Pandemic? What pandemic? Since March 16, the day that Governor Jared Polis announced that he would close down restaurants, bars and breweries all over the state on the following day, at least ten new breweries have opened their doors, including three that very week (while another three are getting ready to debut in early June).
Why did they decide to launch without taproom capacity rather than wait until this week, when at least some customers could be seated? "It was a tough decision, to be honest," says Jeff Tyler, head brewer and co-owner at Spice Trade Brewery & Kitchen. "But we have spent the better part of two years on this, and since we weren't sure when we could actually have a dining room, we decided to open in any way possible and to get some revenue flowing. We have a lot of bills to pay."
Here's a rundown of what you may have missed while you were holed up at home:
Ska Street Brewstillery
1600 38th Street, Boulder
Ska Brewing opened its highly anticipated brewery/distillery/restaurant on the evening of March 16 and remained open for just a few hours before shuttering a day later because of the pandemic. It was a rough beginning, but the brewery eventually reopened for beer, booze and food takeout in May. With a Caribbean-themed menu, a ten-barrel brewing system, a 450-liter still, thirty taps and a mixology program, the Brewstillery, located in the former Fate Brewing space, plans to open June 3 for on-site eating and drinking.
5460 Conestoga Court, Boulder
Located inside the former Wild Woods Brewing space, Uhl's opened on March 14 with fourteen beers on tap and three in cans — and then closed three days later. But owner Aaron Uhl had already made plenty of beer, and the brewery was ready to adjust, pumping out a wide variety of ales during the shutdown. Uhl's plans to reopen this weekend with six new beers, including a hazy double IPA and a "Peach Maltshake."
Monumental Beer Works
2575 Highway 6, Grand Junction
Like Ska and Uhl's (above), Monumental Beer Works had also planned to host a grand-opening celebration in mid-March. Instead, the new Grand Junction brewery held a Canned Opening, selling 19.2-ounce cans and 32-ounce Crowlers of its beers for takeout only. The brewery opened for on-site consumption for the first time last week after Mesa County was granted a variance on the state's shutdown requirements.
Wild Provisions Beer Project
2209 Central Avenue, Boulder
An offshoot of 4 Noses Brewing in Broomfield, Wild Provisions is led by wood barrel specialist and head brewer Brandon Boldt, who also owns Primitive Beer Company in Longmont. Specializing in wild sour beers and open-fermented lagers, the elegant brewery opened for carryout orders in May, only slightly later than planned.
Lady Justice Brewing
9735 East Colfax Avenue, Aurora
Lady Justice, which has been making and selling beer from various locations since 2016, finally got its own taproom earlier this year when it took over the former Peak to Peak Tap & Brew space on East Colfax. But a planned April opening had to be scrapped for obvious reasons. Instead, owners Betsy Lay, Jen Cuesta and Kate Power, who donate all the brewery's profits to organizations that advocate for women and girls in Colorado, have been ramping up memberships and selling beer in cans to go. Because the taproom is small, Lady Justice isn't planning to reopen for on-site consumption in the immediate future, but it will keep selling packaged beer to take home.
Barrels & Bottles Brewery
1055 Orchard Street, Golden
Abby and Zach George opened their original downtown Golden brewpub in 2013, and decided last year to open a second Barrels & Bottles in the town's Pleasant View neighborhood. Although COVID-19 got in the way of a normal unveiling, the brewpub has been selling beer to go since April. The original location, which is also a restaurant, is now open for on-site consumption, and the new spot may open soon with twenty beers on tap.
Spice Trade Brewery & Kitchen
8775 East Orchard Road, Greenwood Village
A spinoff of the venerable Yak & Yeti, which serves Indian and Nepalese cuisine, Spice Trade is owned by Yak & Yeti's Dol Bhattarai and head brewer Jeff Tyler, who will run the operation. The space is designed to transport customers to other countries with a wide variety of street food and Spice Trade's unusual beers, which are typically made with herbs and spices. Spice Trade opened for to-go sales in May with a limited menu and beer it had been brewing elsewhere. It will have its own beer shortly, and will be open for on-site business soon.
Cabin Creek Brewing
577 22nd Street, Georgetown
Sitting right by the lake in Georgetown, Cabin Creek Brewing was built from the ground up and features views of the lake and the pine-covered mountains. Owned by Evan Jeffries and Amit Patel, Cabin Creek opened in May as the second brewery in this rustic mountain town off of I-70. Beers from head brewer Patrick Toland include a house lager, a mocha oatmeal stout, a foeder-aged pilsner, a saison and an IPA.
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Tres Litros Beer Company
118 North E Street, Salida
Tres Litros Beer Company began selling beer to go in May and will open its doors to the public for the first time on June 1. Founded by Jason Maxwell and former Elevation Beer brewer Nick Boyden, the brewery will join a growing craft-beer scene in Chaffee County. Beers include a double IPA, pale ale, stout and peach wit.
Great Divide Brewery & Roadhouse
215 Wilcox Street, Castle Rock
A project that has been in the works for some time, Great Divide Brewery & Roadhouse is actually a partnership between Vibe Concepts, which owns the lease and the equipment, and Great Divide, which will do the brewing (on a five-barrel system). Vibe, which owns Spanky’s Roadhouse, Reivers Bar and Grill, and eight other Colorado restaurants, is also in charge of food. A grand opening is scheduled for June 1.