You could spend decades on Colfax Avenue and never explore even a tiny portion of its nooks and crannies — not that you'd necessarily want to know about some of them. Still, the layers of history, grime, entertainment, life, commerce, death and rebirth that have taken place along the street are stunning.
This week, Bruz Beers brought a small corner of Colfax back to life when it opened a taproom, Bruz Off the Fax, in the back portion of the 1930s-era Savageau Building at 1495 York Street. Originally built in the "Mediterranean Revival" style for Denver's first Walgreens store, the colorful tiled building has been home to many businesses over the years, and is currently divided between five or six retail tenants.
Bruz, which was founded in 2016 in the Midtown development just north of Denver city limits, decided to take a 1,500-square-foot space around a year ago precisely because of the building's old-school feel, and the brewery, along with well-known developer and building owner Charles Woolley, have done a great job preserving the original brick to give the new taproom a cozy, almost speakeasy-like feel.
Although the taproom looks tiny from the outside, it opens into an elegantly rustic, split-level interior, with a bar that is half-sunken along one side. There is also a patio with a fire pit out back in a courtyard that is shared by the businesses in the building, but you wouldn't know it existed from the street.
Ironically, the original Bruz has a very modern white-tile-and-metal feel; here that look is incorporated behind the bar itself, which features twenty taps of Bruz's Belgian-style beers.
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And speaking of beers, Bruz has most of its regular offerings on tap on Colfax, including its Belgian blonde, Belgian IPA, witbier, pilsner, dubbel tripel and Belgian Golden. But since the brewery specializes in high-ABV treats as well, it has brought out some of those heavy hitters for its first few weeks in business, including Brut La Grande, a double and triple IPA, some sour and wild ales, and Serenite Grand Cru, a 13.2 percent ABV quardrupel-like beer that won a silver medal at the Great American Beer Festival in October.
There is no brewing equipment on site, but Bruz scrapped its old four-barrel brewing system about a year ago in favor of a much larger fifteen-barrel system that will be able to easily supply both locations.
Bruz opened quietly this week, and is now up and running from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.