Tag Archives: Boulder

Boulder’s Best Brews

My favorite way to explore a new city is through taste.  And the best way to taste Boulder is through its beer!

At the heart of downtown Boulder is Pearl Street.  On it you’ll find restaurants, coffee shops, boutiques, and of course, brewpubs!  With four blocks closed to cars, it’s a great place to window shop, seek shade under a tree, or go on a pub crawl.

I started my beer tour of Boulder on the eastern end of Pearl Street at Mountain Sun Pub & Brewery.  Open since 1993, this community-based neighborhood pub was modeled on the thriving microbrewery scene in Oregon.

Don’t come here looking to catch the game.  You won’t find any TVs at Mountain Sun.  It’s the place to go when you want to chat with friends or play a game of Scrabble.

Like many Boulder-area breweries, Mountain Sun serves its own beer, brewed on site and fresh from the tap.  It’s a pretty large selection too — with 15 choices that range from pale ales to stout, you’ll need some time to make up your mind.  If you think the selection is impressive, so is their taste.  Mountain Sun’s beers have won awards all over the world, including six gold medals at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, the world’s largest beer festival.  All the beers are well priced.  An 8 oz. glass costs $2.60, a 16 oz. pint costs $4.20 and a 48 oz. pitcher costs $11.60.

Along with the beer, there’s a full menu of burgers, sandwiches and vegetarian fare.  Even if you’re not a vegetarian, the tempeh reuben and the quinoa, black bean and vegetable wrap are hard to pass up.

With so many different beers, you’ll want to come to Mountain Sun a few times so you can sample them all.  Or ask the friendly servers for a taste of a few.  On the lighter side, I loved the Jah-Mon Ginger Wheat.  It’s crisp and refreshing with a great taste of fresh ginger that lingers in your mouth.  Drinking a pint with my avocado and veggie sandwich I felt very healthy, like the ginger was able to negate the calories and the heaviness of the wheat.  If you don’t want the ginger taste to be as strong, you can get a mix of the Ginger Wheat and Blackberry Wheat (which has a very mild fruit flavor and isn’t sweet at all).

On the darker side I highly recommend the Isadore Java Porter.  Black in color like Guinness, the Java Porter is rich and creamy with a hint of coffee.  It’s almost as thick as a latte, so don’t order it if you’re already full!

From Mountain Sun I headed west on Pearl Street to the Boulder Draft House.  It’s just north of Pearl on 13th Street.  The Draft House serves up a selection of beer from the Colorado Brewing Company.  Pints cost $4.50, though if it’s your first time I’d recommend ordering the beer sampler.  You’ll get a taste of each beer on tap for $7.50.

One of the first beers that I enjoyed was the Alpenglow Amber.  Deep copper in color, it has nice flavors of caramel with a hint of chocolate malt and a mild hop finish.  Also good were the two wheat beers, the 13th Street Wheat and the Blackberry Wheat (also pleasantly mild in fruitiness, though I preferred the one at Mountain Sun).  The oak-aged Oatmeal Stout was another favorite.  It was thick and creamy with flavors of cocoa, cedar and vanilla.  Being a wine drinker, it was neat to see how the oak influenced the stout’s flavor.

Like live music?  Then you’ll definitely want to check out the Draft House in the evening for a taste of the local music scene.

My last stop was Walnut Brewery.  It’s located just south of the pedestrian mall on Walnut Street, which runs parallel to Pearl.

The brewery is located in a charming historic building.  With high ceilings, wooden tables, and all sorts of beer paraphernalia on display, it’s the kind of setting that makes you crave a pint and a burger (I recommend the Hickory Burger which is topped with melted cheddar cheese, hickory smoked bacon and Stout BBQ sauce).

Walnut Brewery’s hand-crafted beers have won multiple awards at the Great American Beer Festival.  Pints cost around $4, or you can try them all in a sampler.

I decided to go straight for the Old Elk Brown Ale and was immediately glad I did.  It has rich and savory malt flavors thanks to the mix of caramel, Munich and chocolate malts.  The taste is complex without any bitterness, with a subtle, earthy finish.  It was delicious with my burger.

Though I usually refrain from picking favorites (especially because there are so many different styles of beer), I’d have to say the Old Elk Brown Ale was my favorite beer I tasted in Boulder (Mountain Sun’s Ginger Wheat was a close second).  In fact, it’s one of the best brown ales I’ve ever tasted.

Because I was only in Boulder for a few days I barely scratched the surface on the city’s brews.  Looking for more information on Colorado’s Breweries?  Click here to see Metromix Denver’s extensive guide.

