Colorado + 49 Cidery & Pub opened last June in Golden with the goal of elevating the match-up of cider and food. And since some cider drinkers opt for for the apple-based beverage because they are trying to avoid gluten, the cider house also made it a goal to build a menu to match.
Tom Bardsley, Colorado + 49's front-of-house director, explains that 90 percent of the menu is either gluten-free or can easily be made to be without gluten. The most popular gluten-free entree, he shares, is the hanger steak and frites with apple Bordelaise sauce.
Bardsley compares pairing cider and food to choosing a wine to go with dinner, but with even more versatility. “Sweet ciders would go great with chicken or pork, and more dry ciders pair nicely with a denser meat, like our buffalo burger,” he says.
Colorado + 49 makes several of its own ciders, including the semi-sweet Knacker’s, made with English yeast; the cider pairs well with the restaurant's herbed half-roasted chicken. For Elegast, made with Belgian ale yeast and aged on oak, Bardsley suggests drinking it with the maple chile salmon topped with poblano and avocado cilantro crema.
“We wanted to create something unique for Golden,” Bardsley adds. “We hand-cut our own chips and make everything we can from scratch.”
Other popular items include the Nashville-inspired fried-chicken sandwich on a sweet-potato brioche bun (which unfortunately can’t be made gluten-free) and the crispy fried Brussels sprouts with pork belly and a lemon-pepper aioli. There are a variety of appetizers, such as mussels and wings, sandwiches, salads and hearty entrees.
For vegetarians, a rotating market vegetable special is made with local produce when possible. “We come up with fantastic, flavorful vegetable dishes,” Bardsley says. Recently, the offering was roasted Middle Eastern eggplant with beet yogurt sauce. These vegetarian options are based on what’s available, and usually rotate two or three times every week. There’s also a black-bean burger, Mediterranean hummus with pita, salads and Old Bay house chips.
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Some cider makers credit specific apple varieties for the different flavors in their products, but for Colorado + 49, it’s all about the yeast. “We start with a simple apple juice, and we get our distinct flavors from the exotic yeast strains,” Bardsley notes.
There are always three or four housemade ciders, made on a seven-barrel system. Guest ciders are not limited to Colorado, but also come from Michigan, Oregon, New York and Washington. But it isn’t just cider here; 29 draft options, including beers from around the country, supplement the list of housemade and guest ciders. The “+49” in the name is intended to point out the variety of beverages available from all over the U.S., including rarities and seasonal beers and ciders, as a way to differentiate the pub from other establishments that focus on Colorado products.
Colorado + 49 Cidery & Pub is located at 1100 Arapahoe Street in Golden. Hours are Sunday through Thursday from noon to 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. For more information, visit the pub's website or call 720-746-9469.