Three Barrel Brewing Co.
586 Columbia Ave., Del Norte, 719/850-1949, threebarrelbrew.com
There's a lot to love about Three Barrel, namely how brewer/founder John Bricker meticulously nails each beer style he produces, and rocks a Penitente Canyon Specialty Sour series that, from our limited sampling, is absolutely badass. The 9-year-old outfit is about to devote the entirety of its current location to sour creations, while opening up a 15-barrel brewpub nearby, complete with popular wood-oven pizza.
Currently, the only place in the Springs to pick up flagship bombers (such as the Burnt Toast Brown Ale and Hop Trash IPA) is Downtown Fine Spirits & Wine. If you can land a seasonal Thurday Special ($6.50/22-ounces) coconut brown lager somewhere, sometime, then do. Not only is it one of the finest coconut beers I've had, beautifully balanced with nutty island essence, it also highlights the outfit's Del Norte-deprecating humor: It's named for a typo in the window of a nearby barbershop. — Matthew Schniper
The Beer Dinners
Dinners at a private venue, 924-5299, localrelic.com
There are beer dinners, where courses pair with commercial brews. Then there are The Beer Dinners, pop-up-style, multi-course meals constructed around 5-gallon batch brews created exclusively for each event. The latter, hosted monthly by a division of Common Cause Catering (a social enterprise) called Local Relic, costs $50, which includes tax and gratuity (and free beer, as the money collected covers the eats only).
Visit our IndyBlog for a full rundown of my July 12 experience, which included a cucumber saison, lemon-ginger IPA, dressy duck confit and much more. Local brewer Grant Goodwiler (formerly of Rocky Mountain Brewing and Brewer's Republic) concocts an interesting and unusual array of field beer-style brews, paired nicely with gourmet handiwork by chef Corey Hoff (a product of the Broadmoor's Culinary Apprentice Program) and Little London Cake Shoppe pastry chef Anastacio Garcia. — Matthew Schniper
The Airplane Restaurant
1665 N. Newport Road, 570-7656, solosrestaurant.com
The Airplane Restaurant is right next to a Radisson, so you think it's going to be pretty good. (Yay, Fargo.) The shtick is certainly entertaining. Uniformed employees, some with tattered shirts more gray than white, lead you through a dining room overflowing with plane memorabilia; one wing of the silver Boeing KC-97 Stratotanker parked outside actually juts through the wall. We were shown pictures of the plane in its heyday, and warned about the 14 steps up to its interior. Tables are topped with old flight maps, ours a bird's eye view of Beijing, and the staff hope you'll enjoy your flight.
Spoiler: Our food wasn't very good, and if the 50-percent rating on Urbanspoon is any indication, this is not uncommon. But it hardly matters. The World's Biggest Cod Sandwich ($11.99) may have been fried fish with a smattering of lettuce next to tasteless fries, while the Reuben von Crashed ($9.99) was all sauerkraut on dry bread, but you can go in the cockpit. — Bryce Crawford