While struggling to renovate their mountain cabin in the dead of winter, Kristian and Kimberly Naslund caught sight of the snow-covered pines outside their window, swaying in time to music softly playing in the background. Today, the husband-and-wife team has immortalized this shared placid moment through the very name of their craft distillery, bringing along Kristian's father Chris into the business as the trio fashions small-batch whiskeys, rums, liqueurs, and gins of the highest caliber. Since the distillery is a working production facility, visitors and tourists are likely to witness workers filling, labeling, and numbering each bottle by hand in the bottling area or berobed and bearded alchemists turning mash into spirits over the artisanal copper-pot still. Each powerful sip of bourbon and sweet mouthful of liqueur is culled from all-natural ingredients, free from artificial extracts, flavorings, or coloring agents.
To Grant Jennings, wine is more than just a way to unwind at the end of the day—it’s his career. When he isn't teaching wine classes, he’s at home curating his own blends or working with the UC Davis winemaking program. His dedication to the craft infuses the atmosphere at Brix Wine and Spirits, where the staff members pick up on their boss' enthusiasm and happily guide customers through a collection of wines and beers selected to appeal to the discerning palate. The cozy shop, complete with exposed-brick pillars and golden-cylinder light fixtures, also offers locally produced beverages and small-production wines‚those varietals that are often too short to ride the upside down rollercoasters. The staff also hosts wine classes, beer classes, private wine tastings, and alcohol-education events.
The community-driven Big Beaver Brewing Co serves several handcrafted brews concocted on-site—though the racy titles of its drinks are appropriate for adults only. Thirsty patrons can sidle up to the bar to sip on eight different 2-ounce beer samples, including the Potent Peter IPA, a hoppy, aromatic ale, and the Wonder Wiener Wheat, boasting strong notes of clove and banana. Fermentation fans can then take take 64 ounces of their favored barley in a Big Beaver growler, which can be kept, refilled, or returned to the brewery for a $4 refund. Big Beaver’s brewing model relies on a community of beer lovers refilling their growlers with reusable containers to reduce their carbon footprint and give feedback as to what types of beer should be brewed next.
Sylvia Chan loved painting when she was a child, but the only formal training she received was in high-school art classes and while studying fashion design. Her love for the art stayed with her later in life, though, and she eventually founded Picasso and Wine, creating a supportive, stress-free environment where guests could exercise their passion for painting while getting guidance from local artists. These highly social art parties remain open to any skill level, and the studio provides all the paints, canvases, and brushes. Each session presents attendees with an original work—such as a city skyline or a fall landscape—and tasks them with creating a faithful rendition of the piece while using sips of wine, beer, or gourmet tea to jump-start their creative impulses. The instructors offer helpful tips for capturing the light or painting anti-theft symbols into the background, and they allow partygoers to take their pieces home afterward.
Located a short drive from Denver in the Napa Valley of Beer, the Anheuser-Busch Brewery brings beer classes to the masses from inside its state-of-the-art facilities. During the 35- to 45-minute classes, an official beer-school instructor instructs the barley-curious in the art of storing brews, choosing the correct glass, prepping glass, pouring correctly, and tasting different beers. Before heading out, you'll get a slew of grain-loving gifts, including a guaranteed ticket to the next free brewery tour to see how the beverages are crafted. Equine enthusiasts can pass the time between school and the brewery in the Clydesdale Hamlet to see how Anheuser-Busch's famous horses earn their keep by brainstorming clever advertising strategies.
Cuisine Type: Made-from-Scratch Modern American Cuisine
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Number of Tables: 25–50
Parking: Free street parking
Most popular offering: Gnocchi Mac 'n' Cheese and Ranch Steak
Alcohol: Full bar
Delivery / Take-out Available: Yes
Outdoor Seating: Yes
Pro Tip: Come ready to experience a higher level of service and quality of food.
What made you want to work with food? When did you first develop that passion?
Chef and owner Howard Brigham grew up in Fort Collins. His parents managed local restaurants here, and he began working in them at the age of 15. He developed his skills and love of creative cuisine over the years, and is proud to own a restaurant in his hometown.
Has your business won any awards?
We received 5 stars from Feasting Fort Collins and Top 10 Date Nights and Top 10 Happy Hours from Style magazine.
Is there anything else you want to add that we didn't cover?
Our staff is knowledgeable about our wine selections, and loves to help our customers discover a new favorite wine.
In your own words, how would you describe your menu?
At d'Vine, we use fresh and local ingredients whenever possible. We are a scratch kitchen, and take pride in serving our customers American food with a Mediterranean flair. Our menus change with the season, so we can keep offering our customers new and exciting menus.