The bar where I was meeting my chefs before the show was packed. The hearth-fire lighting glowed in prisms of condensation on the windows; jackets and scarves were hanging on hooks and draped over chairs. The five of us squeezed around the corner of the wide, hickory-topped bar, aged and oiled by elbows and worn smooth with conversation. I ordered my October-through-January standard: ten ounces of the Great Divide's Hibernation Ale pulled off the tap and a shot of Stranahan's Colorado Whiskey with two ice cubes. In Denver our air is thin, but our intoxicants are not. We have a culture of strong beer and strong whiskey, and I am extremely fortunate to be able to imbibe the creations of people I know and respect. This connection makes the love and appreciation of the drink that much deeper — and the buzz that much warmer. People continued to flow into the bar, blowing on their hands, stomping the snow off their shoes, looking for a place to sit. Like I said, the bar was packed, standing room only. I was happy with this,... More >>>