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Wake and Bake: Aspen’s Brew offers feel-good coffee on Northwest side 

click to enlarge And they do mean everything bagel - JESSYE HIPP
  • Jessye Hipp
  • And they do mean everything bagel

Looking for a place to grab your daily coffee where you’ll be known by name rather than your drink order? Check out Aspen’s Brew (11255 Huebner, Ste 100, (210) 561-5551), and discover what a joy grabbing a cup of joe can be.

Located on the corner of a strip center near the busy intersection of I-10 and Huebner, Aspen’s is the only independent coffee house in that neck of the woods. Since 2006, Aspen’s Brew has been family-owned and operated by Kim Montgomery and relations. The homey vibe she created extends to the menu, featuring a coffeecake recipe straight from grandma, and the name itself, which honors Aspen, the Montgomerys’ beloved, late golden retriever.

The warm colors, soft music and comfy grandfather chairs help the joint attract college students and working stiffs for some last minute cramming for tests and meetings, but this isn’t your late-night study spot as Aspen’s closes at 7 p.m.

For a feel-good way to start your day, though, it’s hard to beat this Northwest Side shop. Aspen’s Brew offers seven varieties of micro-roasted coffee from Dillano’s Coffee Roasters in Sumner, Wash. Beans are sourced from countries worldwide in support of the One Harvest Project, which creates a sustainable connection between farmer and customer. Dillano’s process strives for maximum flavor by only roasting in batches less than 150 pounds and cooling with air rather than water. Aspen’s also sells these beans by the pound or half-pound.

Despite the indie vibe, you can still get frothy, complicated beverages the corporate chains are known for, like the customer favorite white chocolate mocha, or summer-appropriate “mountain blenders” and iced coffees. For the caffeine-free, Aspen’s Orange Dream smoothie is a total treat.

All pastries, including muffins, scones, cinnamon rolls and flaky croissants, are made fresh daily and worth checking out. Our particular favorites include the savory, hand-rolled jalapeno kolaches and the pecan sticky bread. Another popular choice is a homemade bagel, which is sliced, toasted and slathered with cream cheese for you. Forget the frustrating ritual of attempting to spread cream cheese on a bagel with a flimsy plastic knife—we’ve all been there.

Turns out those plastic utensils are par for the course at Aspen’s though, which offers them alongside mismatched, boldly colored plates. This minor oversight was hard to overlook, but it’s definitely not a deal breaker.

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