Brew news: Oktoberfest always reminds me of one splendid autumn evening when we sat in Munich's ridiculously touristy but fun Hoffbrau Haus with a bunch of eighty-year-old Germans who spoke not a lick of English. In lieu of verbal communication, they kept nodding their heads at us, grinning and drinking a toast--over and over again. I vaguely remember stumbling out of the place and walking past huge windows filled with slowly roasting dead animals. Before I'd quaffed all that beer, though, I'd tasted this amazing Regensburger sausage. Since then, I dreamed of re-creating that taste here at home--until I talked to Tango chef Peter St. John, who was born in Munich. When I asked how to make the Regensburger, his eyes lit up at the memory and then he said, "You need a buffalo grinder"--which turns out to be an enormous grinder that costs big bucks.
Oh, well. I drowned my sorrows last weekend by trying three new beers: Coors's Oktoberfest Marzen, the Fall Fest Ale from the Rockies Brewing Company and the Autumn Ale from Breckenridge Brewery. The Marzen was blah, pretty tasteless except for a nagging bitterness; Coors's last seasonal beer, the Weizenbier, was much better. The Fall Fest Ale was pale and mild, with a hopsy aftertaste. The Autumn Ale, however, was dark and rich with a more malty finish--just the thing to go with a spicy, greasy sausage. I love Oktober.
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Rocky Mountain high: But man does not live by beer alone. There's wine, too, as exhibited in a fun little book that recently crossed my desk. Rocky Mountain Wineries: A Travel Guide to the Wayside Vineyards is a down-to-earth guide written by Linda Collison and Bob Russell, both of whom make it clear they are not wine snobs. The Colorado section is a nice plug for wineries that are often ignored, and there are interesting character capsules of the people who own and operate them. The book costs $16.95; call 449-4919 to get a copy.
Leftovers: I never had the pleasure of visiting Jimmy Schmidt's last Rattlesnake Club here, so watching his return treated like the Second Coming has taken me by surprise. Still, I'm looking forward to his Rattlesnake Grill, scheduled to open in the Cherry Creek Shopping Center in a few weeks...One of my favorite chefs, Bradford Heap, has moved from the Pearl Street Inn in Boulder to Full Moon Grill and Pasta, also in Boulder, at 2525 Arapahoe Road. The previous Full Moon menu was a trendy, lackluster gathering of pastas and sandwiches; word is that Heap will inject his eclectic but sound talents into a revamping of the dishes...For those who know that the beef is just as great as the seafood at McCormick's Fish House and Bar, the seventh-anniversary dinner on October 6, featuring an all-you-can-eat steak-and-Dungeness-crab deal, should set the salivary glands in motion. The meal costs $19.87 (the year McCormick's opened in LoDo) and includes salad, bread, side dishes, dessert and coffee. Call 825-1107 to see if there are still seats left...Or dial 295-1225 and get a mobile meal from Daddio's Kitchen on Wheels, a weekends-only setup that owner Jimmy "Dr. Daddio" Walker (who also owns radio station KDKO) says will deliver ribs, catfish, burgers and fried turkey to--get this--anywhere. The order must be placed 24 hours in advance; remember to invite me.