- Griffin Swartzell
- Weißwurst, one of many German bites served.
“We always thought it was a really cool building and wanted to do a tap house or brewery,” says Tim. “We divided the building in half.”
The southern half of the building now hosts their beautifully decorated taproom, Tap Traders. The spacious porch offers a killer view of Cheyenne Mountain, especially at sunset. Every detail within, too, holds a certain dignified elegance, hosting walls of art and a few vintage film cameras. It’s a cool spot.
Initially, Tim and Tom planned on leaving the kitchen to their German cousin, Fabienne Rastetter, but despite paying for the build-out herself, she couldn’t secure a visa. The duo paid her back and hired longtime Blue Star Group chef James Davis to consult, which grew into him staying on as chef.
The menu pays homage to Rastetter, offering plenty of German and German-inflected eats. For full-German, try the weißwurst, a creamy-textured veal and pork sausage made by Denver’s Continental Sausage. It’s served with stellar fries, underseasoned cole slaw, a sweet Southern relish called apple chow-chow, and pickled veggies.
Beef tartare comes with crostini and accompaniments both rich (sous vide egg yolk plated sauce-like) and refreshing (pickled onion, caperberries and Dijon emulsion, which reads like creamy mustard). Mac and cheese fans should try spätzle gratinee, a dish of delicate house-made German noodles under a massive cap of Mornay sauce, made with pecorino Romano, 3-year-aged cheddar and Polish-style Krakow cheeses. Be sure to stir to incorporate the sauce before digging in. Try also the cheese board. Pimento, blue cheddar or Haystack goat cheeses do well with pickled veg, mild Castelvetrano olives or oily grape relish on lavosh crackers.
We’re satisfied by the Colorado scramble dog, basically a well-executed chili dog with a mound of slaw and Krakow cheese atop. The tap burger’s roasted jalapeño aioli adds no spice, but each bite rings powerfully savory thanks to onions sautéed in port.
Everything on the cocktail menu costs a reasonable $8 or $9, featuring booze from Talon Winery of Palisade or Mile High Spirits of Denver. We try a Bee’s Knees — gin, lemon and honey served with ice in a sugared rocks glass — and a Major mojito — rum, mint, lime and sugar in a pint glass. Both function as clean, not-too-boozy summer sippers.
Don’t skip dessert here — on-special crust-less cheesecake, locally baked by Cheesecake by Nancie, gets paired with stupid-good coffee-and-chocolate whipped cream. On the regular dessert menu, try the apple strudel from Boonzaaijer’s, tender but substantial in flaky pastry. We drop an extra $3 to top it with aged cheddar, adding a savory kick to balance.
Already, it seems like the neighborhood is picking up on what Tap Traders has to offer, too — on both visits, we find the patio and front dining room packed with people. But it’s no surprise. With a beverage and a plate of food in hand, the view of the sunset sky behind Cheyenne Mountain is downright cinematic.