Food and Drink

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Colorado Native releases more seasonals

Posted By on Sun, Jan 15, 2017 at 12:36 PM

Colorado Native imperial porter - GRIFFIN SWARTZELL
  • Griffin Swartzell
  • Colorado Native imperial porter
AC Golden made a quality sour ale. - GRIFFIN SWARTZELL
  • Griffin Swartzell
  • AC Golden made a quality sour ale.
Once again, MillerCoors' experimental arm AC Golden Brewing Company has sent us a few sample bottles of their new wares. This time, we received Colorado Native Peche, a sour golden beer aged in oak wine barrels with peaches, and Colorado Native imperial porter.

Seeing a beer from an AC Golden brand sporting a 9.5 percent ABV came as a bit of a shock, but that's what we got in the imperial porter. For the style, it's pretty light in color, pouring reddish brown with an espresso crema-colored foam. It sips smooth and roasty, with some coffee notes, hiding the alcohol beautifully. It's a blend between fresh-fermented porter and a batch aged six months in AD Laws whiskey barrels, which adds a little complexity, as does mild smokiness from smoked wheat. There's a crispness or thinness that I'm not 100 percent behind, though, coming from the fact that it's brewed as a lager as well as a lot of wheat. Still, this is far and away the best thing we've had from Colorado Native.

We're happy enough with Peche, as well. It has a punchy, sharp tartness that mellows into a mild peach flavor with some oak taste on the backend. With a well-handled 7 percent ABV, it's comparable to quite a few other sours on the market. Really, the most notable thing about this beer is that the folks behind Coors have brewed an competent sour beer, at the worst. Given the choice, I'll drink Paradox or Trinity brews first, but this isn't a bad brew at all.

It's surprising that we're getting well-made, interesting brews from one of the macrobrew companies that remains the Great Enemy of the local-centric craft brewing movement. But I guess it's true that a rising tide lifts all boats.

In any case, we'll continue to review whatever beer shows up in the mail. Cheers!
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Friday, January 13, 2017

Red Leg brews for Broadmoor, releases military promo can

Posted By on Fri, Jan 13, 2017 at 10:51 AM

Prospector's Pick kölsch: a light, year-round brew. - GRIFFIN SWARTZELL
  • Griffin Swartzell
  • Prospector's Pick kölsch: a light, year-round brew.
The veterans at Red Leg Brewing Company have been busy. Over the last year, they've been collaborating with representatives from The Broadmoor to come up with a new brew. Prospector's Pick kölsch-style ale will be available on tap or in cans at every Broadmoor restaurant, plus 1858 at Seven Falls, the pool and golf course. The only place to get this brew outside of the Broadmoor will be Red Leg's own taproom.

It's been in the works for a year, according to Krista Heinicke, food and beverage office manager and public relations for the resort. With beer coming back to fine tables around the country, Heinicke wanted to get a locally brewed beer in The Broadmoor's eateries.

"The kölsch directive came from us," she says. "We asked for something that was universal, easy to drink, not too complex, and not too heavy so it could be an year-round beer. We really wanted to have something that is enjoyed by the novice drinker and someone who is a lot more experienced... It's a nice introduction beer. For people coming to visit, it's a great way to introduce them, and then they can move on to the heavier, more complex styles."

It's also a versatile style. Red Leg's sales manager Paul Ferrante says the beer will pair with just about anything, owing to its relatively restrained, balanced taste.

"To go with something darker... wouldn't serve that purpose, especially if you're trying to pair with food, as well," he says.

Now for some obligatory tasting notes:
It's a very clean sip, lightly fruity with a notable biscuity sweetness — a little malty for the style, but delicious. The beer is crystal-clear and golden in color. It's not a true kölsch, per se, as it's brewed as an ale instead of a cooler-fermented lager. But stylistic hair-splitting aside, it's a quality, easy-drinking beer with just enough detail to stay interesting.

Drop by The Golden Bee between 6 and 8 p.m. on Tuesday, January 17, for a tapping and pint night, free promo pint glasses included. But make no mistake, this isn't a limited-run brew. It'll be on tap for a long time to come.

Beer lovers may have noticed a new Red Leg can kicking around town, too. But this isn't a new brew, it's just their beloved Howitzer amber ale, taking on a new design to celebrate a military anniversary. December 10th, 2017, will mark the 100th anniversary of the Fort Carson-based 4th Infantry Division, nicknamed the Ivy Division for their use of the roman numeral IV. Through the 10th, Red Leg will be canning and selling Howitzer as Ivy 100.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with corrected event listing information.
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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Wobbly Olive barman wins cocktail fight

Posted By on Wed, Dec 21, 2016 at 11:45 AM

Phil Arana impressed the judges and the crowd with two egg-based cocktails. - GRIFFIN SWARTZELL
  • Griffin Swartzell
  • Phil Arana impressed the judges and the crowd with two egg-based cocktails.
Earlier this week, The Wobbly Olive hosted a friendly cocktail competition. Four killer bartenders threw down their best, with the Olive's Phil Arana battling Dylan Currier of Cowboy Star and Sean Fitzgerald, also of the Olive, matching up with Alejandro Sanchez of Axe and the Oak Whiskey House, with The Famous' Colby Carlson acting as master of ceremonies. I judged alongside Indy publisher Carrie Simison.

