"I can put 49 people inside the taproom and another 25 or so outside, depending on who wants to sit on whose lap," says Jeff Atencio, a homebrewer and firefighter from Highlands Ranch who is always quick with a quip of some sort.
In fact, it was a joke about his kids that led to the name 3 Freaks Brewery, which opened in Highlands Ranch last weekend. He calls them the three freaks as a term of endearment.
But Atencio isn't joking when it comes to his beer. "I have a five-barrel system with four beers, but I should be able to get up to six eventually," he says. "I am looking forward to all kinds of styles. I don't have any style that I am married to. I want to be able to turn around on a dime and create something that people want to drink."
At the moment, he is most proud of Odd Man Stout, followed by Lucky Clover Irish Red, a session beer that has become his best-seller. And a version of his Last Man Standing Belgian Dubbel won a homebrewing award several years ago.
But he's his own harshest critic when it comes to his IPA. "I'm not happy with it. It needs more time," he says.
The brewery was originally envisioned by Atencio and Todd McClure, who Atencio met when they both took a beer judging class at Lone Tree Brewing, which is located just a few blocks away from 3 Freaks. But McClure has since gone in his own direction and is no longer associated with the brewery, Atencio says.
3 Freaks is open Wednesday through Sunday, although Atencio says he may open the doors at other times as well without announcing it. "It's been a fun experience getting to know the neighbors and we are looking forward to getting to know more of them."
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