Next: The beer tour continues with a visit to a favorite Colorado brewery, plus some of the tastiest brews I’ve ever sipped from a can.

Click here for all Boulder articles

Destination: Boulder

Breathtaking mountains, great hiking, pedestrian and bike-friendly streets, charming restaurants and cafés, and tons of breweries — these are what make Boulder such a great destination.

I recently spent a long weekend in Boulder for my friends’ wedding.  It was my first time there and I loved it from the start.

Coming from flat South Florida, I found I couldn’t take my eyes off the mountains.  From the iconic Flatirons, to the distant ranges that I drove by, I was glued to the scenery.

Besides the incredible views, you can’t beat Boulder’s dry air.  No humidity is such a treat when you’re used to living in a steam room!

Of course you can’t visit Boulder without exploring its many breweries and brewpubs!  Over the next few days I’ll be sharing some of my favorite brews, as well as my visit to a meadery and my first taste of Colorado wine (spoiler alert: it was pretty good!).

Even if you’re not a beer drinker, Boulder is a great town for foodies.  I had a lot of fun strolling through Boulder’s farmers’ market on Saturday.  It’s the largest farmers’ market in Colorado, and features an assortment of locally grown fruit, vegetables and flowers, as well as meat, cheese, nuts, coffee, wine, bread and pastries.  Bring your appetite so you can taste some of the locally prepared food.

The Boulder farmers’ market is located next to Central Park on 13th Street between Canyon Boulevard and Arapahoe Avenue.  It’s open on Saturdays from 8am to 2pm until November 7th, and Wednesdays from 4pm to 8pm until October 7th.

If you like tea, you must visit the Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse.  It’s also on 13th Street so you’ll walk by it if you go to the farmers’ market.  Built in the late 1980s, the teahouse was a gift to Boulder from the Mayor of Dushanbe, Tajikistan, to celebrate their sister city ties.

Stepping inside, you feel as if you’ve entered an Asian palace.  The ceiling and columns were hand-carved and hand-painted in vibrant colors by more than 40 artisans.  It’s truly a special place to enjoy a cup of tea and a bite to eat.

Tea enthusiasts won’t be disappointed — there are pages of teas to choose from including Puerh teas.  Though not well known here, these teas are prized in China.  The tea has a strong flavor, the result of several unique processing steps and aging underground (some Puerh tea is aged up to 50 years!).

Breakfast, brunch, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner are served at the teahouse.  Traditional afternoon tea costs $18.95 per person and $10.95 children under 9.  Reservations for afternoon tea are required 24 hours in advance.

If you love raw oysters, you won’t want to miss happy hour at Jax Fish House on Pearl Street.  Every day from 4 to 6pm you can get East Coast oysters for $1 each.  The oysters are big and juicy with a fresh, clean taste — definitely worth a special trip!  A selection of appetizers including peel and eat shrimp and ceviche cost just $3.  House wine and draft beers are $3 as well.  From the bar you can look back at the kitchen for a glimpse of executive chef Hosea Rosenberg, the winner of Top Chef season five.

The best meal I had while in Boulder was at the Black Cat.  This intimate bistro cooks up organic fare with produce harvested daily from their own farm (you’ll see their produce at the downtown farmers market).  Chef Eric Skokan’s menu changes often and expresses both the season and what’s exciting right now.  Each dish excels at letting its main ingredients shine, with subtle flavors adding support.  The green beans that came with my appetizer were delicious, and likely only had a little olive oil and salt on them.  For my main course, the duck was perfectly cooked in a heavenly lavender, honey and thyme sauce, and so tender I barely needed a knife.

To pair with the mouthwatering cuisine, the Black Cat has a great wine list.  There are many bottles from wineries you’ve likely never heard of, and even a few from Colorado.  Our server helped us select a lush Meritage from Washington.

The Black Cat is located on 13th Street just south of Pearl Street.  Definitely call ahead for a reservation.

If you’re in the mood for a late night snack visit Boulder Baked on Broadway Street.  Here you can get all sorts of baked-to-order cookies, cupcakes and comfort food.  Open from noon until 2am Monday through Saturday (midnight on Sunday), Boulder Baked is the place to go when you’re craving a peanut butter chocolate chip cookie or a chocolate peanut butter cookie (they make both).

Click below to read more:
Boulder’s Best Brews
A Visit to New Belgium Brewing Company
Odell Brewing Company and Oskar Blues
Mile High Mead: Redstone Meadery
Colorado Wine: BookCliff Vineyards