Now that summer is around the corner it’s time to start thinking about a favorite Coloradoan activity: whitewater rafting! Living in beautiful Colorado we are fortunate to have a variety of river options to explore from the beginning rafter to the seasoned expert. Here are some of the best whitewater rafting destinations in Colorado.
This river is one that comes to mind for most Coloradoans as a top contender for white water rafting. With over 150 miles of whitewater starting up near Leadville and ending down near the Pueblo Reservoir- there are plenty of options for all skill levels. This river is one of the most rafted rivers in Colorado due to its long stretch of continuous whitewater and scenic mountain terrain. The Arkansas River is typically divided into two areas: upstream and downstream.
The upstream route offers trips in the Buena Vista area which includes the Browns Canyon and Pine Creek areas of the river. This stretch of the river has something for everyone with family float trips, overnight trips, and intermediate level rafting with Class III/IV rapids. Average a two-hour drive from the Denver area to reach rafting trips for the upstream sections of the river.
The downstream stretch of the river offers trips in the Cañon City area including the Royal Gorge and the Big Horn Sheep Canyon. The Royal Gorge is a favorite of adults that enjoy a splashy thrill with class III-IV rapids. The Big Horn Sheep Canyon offers trips for adults and families alike and is known for its many sheep sightings along the way. Average an hour drive from Colorado Springs for the downstream stretch of the river.
The wonderful thing about the Arkansas River is the variety of trips and packages outfitters can offer simply due to its size and accessibility. Raft Masters located in Cañon City offers an awesome variety of day trips including rafting with lunch, wine tasting, sky diving, ATVs, you name it!
Often called ‘Creekin’’ by local outfitters, rafting on Clear Creek is a unique experience as the Clear Creek River offers more rapids per mile than most Colorado rivers. The river sits in a breathtaking alpine valley with scenic views and chances to spot mountain wildlife. Raft Masters also has a location in Idaho Springs with a variety of rafting trips including a family/beginning trip, an intermediate/advanced trip half day trip, and a full day intermediate/advanced trip which allows for almost four hours of river time! This is a convenient option for folks in the Denver area as these rafting trips are only about 30 minutes away.
Glenwood Springs is a favorite for many folks due to the rafting selection of two scenic rivers: The Roaring Fork and the Colorado River. The Colorado River is well-known for it’s long stretch through Glenwood Canyon and depending on water conditions rapids can range from the Class III-IV strength. The Roaring Fork passes through a mountain valley and outfitters report that rafters can expect to see bald eagles and other wildlife along the way. Outfitters in the area offer trips for families and beginner skill levels to intermediate level rapids. Average a two and half hour drive from the Denver area to reach outfitters in Glenwood Springs.
A favorite of folks in the Northern Colorado area is the Cache La Poudre River. There are a limited number of outfitters on the Cache La Poudre due to its designation of Colorado’s only national “Wild & Scenic” River. This is a big plus for many because less outfitters means less crowds on the river. The Poudre Canyon offers a variety of rapids from family friendly Class II/III trips and thrill seeker Class III/IV trips. The higher class rapid trips also pass by the renowned Mishawaka amphitheater which adds some local history to the scenic views. Most outfitters for the Poudre River operate out of Laporte which is a ten-minute drive from Fort Collins. Average an hour drive from Estes Park to reach these trips and an hour and a half from the Denver area.
Picking an Outfitter and Rafting Trip
When it comes to rafting, there are a few things to know for beginners. Knowing your skill level and reasonably which class level of rapids are best for your fitness level is a good place to start. Any first timer can raft the higher skill level trips but one of the biggest requirements outfitters look for are folks that are in good health, active and good swimmers. Not everyone falls in the river but you need to be prepared if you do if you’re tackling Class III/IVs! Families should stick to lower class level trips and most outfitters have minimum age requirements for these trips which averages around 7 years old to start. Look for outfitters that have experienced and seasoned guides and make sure the rafting company is state certified. Check out Colorado state’s website for more information on picking a rafting company, a list of state certified outfitters, and information on Colorado’s best rivers. We always recommend Raft Masters for the Arkansas River and Clear Creek River as one of our local favorites due to their experience as a rafting business that’s been operating under the same ownership since 1989.
tired, bored, or lacking enthusiasm, typically after having had too much of something.
This is a feeling that is tough to shake nowadays around here. I felt the need to lead with this definition because it also serves as a preamble to this piece you’re about to read. RIP Denver.
Somewhere between 2010 and 2015 Denver shook it’s longstanding label of being a “dusty old cowtown” (preferred nomenclature among residents and scribes alike for quite some time, if you can remember the old Rocky Mountain News then you’ll know what I’m talking about). During that time in which the old label was shed, Denver reemerged as a destination city, both for people to visit (which it always has been due to the proximity to the mountains and all the outdoor recreation offered there) and ultimately relocate to. Or it could be the weed, which seems to be the pervading opinion. Since yesterday was 4/20, go ahead and check the web for images of how trashed Civic Center Park is this morning for confirmation.
It’s been interesting to watch the city change, to say the least. But that isn’t always necessarily a good thing. With the aforementioned “cool” label, comes a variety of different things, many of which ultimately have consequences. Some are so pretentious that they provide quite a bit of fodder for humor, namely the many new syllabic abbreviations for neighborhoods. There used to be one: LoDo. And now they’ve increased exponentially: RiNo, LoHi, SoBo, et al. If anything, this posturing to be more and more like New York City has led to some humor. See the video below for proof.
But this influx of population and increased notoriety is not without it’s headaches. And I’m not even talking about traffic congestion, rising rental prices, increased cost of living, or local businesses being pushed out of their locations by wealthy real estate investors. Those issues have all been well-documented. What I’m referring to is something that I’ve run into increasingly often of late: shitty customer service.
It’s odd. And it’s also not something that many people think about. But what is it about a rise in population in conjunction with popularity that leads so many in the service industry to become apathetic? I’m not going to single out any specific business here however, because that’s not what this is about. But whether local or otherwise, convenience store, bar, restaurant, shit even dispensary, it’s been in sharp decline within the past year.
Is it because there is seemingly an endless array of new customers no matter what? Who knows. All I know is that I’d be perfectly content to go back to not being cool.
Image/Video Credit: South Park Studios
Fort Collins is well-known for many things: Colorado State University, Horsetooth Reservoir, an abundance of restaurants, New Belgium Brewing - the list goes on. One thing that locals know well is the abundance and variety of festivals happening year-round. FoCo festivals range from the kid friendly to the beer friendly to the unicorns riding bicycles friendly.
Earth Day Fort Collins- April 21st at Civic Center Park
Here’s a festival that us sustainable living advocates can get behind. Earth Day Fort Collins is held every year on Earth Day by the Sustainable Living Association and the City of Fort Collins. Earth Day Fort Collins inspires community members to honor the Earth in their daily lives and provides resources to help folks adopt that sustainable lifestyle. They also have a kid’s zone with arts and crafts, live music, food trucks, a beer garden, and workshops.
