Living in Oregon made a significant impact on my culinary tastes. It was there that I was introduced to farm-t0-table dining, developed my addiction to coffee, became infatuated with the skills ...
Tomorrow is the big day! The first craft beer and food truck festival in Northern Colorado is just about ready to make our weekend a great one. More breweries have jumped on board and there are now over 100 different beers being poured at the festival. Food trucks will be lined up serving everything from Hawaiian to BBQ to Hot Dogs to Gourmet Grilled Cheese (and more!).
There’s still time to get your tickets online and save yourself some standing-in-line time. You can also get tickets the day of the event. There are also options for designated drivers or those people who just want the food and not the beer (I know there are some of you out there).
Aside from this event being fun, it’s all for a great cause. All proceeds are going to the Food Bank For Larimer County.
I’ll see you there! Let me know if you plan on going, too! We’ll share a beer and a chat together!
Mother’s Day is one of the busiest dining days of the year. Restaurants are slammed with reservations and groups of families dressed and pressed with their best faces on for brunch.
We skip this American tradition and have our own. Considering that we are dining out in Fort Collins restaurants so frequently, the appeal of a Mother’s Day brunch is slim to none. In fact, we keep it dirty. We wake up, grab breakfast to eat on the drive and head for the mountains to climb rocks, play in the river, and get some fresh air laced with the scent of evergreens.
This year we grabbed breakfast and coffee from Fiona’s Deli before hitting the road. The Husband and I both ordered the #50 – Hardey’s More Brie Please. They were gigantic sandwiches filled with egg, savory sausage patties, and brie cheese on toasted English Muffin bread. The breakfast sandwiches also come with a side of grilled home-style redskin potatoes.
This was a great way to fuel up before exploring some mountain terrain. The Husband thought it had too much bread, but they bake their own bread every day, so this isn’t a sandwich with thin slices. I liked it quite a bit since it held all of the hearty ingredients together well, even with brie cheese oozing out of some of the air pocket holes in the bread. It was rich, savory, and filling. Just what we needed. So much, in fact, we decided that we didn’t need to pack a lunch and packed snacks instead.
That sandwich stuck to our ribs after throwing rocks in the river at Dutch George and after hopping fallen trees and playing in the last patches of winter snow in Pingree Park for hours. Because it was a delicious way to start our Mother’s Day, they make today’s “Eat Of The Week!”
There’s something to be said for those who really don’t give a shit about what other people think of them, who don’t follow the status quo, and have no fear of taking risks. It’s tough to embrace a “black sheep” existence and go against the grain. It’s tough, but to me, it’s an admirable quality. I think it’s an essential quality in the restaurant industry, too. Some people are going to love you, and some people are going to hate you. You just have to keep doing what you do and to the best of your ability.
This is Black Bottle Brewery in a nutshell for me. They don’t brew ordinary beers, they don’t follow style guidelines, they brew what they want to drink. They fully embrace a bad ass attitude with a twisted sense of humor. That’s my kind of place.
Black Bottle Brewery opened December 1, 2012 in midtown right next to El Monte and Brother Mel’s BBQ. After ditching the idea of an Old Town location, they have settled into mid-town and have become a great draw to the area. Owners Sean and Erin Nook took a risk and followed their craft beer passion. I think it paid off because so many people in Fort Collins talk about how much they love this place.
Their sense of humor is reflected in their beers, many with high AVB’s and hilarious names – Donkey Punch, Holy Shit Double Wit, Roll Down The Windows Dad Smoked Lager – yeah, I laugh every time I read the list. I really appreciate the high AVB’s, too. I like my beer with a stiff kick to the mouth – super hoppy and worth my time. I’ve become very fond of their Just A Minor Threat IPA. It’s full of grapefruity hops (my favorite) and it’s a robust drink. I love it.
Along with their beers, they have a tap line filled with beers from other breweries – the more difficult to find, rare, and oddball beers that you probably won’t find at other bars. They even have ciders, barley wine, and mead. There’s something for everyone here.
Their menu is interesting with a few different rotating specials that you don’t find at other pubs or bars. Pay attention to their Facebook page for those details. Executive Chef Jonathan Carnahan (full disclosure: whom I know) has an intense focus on quality and sourcing local ingredients, supporting MouCo Cheese, The Welsh Rabbit Cheese Shop, Loco Foods, and more.
