Collision Brewing Co.
Service Three and a half stars
Ambience Three stars
Address: 1436 Skyway Dr., Longmont
Contact: 720-996-1850, collisionbrewco.com
Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Tuesday-Wednesday; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Thursday; 11 a.m.-midnight Friday-Saturday; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday; closed Monday
Fare: Straightforward tavern fare, but with a few more elevated choices, like a beet-based carpaccio and an elk burger. Vegan and vegetarian choices include meatless small plates, main-course salads and a vegan Impossible burger with vegan cheese and aioli.
Noise Level: Moderate, although the noise level did go up at certain critical junctures during the NFL playoff game that was going on during dinner.
Opened last fall and tucked between the eastern edge of Longmont and Interstate 25, Collision Brewing Co. is a large and hospitable space for sipping beer and eating pub grub. It's also a fine spot for watching a game or just casually hanging out among the automotive-themed ambience.
On a recent Sunday evening, there was a substantial dinner crowd working its way through the starters and small plates, which include nachos and combination hummus platters. More substantial fare includes a smattering of burgers, salads, sandwiches and main courses ranging from mac and cheese to ribeye steaks.
Our server, Jason, was informative and attentive, and he offered a level of service closer to that of a fine-dining venue than a casual brewpub. His timing was excellent, and he did not rush through the service, where others may have dispatched our entrees before we had finished earlier courses.
As a brewery, Collision offers up a formidable array of hopped-up beverages. My dining companion sampled a half-dozen beers through the $12 beer wheel offering, served on what appeared to be a repurposed GMC hubcap. By her own admission, her tastes run to less assertive tasting brews, and she identified the Pedal to the Peach sour, the Slug Bug Kolsch and the Screwed Weizen as her favorites.
Two pub grub starter staples opened up our meal. The $7 chips and guacamole featured thicker-than-average chips, which were enjoyable, along with a fresh-tasting and coarsely textured guacamole. One of my pet peeves regarding avocado dip is that it's sometimes made too far in advance, and consequently arrives at the table carrying too much of the refrigerator's chill. Collision's creamy example, with the proper amount of chunks indicating a handmade origin, arrived at an ideal temperature. The only room for improvement was that the dip could have used more assertive flavors to perk up the avocado, such as more fiery spicing or a spritz more of citrus.
While there was no arguing with the generous size of the $8 fried mushroom platter and its lively horseradish dip, the frying process didn't do the featured ingredient any favors. An overly heavy batter, which seemingly equaled the mushrooms in volume, obscured the otherwise fine texture and flavor of the main ingredient. A lighter hand with the batter, perhaps emulating something closer to a proper tempura preparation, would go a long way toward enhancing this snack.
A brighter spot was the $14 chile relleno burger, sided with sweet potato fries for a dollar upcharge. Collision sources its grass-fed and organic beef from the local Buckner Family Farm, and upon first bite, the beef's deeply satisfying complexity shone through. Spot-on medium-rare cooking also helped leave a positive impression. The fried chile pleased, as did the appropriate garnishes of salsa, guacamole and pepper jack cheese. Last but not least, the fries, a few of which were undercooked, imparted pleasingly sweet and earthy tones.
The $19 ginger- and miso-glazed salmon simultaneously demonstrated the worst and the best of the kitchen's abilities. First, the pickled cucumber side salad was missing, but what was most problematic was the overwhelming salty glaze obscuring any hint of soy or ginger. The dish would have been much better with about 75 percent less of this glaze. What made this over-seasoning all the more frustrating was the fact that the salmon's medium texture was terrific, moist and silky. As to the rest of the entree, the veggie side possessed distracting variability in the doneness of the various elements; carrots were under-cooked, while squash and spinach were fine. On the plus side, the coconut jasmine rice did carry a pleasant and mellow sweet tone.
The $9 chocolate stout cake did present some culinary redemption, as it was a successful rendition of the car bomb drink in dessert form. In addition to the cake, which was similar in consistency and flavor to an excellent molten preparation, the dessert also included a luxurious whiskey ganache and a dollop of Bailey's infused whipped cream. Execution was near perfect and this meal ender wouldn't have been out of place at a more expensive, high-end establishment.
Collision Brewing Company is not without culinary ambition, and one suspects that nothing more than additional attentiveness in the kitchen can align its dining aspirations with reality. Certainly a more than respectable level of service and an enjoyable ambience are already in place, all that's left is some fine-tuning in the back of the house.