Sunday, March 6, 2016

Denver Day Trip #5 Stapleton - Brunch at Four Friends Kitchen, Leopold Bros Distillery Tour, and Rocky Mountain Arsenal Visitor Center - Trail and Drive

Day trip number five starts out with Brunch at Four Friends Kitchen, followed by a tour and refreshments at the Leopold Bros. Distillery. After the tour, get snacks at Thai Street Food and head over to The Rocky Mountain Arsenal and Wildlife Preserve.

Four Friends Kitchen
Cost: $7-$15 pp
 2893 Roslyn St, Denver, CO 80238
(303) 388-8299
Breakfast: M-F, 6:30-11; Lunch: M-F, 11-2:30; Brunch: SAT-SUN, 6:30-2:30

The Four Friends Kitchen features southern cooking with a modern twist. This restaurant is a newcomer to the Denver brunch scene, but is here to stay with already classic dishes such as their  Crispy Huevos Rancheros, ‘Overnight Grits’ (that can be ordered either sweet or savory), and a variety of benedicts. If you are not in the mood for breakfast foods try, they have a great lunch menu too – consider the Mac-n-Cheese, Green Chili Chicken Cobbler or the Root Beer BBQ Brisket.

Leopold Bros. Distillery

Cost: $16-$20 pp for tour and sampling 
5285 Joliet St, Denver, CO 80239
Saturday 11:00am/ 4:00pm or Sunday just at 11:00am – Reservation required (check website for current tour times)

Now that you have had a bite to eat, it’s time to check out one of the many great distilleries that Denver has to offer. Leopold Bros is a family owned and operated small-batch distillery, just outside the Stapleton area. The distillers feature whiskies, gins, vodka, liqueurs, fernet, and absinthe – And all from Colorado grain. The entire process is completed on-site – malting, milling, fermenting, to the barreling and bottling. The only part of the process that they don’t do is farm, but not to worry – most of the ingredients are sourced locally. While you can find the Leopold Bros. around town, the best way to experience the brand is to take ‘The Connoisseur Tour’ or sit in on ‘The Cocktail Hour with Alec’… for those 21+ of course. Both events require advance ticket purchase and frequently sell out. As they are a small distillery that works strange hours, they typically cannot accommodate impromptu visits, so please plan before visiting.

The Connoisseur Tour takes about 3 hours and usually available on Saturdays at 11am/4pm or Sundays just at 11am, but check out their website for current times. On this tour you get to learn the history, see the entire production, and best of all, sample a tasting of the Leopold Bros entire line of spirits. This tour costs $16 and 50% of the cost of admission can be donated to 1 of 4 non-profit organizations that Leopold Bros supports (Children’s Hospital, Colorado Symphony, Dumb Friends League, and Food Bank of the Rockies).

Thai Street Food

Cost: $9-$12 per entrée
 11650 Montview Blvd, Aurora, CO 80010
Open Tuesday – Saturday 11:00am – 8:00pm

If you need a bite to eat after the 3 hour tour (ahem’ and drinking), pick up some take-out at Thai Street Food. Full disclosure - Thai Street Food restaurant is ‘Carry Out’ only. We have included this restaurant because the food is amazing. Almost everything is made-to-order and is customized to the level of spiciness requested – boasting 7 levels of spice! The menu is relatively small, but each item seems to be carefully curated. Chef Anna originally started with a street cart on 16th street mall and many patrons would sometimes wait over an hour for these tasty Thai dishes. As accolades and business continued to grow, Anna transitioned in the brick and mortar restaurant at the current location.

The Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Refuge

Cost: Free
 6550 Gateway Rd, Commerce City, CO 80022
(303) 289-0930
Wednesdays – Sundays from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
(Closed on Federal Holidays)

Now that you have your take-out, head to The Rocky Mountain Arsenal for a picnic and some prarie trails. The Rocky Mountain Arsenal has a history dating back to pre- WWII. The 15,000 acre preserve was declared a super fund site, but thanks to a partnership between the U.S. Army, Shell, and the U.S.  Fish and Wildlife Service in the started mid-90s, the Arsenal has become one of the largest urban wild life refuges in the country. The refuge is home to more than 330 species of animals. There are over 10 miles of hiking trails, site tours, or a self-guided auto tour. The visitor center is an experience in itself, as it is somewhat a museum of the history and the evolution of the Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Refuge.

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