Head to FRESHCRAFT in LoDo for Beer, CBD Cocktails & Upscale Grub
Relaxed bar and eatery Freshcraft pairs upscale comfort food with craft beers and specialty cocktails.
Near Union Station and a block off touristy 16th Street Mall, you’ll find your new home. You know the one. Where everybody knows your name. And they’re always glad you came.
It’s called Freshcraft. And with over 100 beers, wine, and specialty cocktails like the CBD infused Lavender & Thyme Lemonade, you can always find a refreshing bevvie to pair with their fresh comfort food.
Owner Jason Forgy knows beer. He has one of the most curated beer lists in Denver with over 25 rotating taps and 125 bottles. Independent craft beer is his passion, but he doesn’t forget about the heritage beers. He loves when customers try something new and happily realize how good other varieties of beer can taste.
But I didn’t go for the beer. I wanted to try their new cocktails.
We go from the 90 degree heat into the cool bar. The vibe is comfortable and relaxed with the long bar bathed in sunlight streaming in the windows. We wander deeper and find cozy bench seats nestled against brick walls. With low hanging string lights, it’s like we’re sitting on an inside patio with the stars twinkling above us. An added bonus, the low ceilings mean we can hear each other even though the place is busy.
Freshcraft offers CBD sodas and mocktails like the Pineapple Express and Strongwater Sangria. Any can be turned into an alcoholic cocktail, so I try the Lavender & Thyme Lemonade and add Leopolds gin for a dangerously delicious, sweet-tarte bevvie.
My hubby loves his beer, but we were on a cocktail mission, so he ordered the Juicy Negroni made with Station 26 Brewing Co Juicy Banger IPA. Who needs a sour when you can sip this cocktail like a boss?
Those two go down fast, so we order more. The Prize Paloma tastes like a margarita made for a kick a** princess - pink and smooth and so very strong. And the Just in Thyme drinks sweet and gentle with crushed hibiscus petals.
After all this drinking, we need food. And we want flavor.
Chef Peter Wertz created a diverse menu bursting with fresh ingredients and nearly everything made from scratch. There’s comfort food like garlic chile chicken wings, burgers, brisket, and crispy pork schnitzel, as well as vegetarian options like cheese dippers, pretzel bites, arugula beet salad and quinoa risotto. And Peter’s wife is vegan, so he knows what he’s doing.
We start with Shishitos and Shiitakes. The blistered peppers and hearty mushrooms are enhanced by a sweet chili glaze and a five-spice almond crunch. They’re not hot, but give off a slow, oh-so-sweet burn that stays with you. As our bright-eyed bartender, Sadie Vermillion, says, “You’re eating your veggies, but it sure doesn’t taste like boring old veggies.”
Next up is a Grilled Caesar Salad, and this is like no other. It’s a blend of southwestern and Caesar with a white bean and corn pico, avocado, crispy bacon, and a hint of chipotle. It would be fantastic as a meal with grilled salmon, chicken or steak on top!
Last is the Pan Fried Trout. It’s a light and delicate Colorado ruby red trout, dusted with cornmeal and served with cheesy parmesan spinach quinoa.
Freshcraft loves to work with their local beverage suppliers to create fun pairing menus. Tonight is a Belgian celebration of St. Arnold, and we can’t resist the dessert pairing. A Belgian Chocolate Fondue Platter with fruit, green chile bacon, macaroons, and pretzel bites, all paired with a Cherry Chouffe.
Why have I never dipped bacon in chocolate before?? Thank you, Chef Peter!
The decadent fondue is served with a Brasserie d’Achouffe Cherry Chouffe, and a story. The dwarves love Achouffe beers, but they also love juicy cherries that grow in their magical region. One day, the cherries fell into the vat, and the rest is history, giving us a luscious beer that tastes like a chocolate-covered cherry.
Freshcraft offers drinks and food for everyone, and really works for every occasion. Pop in for a work lunch, a date night, before a game, or even late night drinks and munchies. Everyone is welcome. And you’ll always be glad you came.
SB the RD’s NUTRITION TIPS:
Keto? Try the Burger (no bun), Avocado Chicken Sandwich (no roll), Steak (sub veggies/salad for frites), or House Salad with Salmon or Chicken.
Vegetarian? Try the Shishitos & Shitakes, House or Beet Salads, or Vegan Quinoa Risotto.
Gluten-Free? Try the Garlic Chile Chicken Wings, Chicharrones, Beet Salad, Green Chile, Vegan Quinoa Risotto, or Steak Frites.
Freshcraft is open 11AM - 12AM daily. Kitchen closes at 10PM Sundays. Lunch combo 11AM - 3 PM includes $3 pint. Happy Hour is 3:30PM - 6:30PM daily.