Great Storm Brewing
204 Mount View Lane, #3, 266-4200, greatstormbrewing.com
Four-month-old Great Storm Brewing lives up to its motto of "a marriage of the traditional and the rebellious" by exhibiting some unique flavors on its menu. (All house brews are $4 a pint.) Blue Spruce Juice is a light one that uses the Colorado state tree as its main flavoring agent and, wow, does it have flavor. If you can get past the almost-vicious blast of fresh spruce and the very earthy, powerful taste, this thin 5.3-percent ABV ale settles into a mellow and surprisingly pleasant beer.
A different "wow" comes in the more filling, 8.1 percent ABV Rum Raisin Stout, almost the perfect dessert in a glass. Pushed on nitro, this rich and creamy concoction is just sweet enough, without being over the top. Great Storm's brewers were trying to create a beer you'd want to drop a scoop of ice cream into, and they've achieved it; try it as a float with a scoop of Blue Bunny Premium All Natural Vanilla for $1 more. — Steve Hitchcock
Margarita at PineCreek
7350 Pine Creek Road, 598-8667, margaritaatpinecreek.com
From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays, the Margarita lends its superb shaded patio not only to the Colorado Farm & Art Market, but also to a handful of its own foodstuffs. After filling your cloth tote with produce, meats and baked goods at the market below the adobe eatery, it's advisable to hit said patio for live music over a Bristol beer or house margarita.
And then, the food: A basket of chips and fine house salsa ($2.50) before you gnaw into excellent pork tacos ($3 each) or a superior pork brat ($5.50), both sourced from CFAM member Larga Vista Ranch. Smother your sausage with caramelized onions and/or sauerkraut garnish, plus vibrant, house-ground mustards — the red-hued cayenne one rocks. The slow-baked, seasoned pork sees a quick grill reheat; top them with a juicy corn-cabbage slaw and/or tomatillo salsa, plus jalapeño slivers and mozzarella cheese. — Matthew Schniper
Back East Bar & Grill
9475 Briar Village Point, #168, 264-6161, backeastbarandgrill.com
Back East is one of the best bars in the city. And it's not because of some arbitrary TV count, or how many inches of wall are covered with athletic impedimenta, or the number of happy-hour specials — though all those figures are high. It's because, for a spot sporting a clean sheen commensurate with its Briargate-shopping-center location, there's an organic "home away from home" vibe found in the crowd, the staff and, especially, the food.
For instance, the wings ($5.50 for six) are killer. They're big and wallet-friendly, and the homemade hot sauce — a blend of butter, Frank's Red Hot, spices, jalapeños and a little ketchup sweetness — is straight-up drinkable. The gigantic spicy Cajun pasta ($12) also rings with surprisingly pleasant sweet notes (via added honey). And though the Philly Pizza ($8.50/nine-inch) can come off pretty tame, the house-made sauce and daily-made dough could be a dish unto themselves. — Bryce Crawford