Tag Archives: Pateros Creek Brewing Company

Sunday Brunch at The Mainline

When The Mainline opened in 2013, it wasn’t with too much excitement from the beer community,  despite the huge marketing attempt made by the Breck-Wynkoop group.  They gave us huge promises of a unique space with upscale food with a southern comfort flair. A list of those involved with menu creation from the Denver Westword lists a half dozen people, none of which I could point out enjoying a pint at another local bar. It was a faceless, corporate business, giving the typical reaction of “meh” from local residents about their experiences.

I went a few times in the first couple months. The massive space was indeed unique. Reused piping creates a “tree- house” effect throughout the building that really brings character to the space. The upstairs bar is filled with all kinds of random things encased in resin that help start some great conversations. A rooftop patio is a not to miss feature of The Mainline. Just try to count the number of unique light fixtures here, just try. But that was where the awe stopped for me.

From sub par food like a shrimp po’ boy containing only 3 pieces of shrimp on an 8″ bun, to poor service from a waitstaff who preferred to chat with each other than work, the first few months at The Mainline was rough for everyone. While I 20140615_102310never all out avoided the place after the first couple negative experiences, I never strive to go there either. I would accompany a friend now and then for drinks on the rooftop, occasionally indulging in the Angry Mac n Cheese as that was all I trusted from the menu.

But I wanted to like them, I really did! So when I received an email from a company handling their marketing, asking me to come try out their brunch menu, for free, at first I ignored it. I typically don’t do reviews on this blog anyways, and something about offering me free stuff reeks of desperation. But he was persistent. Even though this person worked for a marketing group, he was excited about the restaurant and the menu. He kept emailing me, which put a face to a business I had considered faceless for so long. Then, a friend posted a photo on Facebook of her drinks at The Mainline stating “I am giving them one more shot, but only because of the Fort Collins Passport“. This opened a whole conversation about The Mainline and why people choose to go there or not. I figured I should give them another chance, too.

We finally found a time that would work and headed out for an early brunch at The Mainline. We were the first one’s in that day. The boyfriend was worried about getting seated and out the door in time for his job that afternoon. He didn’t realize how large of a space The Mainline is and that finding a seat is not going to be a problem. We snagged 20140615_101724a seat overlooking College Ave on the rooftop. It really is gorgeous up there, plus you get a good view of some ghost signs you can’t see from street level.

I went in looking for one thing that day, person-ability. I wanted to feel a connection to the people who worked here. I wanted to continue attaching faces to The Mainline and distance it farther from the corporate world of Breck-Wynkoop. I had barely even sat down yet before I got what I asked for. One of the bartenders from the first floor saw me walk in, and made the journey all the way to the rooftop to greet me, “I saw you come in, and had a quick break so wanted to come say hi!”. He had served me previously before a couple times, and remembered me, and going out of his way to say hi is exactly the personable experience I was looking for.

Our server was amazing as well, chatting with us about the different menu items she liked. Our service was quick and the food was original. I ordered the Buttermilk Chicken and Waffles, that came with a giant pile of maple bacon to go with the spiced rum infused syrup. I loved the melted slices of brie on top of the perfectly cooked waffles, the cream helped to blend all of the flavors together. The dish also featured watercress and orange marmalade. If I wasn’t still working on my bloody mary (maybe the service was too quick), my plan was to order a coffee stout to go with this rich dish.

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The boyfriend ordered the Pulled Pork Hash that came with their homemade tater tots. The dish looks like a colorless mass, but was actually damn tasty. Some of the color was lost, as it normally comes with eggs and he took them off. It was a mix of pulled pork, sweet potatoes and red peppers that had a kick to it. The only thing I didn’t enjoy was the texture of the potatoes, as they were a bit mushy.

