Green Man Taproom & Beer Garden
320 S. Weber St., 237-2711, greenmantaps.com
Green Man is known for nearly 50 beers on tap, but it's a cocktail that catches my eye: the Blue Bohemian ($9), featuring Becherovka herbal liqueur mixed with Bacardi rum, blue Curaçao, cherry juice and tonic. Becherovka hails from the Czech Republic, and is known well to Green Man co-owner/drink creator/Slovakia native Petra Simmons. During Eastern European travel, I often sipped it alongside a Pilsner Urquell. It's bittersweet, a touch viscous, but quite aromatic and biting from more than 20 botanicals and spices.
In Simmons' punch-like concoction, the Becherovka's essences are too muted by the mixers' orange and tart cherry notes. It drinks pleasantly otherwise, especially for those who prefer their spirits masked behind bolder flavors, but I'll stick with a $7 neat pour next time to accompany a Krušovice — another Czech beer on tap since Green Man can no longer obtain Pilsner Urquell in kegs. — Matthew Schniper
2036 S. Academy Blvd., 591-8585
The dining room inside the South Academy Boulevard strip mall is a little rough around the edges, but it's no problem when it comes to nomming on the menagerie of complimentary pickled fun known as banchan. Little bowls come full of pickled potato cubes, and soybean sprouts, and a great crunchy, kicking kimchi, and funky sesame-and-chicken potatoes. Also: It's raining in South Korea, says the TV.
We go bulgogi ($6.99) and galbi ($11.99) to enjoy how Koreans treat beef — like a lush stretch in a beautiful song, instead of a brassy American solo. Techniques are probably more about tenderizing tough cuts of meat, but the soft, savory folds in the bulgogi also perfectly match accompanying yellow and green onions. The galbi's little round riblets offer flaps of grilled steak, oily juices dripping from each one to your plate, while a thin layer of glistening fat barely connects meat to bone. — Bryce Crawford
The Public House
445 E. Cheyenne Mountain Blvd., 465-3079
As at Green Man, I find Becherovka on the Public House's cocktail list, in a drink called Czech It at the Door ($7). The classic name is a Beton, in which the spirit's mixed simply with tonic with a lime garnish. Even if neither name made it to the establishment's new menu (released April 1), you can, and should, still order one; the combination allows all the botanicals to breathe beautifully. Or request an off-menu Czech Mule, made with lime and Gosling's ginger beer.
This former Spanky's Grill spot, opened a little over a year ago, remains charmingly authentic (especially on karaoke nights), with great bar food, too. Both the Sriracha shrimp tacos ($10) and carnitas street tacos ($8.50) are completely bully, even better than most food-truck fare. The shrimp sees slaw and pickled carrots and the pork gets green chilies; both are on Denver-made Raquelitas corn tortillas, delicious with cilantro, onion and salsa verde. — Matthew Schniper