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Local Libations – The Crown Pub

Well, here we go Feasting Fort Collins readers! This is the first of weekly cocktail posts from here on out – Local Libations. Sadly, Late Night Fort Collins is no more, so we’re shifting drinks over to me, bar bands over the Entertaining Fort Collins, and Cheers Fort Collins will still keep you in the loop on Fort Collins beer.

Just like the Eat Of The Week, I’ll share some insight and highlights of local cocktails that I’m drinking around town. Sometimes the Eat Of The Week and Local Libations will be from the same place, just for the sake of efficiency. As always on Feasting Fort Collins, the Local Libations series will not all be positive. I’m still keeping it real with reviews – food and drink alike. Not every bar and restaurant makes a great drink (shockingly enough), so while I’m anticipating more delicious sips than gagging ones, you never know. But I’ll be sure to let you know!

So, without further ado…. the first Local Libations post!

 

This week I was fortunate enough to have a lovely lunch with a friend at The Crown Pub – a place I don’t get a chance to visit often enough. I’ve shared experiences about eating their burgers, fish and chips, calamari on a rainy patio, crispy ravioli, and wasabi yellowtail sandwiches. Yet, I’ve never shared details about drinks from there. Which isn’t to say I’ve never order cocktails from their bar – quite the contrary. When we celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary, we did a bar crawl in Old Town with our friends. It was a blast, and one of the best anniversaries we’ve had (we’re on 15 years right now). The Crown Pub was one of our stops along the way, and it remains a memorable stop because the service was hilarious and awesome. I actually may still have a photo of our server and her finger mustache tattoo…

The Crown Pub is known for a good tap list, having over 30 single malt scotch’s to choose from, and some small batch bourbons. They also have a signature cocktail menu that’s quite compelling. So much that this is where I look to wet my whistle each time I’m there.

More often than not, I find myself ordering the Czech Yourself - Secret recipe becherovka spirit, pressed grapefruit, and a splash of tonic. It is refreshing and crisp with an even balance of flavor between bitter and sweet. It’s always mixed well, so it’s super smooth to boot.

What makes this cocktail stand out from others around town is the secret recipe becherovka – a traditional Czech spirit that you don’t find often on other menus in Fort Collins. Becherovka is somewhat similar to Absinthe in a way, mostly because of the history of being an aperitif and concocted with herbs and spices (maybe as similar to chartreuse in the same way, too). Its flavor is along the lines of ginger and cinnamon, although I never taste cinnamon in this drink at The Crown Pub.

So, the next time you find yourself at The Crown Pub looking for a light, refreshing cocktail, give this one a shot! And then tell me what you think!

 

 

 

Eat Of The Week

 

Are there restaurants that you think of as only dinner restaurants? There are a handful that slip our minds as lunch destinations. Next Door Food and Drink tends to be one of those places. I was there the other week for a lunch meeting, and I’m sure most people expect to only see a tapas menu from there, but their lunch menu is pretty hefty.

There were a selection of tapas that we did eat, like the braised short ribs, which is one of my favorite dishes there. I was meeting with a group who had never had them before and soon after tasting, almost the entire table ordered the short rib grilled cheese sandwich – short rib, jus, white cheddar, horseradish cream sauce on sourdough bread.

It was so filling that some people couldn’t finish their sandwich before hitting the food coma wall. And then there were jokes about tackling people for their leftovers. It was that good.

And it all started with a taste of the tapas plate.

Because it was a delicious lunch option and one of my favorite dishes, they make today’s Eat Of The Week!

 

 

Coppermuse Distillery

Coppermuse Distillery

I’m an unapologetic cocktail lover. Beer and wine are fine and I do enjoy sipping on a glass or two, but if I’m completely honest, my heart is in craft cocktails. There’s no coincidence that there’s a martini glass in the Feasting Fort Collins logo. If you know me personally, or pay attention to my tweets on Friday’s, then you’ll know that Friday nights are tequila cocktail nights at our house, paired with an amazing steak dinner that Bill cooks every week. I’ve also mentioned that we jokingly call vodka a weekday drink.