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We finished out the meal with a Pateros Creek Mainline, made exclusively for the restaurant, and a Pimm’s Cup. We may have enjoyed the Pimm’s Cup a bit, as we fought over the last few sips of its very short existence. I had planned to pair the brown ale aged on bourbon barrel staves with the Chocolate Beignets, but unfortunately there was an issue with the fryer and they weren’t able to cook them properly.  I am going to assume the fryer wasn’t hot enough yet. At a year old, this is kind of a silly issue for a restaurant to have. I was disappointed I didn’t get to try either of my anticipated beer pairings choices, but still satisfied in my meal.20140615_105048

All in all, I think The Mainline has gotten a bad rap from their rough get go. Aside from this brunch visit, I also scheduled a meeting with Kim from Grouse Malting and Brewing here. We both enjoyed our experience that day, with delicious shrimp tacos on special and a couple beers over industry chatter. The food is more innovative than what is offered at most places around Old Town. Their mixed drinks are delicious, but expect to have most of your beer choices be Breckenridge and Wynkoop. Plus, their rooftop patio is my favorite in town.20140615_105639

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Wheat Not, What Not: Gluten Free Beer In Fort Collins

This edition of our Tuesday Contributor series is written by Irene Nissen, a local craft enthusiast who attends Napa of Beer events with her husband Mark. 

About 6 months ago I made the decision to go gluten free. This was not an easy decision, considering many things, but one of the biggest was of course BEER! I did not know how I was going to give up drinking so many of my favorite brews! However, over the course of my journey to go gluten free I have discovered many places in town that serve gluten free options, including beers and ciders, and I have discovered many that I enjoy as much, if not more than my old favorites!

The first part to gluten free drinking is understanding what that actually means. Beer, as you know, is produced using water, a starch and sugar to ferment into a tasty alcoholic beverage. The starch is usually derived from malted barley and/or wheat, and most are flavored with hops to add bitterness and act as a natural preservative. Wheat and Barley are two of the three primary gluten-based grains, with the third being rye. Hops is a gluten free ingredient (YEA!!) so it can be used to add flavor in gluten free beers.

There are three primary choices for gluten free beer seekers. The first is a beer made without barley or wheat, these beers are often brewed using ingredients like millet, buckwheat, rice and/or sorghum. An example of this is Green’s Gluten Free Beer brewed in Lochristi, Belgium at DeProef Brewery. The second is a traditionally brewed beer that has had the gluten removed. An example of this is Omission Brewed by Widmer Brothers Brewing in Portland, Oregon. It is brewed with traditional beer ingredients, including malted barley, and then specially crafted to remove the gluten. The third choice is a beer alternative such as cider, or mead. There are many examples of these, with one of the most well known being Woodchuck Hard Cider.

Over the past few weeks I checked out a few of the places in the Fort Collins area offering gluten free options.

Black Bottle Brewery, here in Fort Collins, offers a few different options for gluten free beer seekers. They have a selection of gluten free beers, both brewed without barley and wheat, and brewed Black Bottle-pngwith to remove the gluten, as well as some ciders and sparkling meads. I enjoyed a bottle of Green’s Triple Blond Ale, and Omission’s Pale Ale. Both were well done and paired nicely with a slice of their flourless chocolate cake!

Another great place to find gluten free beer is at Pateros Creek Brewing Company in downtown Fort Collins. Their Punk Rock IPA is always a great choice for a gluten free brew, as well as they usually have a rotating gluten free beer on tap. The Punk Rock is brewed using sorghum and four different types of hops to give it lots of flavor! I enjoyed one with some of the chips from The Goodness food truck.

One of my new FAVORITE spots in town for gluten free drinking is Scrumpy’s Hard Cider Bar in downtown Fort Collins. They offer a great variety of ciders as well as meads and you can sample any ciders on tap, 6 samples for $6.00 or 9 samples for $8.00, a great deal, and a great way to sample a lot of different ciders. They also feature many ciders brewed in Colorado and will soon be adding their own cider brewed in house. I enjoyed a 6-sample tray of the Grass-hop-ah, Pearsnickety, Pome Mel, Magner’s Irish Cider, Strongbow, and Crispin Original. All of which were delicious and paired perfectly with my tasty sandwich on gluten-free bread!

