Colfax Avenue has always been Denver's main thoroughfare. Created after the Rush to the Rockies of 1859, the Gateway Road flourished in the decades that followed as both a business district and a social hub, right up through the 1950s, when touristy motels lined both sides. But like Radiator Springs in the animated movie Cars, the neighborhoods along U.S. Route 40 -- as Colfax is designated in Denver and Aurora -- began to crumble when the big freeway, in this case I-70, was built.
"When I-70 went in, it became more difficult, and there are stretches of Colfax that died," says James Pachorek, who plans to open a new brewery on Colfax in December. "But it's still a highway, although most people don't recognize it that way unless they are natives or know some of the history. It became Denver's lost highway."
Lost Highway Brewing is what Pachorek and his wife Tina, who also own the Cheeky Monk Belgian Beer Café next door, plan to rename the long-planned brewery (which was originally conceived as Three Saints Brewing before a naming dispute problem).
And the couple has already hit on an artistic theme for the Lost Highway as well. Created by artist Chris Tippin, it's a Beatnik-y, Jack Kerouac-style feel the evokes the ghosts of Colfax past (see more photos of the artwork below). Coincidentally, Tippin grew up in the eastern plains town of Bennett -- one of the far eastern outposts of Colfax Avenue's route and part of what makes it commonly known as the longest street in the United States.
The artwork was painted on plexiglass that currently covers the windows of the building while the brewery is being designed inside. If it survives construction, Pachorek says, it will go on display inside the brewery after it opens. Pachorek may also incorporate one of the characters -- the Golden Ghost, as he calls him -- into the logo.
The Pachoreks first revealed their plans to open a brewery last October; the name Three Saints fit with the Belgian theme of the couple's other business, which also has locations in Westminster and Winter Park. A similarly-named California winery objected to the name, however. Other companies have protested the trademark attempt as well.
So Pachorek moved on. "Why even bother fighting these knuckleheads on the name?" he asks. And although the Pachoreks still plan to brew mainly Belgian-style beers, the new name gives them the freedom to try other styles as well.
When it opens, Lost Highway will also serve cheese and charcuterie plates and may have a rooftop patio. It will brew with a seven- or ten-barrel system, along with a second ten-gallon system for more experimental beers.
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