FoCo Mx- April 27th and 28th at various venues in Old Town
FoCo Mx is a two-day event celebrating the Northern Colorado music scene. There will be 300+ different performers playing at 30+ venues all happening in historic Old Town Fort Collins. Some of the venues include Equinox Brewery, Aggie Theater, New Belgium Brewing, Odell Brewing Co, and more! Hop on a bike and have a blast traveling from venue to venue during this two-day long music fest. Some of the venues are kid friendly while some cater to the 21+ crowd so there is something for everyone! Get your tickets here.
Poudre River Fest- June 2nd adjacent to New Belgium Brewery
Poudre River Fest is a family friendly festival that works to restore, celebrate, and educate the community about the Cache la Poudre River. The festival includes merchant booths, volunteer resources, New Belgium beer, and live music. There are also educational activities to teach children and adults about the river and conservation. Find out more details about Poudre River Fest and how to help preserve one of Colorado’s scenic rivers here.
Taste of Fort Collins- June 8th-10th in Washington Park next to Old Town
Taste of Fort Collins is a celebration of food and community right in the heart of Fort Collins. The three-day festival has food from local and national restaurants, live music from a diverse range of musicians and plenty of work from artisans and crafters. There is also a Kidz Zone that includes a giant trampoline, water walker balls, bouncy houses, and more. I wonder if the adults can try out the giant trampoline? Get more information about this tasty festival here.
CO Brewers Festival- June 23rd-24th in Washington Park next to Old Town
You can’t have a list of FoCo events without the Brewers Festival! Fort Collins has always been well-known for their local breweries and at the Brewers Festival they bring together over 30+ Colorado breweries and 90+ Colorado beers. That’s a lot of beer! Don’t forget to eat a solid lunch before this festival. The festival also has live music, food trucks galore, and a Beer School with tastings and demos. Check out how to get your early bird tickets
New West Fest-August 10th-12th in Old Town Fort Collins
This musical festival is a must see. It features a gigantic lineup of Colorado music and three renowned headliners every night. In addition to awesome live music, the festival also has plenty of art, specialty, and food booths. This event is kid friendly and they have a special Kids Music Adventure area where the kiddos can rock out. The best part of this festival? It’s free! Check out the details
Tour de Fat- Sept 1st at New Belgium Brewing
And of course, the headliner of all festivals in Fort Collins: Tour de Fat! We’ll continue holding our breath as we wait for New Belgium to release more details about their most famous festival. The best part of heading to Fort Collins for this festival? The bike parade! It’s not every day you can see the most dignified folks shed their pantsuits and put on rainbow wigs and neon tutus as they pedal through historic FoCo. This year will be interesting to see if New Belgium sticks with the changes they made last year or if they revert to their classic style. Keep your eyes on the prize here.
- Lindsay Brookshier
Nearly everyone has the fond childhood memory of going to a baseball game on a nice summer day. I remember my first live game, enjoying a hot dog with my dad and hoping to catch a foul ball. For some, nothing gives more of a ‘life is good’ feeling than enjoying America’s pastime, and this feeling is something Exhibit Developer Jason Hanson at History Colorado tries to capture with their newest exhibit, Play Ball.
The exhibit showcases the Marshall Fogel Collection, the greatest baseball collection outside the Hall of Fame. Born and raised in Denver, Fogel was a big fan of the Denver Bears and of Mickey Mantle. He always wanted a Mickey Mantle rookie card, and was inspired to start collecting after he was finally able to find one. Featuring more than 160 artifacts, Play Ball tells the story of America’s pastime both on and off the field.
This year is the 25th anniversary of the Colorado Rockies, and about one third of the exhibit is dedicated to Colorado baseball history. Starting in the 1890s the exhibit goes through the integration of the sport (which Denver was one of the first places), to the Denver Bears, all the way to the transformation of lower downtown following the Rockies. Featuring the Blake Street Bombers and Rocktober, the heroes of Colorado baseball will be inspirational for players this season. Though it tells a national story, the exhibit exemplifies Colorado culture as well.
“As you come towards the later half of the exhibit there is a mural of a sixteen foot tall, thirty foot wide sunset at Coors Field. We were looking for a big statement piece and there is no stronger statement about what’s great about living in Colorado than the notion of sitting at a Rockies game, enjoying a beer, watching the sunset, hopefully the guys are winning, but no matter how the game is going, I’ve definitely had the thought that it doesn’t get much better than this. For me, and I know for many other people, that is one of those pieces of Colorado culture, why we love living here.” Says Hanson.
Baseball is such a powerful current in American culture, their moments have defined eras of history. Babe Ruth, for example, defined the 1920s in America, Jackie Robinson integrated baseball and led us into a new era of civil rights, and all will be featured in the exhibit. While it is just a game that we all love, the stories that start on the ball diamond echo through American history. Even the game’s scandals will be recognized, the stories of players like Shoeless Joe Jackson and Pete Rose’s gambling.
The exhibit features artifacts from baseball’s greatest players including Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Jackie Robinson, and Willie Mays. It will go beyond the game, telling the human side of these players’ life stories. This collection is one of a kind, and Hanson hopes that the History Colorado Center will be able to give people the once in a lifetime opportunity to see these rare baseball artifacts and soak up some of the great things Colorado has to offer, like going to a Rockies game.
The exhibit will open Saturday, April 7, opening day for the Rockies. For more information please visit https://www.historycolorado.org/.
Whether you just moved here, are already settled, or have lived here your whole life it's not always easy being a Coloradan. So much has been written within the last five years in regards to the influx of new residents here, and we figured that we'd take it upon ourselves to provide some guidelines as to what to expect when moving here, or how to better adjust if you're already here. Keep in mind that most of these are guidelines as opposed to rules (most of them anyway), and it's up to you ultimately on how to live your best life here. But if you're looking for some direction, don't fret, we've got you covered.
Not All Colorado Natives will be Accepting
Sorry, but it's true. People have been moving here for years and with our population predicted to double in the next 30 years how could some of us not be skeptical? We've seen people move here from all over. Some have trashed our state, spray painted our landmarks, and/or personally disrespected us or someone we know. Some have cut us off on the road or drive too slow in the left lane. But for every disrespectful jerk that moves here there's a family of people who came here to make a difference and have a positive impact on our state and economy as a whole. The best thing I can say for how to approach your move here is with humility. Enjoy it and be respectful of what's here. Be respectful of the people that live here and have lived here. They built Colorado to what you now know it as. Aside from that, we like big tippers, laid back people (that doesn't mean Lazy), and people who are kind and courteous. If you're a GI Joe fan then you know, "knowing is half the battle". Now you know.
