Colorado Smokehouse: Solid A

Once I wrote about Rudy’s barbecue, and people didn’t care much for my opinion. They hurled insults and hurt my feelings (just kidding — I don’t have feelings).

So it’s always with great trepidation that I write about barbecue because someone’s likely to disagree. Fine. Disagree. I’ve probably said this before, but arguing about barbecue is like arguing about your favorite color. You like what you like.

Anyway, we like the two-car-garage-size Colorado Smokehouse a great deal. Shame about having to be in Fountain, but it’s worth the trip. Maybe someday they’ll have a downtown location!

Colorado Smokehouse does things a little differently than other BBQ spots. Instead of focusing on one type, like Kansas City style or Memphis, Colorado Smokehouse offers a variety. Smart move. And the workers when we were there were very nice and accommodating with all our dumb questions.

Even The Gazette and The Indy agree: This is fine, fine barbecue. And when your two major papers come together like this in praise of food (“nirvana in a foam container”), well, it almost makes you think all the world’s problems can be solved if only everyone’d just sit down somewhere and have some barbecue.

Colorado Smokehouse, Fountain, Colorado

Adrienne had the chicken sandwich with the Carolina vinegar sauce. Her side was the macaroni and cheese, which has bacon in it (they might consider adding that info on the menu for the weird people like Adrienne who try to not eat bacon).

 

Colorado Smokehouse, Fountain, Colorado

I had the brisket with the sweet BBQ sauce. Next time, I think I'd like something with a little more kick, but this was delicious. The baked beans were incredible. Best I've had in Colorado, I think. We've heard good things about their desserts, too, but we were too full. Next time.

 

 

And speaking of barbecue …

Some ribs, cornbread, and cole slaw from Front Range Barbeque — courtesy of coworker Christian Murdock. Thanks, Christian! Next time we’re out, beer’s on me.

Front Range Barbeque ribs, cornbread and cole slaw.

Coworker Christian Murdock brought in some fantastic food. We never eat this good at work. Awesome.

UPDATE: My keyboard is slathered in barbecue sauce. Wonder if that’s a workplace violation of some kind.

Firehouse Southern Style BBQ: A-minus

A disclaimer: We happen to know a couple who work at Firehouse — Janel, a server who also does hair and makeup for Adrienne’s Pink Kitty Studios; and Pete, Janel’s current love interest. I don’t know what Pete does at Firehouse, but it’s important. Hey, Pete, what’s your title there?

They did not give us free food or anything.

In true barbecue fashion, there’s a lot of opportunity at Firehouse for gluttony. The beer alone is served by the bucket. Overall, the dining at Firehouse was excellent. The chicken was a little dry, but smoked chicken, apparently, is just that way sometimes. Loved the bottomless sides — I had okra (a lot of okra) and the western beans. Adrienne had the regular beans and green beans.

I know there are people who don’t care much for my barbecue opinions. But I’m going to tell them to you anyway.

I was called a name.

I've been called worse, certainly, but "moran" hurt. Seriously, I have very delicate feelings, people.

The bar at Firehouse BBQ in Old Colorado City.

The bar at Firehouse BBQ in Old Colorado City.

A Bristol Brewing Co.'s Beehive beer at Firehouse BBQ, Old Colorado City.

This beer is unreasonably large. I'm not complaining. Just pointing out that it's an enormous beer. Bristol Brewing's Beehive, I think. I was having trouble lifting it.

Brisket and chicken dinner at Firehouse BBQ in Old Colorado City.

Adrienne had the brisket and chicken, with green beans and baked beans. The chicken was a little dry, but that's the way it goes sometimes with smoked chicken.The brisket was delicious and so moist and flavorful that it didn't even need any sauce, Adrienne says.

Brisket, pulled pork, ribs at Firehouse BBQ in Old Colorado City.

In addition to my 40-gallon drum of beer, I also had brisket, pulled pork, and ribs. I also enjoyed the jalapeno pepper that came as a garnish. Nice touch, Firehouse.

Sauce selection at Firehouse BBQ in Old Colorado City.

The sauce selection at Firehouse is nice and varied. I liked the Wild Side best. No idea about high-fructose corn syrup. I fear I may be losing my battle against HFCS.

Sauce selection at Firehouse BBQ in Old Colorado City.

I also really liked the B-B-Nero sauce. Spicy.

Pecan pie at Firehouse BBQ in Old Colorado City

Dessert? Oh, sure. Why not. The pecan pie was fabulous.

