Denver gas prices continue to climb, but some relief could be ahead

Denver gas prices made another jump last week, climbing 8.1 cents per gallon on average, but the national trend provides some hope for consumers.

The average price of a gallon of gas in Denver now sits at $3.26, according to GasBuddy, which conducts daily surveys of Denver’s 844 gas stations.

Prices in Denver now stand 21 cents higher than a month ago and 90.6 cents per gallon higher than this time last year.

However, there could be some relief ahead as nationally prices dipped 2.1 cents per gallon last week.

“The ferocious rise in gas prices has finally started to cool as gas prices have eased across a majority of the country for the first time in months,” Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy, said in a news release. “There have been some challenges in pockets across the country as demand remains very healthy, and stations in some areas where demand is very high struggle to keep up with demand thanks to the truck driver shortage.”

De Haan said he’s optimistic that gas prices will slowly decline as we near the Fourth of July holiday, but could rise again in July or August if there are any disruptions from hurricanes.

“For now it seems most Americans are simply happy to be getting outside and back to some sense of normal,” De Haan said.

Statewide the average cost for a gallon of gas stands at $3.33, GasBuddy said.

The cheapest gas station in Denver is selling gallons for $2.97, while the priciest station stands at $3.78 per gallon, GasBuddy said, a difference of 81 cents.

Denver-based Truewerk apparel startup for blue-collar workers raises another $2M

A Denver-based apparel company has raised $2.05 million in funding.

Truewerk, a startup founded in 2015 that makes and sells high-performing apparel for blue-collar workers, is using the money raised from internal investors to increase production and inventory.

“We’re a rapidly growing direct-to-consumer workwear brand, and the biggest challenges for us are frankly just keeping up with inventory demands,” said Founder Brian Ciciora.

Ciciora said Truewerk gets the bulk of its business in the third and fourth quarters of the year because as temperatures drop, people are looking for warm but durable workwear. The newly raised funding will help the company maintain inventory as its sales increase seasonally.

“A lot of apparel brands that have seasonality to them, especially at the back end of the year, there’s a big surge of inventory that has to be filled for fall delivery,” Ciciora said. “As a company that’s more than doubling annually, there’s just more need for inventory dollars that we can sustain from organic growth.”

Ciciora said Truewerk’s revenue is growing two to three times annually, but declined to disclose what those numbers are.

Truewerk’s best-selling item is its T2 Werk Pant, which is part of its best-selling line of pants that vary in warmth, Ciciora said. The T2 Werk Pant is made for fall, winter and spring and costs $79. The T1 Werk Pant, which is for the summer, also costs $79. The T3 Werk Pant designed for the winter costs $99.

Ciciora said Truewerk did not have a decrease in demand during the pandemic because the customers they cater to were essential workers. Truewerk makes clothing for workers such as electricians and plumbers.

“Truewerk serves a market of what became known as essential service providers,” Ciciora said. “Our community is a group of people who really society relies on some to make civilized life possible.”

The company has 20 employees but plans to hire more as the business grows. It hired Jim Trombly, who worked with outerwear companies such as Patagonia and Canada Goose, as director of product management earlier this year, Ciciora said.

“We’ve been very fortunate to have grown very, very well throughout the last year, and don’t take that for granted,” Ciciora said.

Falling Rock Tap House, Denver’s pioneering craft beer bar, closing after 24 years

Denver’s craft beer scene was dealt a crushing blow over the weekend when Falling Rock Tap House, a pioneer in serving and supporting America’s microbreweries, announced it will soon close.

Brothers Chris, Al and Steve Black opened the bar in 1997, and with more than 90 draft taps and a cellar full of rare and speciality bottles, it’s been a destination for seasoned beer drinkers and craft novices for more than two decades. It was also known as the go-to spot after the Great American Beer Festival, where craft enthusiasts could find special releases and like-minded drinkers. The party comes to an end June 27.

Chris Black attributes the closure, in part, to the evolution the craft brewing and bar industries have experienced over the course of Falling Rock’s 24-year run. There weren’t always spaces where small breweries could sell experimental or limited-release recipes. Falling Rock was designed as a place where these operations could showcase something unique and get the public’s feedback, Black said.

