PNW is all about the Flow and there is definitely some bad ass riding here. You can also get the really gnarly rocky stuff if you drive to eastern WA or down by Crystal Mountain.

    I'm looking to meet up with some people who know what's up trailwise in the area. I checked out Bergen Peak on the tube and it looks to be right up my alley. Anything like that near golden besides the top of Dakota Ridge?

    Thanks! I'll be there in mid-January btw and will be looking to build up a Mojo HD. Anyone have any opinions on the shops in Golden? I went to PedalPushers last week when I was there for Christmas and they seemed rad. Anyone have any experience? Golden Bike Shop seems rad too I just didn't get a chance to check it out.

  24. #24
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    What I noticed most when I moved here from northern AZ several years ago was that there are a lot of people. They like to recreate here and it is rare to find uncrowded places near the metro area. Also, not as many trail networks. Seems like more driving to a trailhead and doing the ride rather than having multiple options to change up the route. I know there are some of those places like Nederland and Buffalo Creek (Duder Draw and Marshall Mesa DON'T count) and not looking to start that debate, but that is what my thoughts are. The high country riding is absolutely amazing and not always as crowded as the front range. As far as beer, liquor stores don't exclusively sell local beer. I'm not a "craft beer enthusiast" however, likes me some Busch and PBR just fine. As far as Coors goes, I thinks it costs too much and isn't that great, but Sam Elliot likes it and I doubt any of you could match his mustache credibility.
    Tequila tonight, tomorrow we ride!

  25. #25
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    Hey now, I wasn't the one who started this beer debate!

    Someone posted beers were better than in Bend so I feel like I needed to say something. Bend beer culture is huge. Yeah I know one town in CO is not a good indication on what beers are in CO in general. Just was sad I wasn't able to test them out is what my point was.

    Back to biking.

    I think a trip over is in order for sure. I don't mind a little drive for a ride but that traffic over there is pretty brutle. Less than 30 minutes is doable. Anything more and it just eats too much time for daily rides.

    Regarding the "reverse commute" thing, what exactly is this referring to? People who go to Denver from the mountains on weekends?

    Or people who live on Denver and work in the mountains?

    I would assume traffic midweek isn't that bad but there is probably a good % or people living in the hills who commute into Denver.

    Thanks again!

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    Native Portlander here, wanted to move to Bend for the past 10 years or so. Finally giving up on that dream and looking at the front range area instead (Boulder area). Did a road trip to the front range last summer to do some recon and I have to say I was impressed (not just in terms of riding). Didn't spend much time in Golden, but it would be a much better option over Boulder in terms of access to skiing and trails. Boulder was "prettier" IMO, the pictures you see of the Flatirons on the web didn't do any justice to them at all.

    Bend is pretty much in a class by itself when it comes to mtb'ing - not only are there (almost) limitless trails, but there seems to be new trails being built all the time. The trail access issues that I have read about on the front range appear to be almost non-existant in Bend (at least from an outsiders perspective).

    Mt Bachelor might not be able to compare to the glitzier resorts in the Rockies, but it takes less than 30 minutes to get there and has a great mix of nordic and lift access (of which I am sure you are aware).

    The weather in Bend is nice, the weather on the front range is awesome (this is a huge bonus for me). The beer in Bend is hard to beat; I wish Boneyard IPA was as ubiquitous as Bud Light, and Deschutes always has several great beers on tap that make me wonder why they don't bottle more of them.

    On my road trip I did rides in Fruita, Crested Butte, and Boulder. None of the trails I rode put as big a smile on my face as riding Mrazek out to Happy Valley and back or the Swampy - South/North Fork - Flagline loop. I think I could make do with the front range riding, though The road riding in Boulder seems to be top notch as well, although it's a bit more image conscious than Beverly Hills.

    I think I would be thrilled to live in either area

  27. #27
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    @Sketchbook - I'm going to be visiting Bend in a few weeks to check out the area. My wife and I are considering a move to either there or Boise. How about we just trade houses?!

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    @lil stink thanks for the info.

    @feltbee. Totally. I'll trade ya houses for a short spell. For real. Where do you live?

    Email me joe @ sketchbookinc dot com

    Thanks!

  29. #29
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    I moved from Portland to Golden 5 years ago. I've ridden a ton in Bend and love their trails Much of this has already been said, but the trails here are much steeper and less forgiving than Bend. When I was recovering from a knee injury I really missed Mrazek and Phils. I have a ton of fun on the trails here in Golden, but they lack the flow of Bend, Oakridge, etc.

