"Beer in Colorado" is dedicated to that divine elixir born of the marriage of water, malt, hops, and yeast as interpreted
by those living in Colorado. Follow the author as he visits every brewery in the state, creates experimental homebrews,
attends beer festivals, tries interesting beers from around the world, and spreads the good word of beer. Prost!

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Postpartum Blogging: Getting Back to the Beer Grind with Frolic Brewing Company



Looking like a star on the way to The Butterfly Pavilion
What have you been up to these past three years?  I can tell you what Nicole and I have been doing—having and raising two kids.  Hence, our prolonged absence from this blog.  Say what you will about children, say they’re the worst thing or say they’re the best thing (both statements are true, it depends on the day) but there’s one undeniable truth—they take up a lot of time.

By no means have we stopped drinking or going to breweries.  In fact, shortly after our first-born, we went on a brewery spree, we were so excited Nicole could imbibe once again.  However, we haven’t been documenting our adventures and, even though we have two little imps sucking up our leisure time, it’s important now more than ever to keep a record.  By the time our kids are old enough to have opinions they’ll undoubtedly think their parents are lame and, frankly, they’ll be right; when one has children one no longer concerns themselves with Fortnite, My Space, La Macarena, or whatever the hell kids are into these days.  The kids need to know that their mom and I were once young and cool, too.  And then I want them to feel bad when they realize they’re the reason we now suck so bad. 
Weirdest dang butterflies I ever seen

So let's start this blog back up!  The family took a little weekend trip to Westminster (somewhat) recently and stopped by The Butterfly Pavilion which is a good, wholesome name to lure kids into the building before pulling the rug out from under them  when all the other creepy, crawly invertebrates on display besides the titular Lepidopterans are revealed.
Nobody who knows Nicole would have thought they'd ever see a picture like this

The girls in the family are beating the boys in the tarantula-holding contest by a factor of one

We gave our children the willies checking out the various spiders, scorpions, and cockroaches and probably traumatized my daughter explaining that the nightmarish giant isopod is what her beloved little rolly-polly bugs would look like magnified before we set out to explore the namesake atrium.  The actual butterfly pavilion was a good way to lull the kids into a false sense of security before telling my daughter there was something she had to do before earning her snack for the day: hold Rosie, the Chilean rose hair tarantula.  

Although a bit trepidatious, she actually didn’t mind the experience.  At only three years old she’s not had enough time to develop a phobia.  Nicole held the spider, too, which was more amazing because she has had time to develop a phobia; it’s my duty to swat down every cobweb in the house and squash every little eight-legged black dot that manifests itself on the walls.  Of course, for all my heroics at home, I sure as hell wasn’t touching Rosie.  Nicole modeled her tarantula-holding technique for our daughter so I’ll do the same for our son when he’s older.  Maybe.  I have a few years to think about it.



After conquering her fear, Nicole was owed a beer and, after watching other people conquer their fear, I was owed some suds, too, so we headed out to Frolic Brewing Company.  Out in the suburban prairies of Westminster and occupying the endcap unit of a strip mall, Frolic makes the best of a not especially aesthetically pleasing environment with a sprawling patio, a game area with over-sized tabletop games and cornhole, and a few interesting interior design details such as the privacy wall near the restrooms which features grains of various degrees of kilning sandwiched between clear plastic creating an hombre effect.  Plus, a lot of teacher-orientated flags hanging from the ceiling which is a nice touch for an education-centric household such as ours.


Grain wall at Frolic
Grain wall at Frolic
After a short father/daughter dance-off on the vast concrete floors, we settled in for a beer.  First, I had the Anaheim Pepper Saison.  I like chili beers so I liked this one.  I don’t know about the whole “saison” part, though; I guess the hot peppers drowned out the fruity, spicy yeast qualities.  Then, a flight of Citra IPA (exactly what you’d expect; an IPA with craft beer's most popular hop), Vienna Lager (silky and malty), and Cranberry Gose (there are some who poo-poo kettle sours but I really don't care about the process; I paraphrase Andrew Zimmern when I say “If it tastes good, drink it!”).


