Best of Boulder County 2011 – Drinks



Mountain Sun/Southern Sun

1535 Pearl St., 303-546-0886

627 S. Broadway, 303-543-0886

Runner-up: Oskar Blues

Mountain Sun and Southern Sun Pub
and Brewery have the best beer selection in town, and everyone seems to
know it. Perpetually packed throughout the week, it can sometimes be
difficult to find a table — or even a comfy spot at the bar — at either
location. But a hearty meal, and a couple of fine crafted quality
beers, are always well worth the wait. Each pub offers a brew for every
beer-lover, from wheats and stouts to IPAs. After a hard day at work,
there’s nothing quite like spending time with a few friends and
indulging in a Belgian Dip Chocolate Stout, a Blackberry Wheat, or a
light and flavorful Quinn’s Golden Ale. Snagging second are the rich
craft brews at Oskar Blues Brewery in Lyons, and coming in third is Old
Chicago with its tour of beers from around the world. Walnut Brewery
takes home fourth-place honors, and Backcountry Pizza, which just
recently expended from Nederland into Boulder, took fifth place.


Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse

1770 13th St., 303-442-4993

Runner-up: Pekoe

to ancient legend, chai tea was first brewed as a healing elixir by a
king in the courts of India and later became frequently used in the
tradition of “ayurveda” alternative medicine in the East. But now, chai
tea is as common as a Subaru on the streets of Boulder: Every college
hipster and aging hippie is familiar with the drink. The Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse,
this year’s winner of the Best Chai Drink, has a particularly delicious
assortment. Their silky chai blends are both caffeinated and
decaffeinated and brewed in-house. Whether you’ve got a backpack or
bike helmet in hand and are looking for a chai fix, this teahouse is an
excellent choice. Our runner-up is the Pekoe Sip House, while third
place goes to the Laughing Goat Coffeehouse. Sherpa’s Adventurers
Restaurant and Bar was chosen fourth, and Ozo Coffee came in fifth


Bhakti Chai

Runner-up: Third Street Chai

First brewed in a single house in Nederland, Bhakti Chai
has grown to find its way to chai-lovers throughout the nation. This
“special” chai has a uniquely spicy taste and is made with a blend of
ingredients intended to invigorate the mind and body. Using black tea,
organic ginger, cloves, cardamom, black pepper and fennel, Bhakti
offers a wide variety of health benefits — from improved digestion and
circulation to a healthier heart, liver and lungs. Bhakti can be found
in local stores like Whole Foods Markets and is served in various cafés
throughout Boulder. The chai-obsessed might also consider ordering
Bhakti online. Locally brewed Third Street Chai comes in second for the
county’s best chai manufacturer, with a sweeter blend for those not so
keen on a strong ginger flavor.


The Laughing Goat

1709 Pearl St., 303-440-4628

Norlin Library, 1720 Pleasant St.

Runner-up: Ozo

switch from wine to coffee has been credited with sparking the French
Revolution. Yeah, caffeine is powerful stuff. Though we’re bit a less
dramatic when we load up on caffeine, our devotion to the brew is
equally fanatical. Coffee shops are places to congregate, interact with
fellow thinkers or just relax and read your favorite newspaper. The Laughing Goat
encompasses all these aspects and more, with ample seating, wi-fi and
fantastic coffee made by the Kaladi Brothers of Denver. It also offers
live music seven days a week, and its happy hour booze specials are not
to be missed. Ozo and its delicious, practically avant-garde coffees
come in second, and Vic’s, Starbucks and Amante take the third, fourth
and fifth spots.


