I've been to Colorado before - my previous adventure involved an overnight blitzkrieg through Kansas on an adventure with some friends from my high school days - so I knew what to expect; Miles upon miles of endless plains, a repeating pattern of field, fence, gigantic skies, and state police cruisers. Prior to this trip, when asked about Kansas, I would simply reply "F*ck Kansas".
But this time was different. We were rewarded with beautiful clear skies and terrain more varied than I recalled from my last adventure. We also had a taste of the cheapest gas I've seen in forever.
But that wasn't the only taste of something good. We cut Kansas in half, spending a night in Hays, and paying a trip to Liquid Bread Brewing Co. for an experience that was one of the bigger surprises in my life.
There in old downtown Hays we found a brewpub with a decor that outclassed any in Indianapolis - a contemporary mix of industrial and rustic elements - and a crowd of well-dressed Kansans with a ratio of women to men that might have been 2 to 1.
But the best part of the evening was the beer. Gina had their No. 06 Oatmeal Stout, a balanced and tasty Oatmeal Stout that stood up to any we've had before. I had their No. 04 Downtown American Brown, a beer that was the best example of that style that I've ever had. It's a beer I'll be attempting to find an equal for for quite some time, I'm sure.
And so, a lesson learned. Kansas can reward you, if you know where to look. If you're ever through, I can't recommend Liquid Bread enough.