With the proliferation of high-quality cocktails in this city, both at specialty bars and high- and low-end restaurants, it can be hard to keep track of all that's offered in Denver. In light of Colorado Beer Week, consider trying a beer cocktail. Here's six solid options, all crafted with local beer and spirits.
- Euclid Hall
- The Singapore Sling by Justin Lloyd, Star Bar
- The Buford "Mad Dog" Tannen by Glenn Pollak, Oak at Fourteenth (Boulder)
- The Texas Hops'm by Britt Henze, Star Bar
- The Yeti Snapshot by Joshua Smith, Justice Snow's (Aspen)
- The Chai Scotsman by Ryan Conklin, Euclid Hall
- The Boca Loca Jungle Bird Shandy by Matty Durgin, rotating Tiki aficionado
Ryan Conklin, certified Cicerone and head barman at Euclid Hall, has tried his share of beer cocktails. He's also written and spoken about beer cocktails on a number of occasions, and while he's not a hardcore advocate or opponent of cocktails of the beer variety, he appreciates them. "I've been able to simulate beers that I'd like to see brewed. You can make a specialized beer à la minute." Conklin says he'll generally ask for the brewer's permission before he makes a cocktail with a signature beer, but generally, they're ok with it. Great Divide Brewing, a staple here in Denver, had no problem when six of the state's top talents, including Conklin, asked to make signature cocktails with their brews.
The Singapore Sling by Justin Lloyd, Star Bar
2137 Larimer St., Ballpark
Lloyd's take on the Singapore Sling is just as boozy as the classic, and it's heightened with a touch of Great Divide's Hades Belgian-Style Ale. Lloyd's sling is made with Leopold's Navy Strength Gin, Leopold's Michigan Tart Cherry Liqueur, Leopold's American Orange, Leopold's Three Pins Alpine Herbal Liqueur, pineapple juice and Hades.
The Buford "Mad Dog" Tannen by Glenn Pollak, OAK at Fourteenth
1400 Pearl St., Boulder
Naming cocktails has never been one of Pollak's favorite tasks, but it became easier once he and fellow barmen started naming their drinks after iconic mustaches. There's the Teddy Roosevelt, the Rolly Fingers — and now, the Buford "Mad Dog" Tannen. Pollak admits that it's a bit heavy for the summer, but charming, nonetheless. Pollak's cocktail is made with Leopold's American Small Batch Whiskey, Leopold's Michigan Tart Cherry, Angostura bitters, nutmeg simple syrup and topped with Yeti.
The Texas Hops'm by Britt Henze, Star Bar
2137 Larimer St., Ballpark
Henze likes some heat, and this spicy sonuvadrink is a testament to that. The Texas Hops'm is made with house-infused Republic Tequila (basil, orange, Angostura bitters), muddled orange, Domaine de Canton and Great Divide's Hercules IPA. The final kick comes from a Thai chili, right near the nose.
The Yeti Snapshot by Joshua Smith, Justice Snow's Restaurant + Bar
321 E. Hyman Ave., Aspen
Smith, who departed his post at TAG this past winter to open Justice Snows in Aspen, is a true fan of beer cocktails. His menu at Justice Snows features five of them, in fact. For the Yeti Snapshot, Smith blends Great Divide's Yeti with fresh orange juice, Leopold's Michigan Tart Cherry, Snap's Ginger Snap Liqueur and Angostura bitters. He likes to call it the "formable frappe."
The Chai Scotsman by Ryan Conklin, Euclid Hall
1317 14th St., Larimer Square
For the Chai Scotsman, Conklin wanted to create a take on Oskar Blues' Chai Chub. For the Scotman, Conklin combined Great Divide's Claymore Scotch Ale, Benedictine, Leopold's Three Pins Alpine Herbal Liqueur, Dancing Pines Bourbon and a cinnamon-nutmeg simple syrup.
The Boca Loca Jungle Bird Sandy by Matty Durgin, rotating tiki drink aficionado
Durgin has been behind the bar in various locations in the past 6 months, spreading his love for tiki cocktails wherever he goes. "I love tiki, and it's shandy season." For the beer-centric Jungle Bird, Durgin mixes Boca Loca Cachaca with Aperol, pineapple juice, peach bitters, Great Divide's Colette Farmhouse Ale and a nutmeg simple syrup.