Tess on the Town: Moonlit dining: Good for what ales you

QUICKREAD

WHAT: Breckenridge Ale House.

WHERE: 2531 N. 12th St.

WHEN: 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. every day.

CONTACT: 242-7253.



The Ale House in Grand Junction has two names. Its official name is the Breckenridge Ale House, but locals call it just the Ale House.

Kind of like how Western Slopers morph “good morning” into “mornin’.”

Breckenridge Brewery began opening casual alehouses about a decade ago, including the one in Grand Junction. They feature Denver-brewed Breck beer and the taps of other craft breweries.

A popular gathering spot in Grand Junction, The Ale House has 32 beers on tap and rotates between them for a beer of the day for $2.75. On a recent visit it was Dirty Hippy from Palisade Brewing Co., but I didn’t take it personally.

After a stale period in Breck’s creativity, brewery director Todd Usry realized the brewing pioneer had fallen behind, according to Colorado beer handbook “Mountain Brew.” “It was then that he came up with the beers that now define Breckenridge,” author Ed Sealover writes.

From Sealover: “There’s 471 IPA, a double IPA with a strong malt backing to balance out the upfront citrus bitterness. It’s been called one of the best IPAs in America.”

The Ale House’s menu has all of the usual pub grub choices, from appetizers to entrees with burgers and pizza in between. But the depth and quality of the menu sets it apart from others in its casual dining category.

Entrees are listed with suggested pairings of wine or beer. Choices include grilled ahi tuna served three ways (including my favorite salad nicoise), jerk chicken, panna cotta, mussels and chorizo, caprese appetizer, capicola sandwich, adobo chicken salad, wine/apple braised pork tenderloin and Enstrom mud pie. The Ale House serves the staples too, but their menu goes beyond the common fare of a bar and grill.

Although it has a commodious interior with several dining rooms, a bar and pool tables, perhaps the best place to park your party is on the outdoor patio.

Buffered from the street noise, it’s a festive and somewhat hidden spot with trees, fairy lights, a sloping green lawn and umbrellaed tables. On hot days, a mister will keep you from wilting.

Add to that an outdoor bar and stage with local bands playing on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday, and I can see why The Ale House is a magnet on a moonlit night.

After a column last year, a letter to the editor took me to task for not mentioning The Ale House among spots for good patio dining. The writer was right. My radar must have been on the blink.

Comparisons to Kannah Creek Brewery come to mind. Both serve food and craft brews (Kannah’s signature beers, preferred by many, are brewed on site) and both are similarly situated on 12th Street. Based on patios alone, The Ale House comes up aces. But, Kannah Creek is planning a second location on the Colorado riverfront near the botanical gardens. Now that could be a patio to die for.

QUESTIONS: Often, readers send questions my way, usually in the vein of “what was that place you mentioned” or “what restaurant would you recommend for a romantic dinner?”

This past week one person asked where to buy a good hard cider. Another asked where to find the Western Slope charcuterie served at a recent Denver fundraiser hosted by Colorado first lady Helen Thorpe.

If you have any questions for me, shoot me an email. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll try to find out.

QUOTE: “You can’t be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline. I helps if you have some kind of football team, or some nuclear weapons, but at the very least you need a beer.” — Frank Zappa

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