Seven signs that Denver is obsessed with bacon
Several years ago, Purina started broadcasting a line of commercials featuring a dog awakened by the scent of Beggin' Strips. Not knowing the odor didn't belong to real bacon, the dog frantically ran through the house, then finally found a strip and exclaimed, "It's BACON!" But while dogs may not know it's not bacon, Denver diners certainly know when they've got a dish that contains the genuine article.
Here are seven signs that this city is obsessed with bacon.
Courtesy of the Berkshire
7) The Berkshire's bacon flight
The Berkshire Restaurant has been swine-obsessed for years, and its bacon flight remains one of its most popular items. Owner Andy Ganick was on a cross-country road trip when he thought of starting a restaurant dedicated to pig; stuck in traffic outside of New York City, he started scribbling down possible menu items on the back of gas station receipts. Perhaps his best idea? A bacon flight that mimicked a wine flight, with four flavors: balsamic rub and strawberry, curry and banana, garlic rub and cinnamon chipotle. The quarter-inch strips are served with chopped tomatoes, lettuce and goat cheese.
6) Old Major's new dessert
One of the latest bacon dishes to hit Denver is Old Major's Maple Bacon Creme Caramel. Created by pastry chef Nadine Donovan, the dessert is a take on a French custard. Poured into a ramekin, the bacon- and maple-syrup-infused confection is baked, then flipped over and topped with candied bacon for the ultimate sweet-and-salty combination. So far, it's Old Major's most ordered dessert.
Photo supplied by Dude Vodka.
5) Dude's Bacon Vodka
Bacon also inspired Lakewood's Dude Vodka, which was already offering unflavored and root beer vodka when it decided to add a bacon vodka. Dude adds bacon at the distilling point rather than infusing the flavor, creating a vodka that's golden in color, free of carcinogens and cholesterol, and full of bacon flavor. Not just great for drinking, the vodka is often used in marinades and sauces. Available at Argonaut and Dry Creek Liquors, Dude estimates it sells forty cases of bacon vodka each month.
One of Denver's bacon donut options.
4) Bacon Doughnuts
Greenwood Village's Donut Maker has been churning out doughnuts for more than 25 years, and the wholesale baker cooks up not one, but two bacon doughnuts. The first is the Apple Bacon Maple, an apple-infused long john topped with maple icing and sprinkled with bacon to replicate maple pancakes with a side of bacon. The second is the Caramel Bacon Ring, a traditional doughnut with caramel icing and broken strips of bacon on top to ensure perfect crunchiness. Donut Maker delivers doughnuts to churches, hospitals and local businesses.
Continue reading for more Denver bacon options.
Colt & Gray's bacon and cashew caramel popcorn.
3) A happy-hour snack
Colt & Gray galloped into the food scene back in 2009, bringing with it Bacon Cashew Caramel Corn. Combining popcorn, caramel, chopped bacon, cashews, cayenne pepper, tea and whipping cream, the addictive snack is a mere $3 during happy hour.
Courtesy of Arapahoe Basin
2) Bacon on the slopes
Taking our bacon obsession to new heights, Arapahoe Basin offers a lift ticket-plus-bacon Bloody Mary combo every day of the week. Served at the Sixth Alley Bar and Black Mountain Lodge, the Basin's Bloody Mary combines Bloody Mary mix with a blend of herbs and spices, Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco, then garnishes the drink with a green olive, pickle, pepper and the ever- important sizzling strip of bacon. This bloody is so popular that GQ mentioned it in its February issue.
1) The Bacon & Beer Festival
The ultimate manifestation of Denver's bacon obsession may have occurred last December, when Forkly and Off the Wagon joined forces to bring Denver its first Bacon & Beer Festival. The event brought together 25 local chefs and 15 breweries for a day of bacon eating and beer drinking. Close to 900 people attended the festival and consumed more than 900 pounds of bacon in a single day. Proceeds from the festival were donated to Project Angel Heart and Metro CareRing.
There is no indication that Denver will recover from bacon fever anytime soon. In fact, we hear rumors of a bacon truck roaming the streets and a bacon milkshake in the works. Arteries, beware.
9625 E. Arapahoe Road
Greenwood Village, CO 80112
Get the Dining Newsletter
The week's top local food news and events, plus interviews with chefs and restaurant owners, dining tips, and a peek at our print review.