The Mediterranean Restaurant

1002 Walnut St., 303-444-5335

Runner-up: Boulder Café

The happiest part about The Mediterranean Restaurant’s
Tapas Hour is that it lasts for three and a half — every day of the
week. Notable for its $4 red and white sangrias and similarly priced
well cocktails and featured wines, this colorful spot routinely
attracts hordes of ravenous Boulderites. Whatever the weather, the
restaurant’s “tapas calientes” and “tapas frias” are sure to satisfy
palates with options like mussels steamed with choice of lemon and
garlic or adobado and prosciutto-wrapped melon and Parmesan Reggiano.
For patrons who prefer people watching to prosciutto, the Boulder Café
takes second place in the polls and offers a patio and top shelf happy
hour from 3 p.m. to close every day during the winter months. Enjoy
seasonal oysters and alpine fondue with a half-priced local brew during
the time where gluttony is glory. Braserrie Ten Ten was voted third,
Mountain Sun/Southern Sun fourth, and Laudisio fifth.


Ozo Coffee

5340 Arapahoe Ave., 303-440-0233

1015 Pearl St., 303-645-4885

Runner-up: The Laughing Goat

are probably the most popular way to drink coffee, which means there
was a lot of competition this year in the best latte category. The
drink is simply steamed-milk and espresso, with varying amounts of
frothy milk thrown in for decoration, and the proper Italian name is caffè latte, which literally means “coffee-milk.” In a heated vote, our readers gave Ozo Coffee
the nod. Ozo Coffee roasts some of the most creative coffees in town,
and reading about their coffees is like being in a wine bar, with
descriptions like “big, syrupy mouthfeel” and “mild acidity and silky
body” peppering the menu. Their baristas are true coffee nerds, able to
navigate the surprisingly complex chemical processes required to use
advanced espresso machines and pull the perfect draw, all adding up to
the best latte you’ve ever tasted. Our voters chose The Laughing Goat’s
impeccable lattes for the runner-up spot. Amante Coffee, known for
their Italian flair, love of cyling and great lattes took third. The
ubiquitous Starbuck’s took fourth place, the always delicious Vic’s
snagged fifth place.


Jamba Juice

4760 Baseline Rd., 303-499-4760

3053 Arapahoe Ave., 303-247-1170

1695 29th St., 720-565-0407

3325 28th St., 303-938-1271

University Memorial Center, CU campus

Runner-up: Rush

In the midst of a long,
stressful day, nothing sounds more refreshing than a fruit smoothie. As
your mood begins to brighten after taking your first cooling sip of a Jamba Juice
smoothie, you also pat yourself on the back for choosing the healthier
alternative to your average milkshake. With smoothie names like Five
Fruit Frenzy, Pomegranate Paradise and Mango-a-go-go, plus any amount
of added boosts, such as protein, vitamins or energy, Jamba Juice will
make you feel ready to tackle the rest of your day. This is after the
cashier politely told you how to (finally) pronounce acai (Ah-Sigh-EE)
correctly. If you are craving a heartier smoothie, the runner-up Rush
will satisfy your hunger with one of their signature rush bowls, a
fruit blend topped with granola and honey. Third-place winner Glacier
Homemade Ice Cream & Gelato will cure your fruit craving with
smoothies made from their homemade sorbets and yogurts. Fourth place
goes to The Berry Best Smoothie Company, and fifth place goes to Inta
Juice Fruit Smoothies.


Rio Grande

1101 Walnut St., 303-444-3690

Runner-up: Zolo Grill

Was there ever any doubt? We once heard a longtime Rio Grande
barfly (OK, he’s an immediate family member) exclaim, after being
presented with a menu, “You mean this place serves food, too?” That’s
how amazing the margaritas are. You forget about the enchiladas. And
don’t call them “ritas,” because we’ll know you are from Texas. How
many other places have a sign proclaiming “Limit 3”? Trust us, if you
have three of these bad boys, you won’t be drinking anywhere else
without regretting it somehow. And they go down smooth. This is one of
those must-hit places when you want to spend a night celebrating with
friends. During the summer, the rooftop deck only adds to the
experience. The perennially popular Zolo Grill, with its expansive
selection of top shelf tequilas, is this year’s runner-up, followed by
Tahona in third. Efrain’s Mexican Restaurant took fourth place, and
Centro Latin Kitchen & Refreshment Palace was in fifth place.