Before the competition began in proper, Carlson and Fitzgerald threw down with a "shots scuffle," each making a shot with Don Julio blanco tequila and a secret ingredient suggested by the audience. Fitzgerald rode peanut butter (in this case a peanut butter syrup) in a party-friendly shot to victory over Carlson, whose creme de violette-fueled concoction read floral and dry on the finish.

For the first round, all four barmen had 20 minutes to make a drink with Ketel One vodka and secret ingredient creme de noyaux, a culinary cousin of amaretto. Currier brought in a raspberry/cranberry/rosemary syrup and finished the holiday-inflected martini-style drink with a creme de noyaux/egg white foam. But the judges preferred Arana's "sexy, sophisticated" blend of bitters, liqueur, egg white and "gingerbread" ginger/clove/spice syrup.

Alejandro Sanchez, embodying "What, me worry?" - GRIFFIN SWARTZELL
  • Griffin Swartzell
  • Alejandro Sanchez, embodying "What, me worry?"
Sanchez pulled together a bright mix, matching the noyaux with Campari, citruses and bitters. But we felt the drink was too condensed, its complex flavors needing space to really show. We gave the win to Fitzgerald's take on an Adonis — traditionally, equal parts sherry and sweet vermouth — which drank boozy and decadent, presented in a decanter.

The final round saw Fitzgerald and Arana competing with Nolet's gin — unique for its Turkish, rose-dominant flavor profile — and secret ingredient Stirrings ginger liqueur. Fitzgerald went beachy, with a drink somewhere between a bramble and a mule, resting on housemade blackberry cordial. But, balanced as it was, Arana went for maximum effort and turned out a respectable take on a Ramos gin fizz, spending most of his time shaking the drink into a proper pillow-light foam.

After Arana's win, Carlson announced another bar fight at The Famous, sometime during the last week of January.

Check out more pictures from the evening below:
Phil Arana's first drink, plated with ginger snaps. - CARRIE SIMISON
  • Carrie Simison
  • Phil Arana's first drink, plated with ginger snaps.
Dylan Currier's drink lost to Arana in the first round, but guests adored it. - GRIFFIN SWARTZELL
  • Griffin Swartzell
  • Dylan Currier's drink lost to Arana in the first round, but guests adored it.
Alejandro Sanchez presented a dense, complicated sipper - GRIFFIN SWARTZELL
  • Griffin Swartzell
  • Alejandro Sanchez presented a dense, complicated sipper
Sean Fitzgerald's seductive drink felt appropriately glitzy - GRIFFIN SWARTZELL
  • Griffin Swartzell
  • Sean Fitzgerald's seductive drink felt appropriately glitzy
Phil Arana finishing a line of winning Ramos fizzes for the judges - GRIFFIN SWARTZELL
  • Griffin Swartzell
  • Phil Arana finishing a line of winning Ramos fizzes for the judges
Sean Fitzgerald's beachy drink pleased and impressed, but did not secure him the win. - GRIFFIN SWARTZELL
  • Griffin Swartzell
  • Sean Fitzgerald's beachy drink pleased and impressed, but did not secure him the win.
Phil Arana celebrates his win with an engraved bottle of Nolet's gin. - GRIFFIN SWARTZELL
  • Griffin Swartzell
  • Phil Arana celebrates his win with an engraved bottle of Nolet's gin.

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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Oskar Blues to occupy former Old Chicago downtown

Posted By on Wed, Dec 14, 2016 at 5:57 PM

There's always room for more good beer in the Springs. Lyons-based craft brewery Oskar Blues Brewery's restaurant arm, Oskar Blues Fooderies, will be opening a restaurant and beer bar in the former Old Chicago location at 118 N. Tejon St.

According to a press release sent today, the restaurant should be open by summer 2017.

Look for more information in next week's Side Dish column. Until then, check out the press release below:
Oskar Blues Fooderies, the purveyors of handcrafted food to pair with Oskar Blues Brewery’s craft beer, will open a joint restaurant and beer bar in the historic DeGraff Building located in the heart of Downtown Colorado Springs.

The new concept will occupy 15,000 square feet on two levels. The restaurant space, located on the street level, will feature the southern-inspired specialties Oskar Blues Fooderies are known for, bringing the low country to the high country, including slow smoked locally sourced meats, grilled burgers, New Orleans style grilled oysters and seafood. On tap they will feature 43 craft beers from around the country including Oskar Blues Brewery’s staples and limited release beers.