This one is non-negotiable. It's not a guideline, it's 100% a rule. It's no secret that we Coloradans love nature and the great outdoors. Because of that, we want to keep it clean. If you're the type of person who considers the ground to be a trashcan, or likes to go camping and leave a few traces, go ahead and keep on moving...or change your ways. For as accepting as we can be in this state, this type of behavior is not only frowned upon, it's flat out not welcome. Nature is a huge part of life in Colorado and it’s a way of life for those who choose to live anywhere here, and especially for those who choose to live in the mountains. Littering comes with high fines and is not socially acceptable in any way shape or form. If you come to Colorado, just don’t litter, it’s as simple as that
Be A Sportsfan
If you love sports of any and all variations, well then Colorado is the place for you. Not only is it a beacon for extreme sports like mountain biking and skiing, but the people of Colorado absolutely love their team sports as well. From Denver to the tiny mountain towns, the Broncos, Nuggets, Avalanche, and everything in between are held in very high regard, the Broncos first and foremost. However, this isn't to say that you need to totally switch your allegiance upon arrival, as there are plenty transplants here already, or natives whose family roots keep them supporting those out of town squads, so it’s not uncommon to find sports bars supporting different teams from all over the country.
Always Smother Your Food
This one is pretty simple: much like our neighbors to the south in New Mexico, we're known for our green chile. Put it on everything when it's an option. You'll be much better off, trust us.
Must Love Dogs
File this under "guidelines" as cat lovers are welcome too, and even you bird/lizard/snake people can find your niche here. However, man's best friend definitely rules the proverbial pet roost around here. Dog parks. Dogs at dinner. Dogs in a bar. Dogs on skis. There are tons of dogs in Colorado. And the dogs are as active as their human owners. It’s not uncommon to see a dog on a raft or a dog at the top of a mountain, or a dog sitting next to it's owner in a bar while the owner enjoys an adult beverage as previously mentioned. If you're allergic, we get that can't be helped, but get ready to have to accommodate some furry four legged friends more often than not.
Know Your Seasons
Ski season is long in Colorado, typically starting in November and sometimes lasting until the Fourth of July. That being said, a lot of people in the state live to ski. The only downside to so much skiing is that it calls for a lot of snow. While the roads are usually cleared, always be prepared for a sudden snowstorm to delay your day. No, chain laws are not for your normal daily driver either. Snow tires are a worthwhile investment, and no the ground clearance and four wheel drive on your truck has nothing to do with your brakes, so please leave yourself enough time to get where you need to go responsibly. It's not all snow all the time here however, which segues perfectly into the next item.
Brace Yourself for Weather Instability
Colorado is known for its constant weather fluctuation, so don’t be surprised if you experience all 4 seasons in one week, or sometimes even one day. Sometimes you think you're out of the woods in terms of the snowfall, only to have a second winter sprung on you in the middle of spring (March is typically the snowiest month here). It’s totally normal. It’s also a good idea to keep a coat, umbrella, and change of both warmer and cooler clothing somewhere accessible at all times. You've been warned.
Embrace The "Local" Discount
Tipping your servers and bartenders appropriately is always a good practice, especially if you find yourself in the same places more often than not. Oftentimes if a bartender recognizes a frequent patron, there’s a good chance they’ll get the “local” stamp on their receipt with money off their bill. While this is a bit more common in mountain towns as it helps make it affordable for the people who live there year-round, it's not uncommon elsewhere as well. Take care of your service-industry friends and they'll take care of you. It's just how we do things here.
Get Used to People Who Prefer Beer
With 235 craft breweries, Colorado is at the forefront of the great American beer renaissance. With an abundance of college brewery courses, beer festivals, and international accolades, Colorado’s beer innovations extends well beyond Coors Lights’ cold activated can. In fact, according the Brewers Association, Colorado ranks in the top three for the following categories…
3rd most breweries per capita
2nd most gallons of beer produced per adult 21 and over
3rd most barrels of craft beer produced annually per capita
Get Used to the Altitude (For Multiple Reasons)
With an average elevation of 6,800 feet, Colorado is America’s highest state. The thin air at those heights does create some unique issues though. Baking measurements have to be adjusted for the altitude, alcohol is more potent, and hangovers are more intense. On the upside, it provides a fantastic training environment for endurance athletes, hence why the US Olympic organization is based here in Colorado Springs.
The Front Range is Much More Than Just Denver
Even if you know very little about Colorado, you know that Denver isn't the be-all-end all. Yes, the metro area represents over 60 percent of the state's residents, but there are many other excellent places around the state in which to call home. Check out our This is Colorado series for some examples of what we mean.
Being that alcohol has been around and enjoyed by humans for oh, around 12,000 years, eventually bar owners have had to come to terms with the fact that simply serving it up to patrons is no longer quite good enough to attract new customers and keep repeat ones. Bar games are great (darts, pool, shuffleboard, etc) but for a know-it-all type A personality like me, no bar game goes better with the booze than a savage intellectual dogfight. These are the places that either offer the best of one of these, or the best of both. We're dropping science like Galileo dropped the orange over here.
Bowman's Vinyl & Lounge, 1312 S Broadway, Denver, CO 80210
The only vinyl shop/bar in Denver, Bowman's is known for stiff drinks and stiff trivia competition. Their trivia nights are mainly geared towards live music, however they do also periodically have nights strictly devoted to Seinfeld-related trivia. Let the airing of grievances begin. Trivia nights happen on various nights of the week, follow them on social media or check their website for the next trivia night announcement.
Ratio Beer Works, 2920 Larimer St, Denver, CO 80205
It's the best craft brewery to host trivia nights in town. Their setup for trivia varies a bit from the norm however, as their iteration (known as the Ratio Quiz Show) pits teams of five against a panel of "experts" on the given subject. The most recent version was strictly trivia involving Rick and Morty, for example. Vulgarity is also encouraged, so leave the kids at home for this one. Again, these trivia nights aren't conducted on a weekly basis, so follow them on social media or check their site for updates.
Irish Snug, 1201 E Colfax Ave #100, Denver, CO 80218
Geeks Who Drink hosts trivia in the basement here every Tuesday (the first of the Tuesday spots on this list), and since it's an Irish pub, the mixing of draft beers to wash down some corned beef egg rolls is definitely the play for while you're playing. I've personally won trivia here twice. Black and tans are always best when purchased with bar dollars won from trivia, that I can tell you.
Pub on Penn, 1278 Pennsylvania St, Denver, CO 80203
$4 burgers and whiskey big gulps are featured here every Thursday night, along with trivia that has proven to be not as challenging as some of the other spots on this list - which isn't a knock, whatsoever - it's more some advice for any of you other fountains of useless knowledge to cherry pick some low-hanging fruit. You're welcome.
