(Editor's note: There are now fifteen breweries planning to open in 2017, with the addition of Oasis Brewing, the Good River Beer Project, The Larimer in Park Hill, River North Brewery's second location, and Odell Brewing's huge new pilot location.)
Maybe you thought Denver couldn't possibly hold another craft brewery. Or maybe you thought the boom was slowing down. I know I did. If so, then we were both wrong. Denver's thirst for new breweries continued unabated in 2016 as eight new taprooms with Denver addresses (Brewability Lab, Bruz Beers, Banded Oak Brewing, Briar Common, Blue Moon, 10 Barrel, Bierstadt Lagerhaus and Seedstock) opened their doors, while two others opened new locations (River North Brewery and Crazy Mountain).
And 2017 will see the addition of at least ten more breweries within the city limits. Outside the city, the suburbs are also blowing up: New breweries are under construction in Wheat Ridge, Littleton, Broomfield, Thornton, Arvada, Lone Tree and Aurora. There are also several breweries that are already brewing beer at other facilities and selling it while looking for permanent addresses of their own in town.
Denver currently boasts around 65 breweries (including some that are production-only and don't have taprooms). By this time next year, we'll be nearing 75. Is the sky the limit? We'll find out. Here is the list of the ten new breweries that plan to open inside Denver in 2017. Cheers.
Grateful Gnome Sandwich Shoppe & Brewery
4369 Stuart Street
Planned opening: February
Dan Appell “grew up” in the Italian deli that his father bought in 1982 in Parsippany, New Jersey, and he would have been just fine if he’d never left. But then beer happened. After moving to Colorado, he worked at Upslope and Wynkoop. Last year, Appell got a chance to combine his two loves, beer and sandwiches, by leasing a 4,150-square-foot spot he’d been eyeing for years. Then he hired former Wynkoop brewer Bess Dougherty. Together they plan to turn out up to thirteen different beers – “a nice session beer, a big, dank IPA and everything in between," he says. The Gnome will also have a full deli menu.
Zuni Street Brewing
2900 Zuni Street
Planned opening: February
TJ Slattery and Willy Truettner could have spent less money to rent space on the outskirts of Denver, but when they found the former home of the Green Garage — an eco-friendly auto mechanic with solar panels on the roof — they decided it was worth the cost. Former middle-school lab partners, the two plan to turn the 3,500-square-foot space into an oasis that evokes wood, trees and nature. They'll use a ten-barrel brewing system to make Belgian-, German- and American-style beers.
Soujourner's Brewing Project
925 West 8th Avenue
Planned opening: Spring
Benjamin Gettinger and Andrew Moore plan to open their brewery in a former laundromat in a high-profile spot on West 8th Avenue. Moore, who has brewed professionally at 105 West Brewing in Castle Rock, hopes to make beers with influences from unusual ingredients from around the world. The 2,400-square-foot space will hold a seven-barrel taproom and at least ten taps. It is located in the Art District on Santa Fe, just a few blocks from Renegade Brewing.
Woods Boss Brewing
2210 California Street
Planned opening: Late spring
Jordan Fink, a brewer at Odyssey Beerwerks in Arvada, and business partner Chad Moore will open Woods Boss in a 1900s-era brick building in Five Points. They have a fifteen-barrel brewhouse and plans to make some big beers, including a Belgian quadrupel, a Baltic porter and a double IPA. They have said on Facebook that the brewery will be a place for community, good music, adventure-sharing and brews.
Tom's Urban Kitchen & Brewery
Denver International Airport
Planned opening: Summer
Tivoli Brewing is designing and running the beer-making side of the brewery and hamburger joint slated to open inside the Westin Hotel at Denver International Airport this spring or summer. Tivoli was part of a group of businesses that won out after a contentious bidding process for the contract. Tivoli co-owner Corey Mashall says they will use a 3.5-barrel system from Forgeworks in Ridgway and make an IPA that will only be served on airport properties. The 9,500-square-foo facility will employ students from Auraria and will prominently display Tivoli signage on the inside. It will be located just off the main concourse, where it connects to the hotel.
1539 South Broadway
Planned opening: September 2017
Once a hot-spot for antiquing, South Broadway has diversified over the past five years into a couple of industries that are anything but old: pot and beer. Alternation, owned by a husband-and-wife team (they don't want to give their names yet, because they are both still employed), will open in a former salon just two blocks from both Black Project Wild & Spontaneous Ales and Grandma's House Brewery. They have a three-barrel brewing system and plan to offer "a wide variety of ever-changing beer selections through our alternating taps" — thus the name. Styles will range from pilsners and hazy wheats to sours and oak-aged imperial stouts. The owners also plan to embrace the long history of Antique Row "through our tap room atmosphere and respect [for] the small shop owners that thrive today."
Unnamed Park Hill brewery
2895 Fairfax Street
Planned opening: Late summer
Chris Cunningham and his wife, Tauna Rignall, along with another couple from Seattle, plan to open a brewery — as yet unnamed — inside a 3,000-square-foot former gelato shop in a neighborhood where there aren't very many beer makers. A home brewer for 25 years, Cunningham says they want to "be part of a community," which is why they bought this building in the heart of Park Hill. They will install a seven-barrel brewing system and a taproom on the main floor and keep their fermentation tanks and cold storage in the basement in order to make the layout work. As for beers, Cunningham says he plans to brew some German lagers and English-style ales, but also some bigger brews, like barleywines and a quadrupel.
New Belgium Brewing — The Woods
3550 Brighton Boulevard
Planned opening: Fall 2017
New Belgium now has two massive breweries — one in Fort Collins and the other in North Carolina — but the company is also planning a third, much smaller operation in Denver. Colorado's biggest craft-beer maker will open a ten-barrel pilot brewery along with a rooftop barrel-aging lounge and swimming pool at the future Source Hotel, being built by Zeppelin Development right next to the Source market. The brewery will focus on sour and wild ales, which it will brew on site in the ground-floor brewery and taproom, then age and ferment in at least fifty oak barrels (some of them wine barrels and some whiskey) on the eighth floor.
2801 Walnut Street
Planned opening: Late 2017
Former Wheat Ridge High School classmates Andrew Kaczmarek and Nato Francescato have done things backward — luckily for them. Rather than opening a taproom and then working on beer respectability and packaging afterward, the two began contract brewing and canning their beer (at Crazy Mountain's Edwards brewery) before they even found a physical location. Oh, and then the two home brewers won a gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival in October for their chile beer, Rocky Mountain Saison. Nice start. But now they have signed a lease on a spot in River North, just blocks from the Epic, Our Mutual Friend and Bierstadt breweries (they want to keep the exact location secret for now).
Birrificio Liberati (or Brewery Liberati)
2403 Champa Street
Planned opening: September
Well-known Roman brewer and restaurateur Alex Liberati revealed last December that he planned to move to Denver and open a new brewery and Italian-restaurant concept inside the former Golden Bell Press building in Five Points. Although progress has been slow and the plans have evolved, Liberati still hopes to brew beers made with Italian ingredients, like Sorrento lemons and grape must.