Monday, July 30, 2018

National Cheesecake Day should be every Monday

Posted By on Mon, Jul 30, 2018 at 10:51 AM

During my usual I-just-want-to-stay-in-bed-avoiding-people Monday routine, a particular Twitter trend caught my eye: National Cheesecake Day.

Call it destiny or coincidence — either way, I had good a reason to get out of bed.

A small part of me felt a little guilty searching "Cheesecake" through the Indy archives at 9 a.m. on a Monday — a very small part — but the feeling morphed into gluttonous lusting for all things cheesecaked, breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Peace, Love & Pancakes flight at Over Easy: Fred’s Hawaiian, a Colorado Blueberry Streusel, and a New York Cheesecake. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Peace, Love & Pancakes flight at Over Easy: Fred’s Hawaiian, a Colorado Blueberry Streusel, and a New York Cheesecake.

Don't even act like cheesecake can't or shouldn't happen before noon. Just ask Over Easy, A Daytime Eatery, perennial Indy Best Of award winner and home to the most interesting cheesecake pancakes we've had in quite a while.  Eating lunch is also important for your overall health, though oftentimes is left up to chance. How about more cheesecake? 
Paris Crepe's Cheesecake crepe - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Paris Crepe's Cheesecake crepe

A Springs' staple has been dishing one rendition that seriously never fails. Paris Crepe, which recently expanded to Manitou and Denver, first flaunted it's cheesecake prowess in a summer 2010 review, proving a touch better than its savory options and "brilliantly incorporates graham cracker crumbles for taste and texture." Sign me up.  
Finally, what's a day without a nice home-cooked meal?

I'm thinking we go outside the box and try cheesecake.
Carla's Cheesecake Delight, from R&R Coffee Café - FILE PHOTO
  • File Photo
  • Carla's Cheesecake Delight, from R&R Coffee Café
Courtesy R&R Coffee Café, our fall 2010 recipe guide featured a fool-proof recipe for "Carla's Cheesecake Delight," a rich, decadent take on Irish Cream Cheesecake. 

From Executive Chef Carla Erick at the time:
I've always been a sucker for a good cheesecake, and about 15 years ago, I stumbled across this recipe for an Irish Cream Cheesecake. Using family members as guinea pigs, I've tweaked and perfected it, and they've never complained. Once I had access to fresh espresso from our coffee shop, this recipe took on a whole new meaning. Again, nobody at the coffee shop was complaining when I "forced" this new recipe onto them. The only response I get from this is, "When are you making it again?"
And just like that, another Monday in the books. 
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Friday, July 27, 2018

Streetcar520 announces August opening, previews select menu items

Posted By on Fri, Jul 27, 2018 at 3:21 PM

Streetcar520's new, globally inspired menu will be available to the public starting August 4. - GRIFFIN SWARTZELL
  • Griffin Swartzell
  • Streetcar520's new, globally inspired menu will be available to the public starting August 4.
It's been over a year in the works, but at long last, McCabe's Tavern replacement Streetcar520 has an opening date, and it's right around the corner. The beloved south Tejon spot will open in its new incarnation on Saturday, August 4.

"I want to elevate our local food scene in a positive and constructive way that mirrors other progressive, food-driven cities," says owner Ari Howard in a press release. "This section of Tejon Street has great untapped potential, and I want to help fulfill that potential."

She's hired on managing partner Travis Blaney, formerly general manager of Four by Brother Luck, to help with the opening. In the kitchen Howard entrusted her vision to chef Ketil Larsen. He's best known for his 10 years in the kitchen at Phantom Canyon Brewing Company and 12 years at the Club at Flying Horse. Larsen says that the opening menu's all his — Howard asked for something globally inspired, and he put together a globetrotting selection of plates. Bar manager Dak Keeling's developed a selection of craft cocktails, which will be offered alongside a variety of craft beers (plus Coors). Keeling's also formerly of Four by Brother Luck.

The space has undergone a complete renovation. Though the bar's in the same place, it's now covered with marble, lit by an arc of dangling LED bulbs. Gone is the low drop ceiling, and the space reaches to the roof, complete with skylight for a breezy warehouse vibe. Clean walls play canvas for murals by Denver artist Michael Ortiz.