The Kitchen

1039 Pearl St., 303-544-5973

Runner-up: Jax Fish House

Shaken, stirred or… sustainable? The Kitchen
has mastered the simplicity of comfortable classics and farm-to-table
dining and applies the same thought process to martinis as they do the
menu. The lychee martini is made with Tito’s vodka, an organic,
gluten-free option made in Austin, Texas, lime and lychee, an obscure
fruit, technically a nut, found in Asian markets. The complexity of the
lychee compliments the straightforward nature of The Kitchen’s approach
to beverages. For people who enjoy their drinks on the sweeter side,
the Persian Lemon martini is made from pama liqueur, Ketle one citron
and served with pineapple, lemon and, of course, a sugared rim. For
sips that are always sophisticated and sometimes sweet, The Kitchen is
Boulder’s choice for martinis that tantalize. Runner-up Jax Fish House
also serves a mean martini, and be sure to check out third-place Bacaro
Venetian Taverna, fourth-place the Corner Bar and fifth-place
Restaurant 4580 in North Boulder.


Mountain Sun/Southern Sun Pub & Brewery

1535 Pearl St., 303-546-0886

627 S. Broadway, 303-543-0886

Runner-up: Avery Brewing Co.

Like the voters, we’re kind of partial to Mountain Sun and Southern Sun
brew pubs, and not just because the latter is across the street and is
Boulder Weekly’s unofficial watering hole. In addition to their mighty
fine brews, we kind of like the idea that they are committed to keeping
televisions out so that the emphasis is on conversation and community.
What a concept! The Suns have collected six gold medals at the Great
American Beer Festival over the years, so you know the liquids are
tasty. And don’t even get us started on the burgers at the Southern
branch. Another longtime local favorite, the Avery Brewing Co., took
runner-up in this category, with Oskar Blues placing third, Left Hand
Brewing Co. in the fourth slot and Walnut Brewery in fifth.


Dushanbe Teahouse

1770 13th St., 303-442-4993

Runner-up: Pekoe

At first glance, the Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse’s
collage of colors can almost seem unreal. But take a closer look, and
you can see the building’s puzzle-like nature: each column and corner
carefully crafted and painted by craftsmen in our sister city to fit
together neatly. Like the building’s architecture, the tea menu
stretches across the color and flavor spectrum. On the menu are various
black, green, oolong and herbal teas; and for the avid tea-drinker, the
teahouse also sells packaged tea, as well as at-home brewing
accessories. Taking runner-up honors this year, with three locations
across Boulder, is Pekoe Sip House, known for its unique drink blends.
Taking third is the Boulder-born Celestial Seasonings. Ku Cha House of
Tea is fourth, and The Huckleberry rounds out the top five in fifth


Frasca Food and Wine

1738 Pearl St., 303-442-6966

Runner-up: Flagstaff House

In the entire world,
according to the grandly named Court of Master Sommeliers, there are
180 wine experts who have attained the elite title of “master.” In
order to earn the appellation, one must demonstrate a masterly
knowledge of how to properly serve wine and display encyclopedic
know-how of where and how wine is made. But what really separates the
two-buck-Chucks from the 200-buck-Joseph Phelps is the blind taste
test, where one blindly tastes six glasses of wine and, within 25
minutes, must identify what type of wine it is, where it came from and
what year it was made. That’s why the title is so rare, and why Frasca Food and Wine is
lucky to boast master sommelier Bobby Stuckey as co-owner. With an
expert like Stuckey micromanaging the list, other restaurants never
stood a chance. The Flagstaff House and its internationally acclaimed
wine list is this year’s runner-up. The Kitchen took third, with The
Mediterranean Restaurant in fourth, and Laudisio and The Cork tied for