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, 2907 Huron St, Denver, CO 80202
This is the other Geeks Who Drink trivia spot on Tuesdays contained within this list. It offers a bit of a different experience than Irish Snug, both in drink specials as well as a creative food menu (pig wings y'all), and if bar food isn't your thing, one of the best ramen spots in Denver is right around the corner for afterward.
British Bulldog, 2052 Stout St, Denver, CO 80205
This pub (known mainly for the all-out parties they throw during the World Cup) is also one of the only places which hosts trivia on Monday nights in all of Denver. So whether your schedule dictates that Monday is your only open weeknight, or you're one of those desperados who can't even wait 24 hours to start your weekend, the Bulldog is the spot for you.
Stem Ciders - 2811 Walnut St #150, Denver, CO 80205
This one goes out to all the gluten-free party people. This is a unique and interesting spot which specializes in exactly what the name states: hard cider. So whether you have celiac disease or beers just aren't your thing, get here on Wednesdays for trivia and cider.
Big Beaver Brewing, 2707 W Eisenhower Blvd #9, Loveland, CO 80537
Shoutout to the people up north. This is the second craft brewery on this list, and not only do they specialize in dank craft brews, they also have an extensive menu of homemade bratwurst and sausages to pair with them. My brother (who has since relocated to the Denver metro area as of last year) loves this trivia night so much that he still makes it up there every Thursday, plus this logo is just too hilarious to not have a spot on this list.
We like music around here, Cultureheads. This much is no secret. Between the admin team we've collectively been attending, promoting, and throwing shows for about 100 years. The fan experience is something that we've covered extensively in the past, and it's something that we take very seriously. That being said, we couldn't help but not weigh-in on this whole Bassnectar brouhaha that's been happening since his NYE show in Atlanta. We just wanted to wait for some of the proverbial dust to settle first.
We're not going to bother getting in to what was said or what the artist's response was, all of that has been well documented at this point - so if you need to get caught up to speed, do so here. We want to get at what the fundamental problem with this type of behavior is.
Say what you will about his music, but the one thing that has remained constant with Bassnectar over the course of his career is his philosophy: one that promotes mutual understanding, respect, and creativity. He even paraphrases this in a response to a fan's question here, succinctly stating: "short story. Treat others how you want to be treated."
The guy's whole persona is that of someone who loves music, loves creating art, and loves sharing it with his fans. To turn around and act like this person owes you something, and something specific every time he plays a show requires a degree of entitlement that I personally can't empathize with at all. It's one thing to be a music snob (something I'm ALL TOO familiar with) but the fact of the matter is, the artists are people too. Everyone has fuckups, good days, bad days, good sets, and bad sets. This isn't even to say that the set was bad (the reviews I read of the NYE set were actually quite to the contrary, they were overwhelmingly positive), but to be so jaded and hypercritical that you immediately point fingers at the artist due to any possible negative experience you might have had is not only immature, it's irresponsible.
The same thing happens with lineup announcements, so many people start getting all "plurrier than thou" if their specific set of demands isn't appeased, and that whole attitude is just tired. Don't like the music? Stay home. Still not happy? Try making your own. I promise it isn't as easy as it looks. End rant.
Denver made history in the early 1970s as the only city to reject an Olympic bid after one had been offered, with later governor Dick Lamm leading the charge in order to do so. The reasons were simple: money and environment. Now, with mayor Michael Hancock spearheading an effort to bring the Winter Games back to Denver it just makes us wonder what, if anything, has changed since then? The answer: not a whole lot.
It's no secret that hosting any iteration of the Olympic Games is a wildly expensive undertaking, and one that has a reputation for HEAVY cost overrun. For an example of this data, look no further than this study conducted in 2016 at the University of Oxford's Said Business School.
There's quite a bit of data contained in the study, so to paraphrase a bit, let's take a look at some historical numbers:
Rio de Janeiro's cost estimate for the 2016 Summer Games (when they won the bid in 2009) sat at $3 billion. By the time of the opening ceremony, that cost had ballooned to about $4.6 billion, overrunning the initial budget by 50 percent.
The 2014 Winter Games in Sochi went over budget by 289 percent.
The 1980 Winter Games in Lake Placid went over budget by 324 percent.
The 1976 Summer Games in Montreal went over budget by 720 percent.
These examples are outliers, but as also stated in the study, every single Olympic games (no matter Winter or Summer) held since 1960 has gone over budget, with the average percentage sitting at around 90 percent. This is due to a multitude of factors, mainly rushed construction and poor oversight by the respective municipalities...but the common denominator in all of these cases is who ended up footing the bill: the taxpayers.
Colorado has historically been a state whose tax base has struggled to support quite a few basic tenets of municipalities: education and infrastructure are the first two which come to mind (even with the influx of marijuana revenue for the last few years, we still have yet to see major improvements in either area). Overcrowding in Denver, traffic, rising rent costs, gentrification, these are all complaints that have arisen when the topic of Denver's livability comes up for the past few years. What will bringing the Olympics here change in regards to any of that? In my mind, not much. Just a tax hike and more traffic on I-70. It'd be great to showcase the mountains here to the world, however I'm fairly certain that most people know about them already; we cracked the 30 million visitor mark in 2016...which was the 11th consecutive year that the tourism board had recorded a record increase in visitor numbers. Those people dropped $5.3 billion here during that time. Looks to me like we get plenty of visitors already, spending a fraction of the cost on marketing compared to what it'd take to win an Olympic bid (Chicago dropped $50 million for their failed campaign to win the 2016 Summer Games) let alone host the Games themselves.
So....who needs them? Not us.
For 2018 we’re going to be doing a new feature every Friday for This Is Colorado. As we consider ourselves to be connoisseurs of culture around here, we figured that we’d start putting that to use. What you’ll find in this segment every Friday will be a bit of a travel guide; a blueprint for where to take someone from out of state if you find yourself in one of these towns. Eat, drink, touristy sightseeing activities, the basics. Where you go once you’re actually there is up to you, we’re just here to nudge you in the right direction. Some of these recommendations come from us personally, and some come from residents of that city.
Olympic Town, USA. The Springs. Located just 60 miles south of Denver, the county seat of El Paso county has consistently been among the fastest growing cities in the U.S. for the last decade, and in that same timeframe it's also been voted among the best mid-sized cities to live in. Here are some places to take those out of town friends.
Garden of the Gods 1805 N 30th St, Colorado Springs, CO 80904
This one is a no-brainer. People come from all over the world to marvel at the natural beauty of the rock formations contained within the park. There are plenty of trails for hiking as well.
United States Air Force Academy
This place is more geared towards anyone with an interest in military history/aviation. However, as one of only five federal service academies in the United States, touring the campus is an interesting and invigorating experience no matter what your initial interest level.