Recently, the Indy and other local media were invited out to a preview night. Check out what we we sampled below.
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Black Bear Distillery wins gold at LA International Spirits Competition

Posted By on Fri, Jul 27, 2018 at 10:00 AM

Black Bear Distillery's Irish style whiskey - VICTOR MATTHEWS
  • Victor Matthews
  • Black Bear Distillery's Irish style whiskey
Congratulations to Victor Matthews and his crew at Black Bear Distillery. The Los Angeles International Spirits Competition announced its winners on July 25, and Black Bear's Irish-style whiskey ranked impressively, named best in category for single barrel American whiskey aged 10 years or fewer.

In the whiskey category, the spirit earned a 94 out of 100 from the judges, securing its category win. The spirit also tied for second overall whiskey, two points behind W.L. Weller 12-year-old Kentucky straight bourbon, tied with E. H. Taylor Jr. Kentucky straight rye and Stagg Jr. bourbon, all three of which are made by the Sazerac-owned Buffalo Trace Distillery.

"I am still in shock," says Matthews. "I know that something about our 7,800 feet altitude and little mountain valley and crazy Colorado weather is creating magic in the aging, and I know the madness of un-malted barley (do not try this at home) and sherry wood adds wonderful fruit and floral notes, but to win Best American Whiskey in under two years? Well, that is just astounding."
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Thursday, July 26, 2018

Rogue Ales' honey kölsch sips dry, refreshing, interesting

Posted By on Thu, Jul 26, 2018 at 9:57 AM

Rogue's award-winning honey kölsch is a choice lawnmower beer with nuance. - GRIFFIN SWARTZELL
  • Griffin Swartzell
  • Rogue's award-winning honey kölsch is a choice lawnmower beer with nuance.
When the county's flooding and the president won't stop attacking the news media, sometimes our only solace is the occasional free beer that shows up in the Indy mailbox.

Recently, Newport, Oregon's Rogue Ales sent us a few cans of its honey kölsch. It's available year-round. And the brew's picked up a handful of prestigious awards over the last two years, including a platinum award at the 2018 World Beverage Competition and best in show at the 2016 Honey Beer Competition. Here's our take.

The 5.2 percent ABV beer's a beautiful thing to behold in its striking orange can or fizzy and orange-gold in a glass that's for sure. On the nose, it's sweet with mild honey notes and a little acidity, nothing unexpected. It sips drier than most kölsches, thanks to the honey, still presenting a clean lager-like finish with the body of most ales. There's a depth to its boozy dryness, though, which is nice, as the style-typical pear notes are absent. All the same, it's a refreshing beer we'd be happy to sip all summer.

Rogue's honey kölsch is available on taps and in six-packs around town now — go here to find a liquor store or taproom near you. Cheers!
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Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Cerberus Brewing Company holds fundraiser for injured brewer

Posted By on Tue, Jul 24, 2018 at 4:00 PM

  • Courtesy Cerberus Brewing Company
On Saturday, July 28, Cerberus Brewing Company will host a benefit for one of its employees. Assistant brewer Taylor Donner was severely injured in a bicycle crash on July 22, breaking his femur.

“I'm just lucky it wasn’t worse," says Donner. “They originally thought both [my femur and pelvis] were broken…They’re expecting that to get the [femur] back to where it needs to be.”

While Donner recovers, he will be unable to perform his job as assistant brewer for at least four to six weeks, according to head brewer/co-owner Joshua Adamski. To help Donner cover costs, Cerberus will be donating a dollar from every pint sold that day, then matching that number with company funds. The benefit will run 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. that day, all of Cerberus’ operating hours.

Donner did not learn about the benefit until late on Monday, July 23rd. He describes his reaction as not so much humbled as shocked.

"I greatly appreciate the fact that people are sharing it and are planning to go," he says. "I just brew, and I've gotten to know a lot of great people... I didn’t know so many people cared.”
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Thursday, July 19, 2018

May the craft beer floweth this weekend

Posted By on Thu, Jul 19, 2018 at 1:01 AM

With the heat wave we’ve had this summer, there’s nothing quite like drinking beer with your buddies to cool down while still getting out and enjoying the sunshine. This weekend, we’re lucky enough to have not one, but two whole beer festivals to choose from, for those looking for some summer libations. On July 20, enjoy 719 Brewfest (pictured), an annual event usually held on the 19th, which boasts 17 beer, cider and spirit vendors. It will also feature music from Stray Suns, Whiskey Kate and Mark’s Midnight Carnival Show. Bonus: 20 percent of ticket sales will benefit the Empty Stocking Fund, which supports 20 Springs-based nonprofits. On the 21st, Springs Beer Fest is back for the 12th year running, with unlimited samples of beer from more than 50 breweries, plus live music and food vendors. And, hey, if you want to attend both? There’s no judgment here.
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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Payette Brewing Co. expands into Colorado market

Posted By on Wed, Jul 18, 2018 at 12:28 PM

We have received an update regarding the availability of Payette Brewing Co. beers in the Springs. The company is shipping beer to Colorado in July, but it's most likely that consumers will see Payette beers in liquor stores starting in early August, with much greater volume appearing in late August.

