- Matthew Schniper
- Old Chicago
1579 E. Cheyenne Mountain Blvd., 576-0433, oldchicago.com
The downtown location may be closed, but the south-end store makes a great stop pre- or post-movie at Tinseltown. We do just that for our first visit to this still new-ish space, looking sharp with black walls absorbing the glow of neon beer signs. Windows into the cooler convey the "we really care about beer" vibe, while roll-up glazing facing the patio waits for summer again.
Old C's fresh sheet hosts plenty of fine labels, but we're drawn to beer cocktails: an IPA Hound ($6.29) and Wheat Old Fashioned ($5.99). The first starts with a hop kiss from Odell's IPA, fading to a dry Tanqueray gin finish, during which juniper essence dances with grapefruit juices' citric bitterness. In the second, Blue Moon Belgian yeast character takes the spicy edge of Bulleit Rye whiskey, mixed with bitters for a surprising balance, no sharp notes. Simple syrup sweetens both a touch, and orange garnish adds welcome aroma. We're quite happy. — MS
- Griffin Swartzell
- Bubba's 33
5807 Constitution Ave., 576-1223, bubbas33.com
The chain gets its name from a signature burger patty that's 33 percent ground bacon. So says my bartender on learning it's my first visit, one of multiple efforts to make me a regular, including a manager stopping by after I get my receipt to ask about my meal and offer a coupon for a free appetizer. Introverts beware — every employee showed this level of friendly and outgoing.
In this garage/shack-themed temple to the flatscreen TV, I try an on-special red devil margarita ($4 on Wednesdays), which sees a blend of well and premium tequilas on ice, paired with strawberry and jalapeño. It lands sweet and light on spice, but with some tequila flavor present. The recommended sunshine burger ($9.99) has good bacon and an egg on a 33 patty, greasy-moist and well salted. Still, the patty itself doesn't taste of beef or bacon, and the egg direly needs pepper. Good concept, flawed execution — there are tastier roads to coronary bypass surgery. — GS
- Matthew Schniper
- Bean Pedaler
420 Main St., Canon City, 719/285-8169, redcanyoncycles.com
You'll hear them called cycle cafés and bicycle bars — Cafe Velo best exemplifies the model locally — and the basic concept of coffee (and often craft beer) and bike cultures merging in one retail front makes plenty of sense as a business plan. Canon City's version, opened in 2014, features both Red Canyon Cycles (also in biz several years prior at another location) and the Bean Pedaler (serving brews and espresso drinks).
With less than a couple grand in pocket for a new fat bike (suck), we settle for coffee instead, learning that Bean Pedaler sources beans from Poncha Springs' Mountain Phoenix Coffee. Our vanilla latte ($4.50/16-ounce), ordered half sweet, tastes of a darker roast, almost toward the no-bueno charred side, landing only proficient. But my dirty chai ($4.75/16-ounce) sends me for a happy spin, tasting exactly like a gingerbread cookie, thanks to Third Street's Dragon Tongue Ginger Chai mix. Super impressed. — MS