Hot chicken and cold beer. It sounds like a simple concept but the more you think about it, the complexity builds. What makes a piece of fried chicken stand out? How does one quantify a great beer? Does the setting play into the experience and how about the service that accompanies your meal? There are quite a few fried chicken spots around the denver area, all putting-out their riff on this classic dish. Recently, I got invited to check out the new restaurant, the post chicken + beer to see how they elevate comfort food in a fun + inviting environment.
The post brewing company in lafayette, co is where this story kicks off. In between brewing award-winning craft beers, chef + owner, brett ‘smitty’ smith started perfecting his fried chicken recipe, based upon the version he grew up eating from his grandma’s cast-iron skillet. Now, colorado-style fried chicken + a slew of sides, sandwiches + tasty starters are being served up on the daily. Oh, and don’t worry the cold brews + tasty cocktails are there to wash it all down.
So, let’s talk chicken for a moment. The post proudly serves humanely raised, fresh + all natural chicken. Note, this is not the norm for many restaurants. As a ‘foodie’ + as a general consumer of food, I really appreciate that a restaurant is willing to be ethical + intentional with the product they put out.
Before that fried-chicken-goodness ever gets to your table, it is prepared with some serious love. It is brined with lemon + rosemary for 4 hours, dredged in gluten-free flour and then sits overnight. The chefs then dip it in buttermilk + flour one more time before it hits the pressure fryer to develop a golden brown, crispy crust that is still nice + juicy on the inside. Like I said previously, they have perfected the flavors + homage of a traditional southern chicken made by one’s grandma. Looking for a little heat? Order your fried chicken ‘nashville hot’ and it will get dunked in the post’s homemade hot sauce.
Of course, the fried chicken was the standout of our meal. It had a great crust, deep flavor + was so juicy. However, the crispy brussels sprouts were also a huge hit. They were tossed in a pepper-jelly glaze and sprinkled with slightly-salty but creamy cojita cheese. My husband has a theory that all women love deviled eggs and while I don’t necessarily agree with his philosophy, this version stood out. Topped with a horseradish louie, marinated celery + a bit of crispy chicken skin, they were well-balanced and kicked off our meal on the right foot.
The very spicy but super complex fried chicken bahn mi was another favorite. This traditional vietnamese sandwich is typically served on a fresh baguette, filled with pickled veggies, fresh cilantro, a bit of paté and some delicious pork. However, the post’s take is with crispy fried chicken and a mayo-based sauce. I always feel a bit jipped when a restaurant skimps on the liver paté but I can proudly say, the crusty bread had a nice schmear, bringing richness to the sandwich. Head chef ‘smitty’ also mentioned that their chicken + waffles and the chicken sandwich are their best sellers, along with many of the blue plate specials.
No meal is complete without dessert and the post has some serious clout when it comes to its offerings. We sampled a couple of the house-made pies from pastry chef shelley katz + were blown away by both. The warm cherry pie was slightly tart which I prefer to the sugar-blast offerings I have had in other establishments. Topped with a scoop of creamy vanilla ice cream, it was gone in a matter of moments. However, the real show stopper was the pecan pie. I am not a typical pecan pie fan but this version might convert me with it’s course-ground nuts and crunchy but delicate flavors. Honestly, I would go back to the post just for a slice of that pie.
The layfaette location of the post is very family-friendly and laid back with an expansive patio. While the rosedale location is a bit of a bar/restaurant combo. Our visit was on a bustling friday night where the line was almost out the door. I was happy to see how busy they were but also felt the environment was suffering from a bit of an identity crisis. The loud music and lively bar almost overtook the casualness of the dining room. While I don’t mind a noisy restaurant, it felt like some of the fluidity + kinks of this new space might benefit from a bit of finesse.
As for service, I was quite impressed with the staff from the moment we walked into the door. Hostesses were friendly + helpful while the servers had great knowledge of the menu, even if they were a bit slow at tending to our table. Yet, there were two standout in the service that left a positive impression. First being, the staff made sure to ask our table if anyone had a food allergy. Secondly, the general manager, matt, made a point to visit + check-in with all the tables during their meals. Both of these efforts showed sincerity and again, were another conscious effort that felt heartfelt and methodical.
The post chicken + beer has made their mark in colorado. They take their chicken quite seriously and their efforts do not go unnoticed. Hot chicken and cold beer is not as simple as it might seem. Yet, at the post, it feels like an intentional + heartfelt concept that will leave you wanting to head back again, very soon.
*all images via the post chicken + beer.