Alpine Dog Brewing Leaping Into Former Denver Bicycle Cafe Space This Summer

Gardiner Hammond of Alpine Dog Brewing.
Gardiner Hammond of Alpine Dog Brewing. Jonathan Shikes
Alpine Dog Brewing, which left its spot next to the Ogden Theatre last August, will reopen this summer in the former Denver Bicycle Cafe, bringing more craft beer to 17th Avenue's restaurant row.

The eight-year-old beer maker is in the midst of renovating the space at 1308 East 17th, which had been a much-loved coffee shop, beer bar and bike shop until it closed in November 2019.

"It has a great legacy," says Alpine Dog owner Gardiner Hammond. He plans to honor that legacy by also serving coffee before brewery hours and possibly incorporating some sort of bicycle decor in the taproom.

But his biggest focus will be on the upgrades that this new high-profile location will allow him to make — things that he couldn't do in Alpine Dog's old home at 1505 Ogden Street.
click to enlarge The former Denver Bicycle Cafe is becoming Alpine Dog Brewing. - JONATHAN SHIKES
The former Denver Bicycle Cafe is becoming Alpine Dog Brewing.
Jonathan Shikes
For starters, he'll have a decent-sized patio to the side of the building. And down the road, he may be able to open a second patio out front, as well. "That was something we were really missing," he says. "Just like everyone else, I like to sit outside, and we have nine months of patio weather" in Colorado.

Hammond is also selling his fifteen-barrel brewing system in order to buy a ten-barrel system, on which he'll be able to make a wider variety of smaller-batch beer, including lagers. "That means we'll have more variety at the bar and we'll be able to turn beers over quicker," he says. It will also allow him to concentrate on building up taproom sales and less on outside distribution to liquor stores or restaurants.

Nevertheless, there is room for a canning line in case he decides to bring distribution back, especially of some of Alpine Dog's flagship beers, like Thunder Puppy Hazy IPA and Hyper Jam Blackberry Sour.

Once the brewery opens, he also plans to open a separate cocktail bar in the former Tandem Bar space next door. With a working name of Elsewhere, it would focus on mezcal and bourbon drinks.
click to enlarge ALPINE DOG BREWING
Alpine Dog Brewing
And finally, Hammond says he simply likes the neighborhood a lot, especially its collection of bars and restaurants and its consistently busy feel. "I thought that Colfax would come around, but it didn't," he says about his former location, adding that he feels like the area didn't gain enough momentum.

Crazy Mountain Brewing, which moved out of its own former space at 471 Kalamath Street last year, has been planning to open in Alpine Dog's old spot, but so far progress there has been slow.

On 17th, however, there could eventually be a miniature brewery row that would include Alpine Dog; Reverence Brewing, which opened in the former Thirsty Monk space at 1604 17th in 2021; and Vine Street Pub, at 1700 17th. Vine Street closed at the beginning of the pandemic and has yet to reopen, but owner Kevin Daly has said he still plans to bring back the neighborhood favorite.
KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes