“Tell you what,” said our waiter, “as it’s your first time visiting Colorado, your first beers are on me.”
This was our welcome to Longs Peak Pub and Taphouse in Longmont.
I was about to embark on a pint of Dank Nugget IPA, and something called a Junk Burger. About an hour ago, I was wrestling with our luggage and my wife was fiddling with the rental car mirrors. Now, we were comfortable. The seat cushions were soft, the ambiance was pleasant, and we’d just been gifted free beers. Very comfy indeed.
It lasted all weekend, but it began here.
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Longs Peak is part of a restaurant group called Mountain Sun. According to their website, our server might have been cooking our food or managing the shift had we come another day. Perhaps more importantly, Stout Month is about to begin.
Mountain Sun makes most of their beers in-house; and, judging by how well our waiter went down the beer list, I’d guess he had a hand in the brewing, too. He sold me on the Dank Nugget IPA by pointing out the Nugget hops were local, and whew! If you want to feel right at home in Colorado, have one of these. I dug it, but it was a little too intense for my wife. She settled quite nicely into her Java Porter.
The abundance of potted plants and bookshelves, and the absence of TV quack, can make a traveler feel at home quickly. There’s plenty of artwork to gawk at, too, but nothing forces its way into the booth if you just want to hide out.
If you belly up to the bar, though, you’ll be gazing.
Ladies and gentlemen, Bryce Widom.
This is one of three chalkboard works behind the bar at Long’s Peak. According to our bartender, Widom changes them up every few months or so at all five locations. Meanwhile, I can’t write my name on a chalkboard and make it look good without taking two or three tries.
When it’s change-up time, says our tender, Widom wipes away everything but the eyes. He snaps a picture of the eyes, then finishes clean-up.
These guys don’t screw around with the fries. On the menu it states, “Please let us know if your fries aren’t perfect. We will replace them with perfect fries.” Our waiter described the process of making them — again, with the fluency of someone who’s made a batch or two in his day.
He never stopped smiling, not once during our visit. I forget his name, but he wore a rainbow-patterned … head … thing? … to hold back his dreadlocks. I don’t know what those are called, but he was a very nice gentleman and his service was superb.
Back to the fries. They didn’t need replacements, let’s just say that. What’s more, they left behind this tasty grease in the basket for me to run my burger through before bites.
The Junk Burger was recommended by my friend and Left Hand Brewing regional rep Beer Baron Joe Shea. You have your choice of cheese for this, sort of: anything but nacho and it just isn’t junk. The patty was done exactly as asked, toppings piled on heavy, and I was left perfectly overfull after my meal. My wife, with her BYO Grilled Cheese, felt the same way.
Our bill was $19.
Had we not been faced with 45 more minutes of driving, we’d have stayed for another few rounds. I strongly suggest the Dank Nugget if you want a quick acclimation, and I strongly suggest the Junk Burger if you want to slam your lever down into vacation mode.
We left, ready. My wife adjusted the driver’s seat again, and we cruised off into the mountains.