A year after Scott Kerkmans created the role of Chief Beer Officer for the Four Points by Sheraton hotels, it began to get around that Denver was the "Napa Valley of Beer." As NPR later reports, the rumor is a culmination of a life spent steeped in beer culture. Before creating Colorado Beer Week and beating out more than 7,000 applicants for the title of CBO, Kerkmans was on the production side at Alaskan Brewing Company. He’s since authored articles for Draft Magazine, taught at Cook Street School of Fine Cooking, and judged burped renditions of the Pledge of Allegiance at the Great American Beer Festival. He shares his taste in microbrews with more than 140 hotels and restaurants worldwide through the Four Point's beer program, but keeps his feet planted firmly on his home turf during his nine-day spring festival, which highlights the finest pours from Colorado breweries including New Belgium, Oskar Blues, and Ska Brewing Company.
With a name as focused as J&J’s House of Prime Rib, it's no surprise that the namesake entree is featured prominently on the menu. In 10-ounce, 15-ounce, and 20-ounce cuts, the tender, marbled meat is slow-roasted until it practically melts on the tongue. Such unwavering dedication to technique extends to the rest of the menu, too. Misoyaki-glazed salmon shows off the chefs' versatility, as do Alaskan king crab legs with chili-garlic beurre blanc. But the spirit of simple, uncomplicated elegance is truly the restaurant's hallmark, and is reflected in its decor as well. Rich woodwork and slate-hued stone accents fill the space, lending a warmth that is complemented by banquettes in autumn hues and earthenware tile floors.
Within Vines Wine Bar's low-lit interior, patrons dine Spanish-style, sampling from more than 80 wines by the glass and 50 different tapas. Experienced sommeliers, including the executive chef, suggest varietals from more than 12 countries, including American options such as Wente Monterey chardonnay ($13) and Franciscan Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon ($18). On the flower-flecked patio or in the comforts of an indoor leather chair, diners can dunk cubed bread and fresh produce into one of three fonduta fondu options—melted goat cheese, garlic-and-herb brie, or chardonnay cheddar ($13)—that form a triumvirate of cheese as classic as the Porky's franchise. A wild mushroom ravioli ($8) complements velvety tannins, and a freshly baked beef brioche and brie ($15) impresses wiser aged wines with a firm handshake. All Groupon customers will also receive a 10% discount at the Vines Cellar upon redeeming their Groupon.