Best of Boulder East County — Drink

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Sue France

Wine Selection

POR WINE HOUSE

836 1/2 Main St., Louisville, 720-666-1386

Longmont Winner: Bin 46 Wine Bar & Restaurant

Honorable Mention: 2020 Food + Wine Bar (Longmont), Colterra Food & Wine (Niwot), Parma
Trattoria & Mozzarella Bar (Louisville)

Wine newbies and experienced oenophiles unite! Por Wine House has one of the largest wine-on-tap systems in the entire state. From the white wine menu, take your pick from classic chardonnays imported from the shores of California to the mountains of France; sweet rieslings from Germany; or zesty sauvignon blancs from New Zealand. Into red for the night? They’ve got the whole spectrum from full-bodied European and South American blends, to medium-bodied Californian selects and light-bodied pinot noirs. In the sparkling and sangria section, pick from a handful of European specialities. Any one is guaranteed to enrich and educate your evening.

 

STAFF PICK

Best marriage
proposal influenced by alcohol

WIBBY BREWING

209 Emery St., Longmont,
303-776-4594

At this year’s Great American Beer Festival, Longmont’s Wibby Brewing did East County proud by taking home a silver medal for their Moondoor Dunkel. But the win was quickly upstaged… by Wibby co-founder and brewmaster Ryan Wibby. Wibby dropped to one knee after he accepted the award and proposed to girlfriend Robin Bower while the crew was taking their celebratory photo on stage. She said yes, and the soon-to-be Wibby family is now proof positive that beer can be the rock on which a solid marriage is founded.

Sue France

Bar

WATERLOO

817 Main St., Louisville, 303-993-2094

Longmont Winner: Pumphouse Brewery & Restaurant

Honorable Mention: The Dickens Tavern (Longmont); Mudrock’s Tap & Tavern (Louisville); The Roost (Longmont)

Step into the heart of Old Town Louisville and stop in at Waterloo. The thick, brick walls, dim lighting, stage and full bar all add to an animated atmosphere. Sit with drinks outside under umbrellas to enjoy the afternoon, or enjoy live music over tacos, burgers or the local favorite verde chicken mac (all made from scratch) — paired, of course, with your favorite hand-made cocktails or one of the rotating beers on tap.

 

Coffee Roaster

OZO COFFEE Company

1232 S. Hover Road, Unit 400, Longmont, 720-600-6689

Runner Up, East County: Brewing Market Coffee

Louisville Winner: Paul’s Coffee & Tea
Lafayette Winner: Proper Grounds

Honorable Mention: Precision Pours (Louisville)

Our readers clearly agree that Ozo Coffee Company is the authority on coffee roasting around town. Their Lab & Training Center is certified through the Specialty Coffee Association, which likely explains why the drinks they serve up at their coffee houses are so damn good. Liquid gold is right, when coming from a gold standard process. Many classes are open to the public, so you can take a tour behind the scenes and learn the secrets behind their perfect roast.

 

Microbrewery

LEFT HAND BREWING COMPANY

1265 Boston Ave., Longmont, 303-772-0258

Runner Up, East County: Wibby Brewing

Lafayette Winner: Odd13 Brewing

Honorable Mention: 12Degree Brewing (Louisville); The Post Brewing Co. (Lafayette)

Some might say what sets a microbrewery apart from a normal brewery is the production size. Actually, that’s pretty accurate. But we think it’s also the tender love and care that microbreweries put into each and every bottle. With too many awards to count, it’s no surprise our readers are smitten with the high-quality brews that have poured from Left Hand Brewing Company’s taps. They craft a mean series of ales, porters, stouts, lagers, nitros, as well as a rotating fleet of seasonal brews to match the holidays. Pop into their tasting room or take a brewery tour, and good luck picking out just one, or two or three, to try.

 

Bloody Mary

LUCILE’S CREOLE CAFE

518 Kimbark St., Longmont, 303-774-9814

The bloody mary: a breakfast, a hangover cure, a lifestyle. Because of its myriad uses, it’s important that you find a good one. Luckily, Lucile’s has the drink mastered. Before Lucile’s Boulder location could serve alcohol, BW staffers would pile into cars and drive to Longmont just to partake in this magical elixir. Heck, we even do it still for old time’s sake. It’s something to behold: Lucile’s special seasoning decorates the rim, and skewers of drink accoutrements from okra to shrimp make this bloody mary the official mayor of Flavortown, U.S.A.

 

Latte

OZO COFFEE COMPANY

1232 S. Hover Road, Unit 400, Longmont, 720-600-6689

Louisville Winner: Vic’s

Honorable Mention: Brewing Market Coffee (Lafayette, Longmont); Paul’s Coffee & Tea (Louisville); Ziggi’s Coffee (Longmont)

It’s all in the flick of the wrist, or maybe that’s just what we think. You’ll have to ask the rockstar barista team at Ozo Coffee Company for the real trick behind their dreamy latte art. Don’t forget to peer into the milky white swirls before you start drinking. Because while their lattes are delicious, they look just as good. Better yet use all your senses to appreciate the beverage. Give it a whiff, a listen and maybe dip your finger in to feel the richness. But don’t forget to take a sip — that’s the best part.

 

Wine Bar

POR WINE HOUSE

836 1/2 Main St., Louisville, 720-666-1386

Longmont Winner: Bin 46 Wine Bar & Restaurant

Honorable Mention: 2020 Food + Wine Bar (Longmont);
Espresso Vino by Brewing Market (Lafayette)

Drinking wine by the glass is a time-honored tradition. Our readers say Por Wine House is the best place to do it. Aside from the obvious (the freedom to try more flavors and profiles), the wine is guaranteed fresh. When in a keg, the wine doesn’t lose any quality from oxidation or spoilage like it might while sitting in a bottle. You’ll waste less wine and use fewer bottles and corks, thereby saving money and reducing waste. Plus, service is speedier when your waiter doesn’t have to uncork the bottle. All of this is to say, with the extensive array of wine on tap, you’ll want to sit and stay a while.

Sue France

Margarita

EFRAIN’S MEXICAN RESTAURANT & Cantina

101 E. Cleveland St., Lafayette, 303-666-7544

Longmont Winner: 3 Margaritas 

Honorable Mention: Comida (Longmont); CyclHOPS Mexican Bike CANtina (Longmont); Lulu’s BBQ (Louisville)

With the amount of spice you can order at Efrain’s Mexican Restaurant & Cantina, a good margarita is practically a necessity. Cool your palate down with any of Efrain’s soothing margaritas. A few not to miss: the Gold Rush, a fabulous mixture of Cuervo Gold Tequila and Grand Marnier; the Ultimate, 1800 Reposado Tequila and Cointreau; and the Boulder’s Best, a smooth marg with Patron Silver Tequila and Cointreau. Whatever you choose, enjoy your margarita in a mason jar that’ll make you feel right at home, and safe from the flames.

Coffee House

OZO COFFEE COMPANY

1232 S. Hover Road, Suite 400, Longmont, 720-600-6689

Runner Up, East County: Ziggi’s Coffee

Louisville Winner: Bittersweet – Café & Confections 

Honorable Mention: East Simpson Coffee Co. (Lafayette); Vic’s (Louisville)

Coffee is an experience. Ozo Coffee Company never fails to remind you of this. Their speciality coffee house roasts their own beans fresh every week, giving you rich, deep and complex flavors that help keep you grounded all day, day after day. Their espresso drinks are strong and filled with flavor, and the full mocha menu tempts you to try something new each time you walk in. (Should you get the Star Gazer, a mix of maple syrup, star anise, caramel and dark chocolate, or try the Grasshopper, coffee with dark chocolate with frosted mint?) This year Ozo is celebrating 10 years in operation, elevating Boulder County’s daily grind one cup at a time.

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Cocktails

EMPIRE LOUNGE & RESTAURANT

816 Main St., Louisville, 303-665-2521

Longmont Winner: Martini’s Bistro

Honorable Mention: 24 Carrot Bistro (Erie); 740 Front (Louisville); The Roost (Longmont)

So, you’re going out and you want a good time. This is exactly what to expect at Empire Lounge. With variety and pizazz, Empire’s signature cocktails will be the star of the night. Looking for a bright, light cocktail? They’ve got you covered with the Spring Sour: Caprock Gin mixed with blueberry-basil puree, lime, lemon, simple syrup, egg white and bitters. Or are you desiring a more earthy taste? They’ve got that too with the Boulevardier, a concoction with Bulleit bourbon, Campari and Contratto rosso. Grab a drink and toast to a night well spent. Cheers.

 

Happy Hour

95A BISTRO & SUSHI

1381 Forest Park Circle, Lafayette, 303-665-3080

Longmont Winner: CyclHOPS Bike CANtina

Louisville Winner: Parma
Trattoria & Mozzarella Bar

Honorable Mention: Pumphouse Brewery (Longmont); Waterloo (Louisville)

When the clock strikes 3 p.m. you know what time it is: happy hour at 95a Bistro. Roll into the lively restaurant anytime before 7 p.m. to enjoy discounts on wine, cocktails, sushi and tapas. The best part is, they extend this glorious happy hour all day on Mondays, so come in at your own time, or just stick around all night to enjoy the special deals. No such thing as the Monday blues around here!

 

Teahouse

THE HUCKLEBERRY

700 Main St., Louisville, 303-666-8020

Runner Up, East County: Celestial Seasonings (Gunbarrel)

Honorable Mention: Paul’s Coffee & Tea (Louisville); The Stone Cup (Lyons); Thompson House Inn & Tea Room (Longmont)

If you wish teatime was treated with the same respect as it is in England, then head over to The Huckleberry. The hardwood floors and furnishing make you feel like you’re in a comfy nook at Grannie’s British countryside house, and the natural light streaming in adds to the cozy brightness that permeates the space. Settle in for The Huckleberry’s specialty afternoon tea and prepare to be amazed. Your table will be dressed in elegant linens and a bountiful tiered tower of their most delicious freshly baked pastries and tea sandwiches. All of this, of course, is served with a pot of their premium tea, brewed to perfection.