It’s not breaking news that Fort Collins is home to several exceptional craft breweries, several of which are well-known outside our city limits. Craft beer brewing is a source of pride for Fort Collins residents, and a fun pastime for expert and amateur beer-drinkers alike. But not everyone knows the difference between a pilsner and an IPA, let alone which foods to pair each beer with. This shouldn’t be an embarrassing confession, as there is so much to learn in this field, and the roster of local craft beers is quite overwhelming.
Likewise, there are some amazing chefs, cooks and bakers in the state of Colorado, several of which run a blog to document their culinary discoveries and share their taste-tested-and-approved recipes with the world.
To celebrate both food and beer lovers, we decided to marry the two with a guide pairing Fort Collins craft beers with some of our favorite Colorado food blogger recipes. You can now get the best of both worlds by drinking a quality beer alongside a delicious meal.
So grab a six-pack or growler of the suggested beer, and get creative in the kitchen with these delicious recipes. We also suggest exploring the bloggers’ other recipes as well! We admit that it was difficult to choose just one tempting recipe from each blog.
One Final Word of Wisdom: To avoid drinking five beers in one sitting, might we suggest grabbing a few bottles of each of these beers and providing small samples for guests to sip on alongside each dish? That way, you can test all the mentioned beers and choose your favorite from the pack. Make things official with a beer tasting serving set, which includes a wood paddle and four small sampling glasses!
Let’s start with an appetizer that can stand alone as a side dish you bring to a party, or can be the warm-up to a multiple-course meal you prepare. If you are in fact bringing these avocado deviled eggs to a party, you can’t show up without drinks in hand! That’s why we’re pairing this with Odell’s Loose Leaf Pilsner.
An appetizer is the perfect way to get the party started, as guests can start nibbling on small plates as soon as they walk in the door. And serving this avocado deviled egg dish from Cooking with Michele is sure to make a good first impression. If you’ve ever made deviled eggs before, you know the process is simple, and if you’ve eaten them before, you know they taste amazing.
We particularly love that Michele put an exciting twist on this classic appetizer by replacing the typical mayonnaise, egg yolk and mustard powder filling with avocados instead.
Michelle has also written two cookbooks, one of which is called Tasting Colorado and includes the unique and flavorful tastes of our beloved state, so if you love this recipe as much as we do we suggest buying one of her books to continue your culinary journey with Michele!
Appetizers are tricky to pair beers with because there is no set guideline to accommodate the wide and diverse genre of appetizers. So we decided to start with a pilsner, since we’re keeping things light and just warming up. Odell’s Loose Leaf Pilsner is crisp and refreshing, but a bit more hoppy and flavorful than other pilsners.
We chose this colorful salad mainly because we’re ready for summer, and a bright plate seems to speed up the sunshine’s much-anticipated return. This salad tastes as good as it looks, with its fresh lineup of ingredients: spinach, strawberries, blueberries, almonds and avocado. Whip this easy salad together in no time by following the recipe from Dinners, Dishes & Desserts.
Erin of Dinners, Dishes & Desserts lives in Colorado with her (high school sweetheart!) husband and son. They absolutely love the mountains, taking advantage of the hiking trails in the summer, snowshoeing in the winter, and everything in between. Erin never claims to be a chef and started her blog as a place to share her own recipes and branch out to try new things. Her recipe categories range from desserts to snacks to main dishes to drinks, and she does them all so well!
We are pairing Erin’s Berry Almond Salad with Chia Seed Vinaigrette with Fort Collins Brewery’s 1020 Pale Ale because of the beer’s light and refreshing taste. According to the experts at Fort Collins Brewery, this beer “has a magnificent citrus aroma with underlying tones of pine and grapefruit zest that inhabit the flavor, while a smooth, light body and crisp, clean bitterness from [hops] leave your palate both refreshed and liberated.” Doesn’t that description just scream “summer”? This is definitely a match made in heaven.
While we dream of warm summer days we can’t overlook the fact that it’s still cold outside. And because soup is always a wonderful way to transition to the main entree, we wanted to share one of our favorite soup recipes. Enjoy the creaminess of this delectable soup, but without any dairy products that might be too heavy while drinking a beer. What?! That’s right — the creaminess of this Roasted Cauliflower Soup from A Baker’s House is made possible simply from puréed cauliflower and potato.
Holly started A Baker’s House simply as an easy place to share recipes with her mom who was many miles away. As she slowly got more viewers than just her mom, Holly turned it into the wonderful recipe collection that it is today.
We’re pairing this Roasted Cauliflower Soup with New Belgium’s Snapshot Wheat because soup always pairs well with a wheat beer — and we think New Belgium’s Snapshot is one of the best wheat beers hailing from Fort Collins. This unfiltered beer is full of refreshment and a flash of tart at the finish, which makes this brew truly unique.
Now, let’s talk about what we’ve all been waiting for: the main course. We chose this Lemon, Olive Oil and Roasted Garlic Pasta with Spinach and Lentils from Edible Perspective paired with Zwei Brewing’s Helles, a Munich-Style Golden Lager.
The instructions for creating this delicious pasta are very simple, yet the dish is packed with flavor. The mastermind behind Edible Perspective confesses that she wants to make this dish once per week, or better yet — have leftovers constantly stocked in her fridge for reheating. The sauce ingredient list is simple: lemon juice, olive oil, roasted garlic, salt and pepper. That’s it! And the gluten-free pasta is sure to help minimize your gluten intake as you’re drinking your beer!
While we think this meal is great on it’s own, if you’re a meat lover wanting to incorporate a little protein, we think chicken would make a great addition to this recipe while still maintaining its light and delicious flavor.
And who is this “mastermind” we speak of? Ashley of Edible Perspective is a talented food blogger with a colorful life in Denver, Colorado (but she recently lived in Fort Collins!) with her husband and two dogs. Please take some time to peruse her recipes, all of which are vegetarian. Ashley picked up her husband’s dSLR camera on a whim one day, and we are so glad she did. Her beautiful photography style really brings her recipes to life, and helps us visualize the dish.
To complement this flavorful dish from Edible Perspective, we chose Zwei Brewing’s Helles, a Munich-Style Golden Lager. Lagers tend to pair well with pastas, and this lager isn’t messing around. 1) Germans know their beers, so anything German-styled is bound to be of the highest quality. 2) This particular beer won Great American Beer Festival’s silver medal in 2006. Sounds like a win-win situation for everyone!
And last but certainly not least, the dessert. We chose this Dark Chocolate Chestnut Cake from Seasonal & Savory paired with Black Bottle Brewery’s Liquid Metal Imperial Rye Stout. This rich combination is sure to leave you satisfied — if your stomach isn’t already too overwhelmed by all the flavors you have experienced thus far!
This rich cake merges chocolate and chestnuts in a delectable way. The recipe feeds 10 people, which means it’s party-ready or you will have lots of leftovers — which is always a good thing. We love the dense texture of this cake, which is packed with flavor and chocolatey goodness.
Angela of Seasonal & Savory is an award-winning home cook focused on creating recipes that use seasonal produce in innovative and delicious ways. Her recipes reflect a healthier alternative to baking and cooking after a shift in her personal diet where she has avoided gluten and refined sugars. We love Angela’s work and know you will too, as you skim through her many recipes for culinary inspiration.
This rich cake from Seasonal & Savory deserves a dark, full-bodied companion. That’s why we’re pairing it with Black Bottle Brewery’s Liquid Metal Imperial Rye Stout. Not only do the colors match, but this rye stout is equally as delectable as its counterpart.
Don’t forget to let us know which beer or recipe you like the best!