Couching a brewery
Let's get the name out of the way first: Marmots are nicknamed whistle pigs, and one of those high-altitude critters acts as the logo for Whistle Pig Brewing (1840 Dominion Way, whistlepigbrewing.com), tentatively set to open Jan. 15.
Eric Merrell and Rob Beers are the brewers behind it, who've partnered with Bobby Couch, the chef/owner of The Green Line Grill. Couch, who'll bounce between jobs, effectively doing doubles for some time, says Merrell and Beers have been homebrewing friends for around 15 years, and a mutual friend introduced them to him.
True to brew-pub style, WPB will focus as much on its food as the beers, and Couch definitely wants it to be known as a restaurant destination too. That said, he's of course making the classic move of incorporating house beers into some of the eats.
"I'm not going to go crazy with 'beer this, beer that,'" he says. "But we'll do our oatmeal stout in the onion rings, and our pot pies. I use our IPA in a chicken dish."
Couch says Beers — I tried to resist commenting on the name, but come on, man, that's too much — handles the lighter-style, American brews, while Merrell predominantly fields the darks and German styles. A launching list across 10 house taps shows everything from the usual suspects to a juniper ale and dunkle weisse as year-rounders, and drinks like a maple porter, hard lemonade and cider as seasonal offerings.
To pair, Couch says "I'm trying not to do the basics," although he has put a smoked mozzarella-stuffed burger on the menu that strays from his blue-collar patties that've earned loyal fans at Green Line. Instead, he says, "I'm recreating dishes in fun ways," citing a tomato-basil-mozzarella Caprese smoked wings dish.
He says many plates hail from his past work, including Nosh and Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, where he and colleagues created dynamic dishes for friendly competitions, like the annual Zonta Glass Slipper Ball and RMHCS Chef Showcase. Just one example: smoked pulled-pork egg rolls with a Korean barbecue sauce and house slaw. Also look for a stuffed pork chop and a chicken-pork terrine, with prices in the $8 to $15 range.
Also, Couch's wife and brother-in-law are bakers, who'll use the brewery's spent grains to produce a variety of items.
PJ's adds breakfast
PJ's Bistro (1015 W. Colorado Ave., 632-6309) only reopened this summer near Old Colorado City, after many years in Manitou Springs, where Paul Jakubczyk and his mother Bozena had operated PJ's and the European Café, respectively. But already PJ's is shifting its selections, adding a new breakfast menu, from 8 a.m. to noon, Fridays through Sundays, plus an updated "anytime" menu for lunch and dinner.
General manager Melodie Jordahl says Bozena is currently operating PJ's, serving Polish classics like pierogi and potato pancakes. The new breakfast ushers in items like crepes, omelettes, Polish sausage and eggs, and bagel plates.