US Olympic Training Center 1 Olympic Plaza, Colorado Springs, CO 80909
Team USA is headquartered here. The team who has far and away the most gold/overall medals in Olympic history. Why not see where the world's most dominant athletes go to hone their craft?
Rasta Pasta 405 N Tejon St Colorado Springs, CO 80903
This one comes from a local. This mashup spot melds Caribbean flavor and recipes with traditional pasta dishes, and also has quite the lineup of mixed drinks as well. Venture off the beaten path a bit and give it a shot.
Jack Quinn's 21 S Tejon St, Colorado Springs, CO 80903
Everyone loves a good Irish pub, and you won't find a better one if you're in the downtown area of the Springs. Sliante!
Supernova 111 E Boulder St, Colorado Springs, CO 80903
Another recommendation coming from a local, barcades such as these have become immensely popular within the last decade, so go indulge your inner child as well as inner adult.
With 2018 approaching fast, everyone is going about the inevitable process of creating resolutions to stick to for the new year. We’ve all be there before, making resolutions such as:
Lose Weight and Get Fit
Learn Something New
Eat Healthier and Diet
Get Out of Debt and Save Money
Spend More Time with Family
Travel to New Places
Be Less Stressed
The list goes on and on. And while all of these resolutions are noble undertakings, they often fall by the wayside for a multitude of reasons. We’re not going to dwell on those, however. Oftentimes the problem isn’t necessarily the resolutions themselves, rather it’s their collective magnitude.
Like a lot of people I have a way of getting ahead of myself, and making lists such as these is one of the ways in which I do so. So it made me wonder, what if all of these were boiled down into one actual resolution that encompassed all of these at once? Instead of making a list, just establish a mantra.
And so I gained a resolution, one which I’d like to share with you all as i believe it can go a long way towards establishing positive momentum for all of us in the New Year, and it boils down to one word: risk. Take risks. Now as a verb, the fundamental definition of this word reads “expose (someone or something valued) to danger, harm, or loss.” And while some of that rings true within this context, a lot of it doesn’t. What I mean by risk is stepping outside of your comfort zone: in your thoughts, emotions, actions, and environment. Stop doing what you’re used to doing. Try some wrong. Think of how this applies to just the common resolutions listed above: the risk involved with losing weight would be getting your ass up and hitting the gym. The risk involved with healthier eating might be to give up those comfort foods in favor of something unfamiliar that’s actually healthy for you, and so on and so forth.
So that’s my goal for 2018: take risks. Live authentically. I'll check back in a year and let you all know how it worked out.
It's the most wonderful time of the year Cultureheads! That time of company Christmas parties/relatives/awkward conversations that you'd rather avoid, and terrible food/drink items you'd rather not eat/drink (looking at you holiday fruitcakes/eggnog). But it's also the time where we can gather around the warm hearth which is the internet and debate what our favorite Christmas-themed movies are. It should be noted however, that this list is 100% subjective. These are the top-10 according to me. So that's why some of your own personal favorites have been omitted - for example: all due respect to Dr. Seuss and Chris van Allsburg, but 90-minute movies adapted from picture books aren't exactly my thing, so sorry Polar Express and the Grinch, maybe if SAG writers were better they'd be able to flesh the material out a bit more. You won't find anything based off of A Christmas Carol here, because that's a horribly depressing story written by a horribly depressing guy (Charles Dickens) who lived in a horribly depressing time and place (Victorian Era England). There's no The Santa Clause because nothing starring Tim Allen will ever have a place on any best-of list in my mind, hypothetical or otherwise. And lastly, The Nightmare Before Christmas is a Halloween movie. A fantastic one at that, but still a Halloween movie nonetheless. Now that we've got that covered, let's get to listing/arguing shall we?
10. It's A Wonderful Life (1946)
A few of these were included simply for sentiment or other similar reasons, and Frank Capra's film about depressed familyman George Bailey is one of them. This is by far the oldest flick on this list, and the staying power which it possesses is due entirely to the message: the holidays can be a hard time on a lot of people, and it's so much more important to be thankful for what you DO have rather than dwell on what you don't. Ok I'm going to stop now before I get too overly sentimental.
9. Jingle All the Way (1996)
This one can be filed under the "so bad it's good" category. Any movie featuring any kind of Arnold monologue is chock-full of comedic value, whether you see the irony or not. Plus you've got Sinbad, the late Phil Hartman (who usually was able to rise above any material given to him, as such his turn as the creepy, adult-Eddie Haskell-esque neighbor is better than anyone else could've done with it), the whiny kid who would later show up as kid Anakin Skywalker and help to ruin the first Star Wars prequel, plus the self-righteous knowledge that the mad dash for Christmas toy-fad purchases is something we totally left in the '90s. Just order it from Amazon Now, and this movie would've been over in 10 minutes. Idiots.
8. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)
This carries the distinction as the only non live-action AND the only made for TV movie to grace this list. Forget the tired storyline that really only proved good to ridicule acne-ridden siblings once I got older, it's the ancillary characters that make this movie. Yukon Cornelius remains the best and most heroic sidekick out of any Christmas movie ever made, and the entire Island of Misfit toys (led by fan-favorite Charlie-in-the-Box) inspired a parody from Trey Parker and Matt Stone. When those guys make fun of you 40-plus years later, you know you're still relevant.
7. Gremlins (1984)
People aren't supposed to eat after midnight, neither are pets purchased in Chinatown and voiced by Howie Mandel. This is the first movie on this list that merely uses Christmas as a backdrop rather than a focal point, and the decision by director Joe Dante, producer Steven Spielberg, and writer Chris Columbus to use the holidays as a satirical device is one which lends the perfect amount of dark comedy to what otherwise would be considered a horror movie. Don't want your kids awake and snooping for presents on Christmas Eve? Show them this. They'll stay in bed until morning, I promise.
6. Elf (2003)
Think Crocodile Dundee or Coming to America except for kids. New York City can be by all accounts large, harsh, and stifling - especially for someone who comes from halfway around the world. Add a heavy dose of family-friendly Christmas spirit to that classic "fish out of water" plot device and you have this movie. Will Ferrell was still on the cusp of actual stardom when this came out, and luckily this proved to be a perfect vehicle for him to use those improv skills honed via the Second City and Saturday Night Live to chew up scenery. Jon Favreau is also about as even-handed and versatile a director as you can find, and you can also catch Tyrion Lannister in an un-credited cameo. This movie still makes me smile.
5. A Christmas Story (1983)
Whether you actually like this movie or not, I guarantee you know at least one person who subscribes to the 24-hour Christmas Day broadcast of this movie to watch little Ralphie Parker's quest to get himself a bb-gun for Christmas, plus learn some life lessons in the process. Fun fact: star Peter Billingsley grew up to be a close friend of, and frequent collaborator with, Vince Vaughn AND Elf director John Favreau.
