Construction on the outside of the Stanley Marketplace still isn’t finished, but on the inside, at least one business is already bubbling away. Cheluna Brewing Company has made six batches of beer over the past few weeks — beer that is just waiting to be poured into glasses.
Owned by Javier Pérez Koch and Jennifer Pérez, Cheluna will serve ten to twelve beers in a two-story space that is designed to look like an old home in Oaxaca, Mexico, where Koch’s parents are from. An ER doctor, Koch has been home-brewing for 25 years. Although he originally planned to hire a brewer, he has instead brought on the owners of Spangalang Brewery as consultants.
“They are my mentors and my teachers. They have been been coming over here almost every day that I have been here. They have helped me take the training wheels off my brewhouse,” Koch says.
Using a ten-barrel system, Koch plans to brew ales and lagers that fuse the German/Mexican style with flavors from Oaxacan cuisine, incorporating tropical fruits and indigenous plants and chiles, as well as the flavors of candy and pastries. So, for instance, he's brewed a traditional porter and then infused half of it with cacao to give it the flavor of “a Mexican macaroon.” He'll serve both on tap.
Others beers include a lager with a hibiscus version, an IPA and an IPA infused with Mexican fruit. There will also be a chile beer and, eventually, one aged in mezcal barrels.
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Cheluna is a made up name that comes from combining chella, a Spanish slang term for beer, with luna, or moon, which is in the company’s logo. The brewery was originally called Casita Brewing, but Koch says he encountered too much confusion with other businesses that had Casita in their names.
The Stanley Marketplace, a repurposed aviation-industry factory located in Aurora near the old Stapleton Airport, will eventually be filled with trendy restaurants and businesses, but construction has taken much longer than anticipated. Originally the owner had planned to open last winter or spring. And although there is no opening date yet, Koch says he’s hoping that Stanley will have enough permits to open this month or next.
When that happens, Cheluna can apply for its own permit and open a few days later. “I’m not frustrated,” he says about the delays. “The owners encountered surprises on an almost daily basis. It’s a huge project.”