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One frigid November evening the week before Thanksgiving, groups of hungry people took refuge inside seven-year-old WeldWerks Brewing’s popular taproom. This wouldn’t be unusual in itself, except that a handful of these patrons were not sipping Juicy Bits IPAs and noshing on fries with lemon aïoli. Instead, at promptly 5:30 p.m., they put on their coats and made their way to a separate building across the parking lot, boots crunching against a thin layer of snow.
Twenty-five diners arrived in the barrel room for the Greeley brewery’s inaugural Chef & Brewers Dinner, an event it hopes to hold on a seasonal basis, weather permitting. This was the first time that members of the public were invited into the space, which is currently home to 400 bourbon barrels full of WeldWerks beer and is only open for brewery tours and events (it needs to temperature controlled for the barrels to thrive). Dominating the room is a bold, floor-to-ceiling mural painted by artist Armando Silva depicting characters from Stanley Kubrick’s classic film, the Shining, a quirky homage to Colorado’s role in inspiring Stephen King to write the novel. String lights overhead cast a warm glow over long tables decorated with burlap table runners, candles and dried citrus fruit, giving the place settings an autumnal feel.
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Since WeldWerks’ in-house kitchen opened in February, the beer dinner was something that head brewer Skip Schwartz and head chef Tim Meador had in the back of their minds. Meador, who owned and operated the Tramp About, a food truck that served sandwiches, tacos, and other bites at local breweries, sold the business in 2020 and started working with WeldWerks to develop an in-house food program. “Beer is the priority. We designed a limited menu, but we keep it rotating,” says Meador, the mastermind behind WeldWerks’ menu of elegantly prepared staples like grilled cheese and tomato soup and double cheeseburger.
At the beer dinner, however, Meador and his team proved they had the culinary chops to take things up a few notches. Featuring five courses with thoughtful beer pairings, the affair also had a few surprises, like a maple buttermilk apéritif sprinkled with smoked paprika and drizzled with thyme oil. The tangy and slightly fizzy shooter served as a precursor to the carrot tartare appetizer. The latter—a neat pile of finely chopped carrots peppered with subtly pickled mustard seeds atop smoked maple-tarragon gastrique—was accompanied by a basket of crunchy, salty sesame lavash for scooping. When Darkness Falls, a smooth Munich-style Imperial Dark Lager, that tasted deceptively light despite its 7.2 percent ABV paired seamlessly with the menu’s first course.
A pour of WeldWerks’ Peach Pie Berliner, a fruited sour spiced with cinnamon, vanilla and graham crackers accompanied a buttery, flaxy Brie en Croûte, balanced by a deep and fruity date purée, tamarind-date coulis, and toasted almonds. Meador’s take on upscale fish and chips—potato-crusted halibut topped with a carrot-celery mélange and served alongside crispy shoestring potatoes and caper aïoli—went beautifully with the tart and fruity Citra DDH Juicy Bits Hazy IPA. A green apple sorbet cleansed and readied diners’ palates for the main course: tender duck breast in a red wine demi-glace, spiced cherries, and a light and airy parsnip purée. A glass of the Blue Patina saison played the role of white wine, with crisp notes of thyme and sage.
The dessert course included multiple delights, starting with a premiere of the rich and chocolatey Little Man Salted Oreo Medianoche stout, a collaboration with Denver-based Little Man Ice Cream Company that’s barrel aged 22 to 36 months. If that weren’t dessert enough, kulfi with pistachios, spiced pepitas and pumpkin glaze rounded out the night. As a parting gift, diners grabbed a divinely creamy Medianoche truffle on the way out the door and back into the cold.
While the multi-course dinners allow Weldwerk’s culinary team to shine, the kitchen’s menu—which features a number of rotating seasonal dishes and beloved mainstays like the aforementioned grilled cheese and burger—satisfies any day of the week. This month, look for specialties such as Spam banh mi with Kewpie mayo, pickled carrot and daikon, jalapeño, hoisin sauce, and kimchi slaw, and the hot honey fried chicken, a fiery buttermilk-breaded chicken thigh served with Johnny cakes. Also try the chicken adobo meatballs, flavor-packed bites elevated with kimchi stir fry and a beet-pickled egg.