Colorado Table: Treat dad to a metro tasting room tour for wine, mead, beer, cider and spirits

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Speaking for dads everywhere, I want to tell family members that I have enough ties already that I don’t wear.

While I revere the sentiment, I really don’t need any “Greatest Dad Ever!” trophies.

And while I’m always happy to go out for a steak, I have some other tastes in mind if you’re looking for an appropriate gift for Father’s Day, June 17.

As one of many local foodie fathers, I’d enjoy the gift of some only-in-Colorado tastes of the liquid variety. Chauffeur me to the metro area’s amazing variety of locally produced artisan beverages. Now that’s love.

Here are a few stops on the metro taste trail:

Dry Dock Brewing Tasting Room

This tiny craft brewer has earned a flood of awards for its ales and was named Small Brewing Company of the Year at the 2009 Great American Beer Festival. Stop by the very comfortable tasting room to talk brewing and sample Vanilla Porter, Double IPA, Hefeweizen and more.

15120 E. Hampden Ave., Aurora

303-400-5606

drydockbrewing.com

Noon-9 p.m. Sunday-Tuesday; until 9:30 Wednesday; until 10 p.m. Thursday; until 11 p.m. Friday-Saturday

 

Downslope Distilling Tours

Downslope has developed a strong reputation in the region for its artisan sips including Double Diamond Whiskey, Wine Barrel-aged Rum and Cane Vodka. Downslope also offers distilling classes.

6770 S. Dawson Circle, Suite 400, Centennial

303-693-4300

downslopedistilling.com

Noon-4 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday

Balistreri Winery Tasting Room

A tasteful oasis in an otherwise industrial neighborhood in far-north Denver, Balistreri offers samples and sales of its vintages including 2010 Colorado Viognier, 2010 Colorado Petite Sirah and 2008 Late Harvest Zinfandel. Summer visitors can order antipasti to match the wine. Plan ahead for the winery’s Italian movie night on July 21.

1946 E. 66th Ave., Denver

303-287-5156

balistrerivineyards.com

Tours and tastings noon-5 p.m. daily

 

Colorado Winery Row

Most Colorado wineries — and most tasting rooms — are located near the vineyards on the Western Slope. Winery Row features separate tasting rooms for four Western Slope wineries: Bonacquisti, Cottonwood Cellars (Olathe Winery), Garfield Estates, and Verso Cellars. It’s a great opportunity to taste the wines with the people who made them.

4640 Pecos St., Denver

coloradowineryrow.com

Noon-5 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday

 

Black Forest Meadery

Tasting Room

Mead, probably the oldest strong beverage made by humans, is just wine made from honey instead of fruit juice. Colorado boasts a bevy of meaderies and this tiny outpost makes three varieties that run the flavor spectrum from Melody in the Meadows (oaked and sweet), Mead in the Woods (dry), and Forest Mead (light).

6420 Burrows Rd. Unit A,

Colorado Springs

719-495-7340

blackforestmeadery.com

Noon-4 p.m. Thursday-Saturday

 

Wine Experience Café & World Cellar

Finish your tasting tour at a classy cafe that serves very comfy food. We like the fact that all of the 150 wines on the menu are available next door at the World Cellar. The menu includes grilled chicken pot pie, mac and cheese with crabmeat, and for brunch, a bacon cinnamon roll with maple bacon cream cheese frosting.

6240 S. Main St., Aurora

(Southlands)

303-690-1025

wineexperiencecafe.com

 

Colorado Cider Tasting Room

If you love the variety, quality and surprises in drinking Colorado’s craft brews, you’ll develop a taste for the state’s premier hard apple ciders. These are not particularly sweet. We’re fans of the nuanced Ol’ Stump made with Colorado apple juice aged in white wine barrels.

2650 W. Second Ave., No. 10, Denver

303-759-3560

coloradocider.com

3-6 p.m. Fridays, 2:30-6:30 p.m. Saturdays; Noon-5 p.m. Sundays; tours by request

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