4. Home Alone (1990)
Aka a "A Lesson in A+ Parenting." I remember going to see this movie in theaters and being repeatedly yelled at by my Dad for spilling my popcorn multiple times, so I found a kindred spirit in the character of Kevin McAllister, plus you know...same first name too. Well-written, well-cast, and well-acted, this remains one of the quintessential watches of the holiday season. However, the release is still something that puzzles me, as it came out after Joe Pesci's role as Tommy DeVito in GoodFellas, so it makes me wonder how the climactic break-in didn't mean a swift and violent end for little Kevin. Let's just blame that moron Marv. That works.
3. Bad Santa (2003)
Funny story: my boss in college took his wife and middle-school aged kids to see this movie in theaters because he figured it was typical Christmas fare. They lasted 20 minutes before he ushered them all out of the theater. The "R" rating plus the presence of BILLY BOB THORNTON would've been my first clues to the contrary, but I digress. It's Christmas fare, but it's anything but typical. This remains one of the funniest movies I have ever seen, Christmas-related or otherwise. The casting was perfect, as it's right in every single actor's wheelhouse: Billy Bob, Tony Cox, Bernie Mac, John Ritter, Lauren Graham (way to break out of that Golden Girls typecasting), even down to the kid who plays Thurman Merman. I haven't watched this in a while, and definitely plan to at some point this weekend.
2. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989)
Clark Griswold's mission to provide his family with overly sentimental experiences culminates in this Christmas classic, with even more eccentric family members and annoying characters (Julia Louis-Dreyfus as one of his snobby neighbors comes to mind) brought along to royally fuck his world up. Clark ends up prevailing, as always, but watching him do so results in one of the most quotable Christmas movies of all time. To wit: "It's not going in our yard, Russ. It's going in our living room."
1. Die Hard (1988)
This is it. This is the Granddaddy of all Christmas movies. Not only is it the most polarizing because of this classification, but it's also the most entertaining. To make my argument for it as Christmas movie however, I'd like to point out these facts to any naysayers. It takes place on Christmas Eve. The soundtrack is all Christmas music, save for Beethooven's "Ode to Joy." It's full of Christmas dialogue such as "now I have a machine gun. Ho ho ho." It features Bruce Willis and Alan Rickman in arguably their most iconic career film roles (shit even Carl Winslow from Family Matters shows up in here), so what else do you need? Yipee ki yay, motherfuckers.
As 2017 comes to a close, we’re living in a much different world than we did at the start of it: for a multitude of reasons. A string of allegations against the likes of Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Louis CK, et al have shown a spotlight on sexual abuse and harassment in Hollywood, and as those stories progressed we sadly found out that these incidents aren’t confined to just the film industry, and continue to pervade most aspects of our modern society to date. The scrutiny which followed brought escalating attention to the issue, culminating in Time Magazine giving their “Person of the Year” distinction to all of the women who decided to break their silence and share their stories.
Personally, I’m of the school of thought that doesn’t want this issue to go away: as I think it’s important that we as a people are always aware of how we treat each other. But sadly it’s not going to go away because of that, it’s going to persist because some people still just don’t get it.
To dive into some digital dirt now, last night on Facebook some friends of mine were posting in regards to some comments made by the personal account of Philadelphia-based DJ Subtronics (real name Jesse Kardon). In these comments he was making remarks about West Coast DJ/Producer Whipped Cream (who was recently brought to Denver by our friends at Buttered Toast), discussing her physical appearance with some other ock (who busted out the totally panty-dropping line “lemme smash” before tagging her music page) then debating whether or not she deserved a certain time-slot and only got it because of her looks. The post has since been taken down, however I can quote: she’s “some hot girl with a manager who bullies her into slots she doesn’t deserve that’s my guess cuz Ive never heard of her” and “16 likes on the announcement post but a better time slot than everyone who’s actually pulling the crowd. Fuck I hate this industry lol.”
In all honesty, this whole thing smacks of jealousy. After doing an apples to apples comparison (which was painful as “riddim tings” are admittedly not my tings at all), Subtronics as a producer just isn’t up to snuff. And to suggest that a woman has a better time slot simply because she’s a female is lending way too much credit to your own miniscule talent, Jesse. For what it’s worth, here are some other female DJs/Producers in addition to Whipped Cream who will get a better time slot than you 10 times out of 10 because you wouldn’t be able to hang with them in the studio or on the decks: listed in random order and also non-genre specific as this was all written off of the top of my head. Click any name in order to get to their respective SoundCloud pages, however.
Maya Jane Coles
The Black Madonna
Aviva (SHOUTOUT TO LOCALS)
It’s because of this chauvinistic attitude that women have to work twice as hard to get where they are in the music industry, and to continue to display it after all that has transpired this year (plus it’s almost 2018) is unacceptable, and so far the backlash resulting from these comments has been well-deserved. Hope it was worth it, Jesse.
For even more perspective on this matter, I’d like to point you all to this extremely well-written article via Huffington Post (from a female sound engineer). I'd elaborate more on the topic but as I'm not female, I can't accurately put to words what it's like to be treated in such a way. All I know is that it's bullshit, and I sincerely hope we can all do better going forward. That being said: keep killing it out there ladies, we respect your hustle and love what you do!
(Photo Credit: Electric Love Music Festival)
Even if you're not the most festive of people, you can always enjoy a good theme party. Since it's December, we've clearly waded into ugly sweater territory. And since I've got an ugly sweater in my closet which I dust off and wear out once or twice a year around this time, it got me wanting to look for some other funny ones that you all can possibly purchase in order to be a hit at your next party. Shit, wear one of these to a non-themed party and then you'll be funny AND ironic. Whatever your pleasure, we've got movie-themed sweaters, rappers, sweaters that can turn into a drinking game, and then a couple of them that manage to look uglier than sin AND uncomfortable as shit. It's important to note however, my own ugly sweater isn't on this list as I'm pretty sure I'm the only person in Denver who has it, so too bad.
Everybody knows about the prototypical Christmas activities to do around here: Blossoms of Light at the Botanic Gardens, ZooLights at the Denver Zoo, various Santa's workshops, going to a performance of The Nutcracker, skating rinks, etc. Those are all well and good, but we're always looking to get into things that are a bit more off of the beaten path. So here are a few suggestions to help get you into that Christmas spirit! (Cover photo by J. Mimna Photography).
