Is there any better time and place to open a new brewery than in Denver, two days before the Great American Beer Festival? Scott Witsoe doesn't think so.
And he'll be living that dream on September 26 when he unlocks the doors to Wit's End Brewing, the fifth small brewery to open in Denver in 2011.
"Beer is in the air," he says about the excitement surrounding the festival. "It's harder because of the expectations of folks coming to town, and with all of the great brewers who are already here. But I think people will be excited to check out a new brewery."
He'll get a boost from the Denver Brews Cruise, which will be running a twelve-person shuttle around, Monday through Friday of GABF week from noon to 5 p.m., in a rectangle between Pints Pub, Strange Brewing, Wit's End, Breckenridge Brewing and Renegade Brewing. "We were really excited when they approached us with this," Witsoe adds. "It couldn't have happened at a better time."
Witsoe began the process of creating that brewery last spring after being laid off from his job. And he didn't waste any time, signing a lease two days later at 2505 West Second Avenue, Unit 13, in a west Denver office park; he has a bare-bones tasting room up front and a tiny, one-barrel brewing system in back, along with eight fermenters. He got his final permits just last week and has been doing everything since then on the fly.
"It's been a massive scramble for me," says Witsoe, who plans to have at least two beers -- Jean-Claude Van Blond and kitchen Sink Porter -- on tap on Monday, and two more -- Green Man Ale and Super FLi.p.a -- later in the week. "It's up to the yeast," he explains.
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Wit's End will be be open from noon to at least 5 p.m. during GABF week, with possible later hours on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. "If the tap room is full, I'm not closing," he says. Full details will be available on the brewery's Facebook page.