BRU handbuilt ales & eats

Ian Clark, formerly of Centro and Jax Fish House, has officially nailed it with Bru handbuilt ales & eats in Boulder.

He could have stopped at unfiltered ales and sourdough pizza. That would have clinched it for me, but he took it to eleven. Here’s what to try at Bru:

Citrum IPA: this is one of my favorite Colorado IPAs (the others being Bootstrap’s Insane RushOdell, Avery, and Ska’s Modus Hoperandi).
– Sourdough basil (margherita) pizza… they’ll substitute locally available spinach if basil is not in season.
Beer mustard butter – are you kidding me? This is the peak of culinary creativity. Do I bathe in it or eat it? Hey, I can bathe in it *and* eat it! (thanks, Gaffigan)

Bru should top your list of Boulder brewery destinations, and happy hour is a steal. Check out special Bru beer events here.

Drool factor follows…

Bru's 5-beer sampler

Bru’s 5-beer sampler is whatever you want it to be. You choose, they serve, everyone wins.

Bru trail mix

At Bru, trail mix means almonds, caramel corn, pecans, and spice. Order from the happy hour menu, and a huge portion is $2.

Citrum from Bru in Boulder

Bru’s Citrum is Colorado’s finest unfiltered IPA, IMHO.

Bru sourdough pizza

Why isn’t all pizza made of sourdough? I just ate a ‘Merican-size dinner, and this still makes me hungry.

Bru salad with poached egg

Sometimes you have to pass on pizza and eat salad, so your salad should at least have a healthy damn poached egg on it.

Bru bread and beer mustard butter

Slather your loaf with Bru’s tasty beer mustard butter.

Bru wood-roasted veggies

Wood-roasted veggies w/beer vinegar. Beta carotene, anyone?

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Best gluten-free pizza in Denver/Boulder? Stay tuned…

We’re going to try it all. My extremely significant other even had “Pizza is a vegetable” t-shirts made (which *she* designed, btw… feel free to pick up one of your own here – 20-ish bucks).

We will find Colorado’s best gluten-free pizza crust. Oh yes. Here are the top several so far, as vetted by my wheat-free partner in crime:

#6. Backcountry Pizza & Tap House (Boulder)

#5. Lucky Pie Pizza & Tap House (Louisville)

#4. The Sink (Boulder)

#3. BRU handbuilt ales & eats (Boulder)

#1. (tie) Tony P’s Bar & Pizzeria (Denver – Highlands; gluten-free pie pictured below)

#1. (tie) Pizzeria Locale (Boulder)

Pizza is a vegetable t-shirt

About to dive in to gluten-rich (left) and gluten-free (right) pizza bliss at Tony P’s at 32nd & Zuni in Denver

Photo courtesy of Beth Photography.

Congress Park, Capitol Hill, or Lodo… Who tosses Denver’s best pizza?

The answer is: I don’t actually know. I just offer semi-well-informed suggestions, people. I will say these pizza joints are solid, and it really depends on what you’re in the mood for.

Metro Denver Pizza destinations

Denver Deep Dish at the Bar Car (Congress Park)

I’m one-quarter Italian, so it follows that I should know roughly ¼ of what I’m talking about when it comes to pizza. It turns out I know slightly more than that since I’ve practiced eating pizza most of my life. Here’s what you need to know about Denver Deep Dish:

    • DDD has the market cornered on Denver’s best pizza sauce – it’s the perfect blend of sweet and savory, and there’s a kick of heat at the end to keep your taste buds wanting more.
    • DDD uses cornmeal in its crust, which I never imagined I’d endorse as one of the best culinary ideas ever, but I’m doing it now.
    • D3 is *in* a bar – and what better place to indulge in the city’s best deep dish but in a place where you can fuel another awesome habit: rampant booze consumption.

For my money, DDD is the best pizza bet on Colorado Boulevard (8th & Colorado). As the name suggests, it’s a Chicago-style crust, so bring your appetite.

Walter’s Pizzeria (Capitol Hill/Uptown)

Walter’s screams comfort food. It’s smallish, quaint, and has a distinct “neighborhood” feel to it (19th & Pearl). If you live in Uptown or Lodo, you likely already know about this local gem. The pizza is hearty and thick, the seating area is cozy, and it’s the perfect spot to bring 4-5 friends along to munch pizza and watch the BroncosRockies or Avalanche. Even though it’s been extremely hard to watch the Avs lately. 😦

Marco’s Coal-Fired Pizza (Lodo)

On the other end of the spectrum, and on the north side of town, is Marco’s (21st & Larimer). Everything about Marco’s is Italian – the imported meats and cheeses, the thin crust, the wine, (some of) the beer, and particularly the San Marzano tomato sauce. If you’ve never tried it, it’s time to treat yourself.