Oskar Blues lower level entertainment grotto will feature 2 underground bocce courts, slightly mic-ed singer song writer stage and private party friendly lounge. It will also feature on tap, Oskar Blues Brewery favorites and craft breweries from around the country. “We are looking forward to showing off this piece of Colorado Springs history dating back to the gold rush of the late 1800s.” says Jason Rogers Chef and Partner of Oskar Blues Fooderies. “I can’t wait to sip a barrel aged beer, eat smoked meats and kick back in the grotto”

Along with expanding into the lower level of the building Oskar Blues plans to focus on the outdoor back patio with a social fire pit, ping pong, corn hole and chill area. “The back patio is a great place to enjoy the outdoors while spending time with family and friends. With the roll up doors and shared energy from the restaurant, the patio space will be a good getaway.” stated, Anita Gray, Oskar Blues Fooderies operating partner and regional district manager.

“We are thrilled to welcome Oskar Blues Fooderies to the downtown Colorado Springs market,” commented Susan Edmondson, president and CEO of the Colorado Springs Downtown Partnership, noting the restaurant is expected to create 75 new jobs in the Springs area. “Oskar Blues is a renowned employer, with strong benefits and a coveted company culture. It is a good opportunity for both the restaurant and for the Springs. Their presence builds on our downtown’s reputation for great food, award-winning craft beer and a fun, welcoming vibe.”

Oskar Blues Fooderies is due to open their third CHUBurger this winter in the hot RiNo district of Denver. Along with expanding the killer burger joint, their home grown coffee roasting operation, Hotbox Roasters, will open next door, serving up tasty doughnuts and world class espresso.

The Colorado Springs space, located at 118 N. Tejon Street DeGraff Building, will open summer 2017 and hours are 11 AM to 12 AM Monday through Friday, with brunch beginning a bit earlier each weekend.

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Monday, December 5, 2016

TILL refocuses on 'what's working'

Posted By on Mon, Dec 5, 2016 at 7:59 PM

The winner of this year's Indy Best Of for Overall Restaurant and New Restaurant, TILL, has ceased operation of its retail bakery arm and grab-and-go coffee shop.

TILL occupies quite a lot of space, captivating attention on a drive by the multifaceted structure. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • TILL occupies quite a lot of space, captivating attention on a drive by the multifaceted structure.
But CEO/president/owner of TILL and Garden of the Gods Gourmet, Mitch Yellen, says not to interpret that as a bad thing. Quite the contrary, he makes a case that it's quite natural for a restaurant to still be finding and defining itself in its early months, and adjusting around what's working and what's not.

Yellen, reached by phone Monday, says the Briargate area in which they positioned TILL didn't really embrace the coffee shop and retail bakery functions of the larger operation, though he says they've enthusiastically filled dining room, bar and especially private-dining-room seats to the tune of 400 to 500 covers a night, regularly, sometimes more.

"They're more into Kneaders for their baked goods," he says, "and I realized that we're more of a restaurant, not a bakery. ... A coffee drive-thru may have worked, but I nixed the plan. ... I think my vision got a little big. ... [But] we're not struggling or failing, we're being smart, like when a corporation says 'this department isn't making money.'"

That said, the bakery in-house won't cease operation in terms of feeding the dining rooms and wholesale accounts around town — it just won't host the retail front. And the sushi that was formerly offered in the retail market has moved into a dining room option now.

Most of all, Yellen says private-dining bookings have shown huge demand, not just around the holidays for parties, but for work meetings as well. He adds that the front-house space formerly occupied by the bakery and coffee counter will likely be utilized for more private-dining space soon.

"TILL is doing very well," he insists, noting that they own the building and land, and still have plans to add another, smaller location somewhere else in town, as well as possibly two more Garden of the Gods Gourmet models.

A handful of folks may not be doing so well, having been laid-off as part of the changes. Yellen says several people were repositioned elsewhere in the company, and that only five to seven (he didn't have exact numbers on hand) employees were cut outright. That's out of nearly 100 total employees on site.

"When I opened Garden of the Gods Gourmet's market, for the first year and half I didn't know what we were," he says. "We tweaked a lot of things, we have a high standard. ... It has taken us five months to discover what's working and what's not, here, and establish our footing. ... We're getting leaner because we want to be a big success. It's all positive."

Relatedly, newly launched happy hours started last week from 3 to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, and you can see a menu here:
TILL/Garden of the Gods Gourmet president Mitch Yellen says Till's private-dining facilities have taken off to the degree of inspiring the addition of more meeting and event space. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • TILL/Garden of the Gods Gourmet president Mitch Yellen says Till's private-dining facilities have taken off to the degree of inspiring the addition of more meeting and event space.

