4

Evergreen Expecting Two Breweries This Year: El Rancho and Lariat Lodge

^
Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

As we reported last week, the historic El Rancho restaurant and conference center, which closed in 2012, is set to reopen later this year under new ownership as a brewpub; the iconic log-cabin building, which sits just off of I-70 at the exit for Evergreen, has a storied history. The original log-cabin eatery was built in 1947, long before the interstate came through. In 1953, it was purchased by Ray and Mildred Zipprich, who added a banquet business, gift shop and U.S. Post Office station. Five years later, their daughter and son-in-law, Donna and Paul McEnroe, took over. The family sold it in 1988, and the building has had a succession of owners since then.

In March, the Vincent family — three brothers and their wives — bought it for $1.2 million; they plan a major renovation that will include a beer garden and brewery, led by former Dad & Dude’s Breweria brewer Bard Nielsen. Architect Tim Trapp, of Trapp Associates, is designing the overhaul; Trapp has worked on several other breweries, including the Walnut Brewery in Boulder, various Rock Bottom locations and the Denver ChopHouse.

But El Rancho isn’t the only brewpub slated to start pouring beers in Evergreen this year. Anders and Debbie Ruikka, who bought the Evergreen Conference Center two years ago, are adding their own brewery and restaurant to the facility by fall. Originally called Fireweed Brewing, the business recently had to change its name to Lariat Lodge Brewing in order to avoid a trademark battle with a similarly named whiskey brand from a Montana distillery.

But that hasn’t slowed things down, says Anders, who just began demolition and plans to open the brewpub in September. Eric Rode, formerly of Tommyknocker Brewery in Idaho Springs, is a co-owner and will run the five-barrel brewing system. “Together, we have been working on this concept for two years,” Anders notes. “We have had a lot of good response already. It’s amazing.”

Will it be too much beer for Evergreen? Probably not, says Anders, who is excited about the El Rancho news: “I think that is going to be awesome.” He also points out that El Rancho is eight miles away from the Evergreen Conference Center and is often more associated with Golden than with Evergreen. Besides, he adds, “beer is always a good thing.”

The Ruikkas told Jefferson County that they plan to spend $300,000 to remodel the space, which will have seating for about 100 people.


Follow Westword's Beer Man on Twitter at @ColoBeerMan and on Facebook at Colo BeerMan


Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.