Zane Lamprey’s job is to drink.
You might know him from his show, “Three Sheets”, on The Travel Channel. The name of the show comes from the old expression “three sheets to the wind”, which means very, very drunk. And Zane’s show “Drinkng Made Easy” follows a similar theme.
“Drinking Made Easy” airs on Wednesday nights on Denver’s own HDNet. The 24-episode show chronicles Zane’s travels through 53 cities in 26 states, exploring drinking cultures and local watering holes at each location.
Zane came to Denver during the summer of 2010 accompanied by his drinking buddy, Steve McKenna. In our Mile High City and its surroundings, Zane gets a taste of the ever so popular Rio Grande margaritas, visits Avery, Wynkoop and New Belgium breweries, creates his own version of the Cheesman at Govnr’s Park Tavern, and takes a bite out of a Colorado delicacy – Rocky Mountain oysters.
I had the luxury of speaking with Zane to find out what he loved about each one of those places. Specifically, I found out that the man who has drank everywhere in this country really loves beer.
“My mission is to teach people about specific drinks and drinking cultures,” says Lamprey. So, when he visits New Belgium and Avery breweries, he gets the 411 on what goes into making beer. At Avery Brewing Co. In Boulder, Zane learns about their high alcohol percentage brews, which range from 15-18% alcohol. Before hopping behind the bar and testing out their brewskis, Zane learns about the methods and ingredients that go into make these Boulder beers.
Although Colorado’s microbrews are enticing, liquor is quicker. So, Zane visits a Colorado gem: Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant. Affectionately named, “The Rio”, this Mexican restaurant has a three margarita limit. I am a big fan of the “ManBerry” myself (strawberry and mango mixed together), and I know how dangerous these sugary cocktails can be. So when Zane told me “there’s a limit for a reason,” I couldn’t have agreed with him more. “Once you have one,” said the TV show host, “you can’t really taste the rest.”
Zane also hops over to Govnr’s Park Tavern, to feature their special drink, The Cheesman. The Cheesman is basically whatever the bartender feels like making. Like the menu says, it’s “kinda like the park…you never know what to expect.” The only thing one can be sure about when ordering The Cheesman is that you will be challenged to drinking a giant pitcher filled with “rums, vodkas, juices, and whatever else is handy.” So Zane took advantage of the flexibility that comes with this over-sized libation and gets his buddy Steve to suck down a lovely alcoholic medley featuring crème de minthe, butterscotch liquor, and bloody mary mix…just to name a few ingredients. Yikes. Is poor Steve a champ or does he yack? You’ll have to watch and see.
DME also features a segment in each show about local eats. Zane ventures west of town to The Woodcellar in Evergreen, where he is served a Rocky Mountain martini with a garish of – you guessed it – a Rocky Mountain 0yster. “Once it’s battered and fried, it’s really not so bad,” Zane said. But his drinking buddy Steve got the worst of it. Zane challenges him and Tabor, the owner of The Woodcellar, to a 10 minute Rocky Mountain Oyster eating contest. The catch? They weren’t battered. They weren’t fried. They weren’t even cooked. Just raw bull testicles. “It was amazing,” Zane recalls. Hmmm…amazingly disgusting, perhaps?
So, for the man who’s had a cocktail or a beer in every major city in this country, how does Denver rate? “Denver rates at the top,” he says. “You can really get a great experience exploring drinking cultures in Denver.” Zane also mentioned that he is, with little surprise, a big fan of Denver’s Great American Beer Festival. He’ll definitely be back to the 303 to continue his drinking adventures as an international cocktail consultant. All in a day’s work…
The show airs on Wednesday January 26 on HDNet. Govnr’s Park will be hosting a premiere party starting at 5 pm. Attendance is open, so stop in and try the Cheesman out for yourself.