Jagged Mountain Craft Brewery will open this fall in the Ballpark neighborhood
Downtown Denver will soak up another brewery this fall when Jagged Mountain Craft Brewery opens at 20th and Lawrence streets, next to the 20th Street Café and just blocks from Great Divide Brewing and several other breweries.
Two years in the planning, Jagged Mountain (named for a peak in the San Juans) will specialize in making "adventurous," higher-alcohol specialty beers, along with barrel-aged brews and other beers that require some sort of specialized processes.
The founders went with that theme because they are involved in backcountry outdoor sports, including rock climbing and canyoneering; they plan to decorate the taproom in a similar fashion and partner with outdoor nonprofits.
"Right off the bat, our intention is to have a rather large selection of beers," says RJ Banat, who owns Jagged Mountain with Randy Stinson and Wayne Burns, who will be the brewmaster for Jagged Mountain and has worked for a year with Boulder's Mountain Sun group, which also owns the Vine Street Pub and Southern Sun.
Burns has been brewing for twenty years, primarily in Michigan, where he worked for Bell's Brewery and Kuhnhenn Brewing, among others.
"I'll be brewing in the mornings and then I'll be tending bar for a few hours after that, so I'll be able to get direct feedback from customers," says Burns, who plans to brew a variety of styles but to develop a niche in the high-alcohol category. Beers of this variety could include barleywines, imperial stouts and "monster" Belgians.
Banat didn't want to discuss the location specifically since Jagged Mountain hasn't signed its lease yet, but the business recently spoke at a meeting of the Ballpark Association about its plans. The building, at 2000 Lawrence Street, was the former home of a frame shop. (Update: this paragraph has been amended. See comments section below.)
There are seven other breweries with an eight-block radius of Jagged Mountain -- Great Divide, River North, Our Mutual Friend, Rock Bottom, Wynkoop, the Sandlot and the ChopHouse -- and another four just outside that perimeter -- Denver Beer Co, Prost, Black Shirt, and Epic, a Utah brewery that plans to open a Denver location this spring.
Banat is aware of the other breweries in the surrounding neighborhoods, but he says the location in the midst of several busy neighborhoods was too good to refuse.
That spot, in Arapahoe Square, also means that Jagged Mountain was able to qualify for a low-interest loan for the city's Office of Economic Development. Although Jagged Mountain has other financing in place -- and plans to do a Kickstarter campaign as well -- the $100,000 loan will help finance working capital, furniture, fixtures, equipment and inventory, says Derek Woodbury, a spokesman for the city office.
Jagged Mountain has already ordered a ten-barrel brewing system and hopes to be brewing beer on it by Labor Day.
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