Booze

Where to Find Vegan Fare at Denver and Boulder Beer Bars

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
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
303-449-4285
backcountrypizzaandtaphouse.com

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.

Freshcraft
1530 Blake Street, Unit A
303-758-9608
freshcraft.com

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.

click to enlarge Goed Zuur is a sweet experience for vegans. - SARAH COWELL
Goed Zuur is a sweet experience for vegans.
Sarah Cowell
Goed Zuur
2801 Welton Street
720-749-2709
goedzuur.com

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.


click to enlarge Hops & Pie is among the best for vegan offerings to go with beer. - COURTESY HOPS & PIE
Hops & Pie is among the best for vegan offerings to go with beer.
Courtesy Hops & Pie
Hops & Pie
3920 Tennyson Street
303-477-7000
hopsandpie.com

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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Kristen Kuchar is a Colorado writer covering craft beer, food and travel. For Westword, she explores vegan dining and the state's artisan beverages, such as cider and mead.