Due north a couple hours from home, I found myself at Copper Trail Brewing in Alexandria. Let me tell you, 94W goes a long way.
The taproom–recently opened–bustled with local energy. Every seat at the bar and throughout the room was occupied by groups of basketball moms, dudes in camo playing Yahtzee, and pairs of friends.
I tried the Nut Brown (ABV 5.2%, IBU 24) and sampled the Bourbon Barrel Porter (ABV 5.4%, IBU 21).
The two owners of Copper Trail are old high school friends who grew up around the bon fire together. As the group of friends went their separate ways after graduation, they still had the copper light of the bon fire holding them together.
Copper Trail is nostalgic not just in name, but also in design. The logo depicts Alexandria’s iconic chain of lakes and beautiful scenery. More tangibly, the taproom itself is the product of two friends’ hard work. “We took a lot of pride in building the brewery,” says co-owner Dave Gibbons. Their high school physics teacher even pitched in, helping to plan the bar top’s construction from an old pasture fence.
I requested advice from my beertender, a younger guy who told me, “Do what makes you happy, no matter what other people think. I moved to Colorado at 19 to chase a snowboard dream, and it was the best decision I ever made.”
Chasing ridiculous dreams, following the long shots, and building a new life, are the tasks assigned to the young, who are often the same people who lack the confidence to follow through with them. But, hell, he seems to have survived it and be doing just fine–even if it did give his mother a small heart attack.