Ask for Janel. She'll make sure your Firehouse experience is good.

Ask for Janel. She'll make sure your Firehouse experience is good.

The Firehouse on Urbanspoon

Colorado Springs breweries

Colorado, in general, and Colorado Springs specifically is home to some pretty good beer. The Indy has a list of the area’s breweries.

I’m learning to like craft beers. It hasn’t always been this way. I used to resent what I called “college beers,” beers for pretentious college kids. I drank whatever beer came in a can and was inexpensive. I enjoyed Old Milwaukee Light for a long time. Then when I moved to Colorado I switched to Coors Light because, well, it’s Colorado. I tried some imported beer (because that’s not pretentious), and it was a mixed bag. When I was in Russia in 2000, I had some Baltika and fell in love with it. But Baltika wasn’t imported to the U.S. till years later. And for some reason, most of the smaller breweries don’t brew lagers. Why is that, I wonder. Are ales easier to make? Is the process of making a lager prohibitive for smaller breweries? Or are ales just a better, more sophisticated beer? I don’t know. But for a while, ales triggered migraines, so I just stuck to bourbon and Coors Light. (Side note: I’ve been talking a lot about health problems. I really am not an 80-year-old man, despite sounding like one.)

Lately, though, I’m really enjoying the local brews. My favorite daily drinker has been Beehive, from Bristol. I’m also a fan of their Laughing Lab flagship beer (I was sad when I learned that the inspiration Lab had died).

There’s more about beer here than I could possibly write, and there’s so many tasty ones I’ve had in the last few months that the only advice I can give you is to go ahead and get a second job so you can afford to try everything without going broke and eating out of dumpsters (Burger King has excellent “throwaway” items, by the way).

Phantom Canyon Brewing Co., downtown Colorado Springs, Co.

Phantom Canyon is a favorite because it's close to home and has great food. And you can play pool upstairs.

Phantom Canyon Brewing Co., downtown Colorado Springs, Co.

Sampling a selection on a flight at Phantom Canyon.

Phantom Canyon Brewing Co., downtown Colorado Springs, Co.

Phantom Canyon has excellent food. Here, we're eating the hummus plate.

Phantom Canyon Brewing Co., downtown Colorado Springs, Co.

At the bar, Phantom Canyon has a prominent list of the available beers.

Phantom Canyon Brewing Co., downtown Colorado Springs, Co.

A flight of nine beers at Phantom Canyon. I'm not much of a dark drinker, but the Dark Side was awfully tasty. Adrienne likes the hefeweizen.

Bristol Brewing Co., Colorado Springs, Co.

Trying a six-beer flight at Bristol.

Bristol Brewing Co., Colorado Springs, Co.

It's helpful that each beer on the flight at Bristol comes with a little explainer paragraph. I don't know a lot about beer, and it's good to at least try to be educated.

Trinity Brewing Co., Colorado Springs, Co.

Adrienne and my mom at Trinity. My mom doesn't even drink beer. Won't even try it. I'm not entirely convinced we're related.

Trinity Brewing Co., Colorado Springs, Co.

Appetizers at Trinity. Notice the table, which is made from broken glass and lighted from beneath. Very cool.

Trinity Brewing Co., Colorado Springs, Co.

The hummus plate at Trinity.

Trinity Brewing Co., Colorado Springs, Co.

My mom had some kind of warm cheese dip in an edible bread bowl.

Trinity Brewing Co., Colorado Springs, Co.

The drink selection at Trinity is pretty healthy. And the people behind the bar seemed to really enjoy talking about beer, which helps the uninformed like me.

Trinity Brewing Co., Colorado Springs, Co.

Me and mom.

Trinity Brewing Co., Colorado Springs, Co.

At the bar at Trinity.

Rocky Mountain Brewery, Colorado Springs, Co.

Didn't care too much for Rocky Mountain Brewery. Felt like an outsider there. And it felt a little too much like someone's basement. Also, their website is a MySpace page. No good.

Rocky Mountain Brewery, Colorado Springs, Co.

An eight-beer flight at Rocky Mountain Brewery. We had a hard time knowing what we were drinking because the beers were written down on a small chalkboard behind the crowded counter.

Rocky Mountain Brewery, Colorado Springs, Co.

On the plus side, Rocky Mountain Brewery has a barbecue truck parked outside, B'z BBQ.

Rocky Mountain Brewery, Colorado Springs, Co.

The best part about Rocky Mountain Brewery: The barbecue truck's quesadilla. Delicious.