Since 2South Wine Bar (2 S. 25th St., 2southwinebar.com) opened four years ago, its offerings have been expanding, with beer and cocktails pushing the appeal beyond wine drinkers. Around a month ago, they took yet another step in that direction. The upstairs bar has been converted into a whiskey bar, dubbed 2S Upstairs Bar.
"That bar upstairs only got used for catering and special events, so 80 percent of the time it sat vacant," says co-owner and co-manager Jerry Paulison. "Our goal is to have there what a lot of other bars don't have." He says patrons shouldn't expect to see Jameson or Jim Beam on the shelf. Instead, they'll be pouring a variety of craft whiskeys from the local, domestic and international markets.
Paulison says they're serving Scotch whisky and bourbon, plus whiskeys from Ireland, Canada and Japan, also noting that 2S will spotlight different Colorado whiskey distilleries each month. Right now, they're focusing on Axe and the Oak, and Paulison plans to promote Denver-distilled Laws whiskey in January.
The 2South team has also built a cocktail program with input from Axe and the Oak bartender Jacob Pfund. The menu will be different from downstairs, featuring an array of classics from mint juleps to rusty nails.
Tea and licensing
Local kombucha producer CoS'bucha satisfied us when we tried the product at Building3 Coffee Roasters earlier this year. But on Nov. 17, the CoS'bucha Facebook page announced that their product is currently unavailable as they "tidy up their licenses." We reached out to owner Richard Lemesany via the social media platform for clarification.
"Kombucha is a 'special process' and our process to produce it needs to be approved by a lab and then the health department," he explains. "As it stands, I don't yet have [an] expected return date other than 'soon.'"
Kombucha is a fermented drink made from tea and sugar, sometimes with fruit and herbs added. One introduces the sweetened tea to a SCOBY, defined by Colorado State's Food Source Information page as "a biofilm-like microbial mat composed of cellulose and a mutually beneficial association of fermentative bacteria and yeasts." Basically, yeast eats sugar and produces ethanol, which the bacteria eats to make organic acids, like acetic acid in vinegar. There's more to it — a SCOBY hosts a variety of yeasts and bacteria, and it's typically left open to wild microbes during fermentation — but that's the basics.
El Paso County Retail Food Manager Lee Griffen says the lab will test for acidity and alcohol content. If there's too much alcohol, the kombucha falls under the jurisdiction of the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. If the kombucha isn't acidic enough, it's more susceptible to hazardous bacteria or mold. Griffen focuses on common foodborne microbes like E. coli, though academic research notes kombucha infected with penicillium or anthrax.