While Denver is known for its well-brewed craft beers and local brews, there are pockets in the suburbs that also take great pride in bolstering this notoriety. Six Capital Brewery, located in Aurora, takes advantage of its unpretentious storefront and pushes the boundaries even further with a highly targeted barbecue menu.
Although this brewery is relatively new, owner Blake Butler has spent 20 years as a chef moving from kitchen to kitchen at the Inverness Hotel, Warwick Hotel and Panera Bread, among a long list of other businesses. Originally from Texas, Butler moved to Colorado at the age of five. He grew up a few miles from the brewery and attended Smoky Hill High School. Although his formative years were played locally, his seventh-generation Texan roots influenced much of the menu and even the name.
Six Capital was named to honor the six temporary capitals of the Republic of Texas until it finally moved to Austin where the current State capital resides. Many different places served as the capital of Texas, including Spain, France, Mexico City, the Republic of Texas, Virginia, Montgomery, Alabama, and Washington DC. Much like the story behind the Six Capital name, the menu draws inspiration from regional diversity and adapts barbecue method of slow cooking meat, barbacoa style. The fare includes a variety of smoked breast, pork, chicken and tofu substitute meat.
âThe barbecue is a great way to appeal to all cultures. It is inspired by Houston, a cultural melting pot. We take influence from Hispanic barbacoa, Korean barbecue and West American style, âsaid Butler.
The breast tacos (1 for $ 4.35 or 3 for $ 12) are topped with roasted corn salsa, chipotle ranch and cotija cheese. The pork tacos is pulled pork topped with bacon jam, pickled red onions, cotija cheese and fried pork skin.
Unlike the Texan facade, the ingredients are super local. The tortillas are from Raquelitasbread Styria bakery and meat from Tender belly and Polidori sausage. All other products are made in-house, from pickles to mustard to beer. Some of the most popular dishes include pitmaster Cubano ($ 14) with pulled pork, ham, Swiss cheese, house pickles and beer mustard; or the banh mi ($ 14) with marinated daikon radish, carrot, jalapeÃ±o, cucumber, spicy mayonnaise and your choice of any smoked meat listed above.
While these are the most frequently ordered items, it wouldn’t be fair to leave out some of these honorable mentions. The devils on horseback ($ 9) has dates stuffed with goat cheese, Tender Belly bacon with black pepper, Provence herbs and a cider reduction. The smoked wings ($ 14) with Hickory Cherry Smoked Boneless Wings, served with a plethora of sauces or sauces made from Crack Hoisin, Golden Toad Red Buffalo JalapeÃ±o, Traditional BBQ or Golden Toad Xtinction Ghost Chili Sauce.
As imagined, the smoker sits back, flavoring the brewery with the same savory scent that permeates the brisket and pork, which are smoked for 17 hours, and the chicken wings, smoked for two hours.
Few breweries take their bar food as seriously as the duo Butler and their executive sous chef Toph Gregory, a graduate of Johnson and Wales University. The 90% scratch house kitchen doubles as a brewery, which is quite shocking. What feels more like a quick and relaxed dining experience also focuses on traditional beers. Although the brewery is rather small, head brewer Ryan Cosslett always finds room to experiment.
âI am a traditionalist when it comes to beer. We mainly like to brew something that goes well with the food. We’re just a four fermenter brewery, so we usually stick with a simple but well-cooked beer. However, we’ll be experimenting with imperial stouts and adding nut butters or offering a green chili beer, âsaid Butler.
As the season slowly passes into the fall, the menu will see a few additions ranging from pumpkin beer to French breast dip and Korean-inspired pulled pork tacos. However, no drastic changes will be made, as the menu is still heavily barbecue-focused.
As if focusing only on food and alcohol weren’t enough, the team at Six Capital, including Morgan Forsyth, Managing Director, and Justyna Butler, co-owner, find every reason to break this Texan stereotype with an inclusive attitude and community involvement. .
During Pride Month, the team raised $ 1,500 and donated it to the association Center on Colfax by allocating $ 1 from each food and drink purchase plus the same $ 1 from each t-shirt sale for that month.
âYou mean it all,â Butler said.
Six Capital Brewing is located at 16701 E Iliff Ave, Suite B, Aurora. It is open Monday to Thursday from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.
All photographs courtesy of Justyna butler.