Where: 200 South Kalamath, Denver CO
Don’t Miss: Their daily guided distillery tour through their production brew house, still house and rack house.
If there’s one thing that coincides with dating in Denver, it’s drinking. Whether you’ve been dating for four years or four days, everyone likes to have a little liquid courage to help ease the dating jitters. Lucky for Denverites, there is a wide assortment of local breweries and distilleries to choose from around the city. This week we headed to Stranahan’s, home of the first Colorado-Born Whiskey, to take their distillery tour. If there’s one thing that my boyfriend and I can agree on, it’s whiskey.
The tour begins in the entryway to Rackhouse Pub, the restaurant adjoined to Stranahan’s. Before I even fished out my ID to get checked by our tour guide, my boyfriend already pushed his way to the front of the group. Did I mention we enjoy whiskey? He was like a kid in a candy shop, if the kid was an engineer and totally geeked out about learning new distillery processes.
As we walked through the distillery and barrel rooms, our tour guide Anthony kept our attention by balancing a dialogue loaded with information and humor. He explained that Stranahan’s is able to produce as much whiskey in 5 years as Jack Daniels can produce in 4 hours. I also learned that it’s offensive to mix quality whiskey with something as evil as Cherry Coke Zero. By the time we arrived to the rack house, the room was extremely warm and filled with the scent of whiskey. So warm that I would not recommend wearing your brand new leather skinny pants on this date or you may end up a bit uncomfortable (which is an understatement). By the end of the tour, I was surprised to see how small their bottling “plant” actually is and that they rely on volunteers to help bottle. The entire tour lasted about an hour and I walked away with a new found appreciation for local whiskey and the hard work that Stranahan’s employees put into creating each batch. Especially after Anthony poured samples of Stranahan’s for us to toast the group.
What’s almost as great as the whiskey tour is the fact that this location also houses an amazing restaurant. Stranahan’s and Rackhouse Pub, have partnered up to create a one of a kind destination spot for locals and visitors alike. Stranahan’s brand ambassador Kristin Forsch called Rackhouse’s menu as “elevated pub food,” which was a spot on description. The menu featured typical pub food like pizza and burgers, but with an ingredient list that made it unique and very tasty. The Mac and Cheese was the best that I’ve had so far in Denver. Its five-cheese blend was sweet and savory at the same time, something that I didn’t think was possible for a mac. Rackhouse offers it as a side for all of their burgers and sandwiches so don’t pass it up.
If you’re looking for something sweeter, The Great Divide Yeti Bacon Brownie, made with The Great Divide’s Yeti Imperial Stout, was amazing. It had chunks of bacon in a warm, gooey brownie topped with whipped cream. No matter how full you think you may be after a meal at Rackhouse, there’s always room for bacon and chocolate.
When Rackhouse Pub owner Chris Rippe came over to say hello, we found out that he too was from Carbondale, very close to where my boyfriend grew up. I realized then that what makes Stranahan’s and Rackhouse Pub so great isn’t just their smooth whiskey or delicious food, but the fact that they are run by people who maintain their local roots while making a name for Colorado products across the country.
There’s an old Irish proverb that says, “What whiskey will not cure, there is no cure for.” With that said, a bottle of Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey now has a permanent residence in our liquor cabinet.
Photos by Crystal Rhea, 303 Magazine.