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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Marine Stewardship Council clarifies business model

Posted By on Wed, Nov 23, 2016 at 9:19 AM

Last week, we reported on UCCS's recent certification by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), affirming its commitment to serving sustainable seafood on campus. As part of the article, we made note of a three-article series from NPR calling into question the MSC's diligence, describing a fundamental conflict of interest in their business model. Ultimately, Mark Hayes, director of Dining and Hospitality Services for UCCS, considered the situation and decided that MSC was sufficiently legit to pursue their certification.

After we released the story, MSC's US Media Manager, Jon Corsiglia, reached out to the Independent to clarify MSC's business model. With his permission, we've run the letter below:
I wanted to reach out and correct the notion that there’s a conflict of interest in the MSC business model.

The MSC does not set the sustainable fishing standard by itself. Our standards were developed through consultation with the fishing industry, scientists, conservation groups, experts and stakeholders. These standards detail the requirements for fisheries to be certified as sustainable. Fisheries and seafood businesses voluntarily seek certification against the standards. To ensure that certification is credible and robust, assessment to our standards is carried out by independent, third party assessment bodies. The MSC does not do the assessments; does not make the decision whether or not the fishery is certified sustainable; and does not receive any money from the fisheries for their assessment/certification.

The MSC does charge companies a licensing fee to use the blue MSC ecolabel on consumer facing products. However, certified fisheries can use the trademark to promote their achievement of certification free of charge. It is also important to note that, while the MSC receives no payment from fisheries, MSC certified fisheries do make a considerable financial commitment and contribution to becoming MSC certified. For example, they must pay independent certification bodies to carry out assessments to the MSC Fisheries Standard, and employ staff / scientists to ensure that the requirements of the MSC Standard are met.

MSC labeled products can be traced back to fisheries that have been independently certified as sustainable. These fisheries are ensuring that the fish populations and the ecosystems on which they depend remain healthy and productive, now and in the future.

As more consumers, restaurants, retailers and processors choose MSC certified seafood, other fisheries are encouraged into assessment. Many make improvements in the way they fish the oceans in order to achieve certification. This is where real and lasting change can be delivered.

As supplies of sustainable seafood continue to grow, market awareness, demand and commitments to sustainable sourcing also increase. We hope this expanding cycle of supply and demand will ultimately lead to sustainable seafood becoming the norm.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

UCCS seeks to serve sustainable seafood

Posted By on Wed, Nov 16, 2016 at 8:34 AM

UCCS has been feeding its students local foods for a while now, from Red Bird chicken to bread from Denver's Harvest Moon bakery. Even the beer and wine at Clyde's comes from Colorado. Things they can't do locally, they get as good as they can, like Rainforest certified coffee. Now, they're adding one more item to their list of sustainably sourced eats: seafood. Earlier this week, we received a press release from the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), announcing that UCCS had recently been certified as committed to serving sustainable seafood.

That's great, except MSC has caught some flak from various scientific groups over perceived laxness in their certification process. A 2013 NPR three-article series featured concerns from the Canadian Shark Research Laboratory over the certification of a local swordfish fishing operation. The report says that there's a fundamental conflict of interest in their business model, due to the fact that MSC charges a licensing fee to use its certification label. At the time, NPR claimed half of MSC's revenue came from said fees. Retailers are incentivized to cash in because, by NPR's estimates, they can crank up the price on MSC-certified seafood by around 10 percent.

The ensuing back and forth between MSC and NPR can be uncharitably summarized as "you didn't do your homework," and "yes we did," respectively. There was nothing definitive, so it's hard to say if MSC is on the level or just fishing for greenbacks. For those interested in reading the full story, here's NPR's original article series, here's MSC's response in pdf format, and here's NPR's response to MSC's response.

No surprise, Mark Hayes, director of Dining and Hospitality Services for UCCS, was already familiar with the criticism levied against MSC before seeking their certification.

"While MSC certification has not been without controversy, we believe third party verification of our processes and that of worldwide fisheries is robust," he says via e-mail. "The UN estimates that over 80% of global fish stocks are overfished. The MSC is heading us in the right direction, along with other like-minded organizations. Seafood Watch also lists MSC as the only organization recommended for wild caught seafood eco-certification."

Of note, he says that MSC does not charge universities for campus certification, and Hayes says any cost increases will be "minimal and within the planned budget for our campus residential food expenses."

In any case, Hayes' and UCCS's intent — more responsible and sustainable food sourcing on campus — is something we're happy to see.

Read the full press release below:
COLORADO SPRINGS – University of Colorado, Colorado Springs (UCCS) students can now enjoy seafood at The Lodge and Roaring Fork dining centers knowing that their choices support fishermen and fisherwomen who are working hard to meet the world’s most rigorous standard for sustainable fishing.

In September, UCCS became the first university in Colorado, and one of 31 institutions of higher education in North America, to lead the way in committing to serving Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified seafood in its dining centers.

“The vision of UCCS Dining and Hospitality Services is to be a recognized leader in service delivery and food sustainability,” said Polly Moorman, Marketing Manager, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. “The MSC third-party certification recognizes our commitment to sustainability and brings a level of confidence to our students.”