Lastly, I was surprised to discover that High Hops Brewery in Windsor has started brewing a gluten free beer as well. The weekend I visited they had just tapped their 1st gluten free beer, a strawberry sorghum. It was very tasty! I was also delighted to find that Veebo’s Wood-Fired Pizza was offering a gluten free crust for the 1st time that weekend as well! It was not a gluten free crust they had made from scratch, as the cost and labor that goes into making a good gluten free crust is very high and for the current demand, not very feasible. Instead they were using a pre-baked crust made by Kinnickinnick. I was able to enjoy a delicious Hawaiian Gluten Free Pizza along with my beer and very thankful for their consciousness for their gluten free customers!

Gluten Free is becoming more and more prevalent and many restaurants and breweries in the area are offering gluten free drinking and dining options for their customers, and it is greatly appreciated! I look forward to my continued exploration of gluten free drinking and dining here in Northern Colorado and to all my fellow gluten free drinkers out there, I hope this article has enlightened you to the many options that are out there. To those of you who are not gluten free, don’t be afraid to try some gluten free drinks, as they are surprisingly delicious! If any of you have other places you enjoy drinking gluten-free I would love to hear your comments!

Cheers!

Irene

More about Irene:

I have lived in Fort Collins for almost 8 years now. I moved here inIrene Photo 2005 with my husband to attend Colorado State and after graduating in 2009 we just couldn’t bring ourselves to leave! I work as a high school librarian at Rocky Mountain High School and also WORRY on the side (Wine, Om, Read, Run and Yoga). I recently graduated from my 200-hour Yoga Teacher training and have been working to start up my own business WORRY Warrior, teaching yoga, selling essential oils and offering health coaching advise. If you are looking for some private yoga instruction, let me know! I would love to work with you on developing and growing in your practice! My husband and I are big winos, but living in Fort Collins you have to enjoy beer as well, which hasn’t been a problem! We love spending time with our Great Dane Mini, and training for ½ marathon races in our free time.

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The Harlem Shake takes Fort Collins

When a video of the CSU student body going nuts at a recent basketball game doing the Harlem Shake went viral, I was confused. Very confused. What the hell is this, and where did it come from? So I looked it up. Wikipedia never fails in instances of viral memes. A video originally made by a bunch of kids on the other side of the world has been remade thousands of times over. Now the Fort Collins brewing scene is taking their turn. Beer industry folk relish in any opportunity to dress up in whacky outfits and act ridiculous, so I am sure it was hard for them to pass it up. Tour De Fat is still months away after all. I can’t stop laughing when I watch these videos. I love the assistant brewers wife, Cara, spraying sales guy Rich with the hose in the Pateros Creek video. I bet it was hilarious getting the keg trike on top of the bar at Equinox and that they started the video with a beer shot. It is no wonder everyone wants to work at a brewery.

The clean up version from Odell Brewing Company

The packaging crew at New Belgium Brewing

Brewhouse style at Pateros Creek Brewing

Taproom shenanigans at Equinox Brewing. A link because it is not on youtube yet.

When it really comes down to it, as much as I love watching some of my dearest friends dance their asses off in crazy costumes and have a blast, this one is my favorite. This one, is down right awesome.

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Feisty Spirits Brings New Innovation to Fort Collins Craft

At a recent luncheon hosted by the United Way of Larimer County at The Rio I sat sipping a margarita, on the rocks with salt. An acquaintance came over to say hi and the first thing out of his mouth was, “you’re the beer girl, why are you drinking a marg?”. While beer is my adult beverage of choice, it doesn’t mean that is all I have to drink. It is nice to switch it up every now and then. When I go to Fish I usually drink wine. I don’t even have to order an apple whiskey old fashioned at Ace Gillett’s, the bartender already knows that is what I want. Everyone cross drinks. Fort Collins is about to get another option for cross drinking as a new distillery, Feisty Spirits, is getting ready to bring this beer town some whiskey.

