Odell Brewing Company
800 E. Lincoln Ave., Fort Collins, odellbrewing.com
And so it is sometimes that the universe winks at you with the silliest and seemingly most pointless of coincidences. I look down at my supper at home and realize I'm eating Bhutanese red rice while drinking Odell Brewing Company's seasonally released Runoff Red IPA (around $10.50/six pack). Somebody phone the Kool-Aid Man, it's a crimson-centric throw-down!
Just released in January and available only through April, Odell's 6.5-percent ABV IPA strikes a surprisingly low 50 IBUs (International Bitterness Units) but still achieves big hoppiness via a dry hopping that sends pine and citrus notes into the amber-hued ale. (The color comes from the malt selection.) Odell already ranks lordly in my beer book for favorites like its unbeatable Myrcenary Double IPA and Lugene Chocolate Milk Stout, the latter of which is seasonally releasing again this month. Runoff just goes to show that the Fort Collins-based powerhouse does the basics beautifully, too. — Matthew Schniper
702 S. Cascade Ave., 328-1412, shugas.com
Favorite dishes can easily become sacred cows (sometimes literally), so it takes a moment of courage to break habit and order something like the chipotle chicken, roasted red pepper and shiitake mushroom "twist" ($1.50 extra) on Shuga's forever superlative Spicy Brazilian Coconut Shrimp Soup ($8). Boldly I did so, and regret came only for the fungi, which didn't to me fit seamlessly into the creamy whole; the peppers and pollo easily picked up the cilantro-lime-laced, peanut-y ginger beat. Glad I tried it, but not gonna do it again.
Off the latest seasonal menu shift, the Beet Dipper ($9) rocks a fun, bright magenta color and interesting Mediterranean influence thanks to sumac-and-sesame-sporting za'atar seasoning. A classic goat cheese pairing smears well across pita points, while the promised hazelnuts are absent. No matter, I'm lost again in another revered Shuga's staple: the incomparably biting and zingy, hot lemon ginger tea ($3), the finest non-alcoholic option in any local bar of which I'm aware. — Matthew Schniper
28 S. Tejon St., 471-2311, overeasycolorado.com
Over Easy, just named to Urbanspoon's list of 101 Great Breakfasts, indeed is a lovely place to fight off the fog from the night before. One Friday morning found a room full of conversational buzz, the servers moving easily among tables full of folk from all backgrounds. My server Leslie, beaming behind the bar, was as sunny as the fried eggs, and quick with a cup of coffee from Barista Espresso and some homemade buttermilk biscuits and gravy ($8.99).
This isn't just any dough-and-drippings combo, though: This is the Indy's Best Of winner, as voted by you. The biscuits flash a baking-soda note as you cut through the soft middle to the firmer bottom, while the gravy plays it modest, not revealing itself until light pepper and sage flavors skip across your tongue between bites. Elsewhere on the plate, OE's kitchen takes the hash browns a little far over the crispy line for my taste, but nails some over-medium eggs. — Bryce Crawford
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