Anaheim Pepper Saison
Left to right: Citra IPA, Vienna Lager, and Cranberry Gose

I think I’ll give this blog post the old Irish good-bye and just end it abruptly and without much warning because all this happened over Labor Day weekend and I began writing this post shortly thereafter.  That’s how much time kids will take up in your life, it took me about two and a half months to write eight paragraphs.  If I don’t post now, I never will.

Until next time:

Prost!

Chris

We fed the animal
They don't just hand these out to anyone, y'know

Brewing equipment at Frolic

Bar area at Frolic
Arrr! Pirate teacher!




Wednesday, August 26, 2015

A Baby's a-done a-Brewing

Back in March Nicole and I released the news that we were womb-aging a child and shared a series of weekly photos documenting the progression of the pregnancy.  Well, there have been a lot more pictures since then:

No clever sayings for this one but it was around the time of March 3rd AKA 3/03 AKA 303 Day so we just went with a Colorado pride theme.  I remember 38 State Brewing Company having an interesting taproom.  I believe it was a former mechanic's workshop as evidenced by the many garage doors.  One of the more peculiar (but also neat) features of the taproom was an unfinished-looking side room that served as sort of a rec room.  With big glass garage doors on opposite ends of the room, it almost felt like being outside.  We also visited Locavore Beer Works on this particular trip to the southern suburbs.   


Goldspot Brewing Company's got a quaint little space near Regis University.  A small brick building with low, wooden rafters interwoven with patio-style filament lights, this brewery has the vibe of countryside love shack.

I guess if we're trying to show off the baby-bump we shouldn't have put Nicole in a red shirt and have her stand in front of a red wall.

This was taken at what should have been the half-way mark of the pregnancy.

At this point, we had not yet found out the sex of the child.  But, as you can ascertain from our chalkboard, we were about to find out. SPOILER ALERT: it was a girl.

I would like to amend this one slightly.  We're not "trading in" anything, we're simply adding to the bottle collection.  There're still plenty of beer bottles at our residence.

A jazz-themed brewery calls for a jazz-themed chalkboard message. 

Likewise, a metal-themed brewery calls for a metal-themed chalkboard message.

We were at Week 26 of the pregnancy so, naturally, we took our picture at Station 26 Brewing Co.

CO-Brew, the homebrew shop/brewery hybrid on Broadway.  At a glance, it's more homebrew shop than brewery but the check-out register is also a bar and there's a seating area off to the side indicating it's dual nature.

Math is hard!

We weren't revealing the baby's name until she was born which prompted a lot of prying questions from friends and family.  So, being cheeky, we composed a poem and snuck her (technically misspelled) name into it.  Nobody caught the hint.  

We turned Nicole's parents into grandparents with this baby (my brother already did that honor for my parents).

I think this was taken near Father's Day.

Yes, but the actual giving birth part?  Not so much.

We took this picture out of convenience; it's the closest brewery to our hospital where we were headed to take a birthing class.

I apologize for the crappy-looking boat we drew.

Awesome spot and great beer!  I had their Luntbier, a nearly-extinct style of German smoked beer; it was delightful.  The taproom is a mix of industrial American and classic English pub.  It's in an old barrel-roofed building with lots of garage doors but within the rough-edged matrix floats classic details like a hanging pane of tin ceiling plates and a massive, ornate, dark-wood bar.  

We were actually at a different brewery when we realized we could come up with a better message at this one.  So, we packed up and drove here.

It was actually at about the same time the real, celestial blue moon was in the sky when we took this picture.  As you can see, we forgot our chalkboard for this one.

Nicole was overdue at this point; we were ready to blast this little cannonball right out of her!

And then, on August 12th, Sloane Viola Jane was done fermenting and was ready to be tapped for the world to enjoy!  I promise she doesn't always look so blobby and disgruntled, the photographer just caught her at a bad time.

Prost!

Chris


Monday, July 13, 2015

A Picture Tour of Avanti F&B

The highly-anticipated new eatery in Denver's Highlands neighborhood, Avanti F&B, opens to the public today! Here's a few sights you can expect to see at the former print shop located at 3200 Pecos Street.

 The outside of Avanti as seen from the south.  The main dining area is behind the second-level windows and, above that, one part of the rooftop patio.  Just to the left of this wall is...