The Marine Stewardship Council is an international non-profit organization, established to safeguard seafood supplies for the future. Recognized as the world’s leading certification program for sustainable, wild-caught seafood, the MSC works with leaders within the fishing industry and seafood sector to create a more sustainable seafood market.

All MSC certified seafood is labeled, letting students know that what they are eating is sustainably caught. The MSC ecolabel on a seafood product means that it is sourced from a sustainable and well-managed fishery and is traceable from ocean to plate. Close to 10 percent of the annual global harvest of wild-capture fisheries are MSC certified.

“We congratulate the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs on attaining MSC certification and serving sustainable seafood to students, staff and faculty on campus,” said Brian Perkins, MSC regional director, Americas. “As the first university in Colorado to earn MSC certification, UCCS is leading the way in contributing to the health of the world’s oceans for future generations.”

The MSC certification is just one of several initiatives led by UCCS Dining and Hospitality Services to increase sustainability. UCCS Dining and Hospitality Services is committed to making well-thought out, strategic choices in purchasing and operational decision-making with the goal of not compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs, which include: Organic, Rainforest certified coffee roasted in Denver, along with single origin Kenyan Coffee from the Harambee Foundation; Antibiotic-free chicken and beef from Red Bird, Coleman, Ranch Foods Direct, and Frontier Valley Meats; the new Roaring Fork Dining Hall will be certified LEED Gold; and perishable food is donated to the Colorado Springs Food Rescue.

For more information about UCCS Dining and Hospitality Services sustainable practices visit:

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Monday, November 14, 2016

Brother Luck to host Chopped-themed pop-up dinner

Posted By on Mon, Nov 14, 2016 at 1:12 PM

Luck's back on Food Network - KIRSTEN AKENS
  • Kirsten Akens
  • Luck's back on Food Network
Over the course of the last year, Chef Brother Luck has been hitting the airwaves big time. He made the cut and competed in a Sysco-sponsored mini-episode of the Food Network television show Chopped. Then, this summer, he out-cooked Bobby Flay on the competition show Beat Bobby Flay. Now, he's gone on Chopped proper, in an episode titled "Beast Feast," set to premiere on Tuesday, Nov. 22.

To celebrate, he's hosting a six-course dinner with wine pairings to accompany the premiere of the show, to take place at the Cheyenne Mountain Resort. Each course will feature ingredients Luck used in the episode. Which makes for a pretty entertaining preview menu because Luck can't actually tell us what those ingredients are.

For those unfamiliar, Chopped contestants are presented with a basket of four mystery ingredients they must make into a dish, while on a time limit. There's an appetizer round, a main dish round and a dessert round, and after each, one of the four contestants is eliminated.

So the preview menu for the six-course meal has a whole bunch of ???s instead of ingredients because technically, those ingredients are spoilers for what happens on the show. Obnoxious bureaucracy or unintentional mirth? You decide. Either way, tickets are $95, and they're going fast. If you're so inclined, click here to get yours.

For those unable to attend, the episode airs at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 22.

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Friday, October 28, 2016

A peek at Bristol's 2016 Venetucci Pumpkin Ale release party

Posted By on Fri, Oct 28, 2016 at 1:11 PM

  • Ryan Hannigan | Focus on the Beer
If you've lived in Colorado Springs for even a little while, you know the lore about Venetucci Farm. Nick and Bambi Venetucci were consummate philanthropists, giving away millions of pumpkins in thirty some odd years.

As always, thanks to Bristol Brewing, you too can be a part of giving back to a farm that has given so much. This Sunday marks the annual Venetucci Pumpkin Ale release party, and it's a special one. From Bristol's Facebook events page:

Big thanks to Pueblo's Milberger Farms at Peppe's this year for supplying the pumpkins in support of Venetucci Farm! The severe hail damage this year took a toll on the Venetucci Farm's crops, and they need your help more than ever. When you buy a bottle of Venetucci Pumpkin Ale (VPA), you're rewarding yourself with a beer crafted with local pumpkins from one farm supporting another - 100% of the profits go back to the oldest working farm in Colorado Springs. Local ingredients and local love, the Bristol way.
Focus on the Beer and the Independent got a early peek at this year's preparations:

It’s pretty cool what Bristol's Community Ales program has become over the past 10 years, led by the ever-popular Pumpkin Ale. As a town, we love our nonprofits, and the Community Ales allow us to drink beer while supporting any number of nonprofits.

A version of this story first appeared on Focus on the Beer.
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Thursday, October 13, 2016

It's open season (next season) for farm stands in Colorado Springs

Posted By on Thu, Oct 13, 2016 at 5:25 PM

City Council legalized farm stands in Colorado Springs this week after a near-unanimous vote. The only dissenter was Helen Collins of District 4, who described the ordinance designed to bring the city up to speed with state law as “a waste of time.” Luckily for local food advocates, her opposition didn’t waste much time holding up the otherwise uncontroversial measure aimed at empowering citizens to sell veggies and other homemade food items from their own yards.

