Vegan Eats at Denver and Boulder Craft Beer Tap Rooms | Westword

Where to Find Vegan Fare at Denver and Boulder Beer Bars

Craft beers often come with a case of the munchies; here's what to eat at a few Denver and Boulder tap rooms.
Beer-friendly food can be vegan, as Backcountry Pizza proves.
Beer-friendly food can be vegan, as Backcountry Pizza proves. Courtesy of Backcountry Pizza & Tap House
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Navigating a food menu at a good beer bar can be a tedious task for a vegan. Often we overlook a lack of plant-based options when there's a stellar beer list — only to end up craving something solid after a couple of rounds. Fortunately, these spots are making it possible to savor good beer with good vegan food options to match.

Backcountry Pizza & Tap House
2319 Arapahoe Avenue, Boulder

Pizza places may be in abundance in Boulder, but no one has a beer list like Backcountry. With 68 taps spanning the world's best breweries, it’s safe to say it would be nearly impossible to not find something to your taste. There are some heavy hitters, too: Brewery Ommegang from New York, Ballast Point Brewing Company and Firestone Walker Brewing from California, and Perennial Artisan Ales from Missouri, for starters. World-class beers need food to match, and Backcountry's kitchen can serve its roast-vegetable pizza — and any other meatless pie — vegan at your request. All burgers can sub in a veggie patty, and the hummus, several salad options, onion rings, fries and potato chips are good to go as well.

1530 Blake Street, Unit A

This LoDo spot serves upscale comfort food, even late at night. Skip the aioli with your order of Southern fried pickles or get Brussels sprouts sans the parmesan cheese. There's also a charred broccoli and shishito pepper dish that's always served vegan. A veggie patty on corn tortillas, fries, slaw, and pretzel bites with agave mustard are all vegan as well. The 25 rotating taps of beers and cider are chosen to go well with food, with standout Denver breweries like Cerebral, Black Shirt, Comrade, Great Divide and Station 26 represented, but you’ll also find breweries spanning the rest of the state and the entire globe.

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Goed Zuur is a sweet experience for vegans.
Sarah Cowell
Goed Zuur
2801 Welton Street

Goed Zuur is truly one of a kind. While many taprooms boast eclectic beer menus with styles to please every taste, this 120-year-old brick building only contains one: sour beers. The name itself means "good acid" in Dutch, and the bar specializes in lambics, complex sours and wild ales. Local sours from Trinity and Crooked Stave are on tap, but there are dozens of others from top breweries worldwide. The vegan cheese board — yes, a dairy-free cheese board! — has five rotating products including cultured coconut butter, High Sierra Rustic Alpine cheese from Miyoko's, sharp aged cheddar from Vtopian Cheese, and mozzarella "di bufula" and almond ricotta from Three Girls Vegan. Other vegan options include grapeseed-oil mushroom popcorn with togarashi, house-marinated olives, baby kale salad with cashew Caesar dressing, vegan pastrami on house rye with purple sauerkraut and mustard, and the Cast-Iron Vegetarian: a one-quart hot pot of tri-color quinoa in kimchi broth with fresh and fermented vegetables and mushrooms. For dessert, sample a rotating variety of crepes.

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Hops & Pie is among the best for vegan offerings to go with beer.
Courtesy Hops & Pie
Hops & Pie
3920 Tennyson Street

Digging into the dynamic duo of pizza and beer can be tricky if you’re dairy-free – but this cozy pizza joint makes it a breeze. Top your pizza with a spicy housemade vegan “sausage” or smoked tofu along with Daiya dairy-free cheese. While you can opt for traditional veggies (bell pepper, mushrooms, olives), you can also jazz it up with banana peppers, broccoli, roasted garlic cloves, jalapeño and dressed arugula. If you’re not feeling pizza, try the tempeh sloppy Jane, or swap hickory-smoked tofu for any meat on the other sandwiches. Find up to 28 taps with a heavy emphasis on Colorado to go with your grub.

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Beer and pretzels are a natural beer-garden combo.
Courtesy Lowry Beer Garden
Lowry Beer Garden
7577 East Academy Boulevard

Outdoor beer drinkers can rejoice in the 4,500 square feet of garden area in the open-air seating at Lowry Beer Garden. Both the draft and bottle lists are mostly local, with New Terrain, Resolute, Dry Dock, Lone Tree and Telluride, among many others. Sitting outside in the warm temperatures just might have you craving a refreshing salad, and there’s no shortage of variety with the chickpea, triple berry, summer, Southwestern, wedge and quinoa salads as options. The giant pretzel, hummus and fried pickles are all vegan, too.

Mellow Mushroom
1201 16th Street, Suite 108

Mellow Mushroom churns out some tasty stone-baked pizzas, and there's good news for the dairy-free crowd: Any pizza on the list can be made vegan with swapping in vegan cheese (with gluten-free options as well). Tempeh and tofu can be added and prepped in jerk, teriyaki, BBQ or hot sauce. Plus, there are tons of veggies to choose from – artichoke hearts, roma tomatoes, pepperoncini, portabello mushrooms and more. A variety of beer styles are available on their changing tap list, from Funkwerks Tropic King to Odell Rupture Fresh Grind Ale. Score $4 Colorado pints during happy hour to go with your pie.

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Burgers are the main food draw, but Reuben's has several meatless options.
Courtesy Rueben's Burger Bistro
Rueben’s Burger Bistro
00 Broadway, Boulder

If your beer of choice is of the Belgian variety, Rueben’s is the place to be. If you’re new to Belgian brews, Rueben’s Tour of Belgium taster flight will get you off to the right start. There are 42 draft beers and bottles from around the world and they include every style, not just those from Belgium. Kick off your food order with fried pickles, veggie tacos, fries, hummus, onion rings and pretzels, which are all vegan. Pair the homemade veggie patty with the pretzel bun and top with mushrooms, roma tomatoes, lettuce, cucumber, avocado, arugula and much more.

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The Terminal Bar offers a few vegan snacks to go with all the beer.
Jake Shane
Terminal Bar
1701 Wynkoop Street

Located in Union Station, the Terminal Bar sits in a restored space in the historic ticketing office. The bar has thirty Colorado beers on draft including offerings from Aspen, Wibby, Crooked Stave, River North and Odell. Vegan snacks include the crispy Brussels sprouts (minus the bacon), pretzels, fries, and the arugula salad.
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