Seventeen years ago, when Brian Dunn started writing a business plan for Great Divide Brewing Company, the Denver beer scene looked very different. At the time, the Mile High City was home to a couple of brewpubs but no bottling facilities, and the term "craft beer" was relatively unknown. Dunn's quest to open a brewery that makes and distributes beer—and isn't associated with food service—has proven a success. His secret? "Stupidity," Dunn says, cracking a smile. (He means persistence.) And even though it seems like Denverites couldn't possibly swoon over beer any more than they already do, Dunn would bet the house on craft brews becoming even more popular in the next 17 years.
Occupational Hazard Dozens of water bottles—the kind that fit in bike cages—clutter Dunn's kitchen counters and are tucked inside his cupboards. (These bottles are strictly for water—no sports drinks allowed.) Dunn has raced bikes for 20 years, and his 13-year-old twin boys are following in his footsteps. "It's kind of what we do all summer," Dunn says.
Loving Cups Pale ales, rice beers, bigger brews like imperial stouts, barley wines, and double IPAs all deserve to be served in beer-specific glasses. Dunn stocks all the necessary glassware at home; he has a handful of traditional pint glasses, too, but he uses them for water. "We're all about trying to make beer more presentable, and using [pint glasses] is just like drinking out of a mason jar."
The Workhorse Dunn's Black & Decker toaster looks like something he might have rescued from a dumpster. That doesn't bother him, though. He likes his toast crispy, and this particular appliance works better than anything else he's tried. He plans on keeping it until it quits.
Quick Tip Dunn makes good use of his pizza stone, often by just throwing it on the grill. It's a great way to make pizza in the summer without having the oven overheat the kitchen.
Slice and Dice Dunn relies on his mandoline to cut potatoes for potatoes au gratin or to dice a red onion for a plate of nachos. "These things are great," he says. "You can dice an entire onion in 20 seconds."
Grill Devotion Snow, rain, or tornado warnings be damned—Dunn cooks everything from pork to peaches on his Weber gas grill. It's quick, easy to clean, and just makes food taste good. "We're on the grill five days a week, even in the winter," he says. "I've never cooked a steak in the house."
Register It For larger pieces of meat, Dunn always uses a meat thermometer. "I think pork should be pink, and it's easy to overcook," he says. When cooking pork tenderloin, Dunn stops when the internal temperature hits 145° and allows the meat to sit for 10 minutes before he digs in.
Seasoned Favorite Dunn loves good salt on his New York strip, and the flaky Maldon sea salt is his standby.
Wine, er...Beer and Cheese
Wine isn't the only adult beverage that goes well with cheese. Dunn suggests pairing these Great Divide brews and cheeses for a great snack.
- Titan IPA with Comté, a cow's milk cheese from France
- Hoss with tomme de Savoie, a mild, semi-firm cow's milk cheese from France
- Tripel with Valdeón, a Spanish blue cheese