But since breweries have been able to open taprooms and sell directly to the public, many of those beers never leave the breweries. And that’s put watering holes like Falling Rock in jeopardy.

“Things have shifted so that some of the breweries have gone from the idea of having a taproom where you can sample beers and learn about the brewery and people who made your beer; they’ve become full on retail outlets,” Black said. “Breweries saw the retail dollar, which I liken to crack, and they decided to keep special releases for themselves.”

Couple that trend with a year-long construction project that caused a 30% drop in sales, changes to the neighborhood that have impacted business negatively, challenges in finding kitchen staff and rapidly increasing costs, and Black said the business has become financially unsustainable.

Fans lamented the loss on social media, calling Falling Rock’s closing the end of an era and sharing fond memories. Todd Bellmyer, brewer at the neighboring Wynkoop Brewing Co., said there will be “a hole in the heart of the Denver craft beer industry” once the bar closes. Charles McManus, head brewer at Phantom Canyon Brewing Co., agreed.

“Falling Rock not only helped Denver become a beer destination city, but the unrivaled camaraderie in the Denver brewing scene owes a great deal to Chris Black,” McManus said in a statement. “Getting your beer on tap at Falling Rock was a badge of honor, and having a pint with Chris was like shaking hands with Sinatra.”

As for what comes next, Black, a 38-year veteran of the beer bar business, said he hopes to remain in it in some capacity. But first, a five-day toast to the craft beer institution.

Drinkers are invited to help clean out the kegs and cellar Wednesday through Sunday. Everything from T-shirts to tap handles to signage on the walls will be for sale, as will the remaining stash in the beer cellar.

The party runs 5 to 10 p.m. on Wednesday through Friday, noon to 10 p.m. on Saturday and noon to a yet-to-be-determined time on Sunday. The taphouse is located at 1919 Blake St.

Subscribe to our food newsletter, Stuffed, to get Denver food and drink news sent straight to your inbox. 

 

CU Buffs at full fan capacity for football, basketball, volleyball, women’s soccer starting in August

CU Buffs fans will be welcome at 100% capacity inside the university’s biggest sporting venues again.

The CU athletic department announced Monday that capacity at Folsom Field, CU Events Center, Prentup Field and the tennis complex on the South campus will be without COVID-19 restrictions on attendance starting with the new athletic year in August.

Buffs home football and men’s basketball and women’s basketball games were played largely without fans in attendance during the 2020-21 athletic year because of local and state restrictions brought out by the coronavirus pandemic.

CSU Rams officials announced in the spring that they expected to be approved for 100% fan capacity for all major athletics events, but AD Joe Parker said via the CSURams.com web site on June 16 that “our plans to receive the clearance for (that capacity) are still being reviewed.”

New Colorado vehicle registration fee will support state parks, public lands

Colorado residents who register a non-commercial vehicle will automatically pay for and receive a pass that allows entry to state parks under a bill Gov. Jared Polis signed Monday that would take effect in 2023.

In the meantime, the state will set the fee, which to start won’t be more than $40, for the Keep Colorado Wild annual pass and work out other details of the program. Residents who don’t want to pay for the pass may opt out.

Vehicles that would be assessed the fee include:

  • Passenger motor vehicles
  • Light-weight trucks with an empty  weight of l 16,000 pounds or less
  • Motorcycles
  • Recreational vehicles

Money raised by the fee will be used to support state parks and public lands, including search and rescues; avalanche safety work; conservation; and equity, diversity, and inclusion programs.

Colorado wildfires: The latest on blazes burning across state

A number of uncontained wildfires are burning in Colorado today as drought conditions persist in the western part of the state.

Oil Springs fire

The Oil Springs fire is burning on Bureau of Land Management land in Rio Blanco County, about 20 miles southwest of Rangely. It has burned about 5,000 acres, nearly eight square miles, and was first reported July 18.

The blaze was started by lightning, according to the Rio Blanco Sheriff’s Office. Firefighters are focusing on structure protection amid windy conditions, with gusts Monday of up to 40 mph.

Colorado 139 is closed from mile marker 6 to 64 (Loma to Rangely), and evacuations have been ordered along County Roads 116, 27, 28, 120, 26A, 103 and 128.

Trail Canyon fire

The Trail Canyon fire, which was started by a lightning strike Friday, is burning in southwestern Colorado, to the southeast of Mesa Verde National Park and the city of Cortez.

The blaze grew to about 881 acres — about 1.4 square miles — in strong winds over the weekend, fueled by drought-distressed piñon-juniper and sagebrush, according to fire officials.

About 125 firefighters are working the wildfire, which was 30% contained by Sunday evening.

Sylvan fire

This 180-acre blaze, about .3 square miles, is burning in rural Eagle County, about 12 miles south of Gypsum. The fire started Sunday afternoon and burned actively through the night, fire officials said.

Firefighters saw “extreme fire behavior” because of strong winds, which pushed the blaze to the south and southeast, according to an incident overview from the U.S. Forest Service.

The wildfire is burning in timber in the White River National Forest, about a half-mile from Sylvan Lake State Park. Campers in the area have been evacuated and much of the area is closed. Firefighters are working to protect structures inside the state park.

Muddy Slide fire

At least 100 acres, or .15 square miles, have burned in this new fire, which started Sunday afternoon in the Routt National Forest south of Steamboat Springs.

A pre-evacuation order has been issued for a stretch of Routt County Road 16, also known as Forest Road 270, fire officials said. About 60 firefighters are working to contain the wildfire.


Wildfire map

Click markers for details, use buttons to change what wildfires are shown. Map data is automatically updated by government agencies and could lag real-time events. Incident types are numbered 1-5 — a type 1 incident is a large, complex wildfire affecting people and critical infrastructure, a type 5 incident is a small wildfire with few personnel involved. Find more information about incident types at the bottom of this page.

Lunch Special: Denver sports live chat with Mark Kiszla

Got a question about Colorado sports? The Denver Post’s Mark Kiszla is discussing all things Denver sports in a live Lunch Special chat, scheduled to begin at noon on Monday, June 21, 2021.

Mobile users, if you can’t see the live chat, tap here.

Oven fries by way of Bahrain, New York and London

By Yotam Ottolenghi, The New York Times

LONDON — I’ve been waiting for the perfect dish to reintroduce my test kitchen colleague Noor Murad. I think this may be it. We’ve been working together for a while now, so I could have chosen from many recipes. But this one, for oven fries with tahini yogurt and smoky-sweet nuts, especially says “Noor” to me.

Noor always says she’s “Bahrain-made, New York-trained.” Luckily for me, London is now her stomping ground. Every day that Noor walks into the test kitchen, she brings her journey with her. Whether we’re working on a recipe for a column or for a cookbook, the ingredients, memories and stories she’s picked up on the way — from Bahrain to New York to London — are with us, too.

For example, we developed these oven fries in London in May, a month when it appeared to have rained, hailed or been extremely windy nearly every day. Rainy bank holidays, wind-swept attempts to eat outside, picnics abandoned in search of shelter: For Noor and me — both solar-powered by the Middle Eastern climate of our youths — it’s all so totally, brilliantly, stereotypically British.

We’ve both done our time at the British seaside, eating fish and chips from a paper bag targeted by greedy sea gulls, watching the good folk of a coastal town actively choosing to swim in the North Sea. I happily watched and ate but thought, nostalgically, “The Mediterranean, this is not.” Noor happily watched and ate but thought, controversially, “these British fish and chips — all this vinegar! — are overrated.”

We blew in to the test kitchen inspired, and set to work. We knew we loved chips — British chips, American fries. We knew we loved eating with our hands. We knew these little wedges of starch provide comfort and seaside sustenance like nothing else. We knew we didn’t want to go down the potatoes-doused-in-vinegar route, though — so we paused for thought.

