The theory behind Factotum Brewhouse is a novel one: Rather than pay a brewer to make the beer, owners Laura and Chris Bruns are asking brewers to pay them to serve it. Will it work? The sister-and-brother team will find out beginning today, when they hold a grand opening for Factotum.
Located at 3845 Lipan Street, Factotum is located just a block east of Diebolt Brewing in the burgeoning Sunnyside neighborhood. The Brunses have been working on their brewery for about three years, suffering a setback in November 2013, when they lost their first planned location a few blocks north at 4735 Lipan.
But over that time, they have stuck to the goal of making Factotum a place where homebrewers can come to learn or practice or just fulfill a onetime dream of brewing a beer on a professional system and serving it on tap.
Doing so isn't cheap: to play, homebrewers have to pay for a package that totals $395. In return, Chris will source the ingredients, scale up the recipe from the typical five- or ten-gallon homebrew size to his seven-barrel system, and then serve it in the taproom until it runs out.
The reason for the cost, says Laura, is to make sure the homebrewers are truly committed to the process. “Chris and I want them to take this seriously, even if they are beginners. We figured that if we can lock them in financially then they'd be less likely to flake out. That was a part of that decision.”
She also points out that each homebrewer gets about $100 in credit at taproom or can take home a keg or two of the beer.
The opening lineup of beer includes a dry Irish stout brewed by Chris, along with a Peach Cobbler Cream Ale, a Juniper pale Ale, a black IPA made with tea and possibly an amber – all brewed by homebrewers. Factotum has another five or six brewers lined up, including a group of students from nearby Regis University who are working in the school's Applied Craft Brewing program. They will make a vanilla coconut porter.
“Our ideal picture for now is to have six guest brewers on tap, and Chris would have the other two taps, with a session beer from him all the time,” Laura says.
The taproom fits nearly 100 people and also includes a small side patio that will open soon; Factotum may add a larger patio next year.
The grand opening begins at 4 p.m. Denver Deep Dish will be slicing up pizzas today.
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.