When news about Coppermuse Distillery surfaced last year, I eagerly awaited their opening next to Pateros Creek Brewery. They opened on April 4, 2014 completing a nice drinking triangle in Old Town between Pateros and Compass Cider. As a boot-strapped business that was funded by the 401K and life savings of owners Jason Hevelone and Heather Trantham, they have my respect (and also my sympathy for the process). That madness is not easy.

coppermuse

Right now the distillery is making mostly vodka. They do have some rum that just released and I’ve heard that gin is on the way as well. Much like how the water quality here improves the taste of craft beer and propels the craft beer scene, the minerals from the Rocky Mountain water also play a part in how the taste of craft spirits develop. My, aren’t we a lucky bunch to live here!

I’ve had the pleasure of dining at Coppermuse a few times – solo, with nearly the entire Scoop Blog Network for a team meeting, and with a couple of girlfriends for a patio tour. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed each and every visit – including the food. ESPECIALLY the food. Before dropping in for the review, I had no idea their menu would be this delicious. Usually food at establishments like this are an afterthought – pretzels, cheese and crackers, and other snack-type foods. With what seems like a coat closet for a kitchen, Chef Cameron Trezoglou (who previously came from Choice City Butcher and Deli) has been serving up some impressive small plate dishes that match the same craft quality of their cocktail menu.

My first visit was solo – a quick dinner and drink after attending Social Media Roundtable next door at Pateros. I sat next to the window for some decent people watching and ordered the Seacrest – Vertueux vodka, peach nectar, fresh mint, peach bitters, and frozen peaches. It was a beautiful cocktail with bright colors, and it tasted as amazing as it looked.

Seacrest

I also ordered the Caprese Salad – fire roasted tomatoes layered with fresh mozzarella and basil drizzled with balsamic reduction.

Caprese

Hands down, this is one of the best caprese salads I’ve had in Fort Collins yet. I would know – I feel like I’ve tried them all. The fire roasted tomatoes are completely different and really set the dish apart. Plus, it’s a very generously portioned salad, when most others are a couple thin slices of cheese and a couple of basil leaves. This salad is the real deal.

I returned again with the bloggers in the network for a cocktail meeting. This time I drank the Bartlett – Vertueux vodka, pear puree, simple syrup, and lemon. It was fantastic. The vodka is so smooth you can barely tell it’s a cocktail.

Bartlett

I also ordered the bacon wrapped scallops in a maple reduction. While this tends to be on every small plate menu, it was tasty and well prepared. The maple reduction is an excellent addition to anything bacon!

bacon wrapped scallops

On my third visit, I drank the Monroe – grapefruit infused vodka, grapefruit juice, and simple syrup. It was the perfect patio drink – refreshing and flavorful with the right touch of sweet and sour. I loved it.

Monroe

We ate a selection of side dishes – Mediterranean olives and hummus. While the hummus is a bit oily, it had a really attractive tang that compelled my tastebuds. This hummus has a tad more flavor than other dishes out there.

olives

Hummus

I love that cocktail culture is growing in our city. It’s been beer soaked for a while and the distilleries bring a breath of fresh air to diversify our libation choices. Right now, Coppermuse is at the top serving quality craft cocktails and small plates that rival some of the dishes of restaurants with bigger kitchens. And the more we have of that – the better.

 

CopperMuse Distillery    
244 North College
(970) 999-6016
coppermuse.com

Kid Friendly? No. It’s a distillery, and I’m a firm proponent for adult-only establishments. But, there have been families on the patio. If you go, just don’t expect chicken fingers and apple juice.

Parking: Limited lot parking shared with Pateros, and limited Old Town street parking

Healthy Options? With a limited small menu, there’s a selection of items that will fit most dietary needs.

Budget Friendly? Average pricing is $8 per cocktail and $8 per small plate

Recent Health Inspection: Unknown – Health Inspection Site is Broken

Five Stars