Beer Man

Sixteen Breweries That Plan to Open in Denver in 2018

Odell Brewing is putting up a new brewery in River North.
Odell Brewing is putting up a new brewery in River North. Jonathan Shikes
The last twelve months have been oddly slow when it comes to brewery openings inside Denver's city limits. Only four — Zuni Street Brewing, Intrepid Sojourner Beer Project, Woods Boss Brewing and Alternation Brewing — began pouring beer. A fifth, Oasis Brewing at 3257 Lowell Boulevard, is rushing to get itself open before the end of 2017 as well. (Update, December 30, 2017: Oasis didn't make it and will also open in 2018.)

But the pace of openings doesn't mean things have slowed down in any way. On the contrary, they have only sped up: A whopping sixteen breweries have secured locations in Denver with plans to open in 2018. Additionally, at least three to five more breweries are in the hunt for real estate, including Raices Brewing, the Larimer (which lost a lease in north Park Hill earlier this year), and Wyoming's Melvin Brewing, which was close to a deal in the Golden Triangle before it fell through. In fact, 2018 has the potential to be the biggest year for new brewery openings in the past hundred years.

Here are the sixteen breweries that plan to open in Denver in 2018.

Aero Craft Brewing
Aero Craft Brewing
4499 West 38th Avenue, Suite 101
When: Late summer or early fall

Jason Slingsby, Eric Serani and Morgan O'Sullivan have signed on to open a 4,000-square-foot brewery inside the former Merkl's garage at the corner of 38th Avenue and Tennyson Street, which is being redeveloped into a project that will include three businesses. Before becoming Merkl's, the building was a streetcar power station and is in a perfect position to be a gateway to the Tennyson Street shopping district. It will join the Grateful Gnome (see below), De Steeg Brewing and Call to Arms Brewing in the neighborhood.

click to enlarge
Wayne Burns and Laura Worley will open Burns Family Artisan Ales.
Laura Worley
Burns Family Artisan Ales
2505 West Second Avenue
When: Spring

Longtime local brewer Wayne Burns and his wife, Laura Worley, will open Burns Family Artisan Ales where Wit's End Brewing vacated its original location in a west Denver office park. (Wit's End closed in November and moved in with Strange Craft Beer Company). In addition to a taproom with a wide variety of beers on tap (brewed on equipment they purchased from Wit's End), Burns and Worley plan to package and sell a line of high-alcohol beers — like barleywines, imperial stouts, old ales and Belgian tripels and quads — that will all weigh in at above 10 percent ABV.

click to enlarge
Construction begins at Dos Luces.
Dos Luces Brewery Facebook page
Dos Luces Brewery
1236 South Broadway
When: April
Judd Belstock's fascination with Latin America started when he was a kid growing up in Denver and followed him through Harvard business school. That fascination is why he plans to open a brewery focused solely on two corn-based beers, pulque and chicha, that have a history going back thousands of years in Mexico and Peru. Belstock plans to offer several modernized versions of the styles on ten taps, which will also include three or four guest beers (for customers who just want an IPA). The interior of the brewery, located along what's quickly becoming "Brewery Row" on South Broadway (once known as Antique Row), will have a courtyard entrance with seating for ninety.

click to enlarge
14er Brewing
14er Brewing
2801 Walnut Street
When: Mid-year

Andrew Kaczmarek and Nato Francescato created 14er Brewing in July 2016 and began contract-brewing and canning their beer long before they knew if or when they’d be able to open an actual taproom. But in early 2017, shortly after winning a gold medal at GABF for Rocky Mountain Saison, a chile-lime beer, they signed a lease on a space in River North. Some of their beers include Mt. Massive IPA, Double Mt. Massive IPA, Maroon Bells Guava Ale, Rocky Mountain Saison, Key Lime Cream Ale and Sunshine Peak Coffee IPA.

click to enlarge
Good River Beer
Good River Beer
1790 South Bannock Street
When: Unknown

Good River Beer Company, which began brewing and selling beer (which is contract-brewed at another facility) in Denver in September 2015, is planning to open a taproom sometime in 2018. The brewery owners — Adam Odoski, Preston Hartman and Eric Zarkovich — leased a 7,300-square-foot former warehouse on Bannock Street, where they hope to build a brewery and restaurant. However, the current plans are "evolving," Odoski says. If and when the brewery does open, the Good River team will also operate a nonprofit that donates a portion of brewery proceeds to river conservation organizations. Good River currently produces an IPA, a pilsner and a black lager, among others.

click to enlarge
Dan Appell (left) and Bess Dougherty are grateful gnomes.
Grateful Gnome
Grateful Gnome Sandwich Shoppe & Brewery
4369 Stuart Street
When: First quarter

Raised in his father's Italian deli in New Jersey, Dan Appell was reborn when he moved to Colorado and discovered craft beer. This year, hopefully, Appell and longtime local brewer Bess Dougherty (most recently of Wynkoop Brewing Company) hope to serve beer and sandwiches inside the 4,150-square-foot Grateful Gnome. We say "hopefully," because the journey to opening has been pitted with problems — the most devastating of which was when a scaffolding on a building next door to the Gnome collapsed in June, destroying a portion of the brewery roof and rattling Appell and Dougherty pretty severely. They plan to open with thirteen different beers – “a nice session beer, a big, dank IPA and everything in between," Appell says, and a full deli menu.

click to enlarge
Jade Mountain will brings Chinese flavors to Denver.
Jade Mountain Brewing
Jade Mountain Brewing
1925 South Rosemary Street
When: Summer

Denver native Sean Guerrero moved to the city of Huzhou, China, several years ago to be close to his wife's family. It was there that he opened his own small brewery making beers flavored with Chinese spices, fruits, vegetables and tea. The family has now returned to Denver and plans to open an American version of the brewery. The 1,700-square-foot space has high ceilings, a garage door and a patio. Guerrero will begin with a very small one-barrel brewing system and grow from there. Among other beers, he plans to make an IPA using jasmine tea, a bamboo lager, dragonfruit and lychee ales, and a saison brewed with the fragrant flowers of the sweet osmanthus tree, which blooms in the fall in China, making entire towns smell like oranges, vanilla and citrus.

Liberati Brewery
Liberati Brewery & Restaurant
2403 Champa Street
When: Late summer

After numerous delays, Alex Liberati and his partners hope to finally begin work on Liberati Brewery & Restaurant soon — with a planned opening in late summer. Liberati, who spent many years as a brewer and restaurateur in Rome, moved to Denver two years ago after falling in love with the city. The brewery, focusing on "Italian grape ales," will be located inside the Golden Bell Press building in Five Points. There will also be a restaurant offering authentic provincial cuisine from wide-ranging regions of Italy, including house-made charcuterie, fresh in-house mozzarella and Italian bread-making on site.

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes