Bloody Ciders and Creole Cravings: Stem Ciders, The Real Dill, & The Post Pop-Up Brunch

Events

By Jessica H. | In Conjunction with Bloody Mary Tour

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Stem Ciders is hosting a series of pop-up events featuring local businesses and restaurants. We attended the recent Creole brunch pop-up featuring The Real Dill and The Post on a sunny Sunday in Stem’s RiNo taproom and patio. Included in each brunch ticket was an all-you-can-eat assortment of food items from The Post and two drinks– whether you chose a Bloody Cider or a cider of your choice.

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Stem Ciders is one of our favorite places to grab a drink in Denver. Cider is currently one of our top three preferred boozy beverages and Stem offers an unparalleled array of options in their taproom– and truth be told, they make a mean cider. We have been visiting their RiNo location weekly since we moved into our Five Points row house a year-and-a-half ago. The cozy taproom is adorned in wood and filled with barrels, board games, and oftentimes, live music.

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In May, Stem partnered with local pickle company The Real Dill to craft a collaboration cider for The Real Dill’s 5th Anniversary. Thus, the Salted Cucumber Cider was born. The Salted Cucumber Cider is an innovative cider, with light crisp cucumber notes intertwined with subtle hints of apple. At the pop-up brunch, The Real Dill’s Bloody Mary mix was on hand to create Bloody Ciders made with ¼ Bloody Mary mix and ¾ Salted Cucumber Cider. The resulting Bloody Cider was similar to a Michelada, only way better. You can thank the cider’s cucumber touch for that!

We are avid fans of The Real Dill and have been indulging in their pickles and Bloody Mary mix for years. Their Bloody Mary mix is made from cucumber water leftover from the pickling process and showcases The Real Dill’s commitment to being a zero-waste company. A Bloody Mary bar full of The Real Dill products was available to top-off the breakfast cocktails– think specially-made cider pickles, Creole okra, garlic green beans, ginger carrots, and pearl onions. popup_bloodymarybar

The Post provided the delicious Creole food spread; all of it was gluten-free! We munched on shrimp and grits, scrambled eggs, biscuits, and spicy collard greens, which we covered with Bloody Mary hollandaise sauce. Any good bruncher knows you have to top off your savory dishes with something sweet, so The Post baked an assortment of breakfast desserts made with Stem Ciders and The Real Dill products. This was the first time we have ever indulged in a chocolate cider breakfast muffin.

We love how this event focused on collaboration between Denver small businesses. After all, this is why Denver is “Denver”: big city dreams with small-town love. Stay tuned for future pop-up events at the Stem Ciders RiNo taproom!

Bad ‘n’ Brunchy: Denver BrunchFest 2017

Events

By Jessica H.

The 2017 Denver BrunchFest was held in sunny Civic Center Park at the end of August. We’re a little late on our write up since we’ve been super busy at our day jobs, but finally — it’s here! BrunchFest was our type of festival, offering bottomless boozy drinks, bites, and plenty of other goodies like Califa Farms’ delicious coffee and Kevita probiotic drinks. There was a photo booth and plenty of iconic places to take photos– check out our shot below in front of the Denver City and County Building! Proceeds from BrunchFest went to support Kids’ Compassion Project and Minds Matter of Denver, two Mile High City-based nonprofits.

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BrunchFest took place on one of the hottest days we had experienced all summer, so cold drinks were necessary for cooling our bodies down. An array of drinks was served at the main drink stand, ranging from a Morning Screw to the BrunchPunch, all made with Keel Vodka or champagne. Keel Vodka is low calorie and has a lower ABV than usual spirits so you wake up feeling good the next day! We are more accustomed to higher ABV though; we drank nearly 7 drinks each at BrunchFest without getting too buzzed.

Our favorite libations included the Bloody Mary and the Bullmosa– a twist on your classic mimosa with the addition of Red Bull Tangerine. We also were quite pleased with Bar Helix’s Tiger Woods cocktail, as well as Aperol’s good ol’ Aperol Spritz. Mind you, we probably should have started our morning with the Aperol Spritz instead of ending our morning with it, but alas we were so full after the event that the Aperol didn’t quite “whet our appetite” like aperitifs are supposed to.

