Best of Boulder 2022 — Drink

0

Craft Brewery

Avery Brewing Co

4910 Nautilus Court, Boulder, 303-440-4324

Silver: Upslope Brewery

Bronze: Mountain Sun Pubs & Breweries

The award-winning Avery Brewing Co has been serving the county for nearly 30 years now, with a palatial brewery and tasting room in Gunbarrel enticing our readers to sample their sumptuous suds in snow or sun. From barrel-aged beers to hefty pours like the Maharaja Imperial IPA and The Reverend Belgian-Style Quad, and numerous unique brews in the tasting room, Avery continues to be our readers’ choice for best craft brewery.

Cidery

Acreage Ciderhouse & Eatery

1380 Horizon Ave., Unit A, Lafayette, 303-227-3243

Silver: St. Vrain Cidery

Bronze: BoCo Cider

Real Dry Apple Cider is a name that tells you the truth on the can: a tart, clean hard cider without an ounce of sweetness. But that’s only one choice from the wide selection at Stem Ciders’ Acreage Ciderhouse & Eatery in Lafayette, chosen by our readers for best cidery. With views of the Front Range and the Rockies peeking out behind them, as well as wine, food and cocktails, it makes sense that Boulder Weekly readers keep choosing Acreage again and again.

Bar

The Bitter Bar

835 Walnut St., Boulder

Silver: Rayback Collective

Bronze: License No. 1

Write-in: Sanitas Brewing Company

Bitter Bar is Boulder’s place to drink, according to our readers. Comfortable patios outside and inviting booths inside, a relatively easy-access location in downtown Boulder and a knowledgeable staff are just a few of the reasons to choose Bitter Bar as Boulder’s best booze hub. Add in a menu selection with a little something for everyone, and that’s why our readers chose Bitter Bar as the best of the best.

Happy Hour

The Boulder Cork

3295 30th St., Boulder, 303-443-9505

Silver: Hapa Sushi Grill and Sake Bar

Bronze: Mountain Sun Pubs & Breweries

Write-in: Farow

Too early for dinner means it’s just the right time for happy hour, and our readers say The Boulder Cork is the place with the happiest of hours. Enticing appetizers, shared plates and entrees wait to be washed down with a reasonably priced list of libations that won’t break a budget. Some of the happy hour offerings aren’t available on the regular dinner menu, so make sure your belly is happier than usual.

Coffee Roaster

OZO Coffee Company

Multiple Locations

Silver: Boxcar Coffee Roasters

Bronze: Brewing Market Coffee and Tea

Write-in: Gabee Coffee Roaster

With its commitment to ethically and sustainably sourced organic coffees, our readers yet again decided OZO Coffee Company is the best for local beans. Whether you’re looking for a single-origin roast to go with breakfast or a blend of espresso for your home latte, OZO has it covered. Add in sample packs and a subscription service, OZO coffee drinkers have myriad choices to explore from around the world right here in Boulder County.

Coffee House

OZO Coffee Company

Multiple Locations

Silver: Laughing Goat Coffeehouse

Bronze: Boxcar Coffee Roasters

Write-in: East Simpson Coffee Co.

With five locations—four in Boulder and one in Longmont—our readers say OZO Coffee Company is the best coffee house in the county. With an extensive menu of coffee, espresso, pastries and teas served up by a knowledgeable staff, OZO can be the caffeinated hub for a small social gathering or study session. As the company continues to grow, one of their locations ought to have an open table waiting for you.

Distillery

Spirit Hound Distillers

4196 Ute Highway, Lyons, 303-823-5696

Silver: DV8 Distillery

Bronze: DEKI Spirits (formerly 12 Point Distillery)

Another year of grain-to-glass whiskeys from barrel to bottle, our readers make Spirit Hound Distillers their number one distillery in the county. Cozied up in Lyons off Colo. 66, Spirit Hound has live music, science classes and a lot of character to go with their clever cocktails and Colorado whiskies. Rum, vodka, gin and a coffee liqueur round out the decade-old distillery’s portfolio, giving your friends something to drink while you sip single malt neat.

