Beer Brain is headed to Denver, Colorado, next month for GABF, the Great American Beer Festival. I’m pretty excited to sample new beers and learn about new breweries, but I also plan to spend time enjoying everything else the city has to offer. Here are my picks for eating, drinking, and, er, other entertainment in Denver.
3316 Tejon Street
According to Old Major head chef and owner Justin Brunson, “Old Major is really trying to showcase Colorado farmers — what’s going on here — and create a Colorado style of food.” Old Major accomplishes this goal by sourcing local meats and veggies as much as possible and offering Denverites and tourists a chance to dine on the bounty of Colorado. The housemade charcuterie program is one of the finest in the country and one of the only in Colorado of it’s kind.
Although dinner and happy hour are both wonderful ways to experience Old Major, if you really want to start your weekend right, make a reservation for their Grateful Dead themed collaboration brunch with San Francisco’s Magnolia Brewing Company on Thursday October 2. They will have other events throughout the weekend as well. Check their website for more info closer to the date.
1035 E. 17th Ave
With 250 bottles of whiskey, Argyll offers the perfect place to keep drinking once you’ve left the festival. They also employ a Level 2 cicerone (the sommelier of beer) and feature 20 beers on tap with 30 more in bottles. Agryll’s collection contains many hard-to-find beers, yet 95% of their taps are less than $6 so it’s a good place to take a risk on something new. General Manager Steve Kingsbury told me that his personal favorite is the Bull and Bush Man Beer English IPA. It’s “really malty with bold hops, it strikes a killer balance – citrus undertones and a really long finish.” They also feature some delicious cocktails including the highly recommended Yesterday’s News, a cocktail made with Redemption Rye, Rama Zotti and chicory.
The kitchen puts out elevated pub food like fish and chips and bangers and mash, and the charcuterie plate has been a true crowd pleaser.
Argyll has an impressive list of events the weekend of GABF, including a luncheon with Avery Brewing on October 3, and a stop on the Beverage Distributor’s Pub Crawl. There are also plans for a Cider Bash on Saturday night and a beer brunch on Sunday morning. Call Argyll for more information.
Any place with a green plus sign on it.
Even though visiting Denver puts you a mile high, topographically speaking, you probably know the law now says its legal for you to get a little higher when you visit. Be aware that some shops will have a waiting room and you may have to chill a bit before you can enter. You’ll need a valid ID that proves you are 21 or older and you must bring cash, although many stores have ATMs. Out-of-staters are restricted to 7 grams per purchase, and if that’s a problem for you, you need to go back to D.A.R.E. class.
if you’re opposed to smoking and want to seek out edibles, just don’t be dumb. The serving size is generally 10 mg even though they are sold in 100 mg packages. Eat the whole package and kiss your weekend (and any memory of it) goodbye.
Use Yelp to get advice on where to shop (seriously) or ask a local.
Now that you’ve been to a shop with green plus sign, you ‘re ready to go seek out some live music. Good news: Denver is full of it. Red Rocks, a gorgeous outdoor venue, often and deservedly gets hailed as the best live music venue in the country. Picturesque, intimate, and embedded in the side of a mountain, you will not regret the extra fees you pay a scalper for tickets to the show. Catch Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers there Friday, October 3.
Red Rocks is a bit outside the city, but there’s plenty of good music venues within city limits. The Fillmore has member of Led Zeppelin on stage the weekend of GABF and you can catch two nights of Karl Denson, seminal member of the Greyboy All-Stars and all-around saxaphone-funk badass at Cervantes.