Beer Man

Coda Brewing will make beer music on the former Fitzsimons base in Aurora

Luke Smith likes opposite extremes. He lives in Golden but plans to open a brewery in Aurora. He specializes in bitter IPAs as well as sweet fruit beers. He loves listening to music, but will name his business for a musical term that marks the end of a song.

And pairing things together, whether they are similar or different, will be the key to Coda Brewing, which Smith plans to open this winter adjacent to the Anschutz Medical Campus; his business partner, Scott Procop, already runs the craft beer-centric Cedar Creek Pub across the street from where Coda will be.

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"The name seems to fit," says Smith, a former medical researcher on the campus. "Beer is the grand finale of an arduous brewing process, like with music. And I am looking at doing collaborations with musicians and developing recipes and ideas that way."

Coda will be located in a new building -- one that doesn't even have an address yet -- on Tucson Way near Montview Boulevard on the former Fitzsimons Army base.

Originally, Smith planned to open his brewery in Golden and brew one-off beers named for songs or musicians, beers that wouldn't be made again. But Golden has seen a craft beer Renaissance this year with three new breweries having opened or on their way, while Aurora, one of the biggest cities in Colorado, only has one brewery. (Another one, called Mu Brewery is planned for the Aurora Arts District sometime this year).

And brewing one-time beers is a difficult proposition. "From a business standpoint, it doesn't quite work. Look at Denver Beer Co," which has a similar model, he explains. "They were almost forced to keep making Graham Cracker Porter" after it won a medal.

But Smith does plan to brew beers that are outside traditional style guidelines, including a very hoppy wheat beer and beers made with Colorado-grown fruit. "I lean toward West Coast IPAs and double IPAs...I also do delicate fruit beers, with peaches and pears. I will let others do the traditional stouts and ambers and the beers in the middle."

Coda will have an 8.5-barrel brewing system and room for 100 people in the taproom. It will be located across a street-lined, horseshoe-shaped park from Cedar Creek, and Smith and Procop plan to design a menu at Cedar Creek that is specific to Coda and can be delivered across the street (and Park) by a designated server. Smith will also brew a special beer that will be poured exclusively at Cedar Creek.

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Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes

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