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Crave is a chain restaurant, but one of only six current locations, and the only one in Colorado, making it somewhat unique. It’s worth knowing also that they feature a pour-your-own-beer tap system with predominantly Colorado brews, as well as to-go pouches of beer in multiple sizes, bagged in a way that makes us wonder “Would it be fun to drink a quart of Fort Collins-brewed coffee stout like it’s a Capri Sun?” We pick up a bratwurst, an order of loaded tots and a brisket bowl to go.

The brat ticks all boxes, though the bun’s a skosh small for the peppers and onions (a slight upcharge) with which we have it topped. Those tater tots hold up respectably to a mess of beer cheese, barbecue sauce, onions, tomatoes and jalapeños. And the pulled chicken has enough seasoning to avoid blandness. 

But it’s a super heavy dish thanks to all that beer cheese, and there’s a serious, enjoyable medium-hot pepper heat in each bite. The brisket bowl only merits an “OK” — its baked beans taste canned, and the brisket lacks the typical smoky flavor we love. 

Griffin Swartzell is a food reviewer and contributor for the Colorado Springs Indy. This Colorado Springs native joined as an intern in early 2014, freelancing until they joined the staff full-time in late 2015.