Denver's 17th Avenue has been known for its eateries for more than two decades, but so far Restaurant Row, as was dubbed in the late '80s, largely missed out on the craft-brewery brewery explosion that has rocked Denver in recent years.
That will change this spring when Deep Draft Brewing, at 1604 East 17th, opens in a small space next door to P-17.
At 1,300 square-feet, the location is “tight,” acknowledges Rob Lee, an architect who has enlisted his twentysomething kids, Robert and Anna, to help on the prject. “We're trying to be a high-end neighborhood place," he adds. "This is a good location, with good demographics and people who can buy a $6 pint.” The Vine Street Pub, at 17th and Vine Street, is the only other brewery on the avenue.
Deep Draft, which takes its name both from beer and sailing, will start off with six beers. About half will be English styles, like a bitter, an English IPA and a stout. The others will be a mix of German and American brews, including a pilsner, a hefeweizen and an American-style IPA. Rob Lee and his family have been practicing on a one-barrel homebrew system for three years and have brewed more than fifty recipes in that time; he also helped set up the pilot system at Hogshead Brewery a few years ago. When it opens, Deep Draft will use a ten-barrel system.
The family has been doing most of the work on the brewery space themselves as well. The location can seat 47 people and will include a gas fireplace and a forty-foot-long bar made from copper and mahogany – materials that are a nod to the family's hobby of sailing, says Anna, who recently finished up at the University of Colorado. As kids, she and her brother spent a lot of time on a boat on the East Coast with their parents.
Robert, a grad student at the Colorado School of Mines, says Deep Draft isn't looking for “world domination,” but to make some classic or underrepresented styles for people who live and work nearby.
The Lees hope to open Deep Draft sometime this spring.