When Santa Claus brought Left Hand Brewing Company’s cofounder Dick Doore his very first home-brewing kit, the jolly man unknowingly set Dick on a whole new life path. Home brewing became an obsession, and soon he had partnered with his college buddy Eric Wallace and started making their first batch of beer: the Sawtooth Ale. Just a few months later, Dick and Eric took home two medals at the Great American Beer Festival.
Nearly 20 years later, the brewery’s accomplishments have swelled: 16 medals in the Great American Beer Festival, 8 medals at the World Beer Cup, and 3 medals at the European Beer Star. The brewery was also the first craft-beer company to master bottling a nitrogenized craft beer without a widget, owing to the introduction of their popular milk stout. Its extensive offering of brews is now available in 25 markets. Favorites include the golden crisp Polestar Pilsner and a roasty black Wake Up Dead Imperial Stout, both of which are available in the Longmont tasting room.
With a menu comprised only of two sections—'before tacos' and 'tacos'—T/aco's chef Matt Collier understands the power of the white-glove approach. In a recent interview, he divulged to Thrillist that each tortilla, like everything else on the restaurant's menu, is handmade. Harnessing a diverse culinary palette of fresh herbs and ingredients to craft bold flavors, Chef Matt and his team top their braised pork belly, Ahi tuna, and veggie tacos with such gourmet fixings as poblano crema, queso cotija, and chayote-squash salsa. To add a touch of diversity to their taco-heavy menu, they whip up fresh ceviches and guacamole with housemade chips. T/aco's bartenders have also honed an all-important craft. They mix smoky and fruity margaritas with 25 reposado, anejo, and blanco tequilas—one for each year an American must live before she can eat tacos in the US House of Representatives.
Chef Aaron Bennett and his culinary team combine the philosophies behind farm-to-table cooking with gourmet Italian dining at Bácaro Venetian Taverna. The menu features classic Venetian dishes made with fresh, seasonal ingredients sourced from local and organic farms, including Talbott Farms, Isabel Farms, and Haystack Mountain, among others. Panzanella salads season tomatoes and garlic croutons with basil-infused olive oil and wild boar shoulder gets braised in chianti before being served with creamy, truffle-infused polenta. The kitchen makes all of their pastas in-house, and gluten-free spaghetti or penne can be substituted for wheat-free diets.
Bácaro takes its name from the lively taverns around Venice, which are noted for their laid-back atmosphere, simple furniture, and affable ghosts. Bartenders fuel lively gatherings with pitchers of sangria, housemade Italian liqueurs, and selections from their extensive wine list during daily happy hours. The eatery also hosts guests on its spacious rooftop patio, where chandeliers and the fact that it is on a rooftop heighten views of downtown Boulder.
Nestled near the foot of the Front Range mountains about 30 minutes from Denver and Boulder, Hilltop Inn pampers patrons with homey confines and ample amenities. After checking in, guests are greeted in their king mini suite by a half dozen chocolate-covered strawberries, a complimentary snack bar, and breathtaking mountain views. A romantic gas fireplace keeps toes toasty, and a satellite-enabled, 27-inch flat-screen TV inspires epic, popcorn-fueled channel-surfing competitions. Guests can stop by The Wildflowers Tea Room & Restaurant and use their $10 gift card toward a late-afternoon tea, an english bread pudding, or something heartier, such as corned beef cooked in Guinness and whiskey. With a refrigerator, microwave, and kitchen sink in their room, boarders can pack it in for the night and take advantage of the WiFi connection to perform magic shows via video chat to enraptured family and friends. After all sheep are counted and the violet hue of the sun paints the eastern sky, lodgers start the day with a full-size breakfast before heading off into the mountains for a bout of exuberant yodeling.