Denver Christkindl Market
Running from November 17th through December 23rd in downtown's Skyline Park, this market is styled after an old-world European Christmas village. You'll swear you were transported back to the old country, even if you're stopping in to grab some lunch on a Wednesday. They've got authentic German food, bier, and a litany of arts and crafts vendors: 30 in total. The market is open on Sunday through Thursday from 11 am to 7 pm, and on Friday and Saturday from 11 am to 9 pm. Prost! http://www.denverchristkindlmarket.com/
Friday Night Bazaar, 1717 E. 39th Ave. Denver, CO 80205
This holiday pop-up marketplace is presented by TheBigWonderful, with the main attraction being it's Colorado Bottle Shop and Tasting Room, offering up locally procured seleections of wine, ciders, and spirits. They've also got live music all night, and a bevy of food trucks to choose from. The final edition of Friday Night Bazaar is happening tonight however, so get down there from 4-10 pm, or you'll be forced to wait until next year. www.thebigwonderful.com
Alamo Drafthouse Holiday Movie Parties, Multiple Locations
If you've never been to Alamo Drafthouse before (they've got locations in both Littleton and Sloan's Lake), it's basically a full-serve restaurant coupled with a movie theater. Plus a full bar. Until December 19th, you can go take in holiday classics like A Christmas Story, Home Alone, Elf, and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. They've regrettably omitted Die Hard from their rotation, and while that is arguably the greatest Christmas movie of all-time, you're still ensured to enjoy yourself. www.drafthouse.com
Tiny House Holiday Village, 8340 Northfield Blvd. Denver, CO 80238
This is another event which is coming up this weekend, so prudence dictates that you head out in case you want to catch it. While holiday villages are a mainstay on the Christmastime circuit, this one is intriguing because it is all about tiny houses and efficient living. The benefits of tiny houses are well documented, but if you don't believe us - fork over the $5 for admission and talk to one of the panel of tiny house professionals that will be available at this expo. This event lasts from 10 am to 6 pm all weekend. Tickets are available here.
This is exactly what is sounds like. A convention of Santas and their elves. And while the activities here are loosely defined, I can attest that the San Francisco version of this event last year got....interesting. I'd elaborate but I think I'd ruin any possible surprises that are in store. It's scheduled for Saturday, December 23rd. So go get your Kris Kringle on, after all...it's free. https://www.santacon.info/Denver-CO/
Earlier this week, our fearless leader (who diligently follows every Colorado-themed social media page...because somebody has to do it) caught one of the myriad Facebook pages dedicated to Colorado nature photography pulling a fast one - COUGH Love Colorado COUGH. They had harvested a stock image of the Baatara Gorge waterfall/Cave of Three Bridges located in Tannourine, Lebanon and tried to pass it off as Timberline Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park to gather a bunch of likes and attention. Check the two photos below, and see for yourself which one is Colorado and which one isn't.
We get it ok? Social media is all about garnering attention. It feeds the inner narcissist in all of us. We're not even saying that there is anything inherently wrong with that. What grinds our gears the most however, is people going about that the wrong way. And Love Colorado isn't the only page we've caught doing that - we'd list them all here but there are literally too many to count and that would take away from the point. So we just wanted to dedicate this post to the people who truly appreciate this great state we live in, and give you all some authentic images to look at. Photo credits are as follows (but in no particular order): Josh Noreen, Bryan Verschoor, Andy Immerman, Allie Conklin, Somer Mock, Matt England, Brendan Bell, and myself. These are not stock internet images: we took these because we actually live here, go to these places, and see these things in real life. Feel free to give our Instagram a follow @coloradoculture for more images just like this, and enjoy!
We published an article earlier this week about the craft beer bubble, and that got us thinking a bit. Colorado is a state known for producing a large quantity of quality craft brews, but what about spirits? Since the weekend is upcoming, we figured we'd hit you with a list of places to indulge that other part of your palette.
Stranahan's Colorado Whiskey, 200 South Kalamath St. Denver, CO 80223
This distillery holds the title of producing the first whiskey ever produced by the state, and to this day Stranahan's is known for a smooth, distinct quality that makes it a favorite of transplants and natives alike. They've won numerous awards with this recipe, and continue to grow. They offer tastings and tours seven days a week, although for the weekends a reservation comes highly recommended, as this whiskey isn't exactly a secret anymore. www.stranahans.com
Mile High Spirits, 2201 Lawrence St. Denver, CO 80205
This downtown spot isn't your typical distillery, as it also functions as a full-service bar and event space. If it's simply craft cocktails you're after, hit them up any time to try any one of their custom concoctions, but if you're feeling a bit more social....then stick around for one of their concerts, crawfish boils, cornhole tournaments, etc. www.drinkmilehighspirits.com
Leopold Brothers, 5285 Joliet St. Denver, CO 80239
If this Northeast Denver spot didn't get their start in Ann Arbor before moving back to the 303 in 2008, they'd carry the distinction of being the oldest Colorado distillery. Unlike Stranahan's however, you're not limited to just whiskey. So pick your poison: whiskey, gin, vodka, fernet, absinthe, liqueur or even aperitivo (a fancy Italian word meaning before-dinner drink). They offer tours and tastings on the weekends from 11 am to 4 pm, and the cost of the tour also includes a $10 credit towards a bottle of your choosing at the end. Win-win. www.leopoldbros.com
Downslope Distilling, 6770 South Dawson Cr. Englewood, CO 80112
We're venturing out of Denver for the latter part of this list. Downslope has been making whiskey, cane vodka, rum, and gin since 2009, with the Double Diamond Whiskey being their signature creation. That terminology is significant because "while double diamond ski runs prove to be the most difficult, they also provide the most satisfaction when done well." How Colorado is that? Tours are available by appointment on weekends from noon to 5 pm. www.downslopedistilling.com
Vapor Distillery, 5311 Western Ave. #180, Boulder, CO 80301
This place prides itself in making their spirits in extremely small batches. And as any sophisticated boozehound knows, it's not necessarily always quantity that matters, but quality as well. So stop in and enjoy some of the rarest gin and/or vodka that you'll find in the state. Tours are offered Tuesday-Friday at 4pm, Saturdays and Sundays at 3 pm and 5 pm. www.vapordistillery.com
Black Canyon Distillery, 4340 CO-66. Longmont, CO 80504
This one is strictly for those who are after that sour mash, with five different variations of whiskey to choose from. All made from local Colorado grains and water, the prize piece of the lineup is the Black Canyon Winter Whiskey, which took home a gold at the Breckenridge craft spirits festival in 2015. Tours must be scheduled ahead of time, but their tasting room is open from 11 am to 5 pm on Mondays and Thursdays, as well as from 1 pm to 8 pm on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. www.blackcanyondistillery.com
By definition, sustainable living is a lifestyle that attempts to reduce an individual's or society's use of the earth's natural resources and personal resources. So what exactly does this mean? Well for starters, it can mean reducing your own carbon footprint by a variety of means: mainly alternate modes of transportation, creative energy consumption, and consuming foodstuffs as part of a diet geared towards this ultimate goal. Sounds great in theory, right? Well let’s delve a bit further shall we?
When you hear the word “recreation” what do you think of? For those who used to partake in team sports (myself included) those often come to mind. Others think of alpine sports as well. But how exactly do those contribute to a sustainable lifestyle? I’ll tell you a not-so-secret: a lot of them don’t. But one of them does: biking.