Marco’s is the perfect destination before a Rockies game (walking distance), and it’s also great for date night. They have an eclectic selection of beers, and someone at Marco’s took a heap of time assembling the wine list, because it perfectly complements thin-crust pizza. And did I mention… they have a one-thousand-degree, handcrafted, hickory-fired oven? No cold pizza here…

As always, if I’ve left off your favorite pizza eatery from this list, write a note below and I’ll get it added after indulging in your recommendation a time or two. Ciao!

Sarah and Sara – Besties in Boulder!

picture of Sarah and Sara

The Sara(h)s… about to show Boulder who’s boss…

Did somebody say Girls’ Weekend in Tropical Boulder? In March? Hells yeah. S&S are hitting the town, and I’m just sayin’… these are the places most loved by locals, so check ’em out. Have fun!

When money is no object

Black Cat
Frasca
L’Atelier
Pizzeria Locale

Most hoppin‘ & happenin’

The Med

For my favorite brunch

Brasserie Ten Ten

Vegetarian/vegan

Leaf

Best cocktails

Salt
Bitter Bar

Largest cocktails

Centro Latin Kitchen & Refreshment Palace

Best sushi

Kasa Japanese Grill

Off Pearl Street, but not too far by cab or designated driver

Radda
Agave (happy hour in the upstairs bar from 7-10 p.m.)

All-day happy hour on Sunday

Aji Latin American Restaurant (food *and* drinks)

Boulder restaurant women seem to love most

Dushanbe Tea House

Backcountry Pizza & Tap House

Backcountry bacon & cheese slice

Backcountry Pizza & Tap House does not skimp on the bacon

The story of Backcountry is pretty simple: pizza and beer. They have other edibles such as sandwiches, calzones, fried mac’n’cheese, salads, etc… but really, you go for the pizza and beer. Like most pizza joints these days, you can get gluten-free crust, and theirs is top notch. To be sure, the sandwiches and calzones are great as well, and you won’t leave hungry – everything on the menu is available in large or really large.

So… after you’ve decided you want pizza, the only real decision left is: do you want one of the 50 draft beers or 125-ish bottled beers? Good lord. It’s a beer geek’s dream.

Hofbrau Original at Backcountry in Boulder

Working lunch at Backcountry with a half liter of Hofbrau Original

My recommendation? Start small. Order a microbrew that won’t make your eyes googly right off the bat. Or split a new-to-you bomber with a few friends. Don’t go big right away. Work your way up after you’ve conquered half a cobb salad ($6) or a slice of cheese pizza ($2). Then make your move to the Pliny (Elder or Younger are both available frequently here). Or the 90 Minute. Or any of the 25 rotating taps…

This is one of my top, go-to places in Boulder – it’s a slam dunk for beer snobbery and cheap pizza… and they have a patio!

One last note: you really should try the fried mac’n’cheese. I know, I know… “heart attack”, “clogged arteries”… whatever. They’re friggin’ great, so dive in.

Words to live by - "Beer will change the world! I don't know how, but it will."

Wisdom donning the wall at Backcountry in Boulder

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Pizzeria Locale

 

Pizzeria Locale bartender

Treat yourself to the Charcuterie plate and a handsome bartender at Pizzeria Locale in Boulder.

Pizzeria Locale dough tossing

The artisans at Locale in Boulder toss the dough before your eyes at a sushi-style pizza bar.

Pizzeria Locale Mais

If Locale’s sweet corn & prosciutto pie were a presidential candidate, it would win the electoral college by a gigantic landslide.

Pizzeria Locale dough toss

The Locale flour is flyin’ everywhere – behind the protective glass, of course.

Pizzeria Locale Ripieno Calzone

The basil/ricotta/prosciutto Ripieno is Locale’s answer to calzone, and, as my mom would say: “It’s to die for.”

Pizzeria Locale Basil Margherita

Locale’s Margherita pizza is topped with Perfect and served with a side of Awesome.

