Meet the Pickled Pit Stop food truck; Ute Pass Brewing tries out hemp 

Side Dish

Spear with your beer

When I first saw the name The Pickled Pit Stop (see Facebook page), I pictured an array of fermented foods. But turns out, the two-and-a-half-month-old food truck dishes sandwiches, each served with a pickle spear on the side. Easy enough.

Owner Robin Evans says she spent two years in culinary school in Minnesota followed by several more years learning aspects of the industry between jobs at a bakery, catering house, concession stand and restaurant line. Then she grew tired of long hours working for someone else.

"When I think of a food truck, I think of unique foods, and new fresh ideas," she says. So for each of her sandwiches, she aimed to add at least one unusual garnishing. Hence ingredients like homemade cranberry-walnut or horseradish-pine-nut pesto, Sriracha ranch, and balsamic mustard. She places them with "all-natural" Metro Deli-label cold cuts distributed by US Foods, on local breads from Sugar & Spice.

She aims to rotate her sandwiches somewhat regularly, also playing with chalkboard specials, like a new three-cheese green chile with optional ham. For sides, she fries frozen tater tots and chips but dresses them up in seasonings ranging from Sriracha powder and Cajun seasoning to a fresh-minced garlic and Parmesan.

Area breweries are the best spot to find the truck, including spots in Castle Rock, Monument, Parker, Falcon and the Springs.

Hemp meet hops

"We have no idea how these beers will turn out," says co-owner/brewer Todd DeRemus of Ute Pass Brewing Co. (209 E. Midland Ave., Woodland Park,utepassbrewingcompany.com), referring to five experimental hemp brews he's tapping from 2 to 8 p.m., Wednesday, April 20 (4.20 brah!) at a Hemp Beer Release Party.

DeRemus says he's been a longtime supporter of hemp. But as a brewer, he's never sought to use it as an ingredient before. So, he did some reading online from others who've done so. California's Humboldt Brewing Company, for example, brews a brown hemp ale with toasted seeds, which purports a "unique, herb-accented flavor."

Each of the brews — an amber, porter, ESB, Wild Hemp Hop (like an IPA), and Hemp Seed Ale — contains some variation of hemp input, either heart or seed, added at various stages of brewing. The Hemp Seed Ale behaved the most unusual, says DeRemus, noting a surprising amount of hemp oil coating his boil kettle. Hops release oils too, but not nearly as much, so he's not sure how excessive oils will affect the fermentation. Only 10 gallons were brewed of each, so it won't be too big a loss if any goes awry.

For the party, which will feature educational info provided by a local company named Major Hemp, DeRemus also aims to serve a special food menu utilizing hemp products. Yes, "something more interesting than sprinkling hemp seeds on a salad," he says. The menu's still in development, but one example he cites: hemp flour-battered deep-fried mushrooms.


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