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
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.
Burns Family Artisan Ales
2505 West Second Avenue
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.
Dos Luces Brewery
1236 South Broadway
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.
2801 Walnut Street
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.
Good River Beer
1790 South Bannock Street
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.
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.
Jade Mountain Brewing
1925 South Rosemary Street
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 & 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.
Long Table Brewing
2895 Fairfax Street
When: Late summer
Chris Cunningham and his wife, Tauna Rignall, along with another couple from Seattle, have been planning for more than a year and a half to open a brewery inside a 3,000-square-foot former gelato shop in Park Hill, where there aren't many breweries. Numerous delays have plagued the project, but they are still hoping to open this summer with a seven-barrel brewing system and a taproom. A longtime home brewer, Cunningham plans to brew German lagers and English-style ales, and also some bigger brews like a barleywine a quadrupel.
New Belgium Brewing — The Woods
3550 Brighton Boulevard
When: First quarter
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 as well as a rooftop barrel-aging lounge alongside a swimming pool atop the Source Hotel, being built by Zeppelin Development right next to the Source. 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 wine and whiskey barrels on the eighth floor.
Novel Strand Brewing
305 West First Avenue
College buddies Tamir Danon, Chantel Columna and Ayana Coker have taken over part of a 2,064-square-foot space in the Baker neighborhood, where they will to open Novel Strand Brewing; the brewery (which will share space with a coffee shop) will only be open Thursday through Sunday to start. Danon, the brewer, has a five-barrel system on which he will make a wide variety of beers, including a signature 3.8 percent ABV oatmeal milk stout with vanilla beans, hoppy ales and some wild and sour beers.
2945 Larimer Street
When: First quarter
Fort Collins-based Odell Brewing, the state's third-largest independent craft brewery, will open a huge two-story taproom and pilot brewery inside a 100-year-old building in River North. The 4,000-square-foot taproom will include a ten-barrel brewhouse, two bars with fifteen Odell tap handles, an outdoor patio with two fire pits, a live-music stage and a rooftop patio. The facility will be located next to Denver's first Shake Shack (a burger joint coming to town from New York City). Odell's pilot brewhouse will be focused on experimental beers that will only be available in the new taproom.
River North Brewery
3400 Blake Street
When: March or April
After three years in exile, River North Brewery, which was founded in 2012, plans to return to its namesake neighborhood with a new space that is exactly ten blocks from its original location at 2401 Blake Street. The new location will include a seven-barrel brewhouse, a wrap-around patio and a private event space. It will serve small-batch beers only available in the taproom, including stouts, sours, IPAs and some of the Belgian-inspired beers that River North has become known for. The brewery will also continue to run its current production and packaging plant at 6021 Washington Street, where it has also been operating a taproom.
1604 East 17th Avenue
When: January or February
The Thirsty Monk, an established brewery and bar chain in Asheville, North Carolina, made the leap west to Denver in October by purchasing the tiny Deep Draft Brewing. Thirsty Monk owner Barry Bialik also took over a small space next door to Deep Draft so he can expand the brewery. The Belgian beer also has Portland in its sights as part of a strategy of opening several “pocket breweries” across the country. Brian Grace, the former head brewer at Crooked Stave, will oversee both of the Monk's pocket breweries.
Tom's Urban Diner + Brewery
Westin Hotel at DIA
Tivoli Brewing is designing and running the beer-making side of a brewery and hamburger joint (from the people behind Smashburger and Tom's Urban) slated to open inside the Westin Hotel at Denver International Airport. Tivoli was part of a group of businesses, including Smashburger, that won a bid back in 2016. 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-foot facility will employ students from Metro State University's brewing program and will prominently display Tivoli signage on the inside.
1609 East 58th Avenue, Unit G
When: First quarter
Founded in 2014, Zephyr Brewing closed its taproom at 26th and Walnut streets in July so it could move to a production space in north Denver, where it plans to package its beer and run a small taproom, says co-owner Brian Wood. The new spot is next door to Inland Island Yeast, a local company that grows and supplies yeast strains to dozens of Colorado breweries, including Zephyr. "With rising rent rates in RiNo built into our current lease as well as projected rates at the end of our lease, as well as the continued influx of big beer into the neighborhood, we felt it was in our best long-term interest to relocate sooner rather than later," Wood told Westword in July. Wood has so far provided no other details about the new space.