When the goods are this good, it’s wise to be economical with words. I’ll just say this…

Several weeks ago while indulging at Pizzeria Locale in Boulder, my friend Ryan turned to me – in mid-bite of his sweet-corn prosciutto pie – and said:

“I think they must use a secret ingredient in their crust that makes it taste better than any other pizza in the entire universe.”

There you have it.

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Basta – A Wood Fire Eatery + Pizzeria

asparagus soup and bacon salad

Basta lunch: chilled asparagus soup followed by a baby lettuce salad with dates, walnuts, blue cheese, and awesome, enormous chunks of bacon — plus a New Belgium Heavenly Feijoa Tripel

First Bite Boulder at Pizzeria Basta:

baked herbed ricotta

First Bite Boulder at Pizzeria Basta: house cheese – baked herbed ricotta, cherry tomato and sliced sunchoke

Basta Farro Salad

First Bite Boulder at Pizzeria Basta: Farro salad – pomegranate, butternut squash, kale, hazelnut, and Colorado goat cheese – paired with slightly less Hog heaven

First Bite Boulder at Pizzeria Basta: 24-hour slow-cooked, red-wine chuck flap, fingerling potato + root vegetable - paired with not much Hog Heaven left at all

First Bite Boulder at Pizzeria Basta: 24-hour slow-cooked, red-wine chuck flap, fingerling potato + root vegetable – paired with not much Hog Heaven left at all

Basta campfire vanilla ice cream

First Bite Boulder at Pizzeria Basta: homemade Basta campfire vanilla ice cream – paired with a local Boulder porter

Basta's all wood fire oven

Basta’s all wood fire oven with a reflection of my enormous hair in the protective glass

Basta wood fire vegetable salad

Pizzeria Basta – wood fire vegetable salad – radicchio, beets, croutons, wood fire balsamic, tomatoes, peppers, and potatoes

Basta House red

House red at Pizzeria Basta in front of firewood used to stoke the oven

Basta Daisy Pizza

Basta Daisy Pizza – tomato sauce, mozzarella, basil, olive oil – This pie rivals Pizzeria Locale’s Margherita. Exquisite!

Basta burnt caramel ice cream with sea salt

Pizzeria Basta dessert – burnt caramel ice cream with sea salt – Try it with a Porter!

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Parisi Italian Market and Deli

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Parisi Denver menu

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Marco’s Coal-Fired Pizzeria

Read the full Marco’s Coal-Fired Pizzeria review here.

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Marco’s Coal-Fired Pizza Denver menu

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Denver Deep Dish

Oskar Blues Old Chub Scotch Ale

You can skip dessert and order another Oskar Blues Old Chub Scotch Ale at Denver Deep Dish. Or order dessert *and* another beer. This is America!

Check out the Denver Deep Dish review here. Cornmeal crust and spicy tomato sauce. Go get it!

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Denver Deep Dish pizza menu

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Walter’s Pizzeria

Check out the full Walter’s Pizzeria review here.

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The Sink

the unchained eatery

Stop in for one of the best gluten-free pizza crusts in Boulder… you may even run into President Obama.

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The Sink menu

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Lucky Pie Pizza & Tap House

Bacon Peanut Brittle appetizer at Lucky Pie in Louisville

Bacon Peanut Brittle appetizer / dessert / snack / teeth puller at Lucky Pie

Pizza margherita from Lucky Pie

Lucky Pie’s version of the pizza margherita with fresh basil

Lucky Pie IPA sampler

Lucky Pie IPA sampler – single, black, and imperial (Local two on the right: Odell Mountain Standard Double Black IPA and Oskar Blues Deviant Dale’s)

Lucky Pie Colorado Stout sampler

Lucky Pie Colorado Stout sampler, L-R (Lefthand Nitro Milk Stout, Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout from Great Divide, and Avery Czar)

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The Med (The Mediterranean)

Insalata Caprese at the Med in Boulder

Insalata Caprese at the Med in Boulder – House-made mozzarella, cluster tomatoes, basil, black pepper, and Las Brisas olive oil

Hummus Trio at the Med in Boulder

Hummus Trio at the Med in Boulder – is this hummus or ice cream? Either way, it’s tasty and pairs well with beer.

Spiedo di Pollo at The Med in Boulder

Spiedo di Pollo – not *that* kind of Speedo – Grilled chicken, Calabrian dijon + pita bread

Bistecca Genovese at the Med in Boulder

Bistecca Genovese at the Med in Boulder – hanger steak, tomatoes + Black River bleu cheese

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