JAKs Brewing Company
7654 McLaughlin Road, Peyton, 375-1116, jaksbrewing.com
Though JAKs is less than 2 months old, it has already had to close for two weeks (reopening May 8) to — guess what? — expand. The trio of owners, backed by two additional brewers, are already jumping from a one-barrel system to a five-, and adding a new 800-square-foot patio that doubles seating capacity.
You'll now find eight CO2 taps and two nitros on-site. A few weeks ago, lingering chilly weather still had three different porters on, all 5.2 ABV: a base Peyton's Porter, then two varieties with additions. The BlackJAK adds 86-percent-cacao Ghirardelli for a nice, bitter dark-chocolate finish. The double vanilla porter adds sucrose in the secondary fermentation for sweetness. I enjoyed a blend of all three best ($4/four-sample beer flight; $5 pints). But the imperial black IPA was even better, at a sneaky 8.5 ABV and surprisingly non-bitter 100 IBUs, with a coffee-like roasted poignancy from malts, not java. — Matthew Schniper
7634 McLaughlin Road, Peyton, 495-7052
Doors down from JAKs, La Mission has run for five years as a family business with other Colorado locations. One of our servers, Martín, a Guadalajara-area native with 25 years' cooking experience, too, was awesome. He shared some recipe secrets and mixed us a lovely, pink prickly pear flower (called "tuna") margarita sample, on the house, after we'd asked for a tamarind margarita ($6.25) made sans pre-mix, with only fresh fruit purée, lime juice and El Mayor reposado.
Though side items need work — bland calabacitas, crunchy Spanish rice, SpaghettiOs-reminiscent fideo (vermicelli noodles) — our mains were sturdy. Fatty, well-seasoned and pineapple-softened pork made our trio of double-wrapped corn tacos al pastor ($11.54) authentic, minus the Monterey jack melt. Thin, chewy and beautifully charred skirt steak with a faint, vinegary tang comprises the carne asada platter ($13.50), the go-for dish. — Matthew Schniper
Southern Hospitality Southern Kitchen
13021 Bass Pro Drive, 219-1830, southernhospitalitysk.com
In recent months, the publicly held and locally based Bourbon Brothers has talked about opening a downtown location, re-branded with the name of its Denver restaurant, and added Jane Norton, the former Colorado lieutenant governor, to its board of directors. This is in addition to adding a new location in Lone Tree, and expecting that the company will open as many as eight new fast-casual spin-offs in 2016, according to an investor statement.
More importantly, Wednesdays are the days you can find both all-you-can-eat ribs, from 5 to 9 p.m., and $5 whiskey cocktails. A Down South Old Fashioned was pure Capri Sun dreck, but our Kentucky Mule (Old Forester, ginger beer, lime) brought some balance to the Force. Ribs can be had in spare ($15) or baby-back ($20) form, the latter yielding way-too-tender bites of delicious pork smoked over hickory and cherry for five hours after seeing a 12-spice rub. — Bryce Crawford