Beer Man

Hops & Pie plans to build its own brewery behind the restaurant by next fall

As evidenced by the name of the restaurant, Hops & Pie has considered beer as important as pizza since the spot opened two years ago, serving up the best or the rarest stuff beers it can find, from Colorado and around the country.

And by this time next year, Hops & Pie owners Drew and Leah Watson would like to be making some of that beer as well, from their own five- or seven-barrel brewery out back.

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"From the beginning, this has always been what we wanted," says Drew. "And we have been so lucky that the shop is now in a position to be able to afford its own brewery."

Last February, the Watsons annexed the space next to their original restaurant, doubling their operation and adding nearly forty seats, more taplines and a bigger menu. The expansion also gave them access to a 600-square-foot garage behind the property where they plan to build the brewery. At one point, the Watsons considered leasing another space nearby and operating a stand-alone brewery and taproom, but they recently decided against that.

The goal is to make a lot of seasonals and one-off brews along with a couple of standard year-round beers. The Watsons will add six taps at Hops & Pie for their own beers, as well as keep the fourteen to twenty guest handles they currently have going.

To do it, though, they'll need some help. "I'm not a brewer, so there is a lot for me to learn," Drew says. "I've cooked my whole life and worked in restaurants." The Watsons hope to hire a practiced brewer to handle that aspect of the business.

When the brewery opens -- by Hops & Pie's third anniversary on September 29, 2013 -- it will sell growlers and bombers on site, but doesn't plant to distribute.

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