Councilor Jill Gaebler brought the ordinance to her colleagues at the recommendation of the Food Policy Advisory Board — a year-old city/county board convened to study local food sovereignty in a region that trucks in close to all the food it eats from out of state. This measure, nearly identical to one Denver passed in 2014, was the board’s top priority because of how simple and rewarding it may be for the community.

The ordinance expands the home occupation permit to include cottage foods — a category defined by a 2012 state law that gave people the right to produce and sell certain non-perishable homemade foods without a commercial license. It includes canned and pickled veggies, jams, jellies, honey, breads, teas and all sorts of other goodies that pretty much won’t get you sick if you’re equipped with eyes, a nose and a brain.

The fine print contains some details that all would-be farm standers should know: get permitted through the planning department for a one time fee of $60; to sell from a farm stand, take the food safety course offered through the El Paso County Health Department; only set up your stand between dawn and dusk from April to November; don’t block traffic; be kind to your neighbors.

Councilor Gaebler heralded the measure as a victory for not only personal liberty and private property rights, but for good old-fashioned, neighbor-to-neighbor community building.

We’ll say cheers with some homegrown tea to that!

Read the full text of the ordinance here:

Editor's note: This story has been updated with corrected permit information.
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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Willamette Market & Deli soft-opens, grand opening to be announced

Posted By on Wed, Sep 28, 2016 at 4:02 PM

The former Little Market & Deli will soon reopen as the Willamette Market & Deli.
  • The former Little Market & Deli will soon reopen as the Willamette Market & Deli.
The beloved Little Market & Deli lives again! Now operating under the moniker Willamette Market & Deli, the century-old Shooks Run standby, located at 749 E. Willamette Ave., soft-opened Sept. 27 to enthusiastic crowds. Co-owner Amy Emerson tells us that customers emptied the deli, though they've restocked and are ready to go again.

As noted in Side Dish, Emerson and business/life partner Natalie Peck have built a market dedicated to selling organic, regional and sustainable products. In Emerson's words, it's “the best food we can find, as close as we can find it."

The deli counter features hot dogs — all-beef dogs, house-marinated carrot dogs or vegan frankfurters — with gluten-free buns available, as well as gluten-free pasta salads, soups and pour-overs from Loyal Coffee. 

Emerson says they're still planning a grand opening for sometime in October, but the market will be open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. until then.
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Friday, September 23, 2016

Brother falls to Castro

Posted By on Fri, Sep 23, 2016 at 5:25 PM

Earlier this week, Till hosted a friendly Knife Fight between chef Brother Luck of Brother Luck Street Eats and Till's Gerry Castro. Simultaneously, Sean Fitzgerald of the Wobbly Olive battled Till's Alejandro Sanchez in a bartender's battle. 

I judged, and I dove wholeheartedly into dining and drinking rather than note taking, so check out Dionne Roberts' work over at the Rocky Mountain Food Report for more of a play-by-play, with lots of pics. Till's Facebook page also shows some of the action. 

Having been privy to more food competitions than I can count in the past decade, I can say this was one of the closest battles I've seen on the food side, ever. Bear in mind that Brother Luck beat Bobby Flay in competition and Castro came out of Napa and formerly managed the Culinary Institute of America's teaching kitchen there. Both chefs and their teams performed brilliantly, but ultimately, Castro clinched the win. 

On the bartender side, Fitzgerald knocked out Sanchez, formerly of Cowboy Star, bringing Wobbly's might to bear as a creative cocktail house on the cutting edge of the scene. 

Here's a batch of my own pics from the night, conspicuously missing any cocktail photos. What can I say? I was thirsty. 
From the left: Luck, Castro, and crew members. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • From the left: Luck, Castro, and crew members.
The coursing. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • The coursing.
Luck and Castro in action between courses. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Luck and Castro in action between courses.
Gorgeous flavors via sea urchin and Barclay Bay oysters. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Gorgeous flavors via sea urchin and Barclay Bay oysters.
Alejandro Sanchez at work behind the bar. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Alejandro Sanchez at work behind the bar.
Sean Fitzgerald rocking tunes while mixing. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Sean Fitzgerald rocking tunes while mixing.
Awaiting the judges verdict. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Awaiting the judges verdict.
Still smiling after the verdict. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Still smiling after the verdict.
A great show of camaraderie despite only one victor emerging. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • A great show of camaraderie despite only one victor emerging.

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Monday, September 12, 2016

Brass Tap, Loyal Coffee and Cerberus Brewing — all ready for you

Posted By on Mon, Sep 12, 2016 at 11:29 AM

Some folks believe in the law of threes — something to the effect of either good or bad things happening in a sequence of threes, or humor being most potent in a trio (e.g. a standup comedy refrain). 