...the rooftop bleacher section that looks out in the general direction of Coors Field.  It's kind of a silly concept having bleachers on the roof that look out over nothing specific, just the whole of the Denver skyline, but that's okay--I like silly concepts.  Continuing to turn left we see...

...the largest B-cycle station in Denver!  Apparently, they needed to install the city's largest bike rental station lest they be forced to add more parking spaces.  This part of town needed a few more stations, anyway.

Walking through the front door, guests find themselves in a pretty swanky lounge!  On the left side of the lounge is...

...Avanti's main bar area serving wine, mix drinks, and beer including...

...Colorado's largest selection of Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales beers on tap!  One of the owners of Avanti is a close, personal friend of Sam Calagione so it makes sense that DFH would be featured so prominently.  My camera's flash obscured it but that last one is Collabo-Ryezon, a rye beer made in collaboration with Prost Brewing which is just on the other side of a small park from Avanti.  

Avanti also has a lot of beers not from DFH, too, including one from The Post Brewing Co., a brewery headed-up by Bryan Selders, former brewer at DFH. So, I guess there's no hard feelings between Selders and his former employer.  

Walk past the main floor lounge and enter into the main dining hall.  The concept behind Avanti is that of a collective eatery inspired by European markets.  But, I've never been to a European market and you probably haven't, either, so I think a better way to describe Avanti is as a high-end food court or a permanent food truck rally.  There are five eateries on the main floor and two on the second floor.  The dining area is all communal and there are no reservations, just get the food you want from the pod you want and find an available seat.

Another look at the main dining hall.

A nice succulent garden as you head up from the main floor to the second level.

The upstairs bar is indoor/outdoor.  The outside portion serves...

...the main rooftop lounge area.  Turning to the left, we see...

...a line of barstools that look out over the bleachers that are just beyond the edge.  The outdoor, upstairs dining area is on the left. 

Looking back from the barstools and bleachers, we see the outdoor portion of the upstairs bar.

The view from up top!

The upstairs, outdoor dining section.  This part is covered so patrons can enjoy the fresh air and views even in inclement weather.

The length of the upstairs, outdoor dining area.  They have a glass garage door that can be raised, opening the outdoor section to the bar and other two food pods.

From the upstairs dining area, another shot of the rooftop bleachers.

So, what are you waiting for? Avanti opens today so go eat, drink, and take in the spectacular views!

Prost!

Chris

A few months ago, we visited the space that would become Avanti F & B.  At that time, it looked like an empty warehouse.  The cargo containers that would become the food pods were in place but the rest of the space had yet to be transformed.  When we visited this last Thursday, we were met with a mix of modern, industrial, and rustic touches.

I have to say I’ve been looking forward to the opening of Avanti  mostly because Quiero Arepas would be there. Quiero Arepas is one of my favorite food trucks in the Denver area but, being a food truck, we only get to enjoy their Venezuelan treats when we are lucky enough to find them at a brewery or outdoor event.  As usual, the food did not disappoint; I enjoyed the Reina Pepiada, shredded chicken in an avocado sauce stuffed into a corn bread arepa.

Avanti brings different cuisines to one place in a unique way.  Imagine a food court but with craft beer, quality food, an inviting atmosphere, a gorgeous view, and no angsty teenagers (I would say less screaming children, too, but I plan on bringing my baby there when I meet up with friends).  Avanti houses seven restaurants, some are the product of a booming food truck industry, others are testing their concepts, perhaps in hopes of opening a larger restaurant someday. 

After trying samples from each restaurant, my favorite of the night was MiJo.  MiJo served a banana curry over udon noodles with tofu or chicken.  It had a great flavor and just the right amount of spiciness; I will definitely be back for more!

Another favorite was Brava! Pizzeria Della Strada.  Brava! serves wood-fired pizza, the oven carefully squeezed into their cargo container.  They were serving the margherita pizza as well as bacon-wrapped goat cheese-filled dates and Italian S’mores.  The crust on the margherita was so wonderfully thin and the sauce boasts a tangy sweetness, I was actually reminded of pizza I’ve had in Italy.

Unfortunately, with baby on board, I wasn’t able to try any beer or cocktails (I had my eye on a pear cider, though).  I will be returning to Avanti to try out some of the other food options once the full menus are in place.

Nicole