In the state of Colorado, where beer is a passion, one small gastropub is making a big impression on its customers. Oskar Blues, in tiny Lyons, Colo., has been gusty and savvy enough to successfully serve and promote not only its own beers but those of its competitors. It also is taking the beer and food pairing experience to a whole new level.
Oskar is perhaps best known for igniting what company executives like to call “the canned beer apocalypse,” when, in 2002, it created the first canned craft beer. The can is essentially a mini keg with “extremely low levels of dissolved oxygen,” says owner Dale Katechis. He is making waves again, this time by pairing incredible craft beers with equally extraordinary food.
In October, Katechis opened Oskar Blues Homemade Liquids and Solids in Longmont, some 40 miles north of Denver. It has a southern-roadhouse-meets-honky-tonk-dancehall vibe combined with South-inspired food and great craft beers. The suds at Oskar Blues’ latest space—the company also runs a pub at its brewery in Lyons, as well as a tap room in Longmont—show Katechis’s industry experience and confidence in his product.
An Outstanding Beer Lineup
Moreover, instead of pouring only Oskar Blues product, the bar is home to a solid 43 taps, priced $2.50 to $7 for a 10-ounce serving, from all over the country. I wondered about the decision to include the competition, though. “Truth is,” says Katechis, “there are a lot of great beers out there. I want to showcase them.” That said, I thought the offerings from Katechis outshined all the other highly respected beers I tasted. Having the confidence to give customers so many options sets Oskar Blues apart from other area brewpubs.
So does their commitment to serving good food. When Katechis tapped his mountain biking buddy to cook, chef Jason Rogers, Rogers he jumped at the chance to put his fine dining experience to use in a beer bar.
So Rogers did exactly that, bringing deftly prepared comfort creations to this approachable space adorned with vintage rock and roll posters. The menu is littered with the expected southern pub picks, but the techniques that go into preparing them are what makes Homemade Liquids and Solids shine. The crisp on the outside, soft in the center fries, $3, are fresh cut in-house, and the pizza, $17, has dough made with Dale’s Pale Ale.
Thanks to Colorado law, customers who survive the line out the door can’t leave with a six pack or a growler of beer as a souvenir. They can, however, exit the restaurant with t-shirts, hats, and the comfort of being reminded that Dale Katechis is always at the forefront of industry trends, giving his lucky customers the thrill of being along for the ride.