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Denver BrunchFest had an assortment of sweet and savory brunch foods from some of Denver’s hottest brunch spots. Traditionally we are fans of savory food, so our favorite bites were savory options. Element Kitchen’s steak and eggs won for our personal favorite dish. They made a perfectly cooked (i.e. medium rare) steak with scrambled eggs, sweet potato hash, and veggies (asparagus, anyone?). Esters Neighborhood Pub’s shrimp and grits were packed with flavor, while Departure’s Smoked Salmon Blini with creamy egg yolk, lemon miso, chili, mint, and lime combined Asian and Russian roots full of umami. The best sweet dish was Acero’s pancake stack– topped with glazed bananas!

We are already counting down the days to next year’s BrunchFest and we hope to see you there.

The Brown Palace’s 125th Birthday & Ellyngton’s Champagne Brunch

Denver Restaurants, Events

By Jessica H.

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The Brown Palace Hotel and Spa is celebrating their 125th anniversary this year! The Brown Palace was built in 1892 and reigns as the second oldest hotel in Denver. Located in the heart of downtown, the Brown Palace is an iconic building boasting Italian Renaissance architecture designed by architect Frank E. Edbrooke, including an atrium lobby, grand ballroom, and various rooms adorned in Mexican onyx. The building is the second-known fireproof building in United States and was built with sandstone and red granite. Over the past 125 years, famous faces have frequented the Brown Palace, such as The Beatles, Theodore Roosevelt, and the legendary Molly Brown who survived the Titanic shipwreck.

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Upon walking into the historic hotel, you are greeted with warmth and nostalgia of the past. Inside, there are various restaurants and bars to choose from, such as Ship Tavern, Palace Arms, Churchill Cigar Bar, and the famed Ellyngton’s. We were delighted to spend time at the Brown Palace recently for the Sunday Champagne Brunch at Ellyngton’s, which is a place where everyone from politicians to movie stars have mingled and dined.

Champagne Brunch at Ellyngton’s is an experience that both Denver residents and visitors to Colorado alike should dive into at some point in their lives, whether it be for a special occasion or when you’re in the mood for a rock star brunch. The Sunday extravaganza recently made Open Table’s “Top 100 Brunches in the US” List; it is the only brunch in Denver on the list. Ellyngton’s is an old-school, evocative restaurant with floor-to-ceiling windows and ornate decor, located on the first floor of the Brown Palace Hotel. There is a live slow jazz band every Sunday that will serenade you while dining.

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Our recent brunch at Ellynton’s was incredible beyond words. We chose the middle-tier champagne, Moët Chandon, for our bottomless option. If you’re looking to live lavishly, opt for Dom Pérignon. The chocolate fondue fountain (with both white and milk chocolate flowing) was our first stop on the bottomless brunch train. We then moved onto the salad bar to get some greens in our body before devouring nearly every other food group in existence.

Next up: seafood dreams. Plates full of raw oysters, fresh sushi rolls, and sashimi graced our taste buds. As we are huge fans of raw fish, this may have been one of our favorite parts of Ellyngton’s brunch. Most modern brunches leave out the raw fish component and opt for your cooked delicacies; Ellyngton’s has no shame in serving up that raw deliciousness bright and early on Sunday morning. To ready our palates for breakfast food, we then nibbled on fresh pastries (all baked in-house) and various artisan cheeses. Subsequently we moved onto an array of breakfast items: sausage, bacon, hash browns and breakfast potatoes, and omelettes made to order (right in front of us!).

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At this point, the average person may think they are full, but we prepared our minds (and bellies) to be ready for more. Lunch delights came next. We tried the famous Brown Palace prime rib as well as the meat of the day, which was lamb with raspberry crème sauce (definitely one of our favorite meat-and-sauce combos to date). Then it was time for more fish, barramundi to be exact. The barramundi was delicate and buttery — just like any perfectly-cooked white fish should be. We also tried the cheese blintzes and ordered eggs benedict from our server – -which you can get by the half order. To top it off with finesse, we tried a slice of the freshly baked cherry pie. We left Ellyngton’s full of delectable food, bubbles, and lifetime memories. 

If you are interested in making a reservation for Ellyngton’s Champagne Brunch, you can do so here. The Champagne Brunch takes place from 10 AM – 1:30 PM every Sunday in the famed Brown Palace Hotel.