Noor remembered her New York days, when she would go out with her buddies after a long shift in the restaurants they were starting out in. Late at night and early into the next morning, they’d pile into the Eveready Diner in Hyde Park, New York, for late-night snacks. The retro menu was barely looked at before the order was placed. It was disco fries every time, the diner’s “famous French fries smothered with brown gravy and shredded Cheddar cheese.” Add bacon and call it supper.

Happy though these memories are — and delicious as those disco fries still are, no doubt — this is where Noor’s Bahraini background took over. The disco fries’ melted cheese and brown gravy were swapped out for the tahini, yogurt and lemon juice sauce that courses through her veins. Urfa and Aleppo chile flakes were reached for to add flavor every bit as punchy as the bacon bits brought. The crunch came from pine nuts and almonds toasted gently in olive oil, which adorn so many of dishes from Noor’s Middle Eastern childhood.

We tried the dish. There was something missing: vinegar! Those North Sea chippies were on to something after all. We were a long way from dousing — we gently pickled herb stems in some vinegar instead — but, still, I smile to think that the sea gulls circling the British seaside have made their way into the food memory.

We tried the dish again. I was delighted. Noor was transported — to the English cobble-beach seaside, munching with mates; to the late-night American diner, decompressing with work buddies; to the car with her dad, eating Bahraini street food out of oil-stained paper bags, burning their tongues in the process. It’s home, from home, from home: reminiscent of all three places but, at the same time, completely and utterly Noor-ish.

Oven Fries With Tahini Yogurt and Smoky-Sweet Nuts

Yield: 4 servings

Total time: 1 1/4 hours

Ingredients

For the potatoes:

  • 2 1/4 pounds (1 kilogram) skin-on Yukon Gold (or King Edward) potatoes, cut lengthwise into roughly 1/2-inch (1 1/2-centimeter)-thick sticks
  • 2 teaspoons rice flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt

For the pickled herb stems:

  • 1 heaping tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro (coriander) or parsley stems (or a mixture of both)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • For the smoky-sweet nuts:
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup (40 grams) pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup (30 grams) roughly chopped blanched almonds
  • 1 teaspoon light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon nigella seeds (or black sesame seeds)
  • 1 teaspoon Urfa chile flakes
  • 1 teaspoon Aleppo chile flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot smoked paprika

For the tahini yogurt:

  • 3 tablespoons (60 grams) Greek-style yogurt
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons (50 grams) tahini
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

Preparation

1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius).

2. On a large parchment-lined baking sheet (tray), toss the potatoes with the rice flour, oil and 1 teaspoon salt. Spread them out in an even layer so they’re not overlapping. Cover the baking sheet tightly with foil and bake for 15 minutes, until the potatoes steam and soften slightly.

3. Meanwhile, make the pickled stems: Add the herb stems to a small bowl with the vinegar and set aside to gently pickle.

4. Prepare the nuts: Add the oil to a small frying pan and heat over medium-high. Once hot, add the pine nuts and almonds, and cook, stirring occasionally, until toasted and nicely browned, about 1 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and immediately stir in the sugar, nigella seeds, Urfa and Aleppo chile flakes, paprika, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Transfer to a bowl.

5. Make the tahini yogurt: Add all the ingredients to a bowl with 2 1/2 tablespoons water and 1/4 teaspoon salt; whisk until smooth. Add an additional 1 or 2 tablespoons of water, if needed, until the mixture is just pourable, since it tends to thicken as it sits.

6. Remove the foil from the potatoes, turn the heat up to 425 degrees Fahrenheit (220 degrees Celsius) and return to the oven for 15 minutes. Use a spatula to gently flip the fries over, separating them if they stick together at all, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes more, until nicely golden and crispy. Set aside to cool for 5 minutes.

7. To serve, transfer the fries to a large serving platter and drizzle with the tahini yogurt. Spoon the nut mixture on top, followed by the pickled stems and their liquid. Serve immediately.

