Beer Man

Top Rope Mexican lager begins pouring at Lola, Zolo and Centro; it's one of a couple of specialty house beers at local restaurants

Lola has been pouring "copious amounts of Mexican lagers" for years, says Bryce Clark, a spokeswoman for the Highland hot spot's parent company, Big Red F. So have Lola's Mexican-influenced sister restaurants, Zolo and Centro Latin Kitchen.

"But we've never been truly happy with their taste," Clark says of imported stuff like Corona and Sol. "Not to mention the fact that since we have such an amazing amount of craft breweries in Colorado, it seems silly to be shipping in beer from around the globe when we could make something even better right here at home."

So Big Red F tapped its relationship with Boulder's Upslope Brewing Company to come up with a Mexican-style lager that paired well with the food at its restaurants.

The result of that collaboration is Top Rope, a light, low-alcohol lager with a Mexican wrestling theme that goes well with spicy dishes and even hotter summer days.

Lola, Zolo and Centro began pouring the beer this month, and Centro, 950 Pearl Street in Boulder, will hold a release party on July 25 from 5 to 7 p.m.

Upslope opened in 2008 as only the second brewery in Colorado to package its beers entirely in cans (Oskar Blues was the first); they currently sell a pale ale and an IPA and could add Top Rope as their third canned product, Clark says.

"We partnered with Upslope for several reasons. First of all, the fact that they make really great tasting beers was of obvious importance," she says. "Secondly, they can those really good tasting beers, and our vision is for patrons to be able to hold an ice cold can of Top Rope in their hands eventually. And lastly, Upslope as a company was young enough and small enough to be interested in doing the partnership."

It's the second time Big Red F has collaborated on a "house beer" - a few years ago, the company teamed up with Avery Brewing on a beer called Zolo Red - and makes its restaurants part of a small group of eateries with contract-brewed house beers.

Last summer, Sam Taylor's Bar-B-Q approached Denver's Del Norte Brewing, which was founded in 2008 as a Mexican-style-only craft brewery, and asked if the company would be interested in creating something that went well with barbeque.

Del Norte came up with One Bone Lager, a beer that takes its name from the Sam Taylor's tagline. (Del Norte also brews beer for a couple of biker bars around town).

TAG restaurant also plans to brew a second beer this summer in collaboration with the Bull & Bush. Last summer the two worked together on Saison du Bulldog, a Belgian saison flavored with lemongrass ginger, white mulberry and grains of paradise.

Of course, Breckenridge Brewery has been making a line of Big Nose beers for Govnr's Park and some of its sister restaurants for nearly fifteen years. Govnr's currently has a Big Nose brown, a wheat and a red on tap.

And the Blue Moon Brewery at the Sandlot, the Coors-owned brewery inside Coors Field, makes specialty beers for various ski resorts during the winter when the baseball season is over and it's not open to the public.

Examples include: Mary Jane Ale, a Scottish-style red that is sold at Mary Jane; Copper Bowl Ale, a brown ale poured only at Copper Mountain; and Fresh Tracks Ale, a lighter amber that Vail and Aspen have picked up.