———————ORIGINAL POST 12:28 P.M. WEDNESDAY, JULY 18, 2018———————
Boise, Idaho's Payette Brewing Company has contracted with Colorado Craft Distributors to put cans on shelves across Colorado, starting in late July. They've been around since 2011 and have repeatedly taken home Boise Weekly's Best Brewery award. So they offered to send a mixed pack of four Payette brews to the Indy mailbox, I did what I always do when there's free beer: I reviewed it.

  • Courtesy Payette Brewing Company
Kicking off their consistent American West-themed branding, Rodeo Citra pale ale's a 4 percent ABV single-hop pale ale. It took home a gold medal in the session beer category at the 2018 Los Angeles International Beer Competition, which is cool. It's my favorite of the four, a mix of citrus and passionfruit with sweet malt on the nose, pouring a crystal clear amber color. Each sip's balanced, with the taste deviating slightly for a sip that's like a caramel candied orange peel. Bravo.

  • Courtesy Payette Brewing Company

Their IPA, Recoil, is hopped with Calypso, Citra, Eureka and Mosaic hops. There's a powerfully citrusy nose, but it sips sharp with a bitter finish, minimal malt backbone for big, hoppy bitterness with citrus peel and a little pine in there. It's all but crystal clear and rich golden in color — a fine choice for fans of west coast IPAs, and not too strong at 6.5 percent ABV.

  • Courtesy Payette Brewing Company

Sour fans can look forward to Payette's Aura, brewed with guava and hibiscus. It's a mild 4 percent ABV. There's fruit and a mild spiciness from yeast on the nose, and it sips round and red, very effervescent with a slightly sticky finish. It's a little cloying, but the fruit's not overwhelming, and there's a mineral finish after a moderate sourness. Not bad.

  • Courtesy Payette Brewing Company

The brewery's North Fork lager goes down easy and quick at 4.4 percent ABV. It's properly clean and crystal clear, the color of straw. The nose is malty with faint honey notes and a little hop greenness. It sips as clean as one expects a lager to do, with biscuity malt notes on the edge and trace hop bitterness on the back end. While far from the most ambitious or adventurous beer out there, it's a properly brewed lager, and that's just fine.
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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Metric Brewing announces opening day

Posted By on Tue, Jul 17, 2018 at 4:32 PM

Metric Brewing opens for business on Saturday, July 21 - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Metric Brewing opens for business on Saturday, July 21
After nearly a year of work, Metric Brewing is set to open to the public on Saturday, July 21. It's run by owner/brewers Mike Centanne and Chase Perry. Centanne's a former homebrewer, known best for his work as brewer and co-founder at Iron Bird Brewing Company, which he helped start in 2014. Perry's a former yeast propagation tech at the Brewing Science Institute and, most recently, assistant brewer at Bristol Brewing Company.

Metric will open with nine beers on tap, as well as a crowler machine for those who want to take beer home. And given that they're eschewing flagships for a revolving selection with occasional re-brews, canny drinkers with have to take home their favorites when they can. They'll have limited presence in local bars and restaurants — Perry says they want to get a solid footing in their neighborhood before they start trying to expand.
Location Details Metric Brewing
Colorado Springs, CO

When we stopped by for a press preview on Monday, July 16, we found plenty to be excited about. The bar area's vast and cleanly designed, with pristine, white subway tiles behind the bar and a big window into the brewery area. There's plenty of small and communal table seating, plus a more café-like section with couches off to the side. There's no plan for food service, but Metric will be on the food truck circuit quickly.