And to Drink …

Fried potatoes go beautifully with dry sparkling wines. For the sake of argument, I’m perfectly willing to call these baked potatoes “oven fries,” and sparkling wines would be a great choice, whether Champagne, cava, crémant or the various Champagne facsimiles of the world. Yes, the toppings make this a slightly more complicated match, and so might any other dishes you are serving if this is part of a larger meal. Luckily you have numerous options. Dry rosés would match the Middle Eastern flavors. I’d be intrigued to try fino sherry, too. Orange wines, with their slight rasp of tannin, would be fascinating with this dish, whether from the country of Georgia, Slovenia or anywhere else. Sauvignon blancs and many other dry whites would go well, too, but I’d steer clear of reds. — Eric Asimov

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

5 destination disc golf courses in Colorado

As far as professional sports go, disc golf has flown largely under the radar. But thanks to a confluence of factors — including the rise of YouTube, which until recently almost exclusively covered match play, and the sport’s pandemic-friendly nature — disc golf has exploded in popularity.

More than 26,600 new players joined the Professional Disc Golf Association, the sport’s official governing body, in 2020, an 84% spike compared to the previous year. And because membership typically accounts only for those who played in a tournament, the number of new casual players is likely much larger.

“We’ve been seeing all the same anecdotal evidence — crowded courses, disc manufacturers who can’t keep discs on the shelf,” said Matthew Rothstein, media manager for the PDGA. “Certainly the pandemic gave us a boost because it really played into some of the best aspects of disc golf: You can play it on your own. It’s outdoors. It’s easily accessible and mostly played in public parks, which largely remained open during the pandemic.”

The sport also got a boost last year when ESPN2 aired the final round of the Disc Golf Pro Tour Championship during a two-hour special broadcast. The increased exposure is bringing new types of players into the fold.

Paige Pierce, a five-time winner of the Professional Disc Golf World Championships and the best female player in the game, remembers that when she first started competing professionally in 2010, there were typically fewer than 30 players in the women’s division. Comparatively, there were a record-setting 263 participants at the 2021 U.S. Women’s Disc Golf Championships in California in May. There are, in fact, so many women coming into the game, tournaments are now having to consider how to accommodate the influx of new players.

“It’s really noticeable and really, really cool how many more women are playing,” Pierce said. “We’re working through ‘How can we make more room in tournaments for women?’ Because we don’t want to steer women away, but there aren’t enough tee times in the day for men and women.”

Part of the appeal is also how inexpensive it is to get into. Players need only a disc or two, which range from about $10 to $30 each, to get started. Jake Maxwell, staff member at the CTP Disc Golf Store in Wheat Ridge, said he’ll often build beginners a starter pack that includes discs and a bag for $30 to $50 total, depending on the type of plastic they like.

According to the PDGA, there are 9,300-plus courses nationwide, most of which are free to play.

Whether you’re a newbie or seasoned player, add these five destination-worthy disc golf courses to your Colorado bucket list. Pro tip: Download the app UDisc to navigate courses and keep your score even in areas that lack cellphone service.

Beaver Ranch Disc Golf Course (Conifer)

Variety is the spice of life at Beaver Ranch, which is rated the top course in Colorado by reviewers on the UDisc app. The area features two courses with a total of 62 baskets. The first is a 20-hole short course, meaning no shot is longer than 200 feet. The second is a 21-hole championship course that features two pins on each, known as silver and gold. The silver layout is the easier of the two and basket positions are changed weekly. Baskets on the gold layout, known colloquially as the Angry Beaver, don’t move, but are designed for the most challenging game on the course. Expect a mix of shots, from long valley and meadow drives to tricky tree work, as well as some elevation. And be sure to stop by the onsite pro-shop for gear and snacks.

  • Beaver Ranch DGC, 11369 S. Foxton Road, Conifer
  • Cost: $12 for a day pass ($10 for Jefferson County residents), $100 for an annual pass ($90 for Jefferson County residents)
  • Reservation needed? No, but recommended due to popularity. Call 720-295-9490 to reserve a tee time.

Cross Creek Disc Golf Course (Gypsum)

Located deep in the mountains outside of Gypsum, Cross Creek has a little bit of everything to satisfy the Rocky Mountain player, including water hazards, elevation changes and heavily wooded terrain. The 27-hole layout offers plenty of long shots, most of which you’ll need to navigate through trees, though there are several meadow shots near the end of the course. Expect a challenging round on this course, but beginners shouldn’t be discouraged. Even if you hit a tree or two — or 10 — the hike and scenic views are well worth the trip.

