Lately, like many of us, I’ve been keeping fairly close to home when it comes to my makeshift happy hours. But metro Denver is large, and when summer hits, it’s fun to explore the many pubs, breweries, wineries and patios in the suburbs and outlying towns. While I’m not fully ready to eat on-premises, I think the wide world of creative to-go options are an excellent start to exploratory drinking. This week, William Oliver’s Publick House in Lafayette struck a chord with convenient and highly back-packable carry-out booze.
William Oliver’s, with establishments in both Lafayette and Fort Collins, boasts Colorado beers, local spirits and global whiskey options. And while the self-proclaimed “bacon and whiskey pub” doesn't have an official happy hour just yet this summer, it does have some truly affordable carry-out booze and cocktail options, as well as choices for connoisseurs. These range from a mere $3 (for a half-pint beer pour) to an eye-widening $199 (for a “Rare Finds” whiskey flight). Down the middle, the pre-made pouched cocktails start at $5 for a single serving of a bourbon Palmer (the boozy version of the golfer's favorite refresher), while you can get double servings of the citrus Manhattan ($8), Bloody Mary ($12) or Bulleit julep ($14).
I put in my online order for the Palmer, the citrus Manhattan and a Lynchburg Lemonade ($16) — made with Jack Daniel's, fresh lemonade, and orange liqueur. At $4 per serving, this rang in as a true-to-form happy hour, so I felt compelled to also throw in a little nosh. And given the eatery’s bacon-centricity (and the requirement that food must be ordered with booze), it felt natural to add William Oliver's specialty: the Pint-o-Bacon.
Pick up at Oliver’s was quick and easy. The pub advertises that its staff is “ServSafe COVID-19 Precautions Trained,” and as the masked host handed over my bag of goodies, the claim appeared honest. In fact, the restaurant's patio looked like a safe and swell place to put back a few of the menu's many beverage options on a sunny day. Still, as I peeked in the bag at my plastic pouches with their convenient screw tops, I knew I had made the right decision for a weekend in the mountains.
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Of course, before absconding with these boozy treats, my roommate and I had to taste the goods. We divided up the Lynchburg Lemonade, which promptly hit the spot on the hot day — not too sweet and so mildly refreshing you would never expect it to pack the punch it did. Also surprising was how few people it took to polish off a pint of bacon; let’s just say three of us were just about satisfied. Admittedly, this was likely because the bacon was perfectly cooked — neither too crisp nor too floppy — and just the right thickness. While delightful with our selected drinks, when dipped in maple syrup (provided), we realized that the sweet, smoky, salty combo would have been a heavenly pairing with the Manhattan.
Still, I opted to toss the other two cocktails in the freezer for a much-needed respite and refreshment over the weekend. While I may have forgotten my first-aid kit, my liquid first aid came to the rescue after an arduous hike up to the alpine lakes of the Rockies. In fact, as appealing as patio beverages might be during these strange days, lightweight, easy imbibery at 11,000 feet is nothing to complain about.
William Oliver's is located at 201 North Public Road in Lafayette and is open daily from 10 a.m. to midnight. Call 720-509-9537 or visit the pub's website for details and ordering. You can also visit the Fort Collins branch at 2608 South Timberline Road.