Trinity Brewing Company
1466 W. Garden of the Gods Road, #184, 634-0029, trinitybrew.com
While observing Trinity's Jason Yester and New Belgium Brewing's Peter Bouckaert collaborating on a rare Berliner Weisse recently at Trinity, naturally I grew thirsty and hungry. (In that order.)
Taking my waitress' recommendation, I ordered the Son of a Buffalo macaroni and cheese ($9). Taking the menu's recommendation, I paired it with a Flo IPA (this one cask-aged; $6/pint). And finally, in a fit of carb fanaticism, I also opted for those spicy cheese-sauce-lacquered noodles to be served in a bread bowl. And so they erupted volcano-like from three sides, flecked with diced tomatoes, large red onion strands and organic, buffalo-sauce-drenched Colorado chicken slices, all garnished with a few bleu cheese squares. The dairy tempered the heat to create a pleasing balance, interrupted by the onion and bleu cheese's sharpness — creating a lot of flavor interplay for the IPA's high hops to accentuate. — Matthew Schniper
Dickey's Barbecue Pit
1466 W. Garden of the Gods Road, #160, dickeys.com
We ate a lot of food at Trinity's new neighbor, Dickey's — the first Springs location for the Texas chain — so let's get to it. First, we caught the daily special, so our three-rib plate came in at $7.99 with a side of good baked beans and great fried okra rounds. Actually, all the sides, including a Velveeta-like mac-and-cheese, were fantastic.
It's the meat that keeps this spot from being a must-try, though. The spicy cheddar sausage was a little mushy, though robust and hot, while our ribs were tender enough, but cooked to a doneness that left them more like teriyaki beef. Both the pulled pork ($10.50 on a two-meat plate) and the chopped brisket ($5.50 as a sandwich) were beautiful, but too dry and unseasoned. They're fixed with sauce, but I'd say that means they're broken. Speaking of, the regular sauce is sweet and synthetic-tasting; the sweet is the same, but that much more. — Bryce Crawford
Odell Brewing Company
800 E. Lincoln Ave., Fort Collins, 970/498-9070, odellbrewing.com
Considering my love of Myrcenary Double IPA and Odell's Firkin Rendezvous-crushing Coconut Milk Cutthroat Porter (recently re-appearing at Brewer's Republic), I'm not surprised by how much I enjoy Lugene Chocolate Milk Stout (around $10/four-pack). Brewed January through March at 8.5 percent ABV, it's truly chocolatey, tossing 300 pounds of Ghanian chocolate bars (some 64-percent cacao, some 40-percent) into the brew kettle per 100 barrels, according to head brewer Bill Beymer.
Added lactose, which yeasts cannot convert to alcohol, move through as sugars, adding a silkier body and additional sweetness. Chocolate malts actually aren't used, though another grain bill of dark-roasted malts are. It's not quite the "cold glass of chocolate milk" Odell's website promotes, but it hits strong chocolate-syrup notes, fading to a nice milk-stout finish and avoiding typical coffee tones almost entirely. — Matthew Schniper