I was recently invited to a tasting at Feisty Spirits, so my Brunch ‘n’ Brew group decided to make a day of it. When we walked into the space in a tiny strip mall on Lincoln Ave you wouldn’t have known it was a distillery. A couch sat against one wall and two offices were along the other. fesityspiritslogoEventually, this space will become the tasting room as soon as the city grants them the proper permits for construction. I am sure it will look much better without the carpeting that looks as if it should be in an elementary school classroom.

Owners Jamie Gulden and David Monahan took us to the backroom, which was indicative of what the distillery will look like when complete. The first thing you noticed was a big, shiny 60 gallon still. Unable to use this still yet until the proper approval, a small copper still sat on a table with clear liquid dripping into a mason jar. Hundreds of mason jars covered almost every surface. They were all different sizes, filled with liquids of all kinds of colors and amounts. It was reminiscent of a mad scientist lab.

We began the day by learning about distillation. Being beer nerds, we only knew the basics of the process. We went around smelling mashes, and checking out the small still as David explained to us the process of creating whiskey. Feisty Spirits typically uses grain flours, but not all the time, to create their mash. Adding amylase to the hot wort mixture of grain and water, it starts the process of turning the flour into fermentable sugars for the yeast to eat. After the yeast has done it’s job in the mash for about a week, the wort is added to the still pot. Here, condensation and evaporation separate the alcohol from the water. Alcohol evaporates at 80 degrees, while water at 100. Regulating the temperature allows for what will become whiskey to be taken out of the water and concentrated.

The small still at Feisty Spirits

The small still at Feisty Spirits

The large still at Feisty Spirits contains 4 “thumpers”, or chambers in the column that are responsible for condensing the alcohol. This is a typical amount for a whiskey still, but vodka stills can have up to 20. Before their small still, they were making alcohol from a small heated water purifier. The first bit of whiskey they comes out of a still usually has a strong acid aldyehyde, or green apple taste. This is caused by the yeast and often thrown out or sent through the distillation process again. We got to taste some of the first runnings, or kamut, from the small still that was going, and tart apple was very apparent, even being an off flavor I am not sensitive too.

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Now that we understood how it was made, it was time to taste it! There was a table set up in the middle of the room, covered in a handful of mason jars and shot glasses. Knowing our love for beer, we started with whiskeys that had been distilled from beer. We tried a Cutthroat Porter from Odells that was 130 proof, a homebrewed porter and a beer from Pateros Creek Brewing Co. Distilling beer into alcohol is a great way to use batches that have gone wrong, and Feisty Spirits plans to utilize this resource from the many breweries in town.

From here, David lined up a great order for us to learn how the different grains, and other additives, changed the outcome of the whiskey. They are in the process of fine tuning their recipes, which is why there were so many different jars everywhere.  We ended up being a sort of tasting panel for Jamie and David to see what people would enjoy.

We started with a 100% oat, unaged oat whiskey. It was followed by a half oat, half rye and then a 100% rye. Next we tried millet, spelt, barley and wheat. All of the grains produced different flavors. The spelt produced a more earthy flavor while the oats provided a thicker mouth feel. The blend of these two grains was my favorite. We also tried 100% sorgum syrup, the common ingredient used to make gluten free beers. I wasn’t a fan of this one.

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Bourbons, or whiskey made with over 51% corn, was the next batch we tasted. These were bolder in flavor, and tickled my nose when I tried to do the beer-tasting retro nasal. To age bourbons and whiskeys, distillers must use new American oak barrels, and for test batches they used oak chips. Many of the infused and aged ones we tasted after the basics were bourbons and not whiskeys.

Next we moved onto distilled mead. A blackberry mead that was aged with rose hips was floral and sweet, perfect to mix into a summer cocktail. The mead that was aged with anise was a hit or miss, you either loved it, or hated it. Black licorice is one of the worst inventions ever, so I did not enjoy it. A distilled cider was very close to tasting just like a normal fermented cider, but you got a little alcoholic bite at the end.

