Nothing beats a beet: roasted beets and Avery's Salvation make a perfect snack

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I woke up slightly hungover the other morning -- though not terribly so: These days, I prefer to maintain a buzz rather than chase one down. Still, I happened to have maintained that buzz a bit too long the night before and didn't feel like doing much for the duration of the day.

It was a beautiful summer day though, and when it's nice out, my girlfriend freaks out. She vehemently refuses to stay inside. In fact, the more time spent under a roof, the more she becomes, um, a very unpleasant woman. So while I was getting my ass chewed out for keeping it in bed, I decided to take a walk to the quirky new farmers' market in Five Points, wonderfully deemed Mo Betta Green.

I needed something to snack on while lounging anyway, and was hoping the market carried beets. They're one of my favorite snack foods, especially when roasted.

The market was still small -- there were only a handful of booths and just a few shoppers -- but I could sense the potential. Free coffee and tunes from the DJ made it seem that much cooler to me. Thankfully, one of the booths was selling beets. Better still, they were being sold by the children that grew them, and I don't mean that in a bad way. The kids behind the table were all students at Cole Elementary School, and participants in a new farming program there. The initiative is part of the community's commitment to providing the neighborhood with traceable and tasty food, something this and many other areas in Denver severely lack. I bought nearly every beet they had, which I felt a little guilty about given that the kids get to take home what's not sold, but I couldn't help it. I simply love beets, and for me, nothing helps a hangover like supporting a good cause.

After a long walk and a good soak in the sun, I finally made it to the couch, and after preparing the beets, promptly planted myself there. The great thing about roasting beets (or any vegetable for that matter), is that they require very little preparation, thought or effort, or extensive knowledge of gastronomy. Simply toss them in some salt, pepper and olive oil, pop them in the oven and go back to whatever you were doing, which in my case was nothing.

By the time the beets were ready, it was about time for a beer. Like any good drinker, I know to fight fire with fire, and I happened to have a bomber of Avery Brewing's aptly named Salvation, a strong Belgian golden ale that I thought would pair well with my snack. The beets hit the spot, uniquely sweet, and salty enough to keep me wanting more (as all true snack food should be), but earthy and real, unlike the fake, chemically enhanced concoctions we're all guilty of eating on occasion. And the beer was just right, strong so as to numb the pain, while its fruity esters married well with the salty beets.

I slowly sipped and snacked my way through the afternoon and eventually felt like my old self, albeit slightly buzzed by this point.

Here's the recipe:

2 pounds beets, washed and chopped into 1-inch cubes 4 to 5 tablespoons olive oil Salt and pepper

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 2. In a large bowl, toss beets in olive oil and plenty of salt and pepper until each piece is thoroughly coated. 3. Spread beets onto a baking sheet lined with foil and bake for an hour, or until easily pierced with a fork.

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