At the press event, the Metric team had eight beers on tap, mostly with quirky or pop cultural names. Üter, their Belgian dubbel, bears a spot-on yeast flavor. A summer seasonal honey cream ale goes down light and easy. The Dad Belt hazelnut brown ale drinks near-porter-dark and rich. Hipster Speedball coffee milk stout's a great balance between malt and coffee flavors.
From left to right: Üter Belgian dubbel, honey cream ale, Dad Belt hazelnut brown ale, Hipster Speedball coffee milk stout. - GRIFFIN SWARTZELL
  • Griffin Swartzell
  • From left to right: Üter Belgian dubbel, honey cream ale, Dad Belt hazelnut brown ale, Hipster Speedball coffee milk stout.
Mom Jeans, a raspberry kölsch, gets a fruity nose and sips crisp and not over-fruity, one of the more popular beers of the event — we go gaga for a mix of that and the Hipster Speedball. West coast-style hop heads will enjoy Helios, an IPA brewed with malted sunflower seeds — Perry says that the vitamin E helps the hop aromas last longer. And No Pulp will please Hazy IPA drinkers with its low to moderate bitterness and huge, fruity nose. Lastly, there's Catalina Wine Mixer, a tart saison brewed with white grape must, which serves as a tribute to the film Step Brothers.
From left to right: Mom Jeans raspberry kölsch, Helios west coast IPA with sunflower seeds, No Pulp hazy IPA, Catalina Wine Mixer white grape must saison. - GRIFFIN SWARTZELL
  • Griffin Swartzell
  • From left to right: Mom Jeans raspberry kölsch, Helios west coast IPA with sunflower seeds, No Pulp hazy IPA, Catalina Wine Mixer white grape must saison.
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Thursday, July 12, 2018

Brooklyn's on Boulder releases summer menu

Posted By on Thu, Jul 12, 2018 at 9:24 AM

The team at Brooklyn's on Boulder recently invited us to preview their summer menu, now available. New developments: they're now offering gin and tonic flights so customers can sample their signature compositions, as well as barrel-aged cocktails. They've also launched distribution in Texas.

Tasting room manager Carlos Garcia has prepared a take on one of his favorite cocktails, the Top Collins, called a Tom Sawyer. It uses Americana-brand huckleberry soda, creme de violette, dry gin, lemon and a cherry. The citrus and gin balance a lot of sugar between the soda and the liqueur, so it's intense, but well-balanced, a little fruity and floral.

  • Griffin Swartzell
  • The Tom Sawyer
Bartender Philip Taylor has prepared a take on a piña colada called the Toño Bicicleta, named for Puerto Rican folklore hero Francisco Antonio García López, known for his daring prison escapes. The drink starts with a pineapple cordial made from as much of the pineapple as Taylor could use, including boiled skins and puréed rind. It's more earthy and less sweet than pineapple juice, and in the Toño Bicicleta's mix of coconut-macadamia-infused gin and coconut milk, it's a perfect summer slammer. It goes down easy, but there's a lingering bitter juiciness on the finish, and it's not oversweet.

The Toño Bicicleta - GRIFFIN SWARTZELL
  • Griffin Swartzell
  • The Toño Bicicleta
Head bartender Stephen Winchell put together a drink called the Silk Road, fusing Middle Eastern flavors into what Winchell says is essentially a tiki drink. It starts with macadamia rose orgeat, an almond-based syrup, which gets mixed with green cardamom, dry gin, creme de rose and lime. It's garnished with orange blossom water, rose petals and a cardamom pod. Vanilla and nut fat balance out an acidic core, though the nose is all botanicals. It's a complex drink, but by no means unfriendly.

  • Griffin Swartzell
  • The Silk Road
The team's also taking some of their cocktails in a different direction, pushing less for complex preparation and more for unique flavor profiles to wow. On a recent trip to New York City, the team was wowed at Milk Bar. Winchell drew particular inspiration from the bakery's cereal milk, a product made to resemble the taste of milk at the bottom of a bowl of corn flakes. His cereal milk Ramos is a play on the pillow-light Ramos gin fizz. It starts with frosted cornflakes muddled with cream and a pinch of salt, which is then filtered. That's mixed with typical Ramos fizz ingredients: sugar, egg whites, dry gin, lemon and lime. Garnished with a piece of breakfast cereal, the drink fulfills the promise in the name — it's like they've turned breakfast cereal into a cloud that also gets you drunk.

