We all went our own directions again this week, with mixed results.
Surprisingly, it was the real beer that left us most wanting, while a ginger beer became the stunner in a bottle. Bryce found one overly boastful motto while I barely found my destination at all, as it's recessed from the main road in a location that's easy to miss. Commercial items surprised, and lauded craft items disappointed.
We're always glad to see philanthropic efforts, though: that beer company supporting environmental initiatives, and a coffee company making the appreciated organic and fair-trade effort.
Jasmine's Coffee & Tea Cafe
4120 N. Nevada Ave., 359-5895, find on Facebook
First bonus of a BuyWell drip coffee or Spanish Peaks Coffee espresso drink at Jasmine's: It's made with purified water via adjacent parent business Springs Mountain Water. My 16-ounce cappuccino ($3) sports a really bold, strong roasted flavor and a competent foam job.
Second bonus: a free cookie with any drink purchase. Though made from a commercial Otis Spunkmeyer dough, the treats are personalized with extras, and they taste good. As do cheap sandwiches from a newly launched food menu. I get the Picasso ($3.50) on a great Olde World cheddar bagel, with Costco-bought ham and lettuce, and provolone subbed for sold-out onions (over which the sweet staff makes an unnecessary fuss).
Local art dampens the industrial-park vibe, but better signage on North Nevada Avenue is critical. — Matthew Schniper
Upslope Brewing Company
1501 Lee Hill Road, #20, Boulder, 303/449-2911, upslopebrewing.com
This Great American Beer Festival gold-medal winner (in 2011 for its pumpkin ale), which just released a limited foreign-style stout, introduced this Craft Lager can ($9/six-pack) last summer. It's an easy session beer at 4.8 percent ABV, but on the whole is not that impressive.
The pale yellow brew is a bit flat, with almost imperceptible scents of honey and wheat, and a light lingering hop flavor. To call this complex would only be acceptable should you have a really clean palate, as the flavors are so delicate they're easily lost. To its credit as a lager — a style that uses a bottom-fermenting, or cold-fermenting, which takes a bit more time to make than an ale — it is cleaner and crisper than your average ale. Another redeeming quality: One percent of revenues go to Colorado Trout Unlimited to protect watersheds. — Steve Hitchcock
6620 Delmonico Drive, 482-6846, everythingfajita.com
Any spot that's promising "the most zestful fajita that you will ever taste" has my attention. Everything Fajita seems like a nice spot, too, with a little evangelical-Texan thing going on, between the wooden stars on the walls and "Word of God Speak" on the radio.
A side cooler is full of a neat selection of craft sodas. Go Cock 'n Bull Ginger Beer ($1.95) — it's as if raw root was juiced into the bottle.
But the wood-grilled fajitas are only OK. After ordering a pair for $7, we find the chicken heavy on the cumin, recalling a spice packet from McCormick. On the other hand, the flank steak is nicely seasoned and grilled medium, though hardly smoky. Both are lukewarm, sporting sour cream, lightly grilled (and cool) onions and peppers, and a typical cheese medley. — Bryce Crawford