Beer Man

De Steeg Brewing opens today in Denver, taking nanobreweries down the alley

There's no name on the sign above the door of De Steeg Brewing, in an alley off West 44th Avenue. Just the image of a Belgian-style beer goblet.

But Craig Rothgery wasn't trying to be hip when he signed a lease on an alley space in the Tennyson Street art district for De Steeg, which opens today at 4 p.m. He was just trying to find an affordable spot for his dream -- a nanobrewery and taproom.

See also: - De Steeg Brewing will open on North Tennyson Street after changing its name - Fate Brewing will open Monday without a brewery, but with lots of Boulder collaborations - Dry Dock Brewing kicks its can into gear at new Aurora production facility

But the name -- which means "alley" in Dutch -- and the location came together as a concept after Rothgery decided last fall to change his original moniker, High Gravity Brewing, when another beer maker, Gravity Brewing, opened in Louisville last August.

"A lot of people think it's kind of cool that you have to come in through the alley," he says. "And the signs just plays off the whole secret, hard-to-find thing."

It's likely that a lot of people will find De Steeg, however, which may be a problem on opening weekend, since the taproom only holds 33 people -- and Rothgery is expecting a lot more than that. "I get a ton of people already coming around the back to say 'Hi,' and I let them in and we talk," he says. "So, opening day is going to be crazy, I think."

There will be three beers on tap tonight, a 5.5 percent ABV Pomegranate Acai Wheat; a 5.1 ABV percent English Mild on nitro; and an 11 percent ABV Imperial Pumpkin Ale. After that, he plans to tap three more higher-gravity beers.

Rothgery is operating a very small, 1.25-barrel brewing system for now, but if things go well over the next few months, he hopes to upgrade to a five-barrel system.

De Steeg is the first new brewery to open in Denver in 2013, following a year that saw eight openings within city limits. It is the fourth brewery to open along the Front Range since the year began, though, and it will be followed Monday by Fate Brewing in Boulder.

De Steeg brewery is scheduled to be open today from 4 to 10 p.m.; Saturday from 4 to 10 p.m.; and Sunday from 3:30 p.m. until one hour past the end of the Super Bowl.

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Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes