Has anyone seen an escaped monkey? I've been scouring the papers for such information since a night at Brix (3000 East Third Avenue), when the little simian that has plagued periods of my drinking career was on the loose, relieving himself in my mouth after I passed out. (I've heard of some people whose drinking nemesi are birds, dogs, even cats -- one more reason to rid the world of felines.) Since my hangovers had been of lesser magnitude lately, I'd thought animal control had finally done its job -- but then I woke up Saturday with a familiar funk that sent me straight to the bathroom to shave my tongue and teeth.

Usually when the monkey visits me, it's anybody's guess which combination of cool adult beverages is responsible for the nasty taste in my mouth. This time, however, there was no doubt it was the Gulden Draak "beer" recommended by a Brix bartender who just happens to be the husband of a co-worker -- who I apparently so angered in the workplace that she and her spouse decided to kill me. A Belgian "beer" and industrial cleaner, Gulden Draak is fermented a second time in the bottle or keg in much the same way that milk curdles in the bottle after it's been in your fridge for a month past its expiration date. It's no coincidence that Gulden Draak translates to "Golden Dragon," since after a night of drinking it, you'll feel like you're breathing fire.

This evening started going wrong from the start when Kelly, the aforementioned co-worker, not only dropped her cell phone in the toilet, but actually flushed it. That meant we couldn't retrieve the phone numbers of the rest of our crew, because our means of communication had been transported to an alternate universe by a low-flow toilet. (Kelly's carrier is now conducting an extensive background check to ensure that she can handle the responsibility of owning a mobile phone.) And then I made the mistake of ordering beer in what is really a wine bar.



3000 East Third Avenue

Brix is named after the system that measures the sugar content of different solutions, including wine and Dr. Phil (no actual glucose content there, but a lethal concentration of saccharine). You can find electronic devices online that measure the Brix scale of any given liquid -- and if we'd had one with us, we would have tested Steve, one of the people we met at the bar(although there wasn't much sugar to this fellow, just cheese). He sidled up, bejeweled in the finest gangsta gold, and told a girl next to me that she had a nice "slicker" on. I didn't get his point and never got the chance to ask, because Steve was soon thrown out for trying to pick up women by telling them he was a refugee from New Orleans.

Brix is nestled in the heart of the most constipated part of Cherry Creek North. Yet the eclectic crowd -- including a high concentration of attractive people with an obvious appreciation for drinks with abnormally high alcohol content -- makes this spot a great place for happy hour or a night dedicated to impressing the pants off your date. Just remember to minimize your own Brix score, and bring a toothbrush if you unwisely decide to indulge in Gulden Draak.


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