The 7,500-square-foot taproom won't have brewing equipment, but it will include a full menu, a large covered patio, an indoor-outdoor stage for live music, and private dining and event spaces. Left Hand also hopes to coordinate with Mission Ballroom's high-powered operator, AEG Presents, on shows, VIP parties and other events that would take place before and after headline acts appear at the venue.
"They're psyched that we are coming in, and we're psyched to be going in," says Left Hand president and co-founder Eric Wallace about AEG. "It opens the door to some cool possibilities there." AEG has already begun booking what it hopes will be post-pandemic shows for this fall at Mission Ballroom.
Left Hand, which is Colorado's third-largest independently owned craft brewery, has been looking for the right location in Denver for more than a year as some of its local competitors, including New Belgium Brewing, Odell Brewing and Oskar Blues, have already established one or more outposts here. The company thought it had found a home last March when it agreed to take over the gorgeous former Liberati Restaurant & Brewery building in the Curtis Park neighborhood, but the deal fell through in August and Left Hand moved on.
When the Liberati deal dissolved, Wallace says, Left Hand started looking around town, talking to brokers and "stirring the pot," trying to find another space that would make a second location worthwhile.
That's how the brewery found Westfield, the Denver-based developer that built the Mission Ballroom and the 90,000-square-foot retail, restaurant and office building next door where Left Hand will move in. The next phase of the fourteen-acre project, at 4180 Brighton Boulevard, calls for a hotel, an eleven-story apartment tower, restaurants, bars and stores. A large, open plaza sits in the middle of the complex.
“We’re thrilled to welcome Left Hand Brewing to the community of entertainment destinations within our North Wynkoop project," Westfield senior partner Kevin McClintock said in a statement. “Left Hand is a pioneer in the craft brewing industry, so it’s no surprise that they’re also a pioneer at North Wynkoop. We expect they’ll soon be joined by other like-minded restaurants, bars and entertainment concepts as North Wynkoop continues to evolve into a premier entertainment destination in Colorado.”
Although the project is sandwiched between the Denver Coliseum, a light rail station, railroad tracks and I-70, Wallace points out that the highway is being sunk underground and that the grounds of the National Western Stock Show are being redeveloped. Eventually, he says, the neighborhoods will all connect with one another.
Like the taproom at its headquarters in Longmont, the Denver space will be warm and inviting, Wallace says, and will pour a wide selection of beers, including its flagship nitro styles. But it will also have a restaurant, which will be a new adventure for the brewery, which was founded in 1993. The type of cuisine hasn't been determined yet, but it probably won't overlap with other restaurants leasing space in the development. Wallace says the taproom should be open by early 2022, depending on construction, permits and other factors.
"We are locally owned, and we wanted to be part of the scene in Denver, but we needed a compelling reason to raise our flag there," Wallace says. "For this one, we really put it through the filter, but it seems like a huge opportunity. It's almost like starting over, but the stakes are higher and we are a little more weather-worn."
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.