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We’re back…

Each year, in late winter, Denver eats. Yes, the entire city (suburbs included) goes out to eat. Denver Restaurant Week, or half-month as it’s affectionately known to restaurant staff city-wide, came to a close this weekend. Two weeks of delicious chaos didn’t stop The Darlings from drinking and eating but it did put a halt to our “Drinking Denver” adventures.

Fear not. We are back and the fun begins, again.

Uniter, not a divider

Wagon Ryed
Wynkoop Brewing Company in conjunction with Denver off the Wagon- Denver, CO
Dry Stout
5.99% ABV

Beer brings people together. A toast, a round, a brew. A year ago Denver Off the Wagon was born, a collaborative effort among a number of local bloggers with one thing in common: a shared love for drinking. The craft beer scene, much like the blogging scene, is rapidly growing. Yet even with the increase in both attention and volume they remain small communities. And so, Wynkoop Brewing Company assisted the good people behind Denver Off the Wagon in crafting a first anniversary brew: Wagon Ryed.

This dry stout, brewed with toasted caraway, is thick and very dark brown-almost black. The toasted malts offer a warm flavor but it’s dry, not overly sweet or heavy. It lives up to the promise of rye, being reminiscent of the darkly spicy flavors of rye bread.

But on the night of Denver Off the Wagon’s self-proclaimed “Birthday Bacchanalia” it was hard to say whether the beer or the company drew more attention. (Cute) Brewers, (witty) bloggers, and (drunk, not at work of course!) bartenders, oh my! There were many old friends along with any number of new introductions. As one local blogger put it, “We’re uniting people.” In the end, it’s as much about the people you drink with as it is the beer you drink.

Meet the Darlings

It’s true, sometimes your friends know what to say better than you do. Therefore, we wrote each other’s bios. Enjoy.

Stephanie Bullen

Stephanie has been a foodie for as long as I’ve known her. We are both avid home cooks, cookbook readers, and big fans of the Denver eating and drinking scene. Last year we had an idea to drink through the entire beer list at Euclid Hall, we fell short of our goal — Stephanie started traveling for work and we ran out of time.
 
 
We both love to write — and as I type this, I can’t help but notice that Stephanie is writing in her notebook with a pen. I like to be able to delete horribly constructed sentences immediately; apparently she writes perfect sentences every time. In ink.
 
 
Stephanie’s been working for Savory Spice Shop for three years. Sometimes I like to call her up and demand she tells me the difference between black and white pepper. Those are the days she is most grateful for caller ID. Seriously though, being immersed in a setting that is clearly all about food and flavor, Stephanie has an uncanny ability to tell you what’s in a dish.
 
 
We are both so excited for this journey. Thanks for joining us.
 
 
Cheers!
 
And here are her answers to my Nine Burning Questions:
 
 

Nine questions for Stephanie

 
What’s your favorite style of beer? Stout.
Favorite local brewery? Avery Brewing Company, Boulder, CO
Best hangover cure? Powerade and a sausage breakfast sandwich.
Best non-food use for beer? There are none.
Favorite sports team? Denver Nuggets!
Why is Colorado so great? Sunshine!
Dream beer date? Personal tour of an authentic Trappist brewery followed by food and beer at a Belgian pub.
Favorite/best food use for beer? Ice cream.
Favorite beer to drink on the stoop on a hot summer night? A good cold Czech Pilsner.

 

Lia Moran

When Lia and I first became friends, I called her my “good food and wine friend”. She’s one of the busiest people I know but somehow always seems to have a finger on the pulse of the restaurant scene. I have no doubt that this has to do with her vast network of relationships with Denver chefs, food bloggers, and bartenders. Sometimes it seems like she knows everyone on the Denver food scene-by name. This isn’t to say that she ignores her own kitchen though.

People talk about the kitchen being the heart of the house. This is certainly the case for Lia. Whether hosting a simple but elegant dinner party for her girlfriends, teaching a bachelor friend how to cook lasagna, or admiring the flurry of activity at a favorite restaurant, the kitchen is never far from her mind. I suspect some of Lia’s ease in the kitchen was inherited from her mother, who was fixing Korean and Indian dinners in cold Minnesota and Montana winters.

While she is not a big fan of bread, garlic presses, eating live seafood, or wheat beer; Lia’s culinary loves include gin, whisks, food photography, IPAs, and good knives.

Nine questions for Lia –

Favorite beer style: IPA, red ales are a close second
Best hangover cure: Fried potatoes & a Bloody Mary
Favorite sports team: Colorado Rockies!
Favorite local brewery: Great Divide, Denver Beer Co.
Best food use for beer: Braised short ribs
Best non-food use for beer: Hair rinse. (Use warm beer.)
Favorite kitchen tool: Whisks. Also immersion blenders.
Favorite “front porch” beer: New Belgium Ranger IPA or Avery White Rascal (in cans!)
Dream “beer date”: Patio, BBQ, beer, and Sam from Dogfishhead (and his wife and kids, of course.)

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Lia & Stephanie

Two Girls Walk Into a Bar

We don’t know how many friends can honestly say they’d jump at the chance to co-write a blog. While drinking craft beers at one our favorite beer halls in Denver, the idea for showcasing the best of what our city has to offer was born. 
 
Euclid Hall’s opening was our gateway drug. Lia has the distinct honor of being one of Euclid Hall’s first regulars, darkening their doors on day one. Stephanie was in Prague, loading up on Czech beer (as it is cheaper than water!) but became hooked on Euclid upon her return. Before Euclid Hall we were beer drinkers, to be sure. We drank craft beers from Old Chicago’s list, seeking out breweries we’d never been to, Deschutes in Bend, OR; Stone Brewing Co., in San Diego, CA; and of course Dogfishhead in Delaware. We were initially overwhelmed by the beer list at Euclid Hall but quickly found favorite beers and made lots of friends. 
 
There was one failed attempt (though we firmly believe that any opportunity to drink beer can’t possibly be considered a failure) at drinking the beer list at Euclid Hall. We learned from this attempt and now have a plan, some focus, and real goals to get us through the rest of winter and spring. Our roles in this endeavor are equal. We both love craft beer and real food. Luckily, Denver is an incredibly walkable city and we can work off some of the calories. This project is a long time coming. We’ve had ideas floating around for years, we just didn’t know how to make it happen.