  • Cross Creek DGC, 13119 Gypsum Creek Road, Gypsum
  • Cost: $15 for a day pass
  • Reservation needed? No.

Ghost Town Disc Golf (Central City)

Located at the site of an abandoned gold mining town, this private disc golf course near Central City is a gem for experienced and casual players alike. The course, which features 20 holes, starts with several heavily wooded shot opportunities mapped out along tight boundary lines before opening up to wider shots on the back half. Most holes are fairly short, but what they lack in distance they make up for in technicality. Baskets are sometimes placed among the building relics from the area’s former existence, but don’t hit them — that will not only damage the delicate structures, but also cost you an extra stroke on hole 17.

  • Ghost Town DGC, 190 Russell Gulch Road, Central City
  • Cost: $10 for a day pass, $5 for walkers and kids
  • Reservation needed? Yes; call 303-582-3083 to reserve a tee time.

Double Cabin Disc Golf Course (Telluride)

There are plenty of reasons to visit the oft-ranked best mountain town in Colorado, but the 18-hole disc golf course in the neighboring Mountain Village is a must for enthusiasts. Located on the ski run for which it’s named, players throw uphill on the front nine before making an about-face and throwing downhill on the back nine. Prepare yourself for a hike, as this course climbs a steep 350 feet in elevation. Those up for the adventure are rewarded with panoramic views of the San Juan Mountains and wide open shots where they can really let one sail. Use caution, though, as the course shares the space with mountain bikers and hikers. While you’re there, take a gondola ride between Mountain Village and Telluride for more vistas.

  • Double Cabin DGC, 470 Mountain Village Blvd., Mountain Village
  • Cost: Free
  • Reservation needed? No.

Wondervu Disc Golf Course (Golden)

Nestled on a mountaintop in Coal Creek Canyon, Wondervu is a cleverly mapped private course with ample natural amenities. Thick tree cover persists throughout the 19-hole course, save for a few tee pads where you can see other mountain peaks jutting out of the horizon. Foliage has been cleared from most of the fairways, making the course both amateur-friendly and inventive. And owners say new holes will be added soon. Expect significant elevation changes, especially on the back nine, which will have you hiking up and down from hole to hole. Wondervu is also home to an annual tournament called Discs-n-Dabs, in which teams register for a cannabis-friendly weekend campout and competition. This year’s event is slated for Sept. 3-6.

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter, The Adventurist, to get outdoors news sent straight to your inbox.

 

Colorado fourteener traffic in 2020 was 20% more than previous year

It looks as if the number of people who climbed Colorado fourteeners last year will shatter the previous record of 353,000, set in 2018.

The Colorado Fourteeners Initiative, which tracks numbers annually, is still crunching 2020 numbers, with a final report expected in a week or two. It’s clear the record margin will be substantial, though.

“Comparing 2020 with the prior higher year of 2018, in most of the places where we have pulled our counters, we’re seeing in excess of a 20% increase in hiking use across the board,” said Lloyd Athearn, executive director of the CFI. “I think we will see our first year that is over 400,000.”

Following the record year of 2018, fourteener traffic declined 18.4% in 2019 to 288,000 because a huge snowpack delayed the start of hiking season that summer. Last year’s surge likely was driven by the pandemic, which caused explosive growth in public lands visitation across Colorado in parks, forests and open spaces.

The CFI annually publishes an “estimated hiking use” report, deriving its estimates in a variety of ways. Some numbers come from a network of automated counters that are hidden along trails, using thermal sensors to detect hikers when they pass. They also use a “multi-factor modeling program,” Athearn said, that takes into account other sources of data — such as people checking off peaks on 14ers.com — and involves some statistical “interpolation” to come up with final estimates.

“It gives what we believe is a pretty accurate representation,” Athearn said. “It’s not 100% perfect, but it’s certainly the most accurate I’ve ever seen.”

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter, The Adventurist, to get outdoors news sent straight to your inbox.