Navigating the Backcountry Pizza Beer Menu

The Backcountry Pizza and Tap House, located at the old Dolan’s Restaurant building at 2319 Arapahoe Avenue, claims to offer Boulder’s widest selection of draft microbrews. With over 50 beers on draft plus another 81 in bottle, I have yet to see any establishment that can match them.

However, if you are at all like me, and you certainly might not be, you will find the huge beer menu a little daunting. Herewith is a guide to navigating the beer menu at Backcountry Pizza.

First, decide if you prefer draft beer. Many people do. If so, you will eliminate over half the selections.

Next, decide if you are looking for a particular style, such as an Amber, IPA, or Wheat Beer. This will help tremendously, as long as you know your styles. Backcountry, after all, also has beers labeled Barleywine, Belgium, Fruit, Pilsner, Porter, Sour, Red, and Stout. Oh, and they also have Other and, at the bottom of the bottled beer menu, a small listing for Pabst Blue Ribbon, Budweiser, Bud Light, and Corona.

If you have a preferred beer style, you are pretty set, as you can simply choose from among a limited variety and you’ll probably like the result. Let’s assume, for the moment, that you don’t know your preferred variety or want to try something new.

Then you should move on to looking at the alcohol content or ABV, which stands for Alcohol by Volume. I often prefer low-alcohol beers, so I can have more than one and still be functional later in the evening. The beers at Backcountry are often over 7% and many are over 10%. I will often eliminate half the menu by looking for a beer in the 5% range.

Once you have that down, I recommend looking at price as well. At Backcountry, I love that they not only list the ABV and price, they also list the size of the beer. I can quickly see many of the beers are $10 and higher, with a few in the $25 price range. For a beer and pizza night, that is simply too steep for me and I will usually limit my selection even more by limiting the price point.

By this time, you should have a limited number of beers you are considering. Now comes the important part. Choose three of these and ask your server for a taster of each. They will be happy to oblige. I almost always either select one of the three I choose or pick a standby I know I will like, since it seems bad etiquette to order additional samples. Usually, I find a good beer I’ll enjoy drinking.

As a backup plan, if you are feeling risky, you can skip all the above steps and, instead, ask your waiter for a suggestion. Tell him or her what beers you like, how hoppy you prefer your beer, whether you are looking for a lot of flavor, and anything else you can think of. A good beer server will be able to suggest two or three beers and provide you tasters. I must admit I have had only spotty success with this at Backcountry.

Ultimately, however you navigate the beer menu, a visit to Backcountry is well worth it. Prost!