The cereal milk Ramos - GRIFFIN SWARTZELL
  • Griffin Swartzell
  • The cereal milk Ramos
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Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Red Leg Brewing Company announces new, expanded facility near Garden of the Gods

Posted By on Tue, Jul 10, 2018 at 3:54 PM

A conceptual rendering of the planned Red Leg Brewing Co. facility. - COURTESY RED LEG BREWING COMPANY
  • Courtesy Red Leg Brewing Company
  • A conceptual rendering of the planned Red Leg Brewing Co. facility.
Red Leg Brewing Company president Todd Baldwin has announced a new headquarters for the brewery, currently in the conceptual phase. It'll be a new structure located at 3210 Arrowswest Drive, near where Garden of the Gods Road meets 30th Street, and Baldwin hopes to open doors in 2019. It's an ambitious facility, not only serving as the new brewery and taproom but hosting an outdoor food hall and market, styled after similar efforts around the country.

The new facility will substantially expand Red Leg's production capacity, numbers pending a final design, and host an expanded tap setup. Red Leg's taproom and brew facility will be in a building designed to resemble an Air Force hangar. It's also bike accessible, located near a trail that leads through Blair Bridge Open Space into Garden of the Gods via the Dakota and Palmer-Mesa trails.

“We’ll actually tie those into the facility," says Baldwin.

The food hall and market will be made from repurposed shipping containers and feature several outdoor walkways and rooftop decks, as well as indoor seating. Baldwin cites the Green Jeans Farmery in Albuquerque as a key inspiration. At this point, he's in the early stages of courting food businesses to open in the facility.

The brewery's current Forge Road location will close, but Baldwin says they won't start decommissioning it until the new facility's ready to take over operations — he's hoping for zero closure in the transition.

In the more immediate term, Baldwin has announced distribution in Oklahoma and parts of Texas, starting Aug. 1, with Red Leg's beers set to appear primarily in military commissaries.

“This will continue to drive home our goal of being the craft beer of the military," he says. 
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Friday, July 6, 2018

Piglatin Food Truck reopens with downtown lunch service

Posted By on Fri, Jul 6, 2018 at 6:11 PM

Piglatin Food Truck will serve lunch downtown starting July 9th. - GRIFFIN SWARTZELL
  • Griffin Swartzell
  • Piglatin Food Truck will serve lunch downtown starting July 9th.
UPDATE: Andres Velez regrets to inform the Indy that a water heater in the truck has failed. Though he has ordered a replacement, it will not arrive until Monday, July 9 at the soonest. He predicts that the truck will start lunch service on July 10 or 11 — Tuesday or Wednesday. He'll post more information on the truck's Facebook page when more information exists — click here for more info.

———————ORIGINAL POST 10:12 A.M. FRIDAY, JULY 6, 2018———————

Business has been booming for Andres and Tricia Velez. Their brick-and-mortar restaurant, Piglatin Cocina, has been praised by critics and packed with customers since its opening in late January, spreading their killer eats to northern Springs. But, as of the Cocina's opening, plans were to keep the food truck that started it all in the garage for a while to get the restaurant up to speed.

But as of Monday, July 9, "a while" is over. Andres and crew will be open for regular lunch service at their former downtown digs next to 112 E. Boulder St. in their freshly rebranded truck. In addition to the classic truck menu, they've added chimichurri shrimp tacos from the brick-and-mortar menu. This news comes following trial runs over the weekend of June 30th. For hours and full schedule information, check out their website here.
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Tap Traders celebrates first anniversary

Posted By on Fri, Jul 6, 2018 at 1:00 AM

Tap Traders First Anniversary Celebration, July 7, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Tap Traders, - AMY SELTZER
  • Amy Seltzer
  • Tap Traders First Anniversary Celebration, July 7, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Tap Traders,
Though it’s only been around for a year, Tap Traders has emerged as a favorite local taphouse (even winning Bronze in that category in the Independent’s annual Best Of). They host plentiful weekly and special events, live music and more, plus occasional fundraisers for folks like Palmer Land Trust and National Mill Dog Rescue. In celebration of their first anniversary, they’re throwing a heck of a party. Attendees can enjoy live music by the U-Turn Brass Band, giveaways, bike rides and a special edition of ROLL Bike Art Festival, displaying the bike-themed artwork that makes ROLL a favorite annual event. Proceeds from art sales will benefit Bike Colorado Springs. If all that isn’t appealing enough, just remember that Tap Traders has 30 beers on tap, so you can always just go for the hops.
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