AURORA – Some folks on our “nice” list are almost impossible to buy a gift for, so thank goodness for those of the ale persuasion. If you have one of those on your list, give them a six-pack of assorted Colorado stouts and barleywines, a gift card to a craft brewery tasting room or a gastropub such as The Cheeky Monk, Royal Hilltop or Euclid Hall.
It also figures that Colorado, the epicenter of American craft brewing, would also produce a lot of literature for serious ale geeks.
• “Mountain Brew: A Guide to Colorado’s Breweries” (The History Press): Ed Sealover has penned one of the best guides available to the state’s rapidly growing roster of brewpubs and craft breweries. The only drawback to a book is that the suds scene is so vibrant that more than a dozen brewers have started serving since the book was published.
• “For the Love of Hops: The Practical Guide to Aroma, Bitterness and the Culture of Hops” (Brewers Publications, Boulder): Homebrewing expert Stan Hieronymus offers this one for literary ale lovers who love to read about their favorite beverage made as much as they like to homebrew and taste brews.
If you need to get your holiday visitors out of the house for a few hours, and they’ve already done the Celestial Seasonings, Coors Beer and Hammond’s Candy Factory tours, gift them with a guided Craft Beer and Gourmet Food Truck Tour. They will get to sip brews at three Denver craft breweries and sample fare from local food truck scene. Reservations at: denvergourmettours.com.
ON THE MENU
I’m jealous of the folks who get to eat in the dining halls at Colorado State University.
In the second semester they’ll be served the tastiest hot dogs made in Colorado — and maybe anywhere: Mac-n-Cheese Furters made by Continental Sausage, Denver’s acclaimed sausage company. In the remarkably thin weiners, bits of mac and cheese mingle with the meat inside a snappy casing. I know it sounds like bland like kiddie fare but the taste is comfort personified, no condiments required. Demand them at your local specialty or natural foods store.
Aurora’s Sushi Katsu will open a second all-you-can-eat location at 9555 E Arapahoe Road, Greenwood Village. Coming soon in Aurora: Tarboosh, a Middle Eastern, 2353 S. Havana St.; Gyroz, a fast casual Greek eatery, 13698 E. Iliff Ave.; and Mexican Empanadas, 3140 S. Parker Road. … The survey of food served at U.S. airports by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine has San Francisco International Airport and Denver International Airport tied for ninth on its Top 10 healthiest list. At DIA, the report suggests the hummus platter at New Belgium Spoke, the veggie “Philly” sandwich (hold the cheese) at one of the three Lefty’s Grille locations, or the tofu wrap at Itza Wrap! Itza Bowl! … The finalists for the Oscars of American artisan food, the Good Food Awards, were announced this week and some notable Colorado products made the list. Any of the following would make fine additions to a holiday food basket: Pagosa Brewing Company Chili Verde Ale, Avalanche Cheese Company Goat Cheddar, Ritual Costa Rica and Madagascar Chocolate, Dancing Pines Distillery Bourbon, Whiskey and Rum, Leopold Bros. Navy Strength Gin, and Syntax Spirits Big Cat White Whiskey and Powder White Rum.
UP ON GOLD HILL
The rustic Gold Hill Inn in the foothills mountain town of Gold Hill is wrapping up its 50th season dishing prix fixe, multi-course dinners. The restaurant is serving Friday to Sunday only through December 22 when it closes until spring. Details at: goldhillinn.com.
Here’s a classic soup recipe from the “Gold Hill Compendium” cookbook:
Gold Hill Inn Cream of Peanut Soup
1/4 cup celery, chopped
1/4 cup onions, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
4 cups rich chicken stock
1/3 pound peanut butter (or ground eanuts)
1 cup half and half
white pepper, to taste
salt, to taste
Sauté celery and onions in butter. Add chicken stock and simmer 35 minutes, then strain and discard solids. Add peanut butter or ground peanuts and simmer for 20 minutes. Add cream and season with white pepper. Reheat thoroughly and serve garnished with parsley. Makes about six servings.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
“Amazingly, we’ve become a culture that considers Twinkies, Cocoa Puffs and Mountain Dew safe, but raw milk and compost-grown tomatoes unsafe.
– Joe Salatin, Time
John Lehndorff is the former executive director of the American Pie Council and the editor of Colorado Table which appears in the Aurora Sentinel, Buckley Guardian and Life Science newspapers and web sites: aurorasentinel.com/colorado-table. Send pressing cooking or dining questions to: [email protected]. For regular updates, “like” the Nibbles Facebook page. Radio Nibbles airs 8:25 a.m. Thursdays on KGNU (88.5 FM, 1390 AM, and kgnu.org).