3201 Walnut St., Boulder, twistedpinebrewing.com
Twisted Pine's Cucumber Cream Ale (around $13/750 ml) joins the brewery's seasonal Roots Revival Carrot IPA as part of its super-fun Farm to Foam Series. The nod to Colorado-grown ingredients here includes English cucumbers from Platteville's 2 R's Farm, Crystal Hops from Olathe's Misty Mountain Hop Farm, and wheat and barley from Alamosa's Colorado Malting Co.
Lead brewer Henry Jager, 26, notes pridefully that it took four hours to juice 300 pounds of the fruit on a cheap home juicer (which he later jokingly reviewed on Amazon). Post-fermentation, some 30 juice gallons would join a basic cream ale style brew — a misnomer because it's texturally light and straw-colored, with a crisp, not velvety, body. The beer sports low hop character but a nice grassy element and strong cucumber essence. At 6.5 percent ABV, it's a lovely summer beer — or "lawn mower beer," in Jager's words. — Matthew Schniper
The Firehouse BBQ & Sports Bar
6995 Lexington Drive, 447-8829, firehousebbqandbar.com
Having left Colorado Avenue, Firehouse reopened in this Hub Car Wash attachment in early February, adding and subtracting from its menu and renaming many of the same recipes to include fireman schtick. (Think: Backdraft Baby Back Ribs.)
Hickory smoke drifts about with varying degrees of alarm and an overall subtlety. It's most interesting in the Firehouse smoked wings ($7.99/half-dozen), which are flavorful but lack heat. The giant Chief's Platter ($19.99) allows you to pick three meats and three sides: The wet slaw bests limp fries and generic okra while moist smoked chicken surpasses the brisket and ribs. The well-charred ribs are on the tougher side, and the pulled brisket has more of a pot roast personality, needing one of the three housemade sauces at the table for flair. I prefer the black-pepper-forward Sweet & Tangy over the basic Wildside and not-hot Bab-N-Nero. — Matthew Schniper
Sacred Grounds Coffee in the Canyon
1801 Cheyenne Blvd., 475-0888
Sacred Grounds looks like an adobe-covered general store, and with the slanted porch roof, you half expect horses to be tied up underneath it. Instead, there's a dog accompanied by its people, who look fresh off a mountain hike. It's located alongside neighborhood houses but you can barely tell, based on how hidden each one is behind walls of trees and shrubbery. With Cheyenne Mountain rising in the background, the place offering "coffee in the canyon" also provides a lovely little isolated feeling, as does the small, square inside, with its bright red couch and comfortable, modern bits of furniture.
The Americano ($2.75/16-ounce), essentially the big brother of drip coffee, is a welcome kick in the ass. Made from beans roasted by Barista Espresso, it's dark and nutty, with flashes of berry and chocolate. Splashes from a pitcher of cream taken from a corner refrigerator add layers of luster. — Bryce Crawford