Category Archives: Colorado

Kimpton Hotel Monaco (Denver, CO)

I’ve always been a fan of Kimpton Hotels. To start, they just smell so damn good, and don’t get me started on the kitschy, Jonathan Adler lamp-filled decor.  Kimpton hotels have a distinct feel, and the Hotel Monaco Denver is no exception.

In the heart of Downtown Denver, the Kimpton Hotel Monaco is a respite from the hustle of the city. (Or at least what was hustle before weed became legal.) The staff at the hotel made me feel welcome and important, and I cannot think of a better customer service experience I’ve had in recent years. To round out the stellar customer service experience, the doormen are extremely courteous and nearly make your day anytime you enter or leave the hotel. (I may have forgotten something in my room and, after remembering, intentionally walked outside before turning around so they’d chat to me  briefly.)

Possibly the best part of my last stay at the Hotel Monaco was the discovery of their daily happy hour in the lobby. (Oh, did I mention that it’s a FREE happy hour?) They offer snacks along with featured wine for a couple hours each afternoon to spoil guests.  The second best part was learning that they have hotel bicycles that guests can borrow … also for free.

The hotel’s decidedly western-inspired yet contemporary decor feels comfortable yet haute thanks to little touches and rich textures. Then the real comfort is realized when you first sink into their soft-as-they-could-be beds and fluffy pillows. The beds are comfortable enough that you may even forget to close the curtains, only to be woken up by the light streaming in, then refusing to get out of bed to close the curtains because you’re too cocooned-in to move.

If you can make it out of bed, this Hotel Monaco’s on-site restaurant, Panzano, is sure to please. From thoughtfully crafted cocktails to some of the best Italian-inspired food I’ve had in a while, it’s a great stop for lunch or dinner. (Just make sure to arrive in stretchy pants.)

As Kimpton hotels go, the entire experience was delightful from the aforementioned comfy bed to the plush, animal print robes. I’ve decided that it’s my new jumping off point for all Colorado ski trips going forward … and maybe a random night or two when Denver sounds like a nice getaway.

HOTEL MONACO – DENVER
monaco-denver.com
Facebook: /monaco.denver
Instagram: @monacodenver
1717 Champa Street, Denver, CO
Reservations: (800)990-1303, hotel: (303)296-1717

Amenities: pet-friendly, robes, on-site salon and spa, 24-hour fitness center, free bicycle rentals, yoga mats in every room

EDGE Bar at the Four Seasons (Denver, Colorado)

FACT: The hotel bar is coming back.  Some of the most iconic and groundbreaking bartenders that not only participated in the craft cocktail movement but started it, were found in hotel bars, and we are glad to say that the trend is swinging back around.  My fellow Dallasites have seen this exemplified in Midnight Rambler, Knife, and Dragonfly, but on my last visit to Denver I was delighted to visit EDGE Bar at the Four Seasons and found that it had some of the bartenders upping the cocktail game behind the bar … in a hotel.

While cocktail menus are fantastic, I’ve always enjoyed having conversations with bartenders and having them make me something off the menu.  (When it’s not busy, of course.  Don’t be that jerk that takes up five minutes on a busy Saturday night.)  I was delighted when both of the resulting cocktails were extraordinary.

Their program is innovative thanks to options like a monthly barrel-aged cocktail feature, the use of unique liqueurs and spirits, and knowledgable bar staff.  With leadership from their brand new bar manager, James Menkal, we’re sure to see more unique and innovative options from EDGE Bar.  Menkal was named one of Eater’s Best Bartenders in Denver last year and one of Zagat Denver’s 30 under 30 in 2014, so we can expect some exciting things from him.

Beyond a fantastic cocktails program, EDGE offers plenty of local beers along with more than 50 wines by the glass.  The bar itself is spacious and is a perfect spot for anything from a drink to shake off the work day or to shake it out before heading out.  There is plenty of lounge and bar seating and the bar is complete with televisions … if that’s your thing.

After a couple drinks, we were escorted to the dining room for dinner.  We started with the Beets and Goat Cheese and they were absolutely on point–a bit earthy and balanced with the light tang of the goat cheese.  The highlight of the menu was, without a doubt, the steaks.  EDGE smokes their meats with pecan wood and is one of the only places in Colorado using pecan wood.  The result was a deliciously smoked meat with a deep flavor that left us wanting more.

