Sunday, February 21, 2016

Wine, Dine and Fun in Denver

My press trip invitation from Zimmerman Public Relations was very different than any I had received, but it definitely peaked my interest.

The trip was a collaboration between SpringHill Suites Denver Downtown and Infinite Monkey Theorem Winery. It was only two days long and it sounded like a lot of fun, so I cleared my schedule.

I was one of the first to arrive in Denver, a city I hadn’t visited in a few years.

It had been a while since I’ve stayed at a SpringHill Suites and this one was even nicer than I had remembered.

The lobby was very warm and welcoming, as was the staff. I would learn that the staff here was especially friendly as they were all students from the Hospitality School at the Metropolitan State University.

The school was right next door and there was a very unique partnership between this SpringHill and Metropolitan. Not only did the hotel employee many students, but profits from the hotel also went into scholarships at the school.

The relationship of SpringHill Suites Downtown Denver did not end at the front desk. 

Degree Food and Drink was also next door to the hotel and served as its only restaurant.

I had a delicious lunch at Degree with the staff from Zimmerman while we waited for the other guests to arrive.

My room was ready right after lunch and I settled in since we had some free time.

I was quite impressed with the suite, one large room with a divider between the living room area and the king sized bed.

The ladies from Zimmerman had left us all a big selection of goodies, ranging from snacks to samples of Infinite Monkey wine, and even a hangover kit for those of us who ended up indulging too much during our night time activities.

As I glanced at the schedule I realized here was a very good chance of that!

We met in the lobby at about 5:00 pm. It was the largest group of journalists I remember ever traveling with.

Within the group was Kristen Hanson. We had traveled together on quite a few trips and had become friends over the years. It was great to have a chance to catch up between the festivities.

We all hopped into the oversized limousine and headed to Infinite Monkey Theorem Winery

I was one of the few who already knew a bit about the company having attended their Swine on the Mine event at the Aspen Food &Wine Festival.

This winery is a very unique “urban winery,” located in a factory in the city and using some unique wine making. 

They are also known for their canned wine, still delicious using a special method to keep the wine from taking on any aluminum flavor.

My previous experience with Infinite Monkey had only been about “white or red?” but I soon learned this company has drastically expanded their bottles and cans, including the addition of a bottled sparkling wine and a canned pear cider.

We left the winery and returned to SpringHill Suites for a unique “Can & Cheese Dining Experience.” Cheese was a huge underestimation of the spread we saw.

The chefs at Degree had whipped up a wonderful selection of pairings with the Infinite Monkey Theorem wines that included Black & Blue Sliders with the Red Wine and Brown Butter Pouchettes with Rose.

After sampling some desserts with the Pear Cider, we headed out for some cocktails and popular Denver nightspots.

Our first stop was at Beatrice and Woodsley. It teetered on the whimsical with toilet paper on the bathroom walls and a community sink outside the restrooms, but it was also quite formal in some ways.

The cocktail menu was unique and enjoyed some interesting play on words. I had, for example, the Violet, You’re Turning Violet, a reference to a line in the Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory movie.

It was a concoction with house-infused Violet Vodka, made with teas, blueberries, and ginger, then covered with lemon juice.

We finished our drinks and then headed to The Blake StreetVault in Denver’s LoDo neighborhood. Despite the very decorative front of the building, it had a classic pub fee inside.

What we didn’t know until after we got our drinks was the place had a very long history that included ghosts. We took a tour through the basement and vault, where we heard the story, but had no sightings.

We returned to the SpringHill Suites Downtown after midnight.

I was a bit disappointed that we hadn’t made it to our last stop, Linger, as it had been a favorite of mine on my last trip to Denver

Unfortunately, they were closing earlier than we could get there.

I settled into my very comfortable king suite, resting up for another full day in Denver.

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