Coffee Shop Review #21 Bellwether

Down in Denver, exploring new coffee shops per usual. Categories out of 5.

Location-3.5(Way down on East Colfax Bellwether stands alone as a destination rather than a spot to stop in on a walkabout. However, Bellwether serves as a four stops in one shop featuring a cafe, small racks of clothing, a barbershop and a whiskey bar at night. The neighborhood is definitely up and coming and there are some emerging restaurants. as well as, the three great Denver music venues: The Bluebird, The Gothic Theater, and The Ogden. However, you will need to drive anywhere you are trying to go so it is best to square away some quality time and stay in rather than order coffee to take).

Barista Cuteness-4(The baristas at Bellwether are 1 for 1 so they are batting a 100 so far. The man serving us was so pleasant and in lieu of other customers hung about our table to discuss the changing Denver scene and tell us about the cafe. He was very well-dressed, which reflected the aesthetic of the store and clothing for sale very well. A peak in the back barbershop revealed well-coiffed attractive hipsters as to be expected).

img_4945

Coffee Knowledge/Expertise-4.5(We ordered two cappuccinos and a Kenya pour over to sample the coffee selection for taste, variety, and consistency. Bellwether serves coffee from Boxcar Coffee Roasters, a well-known Boulder/Denver roaster that is on the rise.  The cappuccinos were a bit dry (more foam) and the espresso did not have an unctuous taste, it was drier as if the beans were older and roasted to be more bitter. The Kenya pour over was served in a massive tin camping mug which was a great start. The coffee was flavorful, full bodied and was carefully prepared to bring out the fruity flavors).

img_4947

Ambiance-5(The design is where Bellwether truly shines. The all black and white color palette oozes a coolness that is very effortless. Simple chairs and tables complement focal design touches like the sewing table desk, overstuffed Winchester sofas, and fantastic Ducati motorcycle. Floor to ceiling windows on the street-facing wall let in ample light to brighten the dark features. The whiskey and coffee bar is very simple, neat and uncluttered which confirms the crisp, unfussed vibe).

img_1481  img_4944                  img_4948

Food/Pastry Selection-3.5(A very meager single glass pastry stand held a few savory and sweet muffins, scones, and cookies. The selections did look appetizing and sound original but clearly was an afterthought for the cafe. Without having sampled any particular baked good I would ventrue to say they looked like they would tast very good but will need to confirm).

Overall Rating:4,1

Sweet but not Sweet, the New Hit Dessert

After perusing my blog, it’s safe to say I love desserts. Treat time is my favorite hour and pastries, chocolate, and gelato will always have my heart. While this is true I am actually not the biggest fan of outright sweets i.e. candy, syrups, and other sugar-intense delicacies. So when looking at a dessert menu it is always difficult to find a dessert that is not boring but not sickeningly sweet sounding. A recent trip to Lower 48 in Denver, Colorado had me face-to-face with an enticing dessert menu with four original items that all sounded divine.

Screen Shot 2014-05-23 at 1.58.08 PM

Pretty intriguing choices right? We decided to go for the boldest option and ordered the Brown Butter and Comte Pudding. This was the most surprising dessert I have ever gotten and one of the best I have ever had. The dish looked like a strawberry shortcake with pickled cherries and strawberries layered on the brown butter cheese pudding sandwiched between delicate sourdough rounds. The dollop of sourdough ice cream on top of the stack and swashes of apple balsamic on the plate were a beautiful compliment to the dish. The dessert was exceptionally composed and was impeccably balanced between sour, slight sweet, and buttery flavor. My brother described the dish as knocking you out with simultaneously an “iron fist and a velvet glove.” This pretty much captures the essence of the dish because you are first hit with the rather pungent, raw sourdough flavor and then assuaged with the smooth, rich comte cheese and sweet, tangy fruit.

Lower 48’s dessert menu is commendable for its complexity and creativity. The direction of this restaurant excites me for the future of all dessert menus. This sleek, airy, industrial spot is definitely worth a trip for cocktails and delicious treats. I would definitely recommend a stop by soon!