On our first trip to Denver, we needed somewhere to eat. My husband whipped out his smartphone and went to work. He found the Wynkoop Brewery had rave reviews and when in Denver, you absolutely must visit a brewery—and so we went.
I called ahead to secure a table for our group and was not pleased to hear that they didn’t do call ahead seating—no one wants to wait for food in a cramped waiting room with two littles under the age of five. When we arrived to the location on 18th Street, however, we were seated immediately which was an enormous relief.
I requested a booth so we didn’t have to worry about the kids getting bored and sliding out of their chairs. There was really only one table left that would accommodate four adults and two kids, and the hostess apologized for putting us in cramped quarters. We were quite comfy in our three-quarters booth with two chairs though and got right down to the ordering.
My husband and my best friend went straight for the beer menu—she got an apple beer and he started with an ale recommended by our server. Both of them were pleasantly surprised by the unique and original flavors offered by Wynkoop’s selections. All 40 of their artesian beers are made in giant vats which you can see when you venture downstairs to use the restrooms. This is the perfect place for adults who are beer connoisseurs and enjoy tasting the different varieties that these types of specialty breweries create.
Our little party started out with an order of calamari and queso—both of which the kids couldn’t get enough of. The calamari was perfectly cooked (not rubbery or too crunchy) and came with a Thai peanut sauce that although I never would have considered as a dipping sauce for fried seafood, was the perfect complement to this starter. The queso was great because my family goes ape for anything that has to do with cheese, and the spicy little aftertaste really kicked this dish up a notch.
We all got pretty different meals. I enjoyed my typical cheeseburger which was good, but the hand-cut fries were exceptional. My best friend ordered a salmon club, which seemed like an unusual choice to me, but was actually a fantastic blend of ingredients. My husband went for a mac and cheese with buffalo sausage which he couldn’t get enough of. (Buffalo meat is very popular in Colorado in everything from burgers to meatloaf to mac and cheese! The locals and the tourists alike love the flavor.) Even the kids’ meals were flavorful and they enjoyed every last bite.
At Wynkoop Brewery, the service was fantastic. From the hostess who charged my phone during our meal to the server who made excellent beer suggestions and chatted with the kids, our visit was perfect.
A brewery might not be your first choice for a place to dine on vacation with the kids, but everything about the experience at Wynkoop might change your mind. Stop in for lunch Monday through Thursday and kids play at the pool tables for free—a nice little family-friendly feature where you can bond over food and fun while visiting Denver.
Shauna Armitage is a parenting blogger, a freelance travel writer and the co-founder of Pure Wander Magazine. Follow her on Twitter @CarpeCalamus