Colorado is known for its beer scene, but recently it hasn't been just prizewinning pilsners and porters getting kegged around the state. These days, some of the best craft brews being barreled are non-alcoholic and caffeinated, offering serious upgrades to classic coffee and teas.
Cold brew, which is coffee steeped for up to twelve hours in cold water, is strong, naturally sweet and less acidic than hot brewed coffee. Kombucha is literally living tea, it begins with a base of brewed black tea and cane sugar which is fermented using a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY). The result is a slightly sweet, effervescent and probiotic pick me up. Both of these beverages are having a moment and examples from local producers can be found flowing from taps at multiple purveyors in Aspen.
Peach's Corner Café was first on the scene with nitro cold brew from Lone Cone Coffee in Montrose, CO. "Nitro," is cold brew served carbonated with nitrous oxide, a process that imparts a velvety texture and rich head to the pour. Request it in a pint glass without ice for an experience reminiscent to a breakfast Guinness. (121 S. Galena Street Aspen, CO)
Meat & Cheese, Wendy Mitchell's homage to all things cured, aged and rotisserie'd, also offers a wide variety of beverages on tap. The Vietnamese Iced Coffee—featuring cold brew from Rock Canyon Coffee in Basalt—and condensed milk, is served in a lidded mason jar. Give it a healthy shake to mix the ingredients and froth the top. (319 E Hopkins Ave, Aspen, CO)
Clarks Market has stepped up its coffee game with the addition of a café to the entrance of their Aspen location. With taps dedicated to two flavors of High Country Kombucha —think blueberry ginger and tumeric beet—and a cold brew from Forest Coffee Trading Company out of Denver, you can quench your thirst before you fill your cart. (300 Puppy Smith St, Aspen, CO)
HOPS Culture prides itself on 30 rotating drafts, one of which is Dragonfly Jun, a kombucha alternative made by aspen Local Jacqueline Duba using green tea and raw honey. Flavors include Hibiscus Rose Elderberry and Lemon Ginger Elderflower, if you want to kick it up a notch, try the Jun Mule which adds tequila and lime juice to the mix. (414 E Hyman Ave, Aspen, CO)