Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Denver Sunday Funday...

Beer list at Cherry Cricket

       When I travel two parts of my personality compete and when they are in balance usually I find myself in good places with good people having a good time. I tend to be a planner who embraces spontaneity.  Ideally I thoroughly research a trip and have as much info as possible as I hit the road but then I leave it up to the wind to drive me one direction or the other.  Luckily I have a handful of friends in Denver that enjoy good beers and they had a good list of places to eat and drink well.  One of my favorite pastimes is Sunday brunch and while I have been know to enjoy a good Bloody Mary, Mimosa, Irish Coffee or a dry hard cider (or all 4 aka the breakfast gauntlet, right Kyle?) I equally enjoy a good brunch beer. There are some great spots in Denver for breakfast or brunch. Last  trip I enjoyed Jelly and I have heard good things about Snooze too.  This morning I found our group recovering at The Cherry Cricket and the beer list did not disappoint. While you could get the normal mainstream beers they also had a dozen craft beers on tap ranging from lighter lagers to whites, plus several IPAs and stouts. Definitely something for everyone. I ended up getting their famous Green Chili and a Great Divide Nomad Pils (light, balanced Czech style Pilsner, bready with ample hops) followed by an Avery White Rascal (a nice light bodied, semi sweet, unfiltered white with orange peel and coriander)  Lighter choices that started off the day slowly and cooled the chili a bit. Fueled up, check!

Justin crafting a new recipe
        The next stop was my buddy Mike's (mug #35) favorite brewery, The Copper Kettle, winner of GABF gold for their Mexican Chocolate Stout.  This was my 2nd time there, Mike is pretty much obsessed with these guys and I can't come to Denver without him dragging me there, not that its that difficult! We walked in to find Jeremy behind the bar and Justin writing a recipe to showcase some new hop and malt samples they just received.  Sticking with the breakfast theme I started with their High Country Breakfast Stout (a perfect dark balance of local coffee, dark 
chocolate and bourbon soaked staves hide the 10% ABV well) What was going to be a quick stop turned into a couple of hours of sampling, ingredient discussions and snacking.  Our friend Jen showed up with some Chili Chocolate Cupcakes which prompted some Mexican Chocolate Stout samples (sweet and spicy just as you would imagine) to "confirm" the perfect pairing. Then mug member #2 showed up with some pulled pork sandwiches with a sauce made with their Black IPA (a roasty black IPA) and like deja vu we had to pair those up as well! This wasn't a planned stop, in fact it made us drop our plans to check out Boulder that afternoon.  Though switching plans to a small tour of the craft bar scene in Denver was not to disappoint!

            I can't forget to mention Falling Rock Tap House which I visited in August. With 75 on tap there are lots of great craft brews to be found, including hard to find Pliny the Elder from Russian River Brewing in CA.  I am told I have to go back to try the 'shrooms appetizer though. We'll see if I have enough time!

So much flavor at Euclid Hall
           On several suggestions and a desire to what else the city had to offer we decided to hit up Euclid Hall and Freshcraft two eateries with distinct personalities that share a passion for craftbeer and great food. Eulid has a dozen craft beers and an impressive list of  craft and import bottles. I went with Upslope's Foreign Style Stout (a nice medium bodied dry hoppy stout) I guess if you can't go to Boulder you drink a Boulder beer right?! (no pun intended I swear) The food there is a little edgy, which I don't mind. Maybe creative and adventurous is a better description. I wasn't very hungry but tried a few things out.  There are a half dozen house made sausages, the keilbasa with 4 mustards was my pick as a nod to my Polish heritage. The roast cauliflower salad was a home run with sweet and spicy marmelade, goat cheese, scallions and tempura bits that fit together perfectly.  And even though it wasn't my favorite the hop infused pickles were something unique I had to try.  You can also choose from Roast Duck Poutine, Pad Thai Pig Ears, Umami Oysters,  Bruleed Beef Marrow and Chicken Fried Quail and Waffles to name a few of their clectic delicacies.  The one thing that wowed me was that they have a Certified Cicerone, similar to a Sommelier for beer on staff. Having recently passed that test I know its no easy feat.  Ryan was very knowledgeable, and after hearing I was also one of the few hundred Cicerones in the world, shared some of Crooked Stave's limited release Surette (Farmhouse Ale, Chardonnay Barrel Aged with 4 types of Brettanomyces Yeast) A definite treat indeed! 
Nothing pretentious about Freshcraft
           On to Freshcraft which boasts 20 craftbeer drafts and a large bottle and can selection as well.  Its a more laid back place and their food focuses on local and fresh, made to order eats. With small, medium and large plates there is something for every appetite there.  The menu is less adventurous than Euclid but definitely delicious. I had a couple of veggie sliders and was a happy fellow.  It also might have been the beer making me happy. I was getting full but a half pint of Denver Brewing Co's Project X (A hoppy IPA that as the names suggests is hard to identify!) made it into my belly. And then a scan of the bottle/can list made me throw my Colorado only theme out the window.  One of my all time favorite beers, Maui Brewing's Coconut Porter (dry and roasty with just a hint of coconut).  I capped my night with one.  And the sun set on another full day of beerventures.  This is going to be quite the trip!
Great tap selection at Fresh Craft in Denver

No comments:

Post a Comment