As we went along into the infused and aged alcohols, David would pour us a taste, and have us guess what flavors where in it. This was a great way to test our pallets. Some were easy to pick out, such as lavender, cinnamon, peach and coconut. Ones that were a bit harder to detect were pumpkin, rhubarb, and blackberry. The favorite of the group was the vanilla bean and orange peel infused bourbon, it really was a phenomenal flavor.

Image courtesy of Feisty Spirits

Image courtesy of Feisty Spirits

Last, we tried some cocktail tricks to drastically change the flavors. An oat and barley whiskey was harsh alone, but a drop of Horsetooth Hotsauce balanced it out. Same with a a rye and oat, that alone was flavorless and burned, but with  a drop of bitters was tolerable.

When all was said and done we had tried 27 different whiskeys. The creativity and innovation of recipes in Feisty Spirits is something I never thought I would see outside of the brewing industry. The passion and knowledge they have for their craft is what has helped propel this city, and even though they are not making beer, they are going to fit right in. I cannot wait for their tasting room to open (hopefully) in early 2013.

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Redefining Taprooms

This article was also printed in the December issue of Scene Magazine in the Craft Beer section. You can find Scene on newsstands and in local businesses around Northern Colorado 

By: Lauren Hoff

Beer has always been a life vein in Northern Colorado. Even before Odell Brewing and New Belgium Brewing, the city has seen a lot of breweries come and go. Taprooms provide place for community members to gather, but as the landscape of breweries is changing, so is the taproom.

With nearly 20 breweries in the region now, a brewery needs to rely on the regular customer more and more. Taprooms realize they need to offer more than just tasters to keep their customers there longer, and more importantly, coming back. Along with events such as live music and new beer release parties, breweries are coming up with creative and entertaining ways to entice the beer enthusiast – everything from food trucks to trivia nights. Those who are not focused on beer are also taking advantage of the demand for more beer entertainment.

Even before a city ordinance change this year allowing looser restrictions on the location of food trucks, they have always found a home at small breweries.  The FoCo Food Truck Alliance hosts events in the parking lot of Pateros Creek Brewing Company every few months offering more than a half dozen dining options. Umami, an Asian inspired eatery inside a Streamline, can be found outside Funkwerks, Odell Brewing and Equinox Brewing several nights a week. The Waffle Lab is outside New Belgium Brewing twice a week offering innovative waffles to both staff and patrons. For the business owners unable to provide warm food at their production breweries, the collaboration benefits both involved.

Grimm Brothers Brewhouse, in Loveland, also offers daily food truck, as well as live music and a new trivia night on Mondays starting at 6p.m. Hosted by Geeks Who Drink, Grimm owner Aaron Heaton decided to offer this event on Mondays because it was a slow revenue day.  If you play, you can win some beers for your team. On Wednesdays you can get your geek on while satisfying your beer nerd at City Star Brewing in Berthoud at 7:30 p.m. Both Odell and New Belgium offer occasional after hour trivia nights with proceeds going to charity.

If you would rather gain knowledge than display it, educational events are happening more and more often. Small companies such as Tap into Painting and Napa of Beer offer events to tantalize your palate and your mind.

For the gamers, corn hole tournaments are happening at several breweries. New Belgium just put in a new rolly-bowly court on the patio and Pateros Creek installed ring the bull in their new expansion.

Beer-centric bars are also offering more for their patrons than the usual fun and games. Tap and Handle on College Avenue opened with a game room of old pinball machines, foosball and even Mrs. Pac-Man tucked away in a corner. If you show up on Brewery Night at The Forge Publick House you can find some finger foods free to patrons while a representative is chatting up enthusiasts and handing out stickers, shirts or pint glasses.

Even establishments not focused on beer are offering more beer-centered events. The Welsh Rabbit Cheese Shop offers beer pairing nights with Napa of Beer. Loveland Aleworks recently paired with Generations Wine and Martini bar to offer a five course, 10-beer dinner.

There is so much more to just drinking a beer in Northern Colorado. You can try new food, hear a new band, beat your friends in a friendly game, or learn something new.

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