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I had the opportunity to do some beer tasting on a recent business trip to Denver, Colorado.

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I visited the RockBottom Brewery located in the area known as the 16th Street Mall.

The atmosphere was lively, young, and very welcoming. While waiting for our table, my co-worker and I made our way to the bar where we were quickly greeted by the bartender. The brewery has six standard brews and a daily “Brewmaster’s Choice”, which for us was the “Mad Cow Milk Stout”.

Overall, the beer menu was well-rounded, from the very light, perfect with a heavy dinner beers, to the dark and Guinness like stouts. The lighter, aptly named “Lumpy Dog Light Lager”, was just too light for my taste. It was smooth but didn’t have enough flavor to make it taste like a beer.

My next taste was the “Buffalo Gold”, which I compared to a mouthful of bees. It was bitter with a strong aftertaste. “16th Street Wheat”, the third in my series of tasting, was excellent, though there was a definite wheat feel to the aftertaste. The last of the lighter beers was the “Falcon Pale Ale”, which was hands down the best beer of the night. It was light but flavored perfectly.

Dark beers were the next thing on my list to try and I started off with the “Red Rocks Red”, an Irish beer with a smooth taste, great color, and perfect smell. My least favorite of the group was “Molly’s Titanic Brown Ale”. There is no good way to describe, except to say it was like sticking a moldy rag in my mouth. Yeah, it was that gross. Rounding out the beers was “Mad Cow Milk Stout”, a heavy but very good tasting beer. Though it probably would not be my first pick for a stout it was a perfect addition to the night.

If you are in the downtown Denver area and like to taste new beers and enjoy good food, check out the Rock Bottom Brewery.

When most people think of McDonald’s they think of greasy burgers and chicken nuggets that may or may not be actual chicken. Well, if you are a coffee drinker then you may want to think of them as a coffee shop.

I know, at first, I was a skeptic too. I saw the commercials about fresh-brewed coffee and scoffed, telling the people around me that “it has to taste terrible”. My heart has done a 180. This morning, for no particular reason at all, I decided to stop by McDonald’s and get a Bacon, Egg, and Cheese biscuit. It has been at least a year since I have had one and a craving just came over me.

When I ordered, I decided to stray away from my safety net of orange juice as my drink and asked for a coffee. I paid, received my order, and made my way to work. I opted to save my taste test for the office.

My first impression was the smell. The coffee does not smell extremely strong or overwhelming, just light and what you’d expect if you brewed your own pot. My first sip was sugar-less and cream-less and it was perfect. Overall it tasted smooth, not bitter and did not have a coffee-like after taste. Compared to some Starbuck’s flavors, this coffee knocks the socks off them. I added a little cream and my morning was complete.

If you are a coffee drinker then at least give it a try. I know those in the northeast prefer their Dunkin’ Donuts coffee to Starbuck’s so maybe those of us down here will make a slow switch to McDonald’s or our local small business coffee shop.

The sun was finally peaking out from the clouds after a long two days of thunderstorms. He drove to the airport, hitting pockets of rain on his way. As he looked to the sky, his hopes grew that the flight would be on time. His exit was next, he signaled and drove the car up and around the flyover.

Parked in the dark and silent garage, the car was entirely too close to a van that had been poorly put there. He removed his luggage and walked toward the terminal, keeping on the lookout for a less crowded way through security. The boarding pass kiosks were empty and knowing that he was not checking bags, he made his toward them. A quick input of his information and he was on his way to the security line.

The lines grew but he grinned, glancing down at his new shoes, a pair of comfortable, sleek, slip-on loafers and knowing that his trip through the gauntlet would be easier than other’s.

As expected, security was a breeze and our valiant business traveler stopped at the electronic flight status boards to check his flight’s departure chances. His jaw dropped as he watched the departure time jump from its original time, 6:35pm to 7:00pm, then 7:30, and then finally settling at 8:15pm. Hope was still there but it was fading fast. His head lowered as he made his way to gate C-29.

Again, he was dumbfounded when he reached the gate. A throng of people had surrounded it and appeared to be preparing a siege against the gate agent’s computers. The plane they were waiting for was stuck in a far off city after being diverted away from the thunderstorms that surrounded the airport. Our business traveler walked around like a Lieutenant watching after his platoon, observing those who were tired, stranded, and had lost all morale.

A break in the crowd led him to a semi-secluded area where he could sit and watch the chaos from a distance. It reminded him of a riot, minus the throwing of rocks and the overturning of cars. He watched as aircraft slowly started to trickle toward the different gates, letting off their precious cargo of men, women, and children, all of whom looked tired and downtrodden.

As 8pm approached, the business traveler gathered his bags and walked toward the gate. The situation had not been made any better, in fact, it was worse, with even more people standing and waiting for the flight to board. The gate agents slowly started calling the rows, finally, row sixteen was called and our businessman was off to Denver…

Today marks the 63rd anniversary of the Battle of Normandy, the largest combined land, sea, and air operation in history.

The battle started the evening before with paratroopers and glider troops going in behind enemy lines to help prepare the beachheads. Around 3am, the shelling of the German positions started and would mark the beginning of a battle that would last two more months, ending with the securing of Paris.

Three million troops took part in the invasion and the battle would be the beginning of the end for Adolf Hitler’s regime in Europe.

Today, let us remember the 45,000 killed in action during the two month battle and the sacrifice that every serviceman and woman made to secure a continent from the grasp of dictators and ensure this country’s freedom.