Favorite

Brewer’s Republic kitchen is finally as good as the beer 

click to enlarge New to the menu, the Figgy Piggy is already a best-seller. - GRIFFIN SWARTZELL
  • Griffin Swartzell
  • New to the menu, the Figgy Piggy is already a best-seller.
I have something of a history with Brewer’s Republic. Back in bygone days as a bus commuter, I found it convenient to stop in for a pint before my bus left a few days a week. For a while, I was something of a regular, and it was Brewer’s that enabled and expanded my enduring love for good beer. Its closure came at the end of a long decline that started under a change in ownership in March 2016.

The Brewer’s of 2018, owned by Cerberus Brewing Company co-owners/previous Brewer’s operators Tom Halfast, Jerry Morris and Joshua Adamski, plus Cerberus co-owner Cindy Geiser, has a much cleaner feel than the taproom did in years previous: The front doors are no longer plastered with beer stickers, the I-beams along the ceiling are no longer lined with choice bottles, and a palette swap to light blues makes the big-windowed space feel all the more breezy, especially at new lunch, which on multiple visits is dead quiet. And while the iconic forest of tap handles above the bar was clear-cut before renovations, it’s growing back as more beers arrive.

Speaking of which, the selection’s as good as it ever was. We start with a Todd the Axe Man IPA from Minneapolis, Minnesota’s Surly — it’s a hoppy, slightly sticky West Coast IPA. Odell Brewing Company’s Flemish Giant, a sour red ale of the style developed in Belgium, maintains its nutty malt character over a restrained lactic tang. We also see representations from Cerberus (no surprise), New York’s Brewery Ommegang, California’s Lost Abbey Brewing Company, and New York/Denmark-based Evil Twin Brewing.

We indulge in a half-pint of Evil Twin’s imperial biscotti break, a massive imperial stout brewed with coffee, vanilla and almonds — it’s not dessert sweet, but at 11.5 percent ABV, it’s some kind of meal.
Location Details Brewer's Republic
112 N. Nevada Ave.
Downtown
Colorado Springs, CO
633-2105
Bar/Club
But even at its best, the Brewer’s-that-was kitchen had long wait times and a sound but not particularly exciting menu. This is no longer the case; chef Mark LeFebvre’s new gourmet, Tuscan-inspired menu stands on par with his offerings at Cerberus. They’ve kept beloved pizzas, but new offerings like the best-selling Figgy Piggy are something special. It’s not a lovely crisp-crusted thing, but that’s not the point when there’s a beautiful fried egg set in the middle of the affair. Atop, sweet figs pair with punchy Gorgonzola, and fatty IPA-braised pork belly gets peppered by fresh arugula. The word here is decadent.

The fantastic potato wedges from Cerberus also appear here, as a side for sandwiches or an app with rosemary and Parmesan, truffle oil optional.

For a healthier option, try the rich and savory roasted carrot hummus, topped with lovely pickled peppers and radish for an optional spice, and served with pita triangles we wish were soft instead of cracker-crisp.

Sandwiches also do good — the vegetarian veggie focaccia roll comes way heavier than expected, but that’s not a bad thing. The herbaceous bread does fine with intense, earthy oyster mushroom tapenade, Kalamata olives and artichoke hearts, plus a thick disc of mozzarella.

Omnivores will dig the sloppy housemade Italian sausage sub, featuring balls of house Italian sausage packing savory fennel-onion-pepper punch. It tends to fall apart, but that’s nothing a little fork and knife work can’t address. It’s edifying to see that, at long last, the food at Brewer’s is on par with the beer.

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