The 27-year-old Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant chain is known for its potent margaritas (limit of three, please), but the Colorado-based company has decided to get in on the craft-beer revolution as well by collaborating with several local beer-makers.
Each of the Rio Grande's six restaurants -- in Fort Collins, Greeley, Denver, Boulder, Lone Tree and Steamboat Springs (and possibly its brand-new Coors Field outpost) -- has teamed up with a Colorado brewery to make a beer specifically for that location.
The first one, a collaboration with Coopersmith's Pub and Brewery, was tapped this week in Fort Collins. Rio Trigo is a wheat beer made with blood oranges.
The Fort Collins Rio will also be serving two beers made for the spot by Odell Brewing: Battalion, a tequila barrel-aged imperial stout brewed with dark chocolate, cinnamon and house-roasted poblanos and dried chipotles; and Sangre de Chueco, a tequila barrel-aged, imperial Vienna lager brewed with agave nectar, blood oranges and limes.
In Denver, the Rio location in LoDo will tap R&R MPA on Friday, May 2. The beer, a "Mexican pale ale," was made by Renegade Brewing and will also be poured at the brewery and at the Renegade Publik House near the University of Denver.
The goal of the program is to support other Colorado-based companies, according to a statement from the Rio. The beers were designed to pair with the Rio's menu.
In March, Coors Field announced that the Rio would lend its name and margaritas to a location on the second level of Coors Field. Although Rio on the Rocks, as it is called, is run by Aramark, which operates all of the food and beverage outlets in the stadium, Renegade is hoping to work with "Rio on the Rocks for a collaboration as well, but that it has yet to be decided," say a Rio spokeswoman.
The other Rio restaurants will begin rolling out their collaborations over the next few weeks. They include partnerships with Wiley Roots Brewing in Greeley, Grimm Brothers Brewing in Loveland, the Sanitas and Fate breweries in Boulder and Lone Tree Brewing.
The Steamboat location hasn't yet found a brewing partner.
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