Chef Tom Grimmond was a die-hard meat eater, but a sudden heart attack inspired him to switch to a primarily plant-based diet. The idea and challenge of transforming traditional foods into vegan dishes excited the chef, who has been cooking professionally for 34 years. Now he's cranking out veganized bar-food staples along with innovative specials for Collision Brewing in Longmont.
“There’s always something to learn in cooking; it’s just about being creative and using your imagination,” says Grimmond, who has thousands of recipes bookmarked for making meatless cuisine.
That creativity sparked a creamy, spicy queso dip made with vegetable stock, chipotles, dairy-free cheese from Teese and Follow Your Heart, nutritional yeast and other ingredients, which took the chef more than four weeks to perfect. Crispy seitan or cauliflower wings are smothered in housemade sauces, including mango jerk, maple chipotle, sweet Thai chili, mustard glaze and the classics — barbecue or Buffalo.
The vegan nachos are covered in dairy-free cheese, vegan sour cream, crispy seitan, black olives, beans, salsa and guacamole. Other vegan appetizers include green chile soup, battered mushrooms, soft pretzels served with vegan queso, tempura fried cauliflower with spicy sauce, and beet carpaccio, a play on the traditional beef dish, made with thinly sliced beets, avocado, chia seeds and arugula.
The staff meets weekly to be educated on how to guide customers on swapping menu items. “It’s not going anywhere,” says Grimmond of plant-based eating, “whether it’s just subbing one meal occasionally or a whole lifestyle.”
Any burger is easily turned vegan by adding a tofu or Impossible Burger patty, which can then be topped with with vegan cheese and garlic aioli. The miso ginger tofu patty is a great addition to all of the salads, especially the Thai crunch salad — a mix of kale, shredded Brussels sprouts, carrots, red bell pepper, edamame, wontons, peanuts, cilantro and lime with a Thai peanut dressing.
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“My biggest thing is giving everyone an option,” Grimmond says.
The creative, eclectic and extensive menu also extends to the beer. “We’re not just going to brew one type of beer,” says Eric Blythe, co-owner. He and his brother Jason Blythe, Collision's brewmaster, want to brew across the board, welcoming new beers on tap once or twice monthly. The same thought that goes into the food menu is brought to the brewing; local grains and hops are used whenever available.
“For the Paddy Wagon Irish Stout, it’s made with grains malted the same way for 500 years in Ireland,” Blythe says. All beer names go along with the prominent car theme, such as the Clutch English Strong Ale, the greenish-blue hued Blinker Fluid, a Kolsch brewed with butterfly pea flower tea and blue juniper berries, and Red Rambler, a Belgian red ale that Blythe says has “an oaky nose with fruit tones and goes well with chocolate or burgers."
Beers are also available on tap around Longmont at the Roost, Nicolo's Pizza and Georgia Boys. There are also guest taps available, as well as cider, wine and cocktails. The outdoor seating has mountain views, a dog-friendly patio and plenty of decor and gear for car enthusiasts. Collision Brewing is located at 1436 Skyway Drive in Longmont. For more information, call 720-996-1850 or visit collisionbrewco.com.