Breakfast and Brunch

Crafty Fox Grabs a Slice of Denver Brunch Action

The Kentucky Sunrise is a brunch eye-opener at the Crafty Fox.
The Kentucky Sunrise is a brunch eye-opener at the Crafty Fox. Bridget Wood
The Crafty Fox Taphouse & Pizzeria has been known for pizza, wings and a great beer selection since opening two years ago. And now Crafty, as it is affectionately known to regulars, is adding to its reputation with a creative brunch menu that just rolled out in May.

According to general manager Kevin Serdy, the most popular menu items are the corned beef hash and the breakfast chimichanga. Breakfast burritos are nothing new in Denver, but deep-frying them is ingenious. Here they come stuffed to bursting with chorizo, eggs, potatoes, peppers and onions. The corned beef hash is a more traditional brunch item, but the kitchen goes a step above by making its own corned beef. Head chef Angelo Caranza says it takes about ten to twelve days to cure the meat. “It’s a labor of love, and we wouldn’t have it any other way,” he notes.

click to enlarge BRIDGET WOOD
Bridget Wood
If you enjoy pizza, the specialty brunch pies are creative and reasonably priced, at $12 for a ten-inch that's big enough for two. In true Denver fashion, the dough is made with spent grain from Diebolt Brewing Company. I tried the Irish breakfast pizza, which was topped with corned beef, potatoes, onions and cabbage slaw that didn’t have the standard overpowering cabbage taste, perhaps owing to a topping of housemade Thousand Island dressing. The house corned beef, chewy crust and fried potatoes combined into exactly what a brunch pizza should be.

Almost everything the Crafty Fox serves is made in-house, even the sausage and ice cream. "We don’t buy food, we buy ingredients,” Caranza explains. Any of the few items that are outsourced come from local farms or purveyors. For example, gluten-free pizza dough is provided by Gluten Free Explorer out of Boulder.

As at most other brunches, you can get bottomless mimosas here, but despite the bargain price of $10, the craft cocktails and extensive beer list are what won my heart. On the spicy side, the Hot Mess Bloody is made with Denver's own Blank & Booth Hot Mess Hatch green chile whiskey, and the spicy cucumber margarita is rimmed with chile salt. However, if you’re a bourbon fan like owner Kyle Moyer, you'll want to try the Kentucky Sunrise, made with Buffalo Trace, orange juice and Bordeaux cherry juice. It's a pretty drink to look at and a light enough cocktail to ease you out of the morning and into the day.

click to enlarge BRIDGET WOOD
Bridget Wood
With sixty beers on tap, the Crafty Fox is bound have your brunch dream beer. As a certified cicerone, Serdy is trained to help you find exactly what you're looking for. He recommended the Bierstadt Helles Lager (which brews its German-style beers just a few blocks away) as a "super-crushable" beer to go with my brunch choices — and it was indeed crushable. About 70 percent of the beers on tap are Colorado-based, and most rotate monthly. Lawson’s Finest Liquids, a Vermont-based brewery, is one of the more uncommon out-of-state offerings, taking up several tap handles with its IPAs.

More than half of the brunch menu can be made gluten-free, and all gluten-free ingredients are prepared separately using different equipment. There are also several gluten-free beers and ciders on tap. For those avoiding dairy or animal products, vegan cheese is an available option. Moyer says that having two kids of his own inspired him to make the Crafty Fox a family-friendly beer bar; booster seats, high chairs and a kids' menu are available, and kids eat free on Thursdays. There's plenty of room for families to spread out, with a downstairs patio and a second-floor deck with beautiful views of the city.

The Crafty Fox is located at 3901 Fox Street. Brunch is served from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays and all day Sunday — from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Call 303-455-9666 or visit the Crafty Fox website for more information.
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Bridget Wood is a contributor to Westword’s Food & Drink section. She can be found wandering Denver, mimosa in hand, searching for the best brunch spots the city has to offer. She spends her weekends shopping for obscure records and working on the Sunday crossword puzzle. Despite her Boston roots, she is learning to love green chile.