I was recently asked the best place to grab a local Colorado Springs brew with good food on a patio. I did not hesitate to answer: Head east to FH Beerworks, where you can grab an Adirondack chair positioned to watch the sunset over Pikes Peak and order tacos from Twelve Thirty One Craft Kitchen.
The person who asked wasn’t vegan. But good news, plant-eaters: They nail vegan food, too.
Twelve Thirty One Craft Kitchen appears to be a mobile food truck, but it’s permanently parked at FH Beerworks East where the two businesses work in harmony for the love of beer and tacos. Sit inside or outside, order beer from FH (they clearly mark vegan beer with a “V” on the menu) and walk up to the truck to order food.
Tacos are the name of the game and the accompanying house sauces stand out as much as the mains. The current menu boasts three plant-based options under the “Vegan Crafted Tacos” section of the menu and all three can be ordered a la carte or an entrée (three tacos and house chips and salsa).
The Vegan Experience ($3.50 a la carte; $11.50 entrée) is the more traditional approach to veg-forward tacos: spicy black beans topped with pickled pepper and velvety sriracha. But the star the night we dined there was the salsa. Twelve Thirty One Craft Kitchen focuses on seasonal and local when possible, and the chef seems to always have a surprise up his sleeve — in this case, fresh strawberry, melon and peach salsa. The combination of simple, savory beans and sweet, summer fruit was delightful, particularly paired with the FH Beerworks Peach Saison ($6).
The Magic Mushroom ($3.75; $12.25) is an Asian-inspired taco twist. Vinegar roasted portobello mushrooms are nestled in a warm tortilla with pickled pepper, cabbage slaw, and chimichurri sauce. The meaty mushrooms deliver both texture and flavor and are terrific with the FH Miller’s Daughter ($6) Belgian Wit.
Both tacos are served with an interesting topping twist: hummus made with five roasted peppers — Anaheim, poblano, Serrano, jalapeño and red bell pepper — and chickpeas for a completely nontraditional bean dip. Quirky and interesting on the tacos, you can also order the dip with chips as a starter ($5); the smoky hummus is excellent with the FH Extra Thicc ($7) IPA.
The third and latest vegan taco addition to the menu is all about tofu and tons of flavor. The Tofu Taco ($3.75; $12.25) is filled with chopped and marinated bits of bean curd served atop tri-colored cabbage slaw, the aforementioned seasonal fruit slaw and vegan unagi sauce. Once again, sweet, savory and spicy meet up beautifully.
And speaking of spicy and oh-so-sweet, consider ending the meal with The Devil’s Dessert Nachos ($8.50). First, be sure to hold the candied bacon and rum crema — both are so not vegan — and just focus on the stars: the cinnamon and dusted tortilla chips and the silky strawberry, peach and Habanero sauce that’s drizzled over those chips. A word of warning: The toasty chips are served with minced Habanero pepper and you might lose all feeling in your lips. And you might consider it worth it because the sweet chips are on point. FH’s salty Watermelon Gose ($6) cools the tongue and pleases the Habanero-heated palate.
If you’re looking for tasty tacos, good beer and a spacious spot to enjoy with a group of friends, FH Beerworks and Twelve Thirty One Craft Kitchen have you covered.