Here's a strange fact about Colorado's every-increasing number of breweries: head south out of Golden or west from Lakewood along Colorado Highway 285 and it will be a while -- about 115 miles -- before you find one. The 285 corridor between Lakewood and Buena Vista, a very popular route, appears to be devoid of breweries -- which Jason Conger and Calvin Cook hope to change by opening 53 Peaks Brewing in Conifer.
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"It's really wide open," says Conger. "We originally wanted to be in Morrison, but there were too many hurdles to jump through. Conifer seems like an awesome spot, though, and that is where we want to be. There is so much traffic going through there."
On Tuesday, 53 Peaks cranked up a Kickstarter campaign in an effort to raise $20,000 to get the brewery off the ground; it has already raised about 10 percent of that. But even if the effort fails, Conger says he is close to signing a lease on a space.
If the campaign isn't successful -- and most of the brewery crowdfunding efforts introduced so far in Colorado haven't been -- they still plan to open.
The brewery is named for Colorado's acclaimed 14,000-foot peaks, of which there are either 53 or 54, depending on how you count. Conger says it's a common debate and a fun one: "We go by 53, though there are technically 58...We plan to climb them all."
So far, he has climbed sixteen, while Cook has summited more than 25. The two bring one of their homebrews along each time and crack it open at the top.
The two plan to make a wide variety of beers, many of them named after the 14ers or the wilderness around them, including a Chai tea stout, a nut brown made with roasted pecans and cashews, an oak-aged whiskey amber and several IPAs.
Conger and Cook want to use the Kickstarter money to buy a seven-barrel brewhouse as well as other equipment. They would like to open in January 2014.
"We've seen a lot of positive results from Kickstarter" for breweries in other states, Conger says. "And we hope to keep up the trend. You can't go into it half-heartedly."
300 Suns, a would-be brewery in Longmont, is currently running a similar campaign on Indigogo. That brewery has raised one-sixth of its $45,000 goal.
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