Cocktails

Bitter Bar

835 Walnut St., Boulder

Silver: License No. 1

Bronze: St Julien Hotel & Spa

Not just the best bar, Bitter Bar was our reader’s number one choice for cocktails in the county. From riffs on classic cocktails, like the Bouldervardier or the boozed-up snow cone that is a Snowgroni, to unique offerings like the Fire & Ice or Kiss the Sky, it would be easy enough to while away the hours sampling spirited libations.

Margarita

Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant

1101 Walnut St., Boulder, 303-444-3690

Silver: Efrain’s of Boulder Mexican Restaurant & Cantina

Bronze: Jefe’s Tacos & Tequila

Every bar has a margarita or two, salt on the rim and a splash of lime, but that doesn’t make it good. Our readers think Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant has the best in Boulder, though, with plenty of varieties to choose from. From classic margs and frozen mango to house-aged tequilas, Rio Grande has them ready to pour. Spice it up with some fresh jalapeno or get a little smokey with some mezcal—just save some room for chips and queso.

Latte/Mocha

OZO Coffee Company

Multiple Locations

Silver: Laughing Goat Coffeehouse

Bronze: Boxcar Coffee Roasters

Write-in: Gabee Coffee Roaster

Our readers have discerning tastes, so they chose OZO Coffee Company for the best latte and mocha in the county. Whether it’s a cappuccino with extra foam or a selection off the extensive specialty mocha list, our readers find a reason to keep coming back. That OZO’s latte selection is backed by a curated and fine-tuned espresso blend certainly adds to the appeal.

Wine Selection

Frasca Food & Wine

1738 Pearl St., Boulder, 303-442-6966

Silver: Flagstaff House

Bronze: /pôr/ Wine House

By the glass or by the bottle, Frasca Food & Wine is where our readers go for the best wine selection in Boulder. The extensive wine list is nearly 40 pages long, a daunting prospect eased by knowledgeable service staff that can guide even the most inexperienced wine drinker to a delicious pour. 

Beer Selection at a Restaurant

Mountain Sun Pubs & Breweries

Multiple Locations

Silver: Backcountry Pizza and Tap House

Bronze: Oskar Blues Brewery

A beer for every season (and several during Stout Month) is a good indicator of why our readers chose Mountain Sun Pubs & Breweries for the best beer selection in Boulder. With a steady selection of crowd-pleasers that include housemade brews, rotating specials and numerous guest taps that vary between locations, the Mountain Sun family have plenty of suds to go with your meals.

Teahouse

The Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse

1770 13th St., Boulder, 303-442-4993

Silver: Ku Cha House of Tea

Bronze: Celestial Seasonings

Our refined readers selected the ornately carved walls of The Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse as their number one spot for sipping teas and chais. The historic downtown location has served the county since the late ’80s, with a globe-spanning selection of tea that appeals to a broad array of palates. Reserve a spot for afternoon tea, stop in for lunch or just settle in with a good book and a nice cup of chai.

Juice/Smoothie Bar

Wonder Press

Multiple Locations

Silver: Jamba Juice

Bronze: Whole Sol Blend Bar

You walk out of a west-Boulder storefront with a Green Monkey in one hand, a Red Balloon in the other. It’s not the start of a joke, just a couple of smoothies from our readers’ favorite spot, Wonder Press. The self-identified wellness cafe has dozens of options to make a tasty and healthy smoothie to brighten your day, from proteins and juices to mushrooms, berries and herbs. Two Boulder locations—one on Pearl and another near 55th and Arapahoe—make it easy to get your Green Monkey on. 

