Del Norte Brewing, which has been making award-winning Mexican-style lagers in Denver since 2007, has apparently ceased production.
Over the past several days, brewery owner Joe Fox hasn't returned calls or an e-mail seeking comment, but several people in Denver's craft-beer scene say they believe Del Norte has sold most, if not all, of its brewing equipment and has closed.
A look through the front door of the operation, located in the back of an office park at 1390 West Evans Avenue, shows that the taproom and bar stools are in place, but no one answered a knock on the door today and brewery's Facebook page is gone.
Neither the attorney who represented Del Norte in a recent trademark dispute nor the leasing agent for the business park returned calls seeking information.
If Del Norte has indeed closed, it would be the first Denver brewery to shutter in more than four years, since the North Star Restaurant and Brewery went out of business in the LoHi neighborhood in August 2008. It would also be just one of a tiny handful of breweries that have closed in Colorado over the past decade.
Del Norte was known not just for making lighter lagers in the style of Corona and Bohemia, but also for asking customers in the tasting room to compare the freshness of its beer to that of the megabrewers. Some of its more well-known brands were Manana, Orale and Cinco.
In 2011, the brewery quadrupled its production and began distributing in four other states as customers looked for a local alternative to the usual Mexican beers. Del Norte bottled almost all of its beers, including a winter seasonal called Luminaria.
Last spring, Del Norte debuted a new beer, El Guapo, at all 25 Old Chicago locations in Colorado. Fox described the 5.6 percent ABV beer as a hoppier answer to Bohemia, the Czech-style Mexican pilsner, and said he planned to bottle it as well.
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