Whether the law of threes has any bearing here, I know not, but Colorado Springs is enjoying the rare occurrence of three new outfits officially opening today: Loyal Coffee, Cerberus Brewing Co. and The Brass Tap

Between a few Indy staffers, we attended soft openings of Cerberus and Brass Tap over the weekend, and dropped into Loyal this morning for some fantastic vanilla and chocolate lattes. 

The report from our publisher and beer aficionado Carrie Simison is that Cerberus was off to a beautiful start all round, with on-point brews and excellent eats (at a great price point considering the quality). They will be open Sundays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. until 10 p.m., and Fridays and Saturdays 11 a.m. until midnight.

Loyal will serve from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., and will host grand opening celebrations at month's end — details to follow. 

And Brass Tap — somewhat of a sports bar with giant TV's galore and 60 taps — is open from 11 am. to 1 a.m., daily, and until 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Catch daily happy hours to include military appreciation nights, which earns 50 percent off select drafts.  

Here's a batch of photos that gives a little taste of each establishment, staring with Cerberus:
Bone marrow. - CARRIE SIMISON
  • Carrie Simison
  • Bone marrow.

A fine flight. - CARRIE SIMISON
  • Carrie Simison
  • A fine flight.
Gnocchi Mac n cheese. - CARRIE SIMISON
  • Carrie Simison
  • Gnocchi Mac n cheese.

And moving to Brass Tap:
The Brass Tap is a beer-centric chain, launched in 2008. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • The Brass Tap is a beer-centric chain, launched in 2008.
TV's occupy almost every inch of Brass Tap's walls near the ceilings. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • TV's occupy almost every inch of Brass Tap's walls near the ceilings.
Look for an impressively long line of rotating taps, including many Colorado beers. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Look for an impressively long line of rotating taps, including many Colorado beers.
The Quinoa Power Bowl with chicken and poblano sauce. - GRIFFIN SWARTZELL
  • Griffin Swartzell
  • The Quinoa Power Bowl with chicken and poblano sauce.
And finally Loyal Coffee:
Stylish schwag. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Stylish schwag.
Co-owner/barista Bevan Cammell. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Co-owner/barista Bevan Cammell.
Two excellent lattes, exhibited on stump seats which slide under a concrete counter. Tile flooring helps lend a cool European vibe. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Two excellent lattes, exhibited on stump seats which slide under a concrete counter. Tile flooring helps lend a cool European vibe.
Co-owner/barista Seth Fuller. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Co-owner/barista Seth Fuller.
Brass and rope accents play off Loyal's line-focused logos and branding. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Brass and rope accents play off Loyal's line-focused logos and branding.
Co-owner and today's toastmaster Christopher Mueller. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Co-owner and today's toastmaster Christopher Mueller.
Co-owner/GM/barista/goofball Tyler Hill. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Co-owner/GM/barista/goofball Tyler Hill.

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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

A sip of Maker's Mark at the Broadmoor

Posted By on Tue, Aug 30, 2016 at 2:00 PM

Feel free to file this posting in the "a lot of good this does me to know now, A-hole" category, but also don't say I didn't give you fair warning wherein you could have attended. 

But this past weekend, legendary spirits figure Bill Samuels Jr. visited the Broadmoor as part of a special Maker's Mark weekend of seminars and meals. I attended just one of the sessions, a meal in La Taverne hosted by several Broadmoor chefs and appropriately themed around Southern food and Maker's Mark cocktails, including a Maker's Mule and fabulous Old Fashioned and Manhattans made with both the regular label and Maker's 46 — which one local spirits expert has called the best deal in bourbon considering its price point and high quality. 

Samuels is quite the spirited character, full of historic stories that make him out to be a Forrest Gump of sorts, seemingly having done everything back in the day, including rocket science. With regards to his own whiskey legacy, he made it a point to playfully show me his name etched in the glass of the Maker's 46 bottle, as a direct counter to the label on the regular Maker's Mark, which can be reprinted with his successors' names, like his son Rob

Anyway, we had a blast talking with Samuels and enjoying a fine meal, so keep an eye out for future food events at the hotel as part of its seasonal Moveable Feast and other food- and drink-centric programming. 

Here's some pics of the night:
Bill Samuels Jr. and his Maker's 46 label. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Bill Samuels Jr. and his Maker's 46 label.
The main attraction. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • The main attraction.
Broadbent's Kentucky country ham and preserves on a biscuit, as an appetizer. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Broadbent's Kentucky country ham and preserves on a biscuit, as an appetizer.
A loaded menu of Southern staples and spirits. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • A loaded menu of Southern staples and spirits.
White bean confit with baby Tabasco bottle. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • White bean confit with baby Tabasco bottle.
Samuels and Broadmoor chef David Patterson. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Samuels and Broadmoor chef David Patterson.

