Tidbites | Week of September 12, 2013

The interior of the Shift Bar.
Photo by Aubrey Cornelius

Upgrades at the Rio Grande 

The Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant already had a perfect storm in its classic house margarita. But as we all know, you can never have too many ways to drink tequila. So the Rio Grande is unveiling new cocktails and additional menu items to accompany the opening of a new space.

The Shift Bar is converted from an office (but you’d have to ask to know) and a much smaller bar with a serving window. It’s a step up — well, actually, a full flight of stairs — from the more casual restaurant setting and a cozy location for private parties. Among the new cocktails is the Ranch Water, with silver tequila, soda water and lime, and, yes, the Perfect Storm, with tequila, ginger beer and … we forget. Cheers!

Pump it up

Finally, it’s not 95 degrees outside anymore. And just in time, for beer lovers looking forward to crisp air to accompany their pumpkin ales.

Pumpkin brews from scores of breweries are hitting liquor stores’ shelves across Boulder, and several local breweries are getting in the mix, of course. Upslope Brewing has announced the return of its Pumpkin Ale, which won gold at the Great American Beer Fest in 2011. The brewery will repeat last year’s recipe — while doubling it — in response to positive reviews last year. The beer will be tapped at the Flatiron Park taproom Sept. 12 and will be on sale Oct. 1 in four-packs.

Speaking of doubling, Avery’s Rumpkin is on its way as well. Rumpkin more than doubles the ABV of almost any other pumpkin ale out there, coming in at 18.5 percent. The rum-barrel-aged (get the name now?) pumpkin beer spent six months in rum barrels.

Only 617 cases of Rumpkin are available. It will be released in the Avery taproom at 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 22, and customers can purchase up to a case of the beer.

Good burger, low price

Colorado-based burger chain Larkburger will welcome students back to CU with a big discount: Burgers will be $2 all day on Saturday, Sept. 14.

All Boulder residents can participate in the special, which comes with a three-per-person limit and does not apply to online or call-in orders.

Larkburger, founded in Vail in 2006, makes the best burger in Boulder, according to voters in our 2013 Best of Boulder survey. The Boulder location is the only one of its 12 restaurants that will offer this special.

Green award on the way

Here’s yet another award that Boulder — or at least some restaurant in it — seems destined to win. The Nature Conservancy has announced that nominations are open for its Nature’s Plate award, which recognizes the state’s top “green” restaurant, as voted by the public. The second annual set of awards pits restaurants across Colorado against each other.

Anyone can nominate a restaurant on The Nature Conservancy’s website at http://nature.org/naturesplateCO.

Last year, the Dushanbe Teahouse won the award for the “Boulder/Denver area,” a Nature Conservancy press release says. Nominations are open until Sept. 16, voting will begin Oct. 1, and the winner will be announced Oct. 17.

Think inside the box

We here at Boulder Weekly were recently introduced to the dangers of Black Box Wine. In the interest of public awareness, we’d like to share what we learned.

The packaging of the California-based winery — which counts the Boulder/Denver area as its biggest market — makes it incredibly easy to decide you’ll have just a glass. Which, of course, only leads to another glass because the wine is quite good. And, because a Black Box has the equivalent of about four bottles, you can get into a lot of trouble with one box of wine, partly because you can’t see how much you’ve had.

Take it out of the box, and you have a bladder that compresses easily, to be tucked into your bag and snuck into coffee cups everywhere. Your cups, of course.