To complete the meal, we ordered the Roasted Cauliflower and the Lobster Mac & Cheese.  The Roasted Cauliflower was incredible and the entire table agree that we’d all order again; the texture was perfect and the light curry dusting added the perfect zing.  The Lobster Mac & Cheese was surprisingly delicate and the cheese was very light.

While we were too full after our meal to have dessert, we were treated to a milk chocolate lollipop in the shape of a cow with a couple drops of white chocolate.  It was an incredibly simple but perfect end to a delectable meal.

Overall, the EDGE Bar and Restaurant offered a perfect night without a single misstep.  I’ll be back on my next trip to Denver without a doubt to see what Menkal had done with the bar and to have another cut of their pecan-smoked steak.

EDGE Bar at the Four Seasons Hotel Denver
fourseasons.com/denver/dining
1111 14th Street, Denver, Colorado
(303) 389-3000

Breckenridge Brewery (Breckenridge, CO)

In anticipation of the upcoming Breck Trek nights in Dallas this week, I stepped in to the actual Breckenridge Brewery for a pint and a tour. The state of the art brewery recently moved to a brand new facility in the Littleton neighborhood of Denver, Colorado. The beautiful mix of industrial metal and rustic wood creates the perfect atmosphere for beer connoisseurs and curious minds alike to enjoy an afternoon learning about the beer making process. I may not know much about beer, but the smell of the brewery alone was enough to make me want to start home brewing.

I started the tour with a nice glass of the Bumps N’ Jumps Session IPA, which is an exclusive and limited collaboration between Breckenridge and Vail (two awesome CO ski resorts). It accompanied the tour beautifully with light bitterness and full hop flavor. We then learned about the German-engineered tanks that are used in the facility the process and some of the things that make Breckenridge Brewery unique. My favorite tidbit was the fact that all of the spent grain (grain that the brewery no longer needs, which has been separated from the sugary liquid that will eventually be turned into beer) goes directly to a local farmer to feed his cattle. Efficiency, people.

The best stop on the tour was the barrel room, where all of the barrel-aged beer is stored for a period of time to absorb the taste and smells of the barrels themselves (much like aging a spirit). This room smelled like HEAVEN. The aromas of wood and rum and vanilla all played so well together that I refused to leave. They have several beers on rotation through the barrel room, but one beer that they always have available is their Whiskey Barrel Aged 471 Double IPA with Citra hops, which gives off aromas of tropical fruits and citrus flavors. 

You may think that a brewery tour is all there is to do at the Breckenridge Brewery … EHHH! After the tour, I got to indulge myself in lunch at the Farm House, their on-site restaurant. Rustic rocking chairs, plush and comfy seating, and a stone fireplace provide for a mountain-esque ambiance. We started our meal with—what else—a flight of beer. Up for review was the Nitro Orange Chocolate Stout, the Break IPA, the Ophelia Hoppy Wheat, and the Whiskey Barrel Aged 471 Dry Hopped with Citra IPA. All were delicious and has citrus-y flavors, but my favorite was the Ophelia for its lightness and Mosaic hops. 

Up to the challenge of satisfying my hunger were several plates, which we shared as to try the most items. We chose the chicken pot pie, the venison chili mac and cheese, and the salmon with risotto and asparagus. I don’t know which I enjoyed more because I didn’t stop to breathe between bites … everything was that good. As for desert, and my stomach said “no” but my eyes and my head said “OH YEAH, BABY. You have months before bathing suit season.” Guess which won? We indulged anyway and ordered the Apple Galette, a warm apple pie/strudel served in a cast iron skillet and topped with house-made vanilla porter ice cream.

This experience was the perfect lead in to the Breck Trek tour, which will be traveling across the US to give the other states a taste of the Colorado lifestyle. Live music, beer education, and of course Breckenridge Brewery beer sampling will occur at every stop on the tour. The Breck Trek will hit Dallas the week of January 16th, check out times and locations here

BRECKENRIDGE BREWERY
breckbrew.com
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
2920 Brewery Lane, Littleton, Colorado 80120
303-623-2739

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