I’m a gal that appreciates brews.
I didn’t think I’d ever love beer—with a gluten sensitivity and a strictly-sweet pallet, it seemed like my fate was tied to vodka drinks and a cider here and there. My home-brewing husband was worried that I’d never find something he could make. However, I lucked out the day that my good friend introduced me to a drink called “cherry kriek;” it was fruit-based and tangy, and started my torrid affair with sour beer.
While I might enjoy a Coors Light at a sporting event or swallow down a PBR on a camping trip, I have the most fun when I can try new and exciting drinks: the fruiter, sweeter, and sour the better.
This new series is dedicated to that exploration.
Cheers to my first brewery review, profiling one of my very favorite Colorado stops.
Wine Slushies on Tap at Barrels & Bottles
Originally posted in the April 2017 edition of the CU Sentry.
There are worse things to be known for than wine slushies. Barrels & Bottles Brewery in downtown Golden, Colorado makes the most of this word of mouth branding—their house-made brews and rotating specials find their way on the chalkboard menu, but newcomers and seasoned veterans alike come to order at least one frozen, swirled delight upon every visit.
Barrels & Bottles is a staple in the historic downtown Golden—rivaling at least nine other breweries in the area—and has been since 2013. With open seating and an enclosed patio, the brewery is welcome to people of all ages, with a little something for everyone.
The atmosphere is kind and welcoming, with lengthy wooden picnic-style tables, cushioned bar stools, and crafty décor lining the walls. Red-framed mirrors hang on every dimension, covered in brightly colored stickers; the adhesives represent everything from “I heart hops” bumper stickers to “Life is good” branding. Used tap handles hang across the ceiling, a nostalgic nod to all of the beers and ciders who’ve called Barrels & Bottles home up until the last sip.
There’s enough noise on the walls to keep kids busy looking for hours, but the true draw for adults is in the booze. The coveted wine slushies ($7) are a godsend, coming in red, white, or swirled flavors. The swirl is an obvious choice, as it creates the ideal mix of sweet and tart in a brain-freezing delivery.
Their Orange Creamsicle beer ($7) is a quintessential summer brew, bursting in citrus and cream flavors that work together seamlessly for both a smooth swallow and aftertaste. The Happy Leaf Kombucha Orange Basil, Hall Juicy Peach Blonde Ale, and Pipeworks Imperial End Of Days (all under $10) are local beers featured on their rotating menu that are delicious as they are diverse.
One of the bartenders, Ryan, said that the sour beers are what keeps him coming to work each day, other than—of course—the wonderful people he gets to serve. “We have so many rotating specials, it’s hard to choose a favorite,” he said. “Honestly, I love beer. And if you love wine, beers, or even complimentary water served from a giant barrel, you’re bound to have a good time here.”
Beyond the three coolers full of wine and full tap of draft beers, Barrels & Bottles has recently expanded their menu into a spread well worth checking out. The kitchen is only open until 8 p.m. (7 p.m. on Sundays), so get orders in early. Dough Nips ($9) are a can’t-miss item, worth the 15-minute kitchen wait. They are dense and doughy, yet flaky and savory, especially with add-ins like pepperoni, cheese, black olives, or sautéed onions. The Jumbo Soft Pretzel ($5.25) is delicious, but be wary of the too-spicy house-made beer mustard.
For heavier fare, look to their wide range of baguettes—the caprese ($6.50), Italian ($6.50), and roast beef ($8) are the highlights, served with recommended spreads (from pesto to marinara) and a side salad option. The sandwiches are filling and delightfully toasted, with a well-balanced amount of meat, and pair well with either wine (including slushies) or nearly every beer on the menu.
Though there are many reasons to come to downtown Golden, Barrels & Bottles is the best excuse to stay. From high-percentage, delicious brews to classic, beautiful swirls of slushed wine served alongside hearty food, the brewery is a one-stop must.