Mountain Sun Pub & Brewery and its Boulder and Denver offshoots, Southern Sun, Under the Sun and Vine Street Pub & Brewery, are well-known for a wide range of house beers and accompanying pub grub. But brunch at Vine Street Pub offers the same style of comfort food served in hearty portions — alongside pints of beer, if you want.
The first thing you need to know about the Vine Street Pub is that it is a cash-only establishment. If you're not accustomed to carrying cash (like me), there's an ATM in the bar (that charges only $1), and if you still can’t make that work, just grab a "karma envelope" on the way out and pay your tab as soon as you can. It sounds crazy, but somehow the system works. General manager Caroline Duffy says that she receives about 85 percent of the envelopes back. She notes that some payments are sent in more than a year later, from customers who have moved or just cleaned out their kitchen drawers and found the envelope hiding among their possessions.
“We keep the meaningful letters that people send back along with their receipts," Duffy explains. "Some of them are beautiful or just downright hilarious tales of how someone came to find the envelope.”
Brian Hall, assistant kitchen manager for brunch, says he loves the creativity he's afforded by the brewpub's management. “We have a rotating weekly special, and I can sort of plan out what I want to make, but sometimes the ingredients we have on hand have changed by the time I get in," he explains. "I basically step in to the walk-in and see what I can make with what we have; it’s a really fun challenge."
The brunch menu is limited to just four solid dishes, but they're all worth returning for. Pancakes generally aren't worth raving about because they're mostly all the same, but Vine Street's are the stuff of childhood dreams — in part because they're loaded with chocolate chips. But they're also spongy and buttery and pair really well with beer — which hopefully isn't part of your adolescent breakfast memories.
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The Egg Sammy is huge and has everything you need for a morning hangover: bacon, over-easy eggs, guacamole and cheese on a croissant, with a side of home fries. The burly breakfast burritos have plenty of fans, too, and Vine Street makes its own biscuits with gravy.
If you're new to Vine Street Pub, you probably missed out on Stout Month, which ran for all of February (so put it on your calendar for February 2020). The wide range of housemade and guest stouts was perfect for beery brunch pairings, but the brewpub's twenty taps offer a nice array of styles (there are still a few stouts), so you can match your biscuits or burrito with an IPA or a blackberry wheat beer (standing in for the brewery's regular raspberry wheat), which contains more than 250 pounds of blackberry purée in each batch. Keep in mind that the pub has a 5,000-barrel capacity, so it’s unlikely that your favorite beer, made just a few feet from your brunch table, will be kicked.
Vine Street Pub & Brewery is located at 1700 Vine Street and serves brunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday. For more information, call 303-388-2337 or visit the Mountain Sun website. Hot tip: After brunch, fill a growler to bring a half-gallon of Vine Street goodness home with you.