The Liquid Diet

This Week in The Liquid Diet: an action-packed week in the wide world of a Chef, and a pursuit of the best liquid diets that Denver has to offer.

Our travels will start at the one year anniversary of the acclaimed Euclid Hall with what else but way too much beer (or maybe just the right amount). Then it’s off to The Denver Burger Battle where my diet included an excessive number of burgers and a massive combination of local beer, wine and spirits.  Finally the week concluded with a cozy evening at Bones for sake, sake, sake and sake.

Tuesday August 9, 2011 at 7:52pm MST:

I knew I was at Euclid Hall to support my friends, but in the back of my mind I was also there on serious business: recording my palate’s perception of the things that I imbibed so that I might share with you all.  For this reason, I pretended to carefully assess the landscape and tried to choose my adult beverage carefully. Once I saw my buddy Brian Baltzell from Great Divide wearing a Yeti costume, my professionalism went right out the window!  Knowing I was in the hands of Chefs Jorel and Jen I knew I would be consuming a lot of the noble pig and chose a Hoss to aid me in my journey around the Hall.


Hoss being the first and only lager brewed by Great Divide, I feel like it is easily overlooked.  The caramel notes and distinct spice from the rye are made for our friend the swine, but I was pleasantly surprised by the compliment the Hoss payed to dishes such as Chicken and Waffles as well as PEI mussels.  The fare at Euclid – habitually not shying away from salt – works beautifully with the crisp sessionability of Hoss.  The salt really sharpens the rye and rounds the sweetness on the palate.  A great beer for an appetizer-heavy event with many different layers of flavors!

Wednesday August 10, 2011 at 6:07pm MST:

I was already sure the Denver Burger Battle would not disappoint with amazing burgers, but the fact that Jeremy and Kelly Kossler had brought Avery, Great Divide, Infinite Monkey Thereom and Breckenridge Distillery together under one tent was scrumtrulescent (I think that’s a word… well it should be).  I was in for the VIP portion of the event so I was on a mission to power through all twelve burgers before the crowds descended upon me.  I finished them in record time, which was so fast that it took my body about twenty minutes to realize I just scarfed down half a cow!  All the while I had a White Rascal nestled in my fancy cup holder/plate.

Feeling very accomplished and very stuffed I doubled back to see my good friend the Mad Scientist Mr. Joshua Smith Esquire.  He was in usual Cocktologist form, shaking his little heart away for a concoction called the Breckenridge Bitterroot – A combination of Breckenridge Distillery’s bourbon, St. Germain (elderflower liqueur), Palisade peach puree, rose petal vermouth and Peach St. peach soda.  Yeah, it was as wicked awesome as it sounds!  The elegant balance of the floral sweetness, the fructose sweetness and the masculine aggression of the bourbon were so harmonious.  I had to write that verse like an over the top poem for you to really be in the moment.  Mostly, it was just a bad-ass cocktail!  As per usual, Josh’s drink created a clean, precise back drop to the food in play and the season.  Thoughtful use of Colorado products and progressive flavors really set this fine elixir off.  Did I mention that I ate my weight in burgers?!

Sunday August 14, 2011 at 8:15pm MST:

Having experienced two action packed adventures in back-to-back nights earlier in the week, I was in the mood for a mellow evening with the sounds of haiku and slurping noodles dancing through my head.  Being a Chef, I of course have to sit as close as possible to the kitchen, and if they give me a Chef’s counter so close I can almost cook my own food, then that’s where you will find me.  I already knew exactly what I was going to be eating, so the only real decision I had to make was what to drink.  Well not what, so much as which, as I knew sake was on the play list tonight.  Maybe because I had a long and arduous week I found myself strangely indecisive on which sake would elevate my meal.  Then like a beacon of… something poetic: Sake Flight right there on the menu.  Yes please!   Four adorable little shot glasses laid out in front of me, daring me to drink them.

Not being one to shy away from a fight I took them head on, starting with Demon Slayer – a Junmai style sake with hints of cucumber and smurf tears.  Then on to Pearls – a Junmai Daigingo style sake with savory notes of mushroom and gun metal.  To keep it sexy, a Hou Hou Shu sparkling nigori offered strawberries and pixie dust flavors.  Finally, one of my favorite styles: a straight nigori by Momokowa with intense cotton candy and  cumulus clouds on the palate.  Tasting sake is a journey of discovery, because they are from the most humble process and a very minimalist manipulation, yet still yield such vast flavors, textures and nuances.  Alcohol content in the mid-teens let you know that too many will put you on your ass, but the subtle flavors seem so delicate they almost lull you into submission.  The inherent sweetness in most sake just pairs so well with the umami flavors in the cuisine at Bones.  In my case this evening the Escargot Potstickers, Steamed Pork Belly Buns and the Lobster Ramen.  Then of course the Chocolate Salted Caramel soft serve with the nigori really put me into my happy place!

Quite a week in the life of The Liquid Diet. What will this week hold in store? Stay tuned!

About Jensen Cummings

Jensen Cummings (@JensenDCummings) is the Executive Chef at Row 14 in downtown Denver. He calls his food "Pangean Cuisine" and his teaching style "Fortune Cookie Philosophy" so you know he's a little off his rocker! His side passion project is to collaborate with brewers on chef/food inspired beers meant to be paired with high end cuisine. Jensen is an avid beer collector, student of spirits, soon to be Certified Cicerone and a sommelier in training. Basically, he is just really into adult beverages and super geeky!

  • DenverHBC

    Sorry… I can’t help myself: Cocktologist? Hehe.

  • CONK

    I forgot how much I enjoy drinking with you. May I be a guest on your drinking and eating show?