When considering this subject I think of a friend of mine’s wireless network password at their house and their explanation behind it. SkiHikeBike. They’re active people in that household, and those are their three favorite recreational activities ranked accordingly, with “bike” being the one which stood out to me most when considering this topic.
Most people have jobs, many of which require some sort of daily commute in order to get there on time. So why not bike it as long as it’s feasible? Many cities spearhead events such as “Bike to Work Day” or something similarly named at least once a year in order to raise further awareness as to the benefits that can be gained from relying less on your car to get around. Without regurgitating facts here, simply click on this link below, as all the facts are laid out right there:
You might not think of your daily work commute, or trip to the grocery store, or trip to the gym even as a form of recreation-but it is. And while you might make up a small portion of the population looking to make change to reduce your carbon footprint and increase the sustainability of your lifestyle dear reader, the important thing is that you do make the change. We’ve got to start somewhere (Boulder residents even tube to work one day a year), so that all of the wonderful recreational spots that we enjoy for activities that DON’T necessarily help the environment can continue to thrive for the enjoyment of us all.
Unless you've been living under a rock for the past few weeks, you know that the Ink! Coffee location in RiNo (I hate that acronym) has drawn much ire for their misguided attempt at marketing contained on the sign above. So much so that tagging the storefront and bricking their windows has become more common than actually going there for coffee. Regardless of their faux pas however, Ink! was never the best spot to get coffee in and around Denver anyway. So if you're tiring of all the social activism and in need of a pick-me-up, here are some other LOCAL places who are proud to be part of their neighborhood where you can go to do just that - and some of them even serve booze too, so go ahead and take notes here Ink! (NOTE: these are listed in no particular order).
Cafe Zuri, 3718 West 32nd Ave. Denver, CO 80211
This European-themed cafe and micro bar located smack dab in the middle of the Highlands offers some damn fine homemade pastries to go along with their wide selection of brews. They also have a wide selection of liquor/beer/liqueurs from the continent as well, if you're feeling aggressive.
Bellwether, 5126 East Colfax Ave. Denver, CO 80220
Keeping with the theme of places which offer a multitude of things, Bellwether functions not only as a coffee shop, but also a whiskey bar, a barber shop, and an event space. They also offer monthly memberships which come with all kinds of perks. Next time you find yourself in Park Hill, be sure to stop in.
Copper Door Coffee Roasters, 900 West 1st Ave. Denver, CO 80223
This place carries the distinction of not only brewing some of the finest coffee in the city, but also is one of the more progressive businesses of its kind: it's 100% owned and operated by women, it's 100% wind powered, and their coffee vendors benefit various wildlife conservation programs. Their location also makes it an ideal meetup spot if you plan to go check out some art on Santa Fe any time soon.
Novo Coffee, Various Locations
These guys have been operating in Denver since 2002, and their passion for coffee as well as spreading their knowledge of roasting and brewing has allowed them to expand to five different locations across Denver. Every location offers complimentary "cuppings" (or tastings for illiterates) and their central roastery on Larimer is open to the public every Friday from 1 to 4 pm.
Weathervane Cafe, 1725 East 17th Ave. Denver, CO 80128
This makes the list because it's a good breakfast spot, but also because they do one of the best cafe au laits this side of New Orleans. If you've never had coffee spiced with chicory before, try it here before you venture down to NOLA and hit the French Market.
Denver Bicycle Cafe, 1308 East 17th Ave. Denver, CO 80218
Another multi-use spot. They've got top notch coffee, a beer hall, AND a bike shop. Honestly, what else do you need?
Roostercat Coffee Company, Multiple Locations
This Cap Hill staple has since expanded from their original location to include an additional one on Broadway, and in doing so actually ELIMINATED sandwiches from their menu in order to focus entirely on brewing and serving the finest quality coffee. If that isn't commitment to your craft, then I don't know what is.
Bardo Coffee House, Multiple Locations
Another local spot that has recently expanded (the original location is on South Broadway, the new one in the Highlands), their bare-bones website states that they're too busy making coffee and espresso to make an actual site, but also that they're flat out not interested in making one. Points for humor and originality there, for sure. Also, their South Broadway location was a regular stop for me when a close friend of mine lived in Baker (he's since moved south to the Springs, sadly) and it never disappointed.
Crema Coffeehouse, 2862 Larimer St. Denver, CO 80205
Last and certainly not least, we have Crema. This is actually the place which sparked the decision to make this list. We don't only make listicles here, we have a lot of meetings and do a lot of interviews as well, and quite a few of those have gone down in this establishment, whether inside or in their courtyard. It's a great locally-owned spot, with quality coffee and quality menu items as well. If you really want to tell Ink! to piss off then go ahead and go here, because it's located directly across the block.
One major characteristic of anything that experiences explosive growth in popularity, there is always the underlying thought of “when will it end?” Maybe it’s due to the bubbles that we’ve already seen burst (dot coms, real estate, etc) that causes this skepticism, either way it’s not completely unfounded, especially with concern to two of the things that seemingly dominate our local culture of late: electronic music (more on that at a later date) and craft beer.
Who doesn’t love beer? It’s refreshing, tastes good, and always provides the desired effect to those who seek it. There is also a hobbyist aspect to it, with drinkers and brewers alike flocking to festivals, beer releases, and even backyard bbq’s to share their enthusiasm and down some Bob Barleys. But when is enough enough, or does too much prove to be too much (the symbolism here isn’t lost on us, either).
It comes down to one of the most basic economic principles: supply and demand. According to the National Brewers’ Association, yearly production (in barrels) of “craft” beer has almost tripled in the past decade- from about 8 million in 2006 to just under 25 million in 2016. And that was just the “regional” craft brews: your Fat Tire, Blue Moon, etc. With sales on a downward trend, the demand is clearly levelling off while the supply continues to rise.
Consider the previous craft beer boom of the 1980s and early 1990s (when virtually everything business related was booming). Since 1985, on a yearly basis the craft beer segment of the industry hadn’t experienced anything less than 20% growth, with some years amounting to as close to 60%, and topping out at over 100% in 1987. While the growth currently being experienced pales in comparison to this, the similarity lies in literally anyone and everyone with extra cash to throw around trying to get their own piece of the market share. And even when the growth slowed down (ultimately coming to a halt by 1994) contract brewers were shipping their brew to vendors regardless of demand.
As with any slowdown in a particular market, what that inevitably leads to is a backup of the supply chain: unsold beer going bad, brewers’ sales numbers dipping lower than their production numbers, and many brewers closing their doors. While variety is no doubt the spice of life, especially when it comes to sampling wares of the barley-variety, we’d advise that if you have a favorite brew, do your best to support them now, because at this point there’s no telling how soon their keg will be kicked.