When you get invited to stay in a house for Outdoor Retailer (OR) sponsored by 15 different companies including the likes of Lululemon, Altra, Hydro Flask, Otterbox and more, your arm can get twisted really easily. So with that in mind, I flew out to Denver on Sunday afternoon to take in all that OR and our incredible living situation had to offer. In NO way did it disappoint. The house itself was a restored Victorian in a suburb of Denver that screamed HGTV.
Completely redone inside, it had four stories, an insane open space kitchen and a backyard that, despite being a bit tiny, was clearly meant for partying since it included a ping pong table, corn hole boards and, to my delight, a hot tub. Combine this with the good company of some of the other media peeps that I was there with and we had quite the setup for what was an amazing couple of days.
Our House Had a Beer Sponsor
On the ride over to the house from the airport, I came to find out that the beer sponsor of the house was Crux Fermentation Project. I've never actually stayed in a house sponsored by a brewery before, but after this experience, I'm hoping to find one that will sponsor my own house going forward (any takers please reach out, we throw some amazing parties). With that in mind, as the only beer drinker in a house filled with mostly wine drinking women and another guy who could really throw down tequila, I had to do my part for the sake of Crux and sample all of their offerings stacked in the fridge. So I got to work as soon as I put my bags in my room and checked out all the dope swag from the other house sponsors. Being from the east coast, I have never tasted a beer from Crux before but after drinking them over the course of two days, I have come to find out that they are brewing some seriously good beers out in Bend, Oregon. I particularly enjoyed their Pilz and Play Wave pale ale. Both were tasty, sessionable and perfect for actually hanging out and carrying on a good conversation without getting too banged up for the Altra sponsored run that we had at 6:30 am on Monday.
Outdoor Retailer is Like a Super Informative Party
Kicking off the first day of OR with a three and a half mile run with the representatives from Altra (my new favorite running shoe brand) was actually quite energizing and after a protein shake from iFit, a customizable protein powder that is totally tasty, it was time to experience all that is the OR Summer Market. If you have never been and love gear, it is like being a little kid in a candy shop. Three floors of vendor booths for businesses in the outdoor industry from large to small, all of which are trying to grab your attention with incredible displays, dope swag and, of course, adult bevvies. I came to find out quickly that the morning meetings were all business and characteristically supplemented with a coffee or a water, but once the afternoon rolled around, everything seemed to loosen up and the fermented drinks flowed more freely. In fact, I'm not sure that I had one meeting after 1 pm that did not include beer or whiskey.
It's truly an incredible atmosphere that is like a super informative party. So it was no surprise that when I wandered over to my appointment with Hydro Flask, beer in hand, they immediately handed me one of their new vacuum sealed Cooler Cups (their version of a coozie) to keep it cold. Hydro Flask was serving beers from a new brewery each day and since my new Cooler Cup was soon empty, I was offered a brew from one of my favorite breweries, Deschutes to refill it. Of course, I graciously accepted it. I mean I couldn't keep this new container empty and let my friends from Hydro Flask down. I was there to work and test products and that just wouldn't be right.
Camp Chef Delivered the Goods at Our BBQ
I finished up my remaining meetings in style testing and hitting up as many of the happy hours that the booths had to offer until it was time to meet my pickup and get a ride to our house bbq that was being thrown by our sponsors. Catered by Camp Chef, they had their full line of smokers and grills set up in the yard ready for their head chef to cook up their Mexican street taco themed dinner.
Kicking off with freshly fried tortilla chips, pico de gallo and smoked shrimp cocktail as apps then moving to a dinner of al pastor, chicken and beef tacos and all the fixings and finally culminating with fried ice cream, this meal as good as I've had at any backyard bbq.
There were, of course, more beers from Crux to pair with the food, kept icey cold in Otterbox's sweet new cooler line and more of Hydro Flask's Cooler Cups. The DJ kept the party jamming pretty late until it was time to clear out and head to bed in order to make our 7 am Lululemon sponsored Yoga session the next morning.
Yoga With Lululemon and Saying Goodbye
Yoga with one of Lulu's brand ambassadors from Denver, Tyrone Beverly, whose Barry White meets yoga brand called I'm Unique includes headsets, holding hands and is designed to inspire community was the most, well, unique yoga that I've ever been a part of. And it was just the tension release needed to get re-energized for Day 2 of OR. Unfortunately, this was my last day here so I spent the morning in a few meetings, sampling a few more unique beers and saying goodbye.
Looking back, I cannot say enough about how amazing the experience was that Kristan and her team at Rendezvous Event Management created. With the help of their sponsors they made our Media Haven house a fun and informative experience. They also made our stay in Denver and moving to and from Outdoor Retailer Summer Market as easy as can be. Ultimately, this allowed me to do what needed to be done without any hiccups and fully take in the whirlwind that is OR.