Winner Spotlight: A warm cup of community at OZO Coffee

There are dozens of excellent coffee shops in Boulder County. Whether you go for the atmosphere or your perfect cup of coffee, sometimes it can be hard to choose. But Boulder Weekly’s readers have gravitated to OZO Coffee year after year, and this year is no different. Our readers voted OZO the best across each coffee category this year, from roastery and coffee house to their favorite latte and mocha in the county.

From the original location at 55th Street and Arapahoe Avenue, where OZO Coffee first opened its doors in 2007, the company has seen a steady expansion to five locations in Boulder and Longmont. The first cafe is still there, but the growth hasn’t been limited to just new shops. OZO has delved into online subscriptions and expanded wholesale opportunities throughout the state, even delving into the world of instant coffee.

Ozo barista Mackenzie Connick pours a strong latte.

The next steps for OZO will be focused on building up from within, rather than an outward expansion, according to OZO Social Coordinator Rebekah Hartman, including environmental and social responsibilities.

“The coffee community in Boulder County has transformed since we opened our doors (on Arapahoe Avenue) and we are super stoked to be part of the innovation, especially regarding sustainability and discovering better methods for our packaging and environmental impact,” Hartman says.

On the grand scale, Hartman explains, that translates to continued care and quality throughout OZO’s supply chain and building strong relationships with the coffee farmers across the globe. OZO’s coffees are certified Organic and Fair Trade, but the work can always continue. 

“The future of OZO is all about strength and building back an even stronger community,” she says. “We’re setting big goals emphasizing environmental, social responsibility and social justice.”

At the more local level, Hartman says the shops will be bringing in more live, local music and events. In particular, the company will work to amplify and support local nonprofits with fundraisers, donations and give-backs, beyond whole bean coffee supplies.

Our readers aren’t the only ones that love OZO Coffee, the sentiment extends to the staff as well. Garrett Leonnig, manager at OZO’s Longmont location, started with the company around 2015. Rising through the ranks, he continues to find joy and satisfaction working with the company.

“I’ve worked at a lot of different coffee shops along the way and I’ve never been anywhere where I’ve felt the owners had an investment in the company the way OZO does. That keeps me invested too,” Leonnig says. “If they care that much, it makes me care too. We have a shared vision of creating a nice community space that’s worked out really well for us.”

More than just coffee, Leonnig says making OZO shops a warm, welcoming place is paramount to their success. OZO’s staff strives to eliminate any sense of pretension or snobbery when it comes to coffee and espresso, he says, preferring instead to embrace a world grown familiar with Starbucks terminology.

“If you want a caramel macchiato (like Starbucks), we’ll help you find something close,” Leonnig says with a laugh.

That sense of warmth is shared by Leonnig’s staff as well. Barista Jodi Schoonover spoke highly of the company when it comes to employee care, continued education and how the beans themselves are sourced, but it’s the people that keep her coming in every day.

“The atmosphere really is warm and welcoming. Working in coffee in general is all about the human connection,” Schoonover says. “It’s fun to know all the regulars and have micro-conversations about their lives.”

Even with the Longmont location’s placement in the open-air Village at the Peaks, Schoonover says she appreciates how it still feels like a neighborhood coffee shop.

“It still has this neighborhood vibe. People bring in friends and family out of town,” she says. “Even when we’re busy on Saturdays and Sundays, it’s a good vibe.”  

— Matt Maenpaa

Ozo Coffee won in the following categories:

OZO Coffee Company, Multiple locations around Boulder County

COFFEE ROASTER

Silver: Boxcar Coffee Roasters

Bronze: Brewing Market Coffee and Tea

Write-in: Gabee Coffee Roaster

COFFEE HOUSE

Silver: Laughing Goat Coffeehouse

Bronze: Boxcar Coffee Roasters

Write-in: East Simpson Coffee Co.

LATTE/MOCHA

Silver: Laughing Goat Coffeehouse

Bronze: Boxcar Coffee Roasters

Write-in: Gabee Coffee Roaster

Previous articleFirst Sip boozes up a Boulder spring
Next articleQuickies