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Livin' Local: Frothy, Sudsy and Full of Hops

Microbrews that Hit the Spot

By Lisha Ross

Ah yes, the festivities of football season are afoot and gaining momentum as Super Bowl XLIV draws near. I dared to ask, is there anything that goes better with an action-packed nail biter than a bottle of brew? After a few brew-ha-has around town with a friend, both of us self-proclaimed beer connoisseurs, I found the answer is yes. There is something better, and it’s a frosty mug that over-floweth with an accomplished brewmaster’s special. Golden and sudsy spoils from the city’s premium microbreweries, serving all-American eats and fresh-brewed beer to wash it down. Your first time around, I recommend investing in a sampler, then you can narrow the selection down to your all-star and order a tall one–always remembering to drink responsibly, of course.

A Bolder Dam Beer

This may be a trek for some, but Boulder Dam Brewing Co. (243-2739; www.boulderdambrewing.com) is well worth the extra mileage to grab a dam delicious beer. A family venture with exceptional brewing finesse, BDBC has a unique method of brewing. Rather than swimming through several different tanks before getting to keg, Boulder’s beer is fermented, brewed, chilled, conditioned and served direct from the tanks that line the wall behind the bar. To a layman, that means no additives, no preservatives and a fresher pour that is 100% au naturale.

Funky Powder Monkey Pilsner, Hell’s Hole Hefeweizen, Reclamation Amber, Black Canyon Stout and the crowd pleasing High Scaler I.P.A. are usually on tap. Along with these regular attractions is a seasonal sensation, like the wintery Blueberry Bach; a comfort beer, if you will. Mix up your selection with a specialty beverage like the Shandy (pilsner & lemonade), the tart and malty Irish Rattler (hard cider & stout) or the Golden Cream (pint of stout & scoop of vanilla ice cream). All these beers are complemented by a simple menu of greasy spoon apps and some lighter, home-style wraps and sandwiches.

You can catch four games at a time on their flatscreen TVs, but when the Cowboys take to the field, the Boulder Dam brewers show their true blue colors. On weekends, you can take your beer and brauts to the outdoor beer garden and jam out to live rock, blues, country, jazz and folk tunes. Love the beer, hate the drive? Take some home in a half-gallon growler.

Happy Hour: 3-5 p.m. daily. Beers are $1 off.

Sippin’ on Tenaya Creek

Tenaya Creek Brewery (362-7335; www.tenayacreekbrewery.com), off Cheyenne on Tenaya, is a simple, quintessential local’s place with refreshingly complex brews. Eat first! They recently stopped serving food to focus on what they do best: brewing Hefeweizen, Pilsner, Ringtail Ale, Nut Brown Ale and seasonals like Belgian White and Barley Wine, adding even more variety by featuring a guest tap. If you wanna see where the magic happens, stop by during the day for a personal tour of the brewing facility.

Regularly televised games might be playing on the big screen TV, but don’t expect a rowdy crowd of super fans donning any particular color. This is a low-key joint where you can listen to music and converse with the friendly bartender without much ado. If you get bored at the bar you can challenge your friends to a duel at three pool tables, arcade games and pinball machines. Get it to go in a 64 oz. growler, a full or 5 gallon keg.

Happy Hour: 4-7 p.m. and 10 p.m-2 a.m. daily. Buy a pitcher of any beer for $9 or a pint for $4.

A Taste of Chicago

Nearly 10 years of serving World Beer Cup-winning brews has earmarked this brewery, bar and non-smoking restaurant as a consistent crowd pleaser. With four towering tanks and a quick turn-over rate, Chicago Brewery churns out nine varieties at a time. This includes seven standards, from the light All Night to the nutty Old Town Brown to a biting Black Star stout, and two seasonal flavors. We clinked our glasses and nodded to Maibauch Lager and a soft and fruity Springfest brew with hints of orange peel and coriander. Heck, try them all for just $8.99. As seasonal brews change, favorites make comebacks. We’re looking forward to the legendary Hawaiian Honey, a stiff pour (12.8%) that’s earned some bragging rights as winner of the Great American Beer Festival.

If you need some grease to hold that buzz at bay, you just can’t go wrong with an uber cheesy, build-your-own Chicago-style deep dish pizza. They also serve up mean thin crust specialty pies, calzones and bar food galore. Bears fans unite! It’s always happy hour while the bears get their game on. Head to the 2nd floor to revel with the rabble rousers, where the couches will be set up stadium style for games.

Happy Hour: 5-7 p.m. daily. Select appetizers and 10” cheese pizzas for half price, as well as $7 pitchers.

Whether you’re in it for the team revelry or just for the love of beer, pass on the ho-hum selections and belly up to the bar for a one-of-a-kind microbrew. Your beer belly probably won’t thank you for it, but your flavor saver will, I promise.

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