On my first visit for the review, I met up with Jason from Long Green Planning Group for a chat about ads and the Scoop Blog Network growth. Coincidentally, I ran into Kara from Faces Of Fort Collins who was there for lunch with her husband. I love that this happens so often in Fort Collins.
The lunch special there is pretty kick ass – a couple of sliders and a beer at a price that’s very reasonable. Perks of dining in a brewery, your specials don’t just come with a drink – they come with beer. I ended up getting a meatball slider and a sausage slider with a Minor Threat IPA. It came with sides of waffle fries and coleslaw.
It was great! A whole lot of flavor all the way around. The sausage was snappy and spicy, the meatballs were moist and drenched in marinara. The waffle fries were thick and just a tad salty. It was perfect.
Jason ordered the sausage plate – polish, honey burbon, and jalapeño sausages cooked in beer and served over sauerkraut with sides of house-made mustards. Aside from the sauerkraut having a load of herbs (fennel? I didn’t take a taste) in it and being overly herby, the rest of the plate was fantastic and we were both impressed with the mustards.
I retured again for dinner with The Husband for date night. This is where the smorgasbord began. We started with cocktails instead of beer because Black Bottle doesn’t just limit themselves to the beer industry. The Husband ordered a Moscow Mule with Russian Standard Vodka and Rocky Mountain Soda Ginger Beer. It was a refreshing stiff drink that started his night off on the right foot.
I ordered a Greyhound – grapefruit juice and Spring 44 Vodka. Talk about a smooth sip.
For our appetizers, The Husband ordered Chips and queso. It was very bland and average – typical bar food that was unimpressive.
I ordered the oyster shot – a fresh-shucked oyster served in a glass of bloody mix and beer. You get to choose the beer, and being the IPA lover that I am, I went with the suggested recommendation of Fate Brewing’s Fate IPA.
Whew! Was that bloody mix full of crazy! It was more than just “a shot” – it was really a double, and it was awesome. That sauce will wake you the hell up.
For our entrees, The Husband ordered the bacon mac & cheese – penne, marscapone, cheddar, gruyere, cream, bacon, jalapeño, and bread crumbs.
He took one bite, looked at me and said, “This is horrible. I can’t eat it.”
Ah, shit. Really. REALLY??! I hate this. Just when things are on the up and up, we end of on the wrong side of the tracks on their menu. I took a bite and he was right – it was bland and dry like cardboard. How can bacon mac and cheese be bland?? But it was. Usually we’d just call it a bad dish and move on, except we were on our way to a concert and needed that base level of food because we had plans to drink more later.
“So, send it back and get something else,” I told him.
Our server came over. “I hate to be that guy,” he said, “but this is really bland and it doesn’t have any flavor. Can I send it back and order something else?”
Our server was really cool about it and made sure to get his order in ASAP. He ended up going with a half order of the meat flatbread pizza – sausage, ham, bacon, pepperoni, mozzarella and parmesan. After his first bite, he was so much happier. It was full to the brim with large chunks of meat (super chunks of sausage) and exactly what he hoped for. The half order was enormous, too. He could only eat half of the half.
I had better luck ordering the mussels. I stuck with the classic that was infused with beer. It was absolutely delicious – savory broth, silky bits of mussels, and dense bread to dip. There were a good number of stubborn mussels that didn’t open up, but The Husband, being the great guy that he is, helped me pry those suckers open (it’s a food myth that stubborn mussels are not edible and increase your risk of food borne illness). I wasn’t about to let them go to waste just because it took a little bit of extra elbow grease to eat them.
Overall, I’ve loved just about every experience at Black Bottle – from the beer to the food. I really struggled with the star rating on this review because we had to send something back to the kitchen. I don’t think 3 stars is reflective and fair to the rest of the menu. 4 stars is pretty generous considering we had to send something back. This is a moment when I wish I did half-stars.
Regardless, I still like the place and I love the beer. Plus, I get a good laugh at their metal-meets-reddit kind of humor. I still think they’re pretty bad ass.
Black Bottle Brewery
1605 South College
Kid Friendly? They do have a kids menu and there have been families dining there during our experiences.
Parking: shared parking lot
Healthy Options? A few vegetarian dishes, smaller plates. No nutritional labeling
Budget Friendly? Most dishes are around $8-11
Recent Health Inspection: Good