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Spring has finally arrived, so it’s time to dust off the patio furniture, fire up the grill, and usher in another season of warm weather hangouts with our nearest and dearest. This year, we’re looking for drinks and dishes that’ll wake up our hibernating taste buds with bright flavors and textures. To that end, here are seven locally made beverages, along with food pairing ideas, to savor at home this season.
Denver Beer Co. Backyard Buzz (5% ABV)
This month, Denver Beer Co. debuted Backyard Buzz, the newest addition to its family of brews available year-round. Made with Colorado grain, this easy-drinking American wheat ale has a slightly sweet finish, thanks to honey sourced from Greeley’s Local Hive. Both businesses are known for their sustainability and conservation efforts: Denver Beer Co’s Sunnyside production facility is 100 percent solar-powered and utilizes a brewing system that captures and recycles carbon dioxide, while Local Hive works to support beekeepers across the country by partnering with programs that focus on pollinator awareness and protection. To celebrate the beer’s release, customers who purchase a six pack of Backyard Buzz at Denver Beer Co. taprooms will receive a packet of local wildflower seeds, available while supplies last. 1695 Platte St.
Pairing ideas: Chorizo tacos with pineapple salsa, roasted salmon with a gochujang glaze, strawberry-rhubarb crisp
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Infinite Monkey Theorem 2019 Riesling (12.5% ABV)
When it comes to white wines, Riesling has garnered a notoriously bad rap for being too sweet. But this often-overlooked variety deserves your consideration, as winemakers have created some delicious off-dry selections. For example, the Riesling crafted by RiNo’s Infinite Monkey Theorem (IMT) is nuanced in its composition of mineral notes and well-articulated acidity. The wine’s flavor profile embraces crisp apples, ripe pears, and summer stone fruit, with hints of pineapple and Meyer lemon—perfect for laidback weekend brunches, dress-up-worthy dinner parties, and everything in between. IMT is a majority women-owned-and-operated urban winery that is committed to supporting Colorado agriculture. IMT sources most of its grapes from vineyards in Palisade, including those used in its 2019 Riesling, before fermenting and hand-bottling them at its 10,000-square-foot production facility off Larimer Street. 3200 Larimer St.
Pairing ideas: Washed-rind cheeses, fried chicken, spicy Thai takeout
Stem Ciders Tangerine Whip (5.4% ABV)
Stem Ciders recently introduced a new flavor that’s perfect for warm-weather sipping: Tangerine Whip. This cider starts as fresh pressed apple juice from the Pacific Northwest, which is transformed into a bright and dry cider base with the addition of Champagne yeast. Then, the brewing team—led by Stem’s director of liquids, Patrick Combs—adds California-grown tangerine purée and Madagascar vanilla extract to create a fruity and floral flavor. The final product is summertime nostalgia in a can—a refreshing nod to the frozen novelties of our youth. 3040 Blake St., Suite 101
Pairing ideas: Grilled burgers and brats, citrus-marinated chicken skewers, arugula salad with peaches and burrata
Colorado Sake Co. Lychee Nigori (15–16% ABV)
In 2018, Colorado Sake Co. opened in RiNo, becoming Colorado’s only sake producer and one of a dozen or so American-owned sake breweries in the country. One staple in its lineup is the Lychee Nigori, which is brewed with polished rice sourced from Arkansas and mold spores imported from Japan. Colorado Sake Co. filters the water they use for sake making, adjusting the mineral content to mimic the water in Japan. To make the Lychee Nigori, fresh fruit is added during a secondary fermentation to impart mild sweetness and delicate floral characteristics. For the best tasting experience, co–founder William Stuart recommends allowing a chilled bottle to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes. A quick shake before serving disperses the rice particles, which settle in the bottle, and revives the sake’s intended milky appearance (nigori translates roughly to “cloudy” in Japanese). 3559 Larimer St.
Pairing ideas: Shaved asparagus salad, miso-glazed scallops, Basque cheesecake
Trubucha Raspberry Kombucha (nonalcoholic)
Farmers’ markets are back, and Oksana and Marc Gaudreault of Lone Tree–based kombucha brewery Trubucha are ready for a very busy season. The husband-and-wife team, who have brewed the probiotic-packed concoction since 2016, have a full-service taproom in Lone Tree and will bring their products to 14 Front Range markets this year. The base for their craft creations is a green tea from Denver’s own Teatulia Organic Teas, which is fermented with organic, non-GMO flavorings to create a slightly fizzy drink. Trubucha’s lineup rotates regularly, but be sure to try the raspberry when it’s available. Brewed with dried raspberries imported from Eastern Europe, each sip strikes the perfect sweet-tart balance and tastes like a handful of juicy, sun-drenched fruit. Insider tip: Be sure to bring back the reusable glass bottles for reduced-price refills and keep your eye out for a handful of fresh fruit mocktails, debuting this summer at select locations. 10047 Park Meadows Drive, Unit A, Lone Tree
Pairing ideas: Almond croissant, spinach-feta frittata, sliced prosciutto and cantaloupe
Odell Brewing Co. Peach Stand Rambler (5.1% ABV)
Since 1989, Odell Brewing Co. has been a steadfast fixture in Colorado’s craft beer industry. Today, the company is the largest employee-owned brewery in the state and continues to release inventive pints. In 2019, brewers at their Five Points taproom collaborated on a small-batch peach beer, a popular draft creation that paved the way for a widely distributed version known as Peach Stand Rambler. Brewed with Palisade peaches, this blond ale is light, bright, and fruit-forward without being excessively sweet. Grab a six pack of this seasonal release as you wait patiently for the arrival of summer’s most sought-after fruit. 2945 Larimer St.
Pairing ideas: Pulled pork sliders with pickled red onions, Buffalo wings with an herby ranch dip, blueberry crumb pie
Deviation Distilling Citrus Rosé Gin (46% ABV)
The next time you desire a round of gin tipples, consider shaking things up with Citrus Rosé Gin from LoDo-headquartered Deviation Distilling. Owners Cindi and Bob Wiley and Dave Gade spent six months in 2018 dialing in their gin series. They called upon Gade’s formal chef training to create varied flavor profiles that would complement the piney characteristics synonymous with the spirit. Citrus Rosé actually starts as a single malt whiskey base. During the distillation, juniper berries and botanicals such as fresh citrus peel, tarragon, and grains of paradise—a West African spice with notes of cardamom and pepper—are introduced to yield a citrus-rich spirit perfect for your cocktail of choice. We recommend making the Tarragon Tom Collins below, a recipe courtesy of Deviation Distilling’s lead bartender Tiago Amaral. 1821 Blake St., Suite 130
Pairing ideas: Rosemary grilled lamb chops, pesto pasta, trio of hummus, tabbouleh, and baba ghanoush
Tarragon Tom Collins
¾ oz. fresh squeezed lemon juice
¾ oz. simple syrup
2 oz. Citrus Rosé Gin
2 large sprigs of fresh tarragon
Club soda (chilled)
Lemon peel for garnish
Gently strip the leaves from one sprig of tarragon. Add the leaves, lemon juice, simple syrup, and gin to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake thoroughly until well-chilled. Strain the contents of the shaker into a tall (Collins) glass filled with ice. Top with chilled club soda and garnish with the remaining sprig of tarragon and fresh lemon peel.