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UPDATE: Brewery-anchored concept to occupy Carter Payne — Public Market back to drawing board

Posted By on Tue, Aug 30, 2016 at 11:59 AM

In relation to the question of whether anyone will feel Cottonwood is now over-represented on the Public Market's board, Edie Crawford wrote this morning to clarify that though she is the community development liaison for Cottonwood, she serves on the board of the Public Market representing Rocky Mountain Food Report, not Cottonwood.

—- ORIGINAL POST: MONDAY, AUG 29, 5:39 P.M. —-

After years of holdups and perceived mishaps, Colorado Springs Public Market representatives are once again having to pull back from plans to launch soon. 

Last we heard in mid-July from incoming board chair Jon Khoury, also the executive director of Cottonwood Center for the Arts, Labor Day was to be the day the doors would finally swing open. 

But that's no longer the case, and Carter Payne will no longer be the birthplace. 

An early rendering of CSPM's hopeful habitation of Carter Payne. - COURTESY CSPM
  • Courtesy CSPM
  • An early rendering of CSPM's hopeful habitation of Carter Payne.
Instead, the owners behind Common Cause Catering and Local Relic brewery are under contract to purchase the building, with plans for a 2017 opening. Co-owners Jeff Zearfoss and Melissa Lofton  won't divulge too much more info presently, as many plans remain tentative, but looking toward collaborative spots like The Source and Avanti Food and Beverage in Denver gives some clue as to their thought process for what's ahead. 

To be clear, much as Crooked Stave brewery is a part of The Source, Local Relic will be a part of the new Carter Payne concept, as its anchor tenant. But the couple will form a separate LLC to run the larger development. 

Khoury had communicated last week with Lofton to say that CSPM would not move forward as tenants at Carter Payne, and she replied with a correspondence that frees CSPM of its current lease upon Local Relic/Common Cause Catering's closing (as it otherwise would have survived a transfer in ownership, she says). She also invites Khoury to reach out should at any point in the future should CSPM wish to pursue some sort of partnership, as LR/CCC supports its mission. 

Khoury was unable to take a call Monday but sent the following response via email to confirm details:
1. We are not going into a partnership with Local Relic as they have offered to buy Carter Payne and we will not go into that relationship as tenants. Additionally, we feel we could potentially hold Local Relic back as the CSPM has not raised the funds to be a good partner.
2. We will not be opening by Labor Day, nor will we be at Carter Payne.
3. As our board evolves, the opportunity for significant funding may increase, giving us the opportunity to do a real estate deal where the market has ownership and will possibly have a permanent location.
4. No timeline as of now for any movement until we secure funding, but feeling hopeful that we will have a breakthrough. 
Regarding that board evolution, Khoury also confirmed that Edie Crawford (former arts editor for the Indy, now community development liaison for Cottonwood) has joined up as the board secretary. That leaves Scott Harvey, Mike Callicrate, Kady Hommel and Khoury comprising the remainder of the board, with original members Sally Davis and Dave Anderson now having stepped away. (It's worth noting that some folks felt Ranch Foods Direct and pals were over-represented on the former board; will anyone feel Cottonwood now is?)

For his part, Callicrate, ever the outspoken food activist and the early voice for the market, laments a lack of support for the market from the city. "A few people do, like Susan Edmondson [Downtown Partnership] and Jill Gaebler [City Council]," he says, "but to expect a few individuals to build something this significant with this much impact on the community — it can't happen.

"We've built strong support among the citizens, but not among leadership, which appears controlled by people who see a different vision for Colorado Springs, more based on Wall Street and collecting rent from chain types. I know the community is frustrated, but the city needs to get behind it. We can't get them to wake up."

Common Cause Catering owners Jeff Zearfoss and Melissa Lofton. - COURTESY JEFF ZEARFOSS
  • Courtesy Jeff Zearfoss
  • Common Cause Catering owners Jeff Zearfoss and Melissa Lofton.
Considering around a year's wasted rent for Carter Payne — reported to be upwards of $45,000 according to a former board member — with nothing to show presently, that community frustration likely extends to those who donated money via Indy Give! and other initiatives, who might feel their dollars haven't been well spent.  

Without more to report on CSPM's plans presently, let's get back to Local Relic, who was formerly slated to join the Lincoln Center before Goat Patch Brewing announced its move-in. 

Lofton says Local Relic pulled out because "as a small business, we needed a little more security" in terms of investing money into a space they actually own. With Carter Payne, she says "we found a location we love that we feel like is our home."

Plus, she says, "It's got a lot of great history. It was the first African American church in town, gifted during the Palmer land grants. We want to honor the history and intent of what we believe a church to be. In terms of a community spot, a place of remembrance, celebration. We want to restore it to that glory as a community hub." 

A side note: Local Relic beer dinners will return soon, they say, in partnership and as a fundraiser for Marian House Soup Kitchen, where Zearfoss has volunteered weekly for more than a decade.  

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