You'd think that all sorts of things would go with beer -- and you'd be right. But even the discerning beer connoisseur who swills Keystone Light recognizes that while a plethora of items and activities complement a brew, there's still a right and a wrong way to consume the stuff. Poorly chosen companionship, bad food and the wrong venue can instantly ruin the otherwise best-laid plans.
We recently decided to take our disaster to the Denver ChopHouse & Brewery (1735 19th Street), figuring that a place known for its steaks that also makes its own beer would meet all basic guy needs, short of guaranteeing that an attractive person of the opposite gender would be available to send us on the walk of shame the next morning. We did not go in totally blind, though: Years ago, I'd pushed the limits of good taste at this bar with a couple of Air Force Academy alumni on a break from our busy schedule of hazing and sexual deviancy. It was a Sunday night in winter, so the place was pretty dead -- which would have come as news to any passerby who stumbled on a decibel level close to that of an off-key heavy-metal act rehearsing.
Though much of that is a blur, it produced one of the greatest lines of all time, one that I will always remember. After propositioning a couple of attractive young ladies at the bar, one of our group got the well-deserved "We're lesbians" rebuff. Undaunted, he quickly delivered his answer: "Great -- we have something in common. I like [insert highly naughty gynecologic word here], too." To their credit, the women laughed and spent the rest of the night trading barbs in a collegial fashion -- though they did insist on a police escort to their car.
The ChopHouse was much more crowded this night than it had been on my last excursion, but we were still able to find a table by the bar. Although that bar has an impressive array of bourbons to choose from, most of us started out sampling the home brew. The pale ale was excellent. I should have stuck with it all night, but being the adventurous type, I had to try one of the seasonals called East German Gymnast Jockstrap Pilsner, which apparently had spoiled in the keg. I inhaled half of my appetizer just trying to distract myself from the afterburn.
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Busy as the place was, we didn't dominate the bar's conversation but wound up eavesdropping on a nearby birthday party. The ringleader was a fairly attractive young woman with a Southern accent. For those of you who are not guys, let me tell you that there are few things sexier than a Southern accent. A woman could ask us to nail our heads to the carpet, and as long as she sounded like Scarlet O'Hara, we'd do it. (By the way, the converse does not hold true: Guys with Southern accents sound like people who use possums as currency.)
Anyway, despite her superficial charms, Birthday Girl turned out to be the most annoying person in the Mountain Time Zone. We felt sorry for the others in her party -- especially her gray-haired grandmother -- even though they appeared rather oblivious to their teeth being drilled by her voice. I was so overwrought that I mistakenly sipped more of the Jockstrap Pilsner. Another guy in our group revised his earlier estimate that he might be able to enjoy this woman's company. "I think I'd rather sleep with the silver fox," he said. Go, Granny, go.
Except for our unfortunate neighbors, the ChopHouse proved the perfect end to an après-ski day. Just like weekends and football, lap dances and bachelor parties, Taco Bell and three in the morning, and beer with just about anything, the ChopHouse marries good drink, good food and a good atmosphere into a night you'll struggle to remember for years to come.