    There are numerous trails in Golden, and you can sort of link them - but its nothing like the trail network in Bend. i.e. You can't roll out your back door and have numerous 20 mile loop options. You also have more trail conflict issues here. One of my favorite trail signs ever (from Bend) is the "Closed to Horses Due to User Conflict". You won't find that sign here - Horses, while the minority have a strong influence. Tons of people move to Denver thinking CO is the bomb - so you have a huge population who moved here just to recreate in the mtns. Not an issue if you ride at odd times.

    All that being said, I love living in Golden. And I think you have more options here. You can ride to several trails from home, several more at under 30 min drive. There are a ton of amazing daytrips within 60-120 min drive. Almost unlimited weekend options. We camp 6-8 times a year and still have a list of new biking destinations. Also, people here are SUPER friendly. They are very welcoming to transplants, unlike other places I have lived.

    Regarding beer, the NW is the bomb! Took me a year to get into CO beers - now I love em, but have a soft spot for OR/WA/CA beers. We finally have a booming nano-brewery thing going. I heard there will be 5 nano/micro breweries in Golden by end of 2013.
    "Serves you right to suffer." -The Wife (after being 2 hours late)

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    Re: Oskar Blues: I have a hard time embracing canned beer having quaffed many an Old Milwaukee, Brown Derby,..., etc.

    Would somebody please help me? I would love to enjoy OB but being saddled with memories of days long gone drinking crappy beer I am having a hard time.

    Perhaps the optimal recycling of alu cans could sway me?

    GCB is top notch and right in downtown Golden. Big plus for Golden

    Are you a nordic skier? XC skiing is better in Bend than Golden, IMO. Frisco Nordic is through the tunnel and basically inaccessible on weekends. Same for Gold Run Nordic, Breckenridge Nordic, etc. Eldora Nordic is not to my liking; big fee and variable grooming with walkers, dogs, skaters trashing classic tracks, etc.

    MBNA in Wyoming is top notch but 2:15 away.

    If you have travel a lot DEN is only 35 min away from Golden with flights everywhere.

    But having said all that, I like the politics, especially as related to the environment, better in Oregon than Colorado. Alu cans?

  31. #31
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    You want Durango:
    5 brew pubs
    miles and miles of trails
    easy access to every place you would ever want to ride (all season long)
    minimal traffic
    no interstate
    Craig, Durango CO
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  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by cbrossman View Post
    You want Durango:
    5 brew pubs
    miles and miles of trails
    easy access to every place you would ever want to ride (all season long)
    minimal traffic
    no interstate
    Damn straight. I love Salida, but if I could afford to live anywhere chances are it would be d-town. When I got involved in trails advocacy here, my vision of where we should be is Durango. Multiple trailheads within city limits that connect seamlessly to high country trails.

    Durango is the bomb.
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  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by TomP View Post
    Durango is the bomb.
    So true! If I could only talk the wife into it (and get a job there).
    "Serves you right to suffer." -The Wife (after being 2 hours late)

  34. #34
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    @slcdawg great info thanks!

    @cbrossman I need to visit that place. It's on the top of my list. I would move there tomorrow (assuming my visit worked out) if my wife would let me.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by cbrossman View Post
    You want Durango:
    5 brew pubs
    miles and miles of trails
    easy access to every place you would ever want to ride (all season long)
    minimal traffic
    no interstate
    I disagree. The riding here stinks.

    On edit: so does the beer.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by GoldenGeezer View Post
    Re: Oskar Blues: I have a hard time embracing canned beer having quaffed many an Old Milwaukee, Brown Derby,..., etc.

    Would somebody please help me? I would love to enjoy OB but being saddled with memories of days long gone drinking crappy beer I am having a hard time.

    Perhaps the optimal recycling of alu cans could sway me?

    GCB is top notch and right in downtown Golden. Big plus for Golden

    Are you a nordic skier? XC skiing is better in Bend than Golden, IMO. Frisco Nordic is through the tunnel and basically inaccessible on weekends. Same for Gold Run Nordic, Breckenridge Nordic, etc. Eldora Nordic is not to my liking; big fee and variable grooming with walkers, dogs, skaters trashing classic tracks, etc.

    MBNA in Wyoming is top notch but 2:15 away.

    If you have travel a lot DEN is only 35 min away from Golden with flights everywhere.

    But having said all that, I like the politics, especially as related to the environment, better in Oregon than Colorado. Alu cans?
    read this, it will explain the cans..

    Oskar Blues*|*Brewery History - Oskar Blues

    plus, its not just Oskar blues.. everyone is canning these days it seems..

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