By choosing to start up a new brewery in River North, Zach and Rachel Rabun are either crazy or brilliant. "We're not sure about that ourselves," Zach says.
The couple recently announced plans to open Mockery Brewing at 3501 Delgany Street in a neighborhood that already has five operating (or soon to be operating) breweries within a few blocks of each other -- and the possibility of two more coming next year.
Mockery, which will take over the space now occupied by Ink Monstr Graphic Design, will be just down the street from the Source, a new European market-style development where Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project will open a showpiece brewery this fall; it's also just blocks from Black Shirt, Our Mutual Friend, River North and Epic.
"I've spoken with Chad Yakobson at Crooked Stave and with the guys at Black Shirt and River North. It's either going to be a good thing or it's going to be crowded," Zach says.
He's banking on the former. "It's a beer neighborhood," he notes, "and if we all work together, I think we can make it work."
Zach got the brewing bug several years ago after being laid up by a motorcycle accident. He had plenty of time on his hands to hone his skills and decided that he wanted to brew professionally. For the past three years, he has been the assistant and then the head brewer at Elk Mountain Brewing in Parker, which he left to start Mockery.
And that experience and his connections are paying off. Over the summer, Zach was able to score Bristol Brewing's old twenty-barrel system, a significant coup in a market where good used equipment is hard to come by. The venerable Colorado Springs brewery had just upgraded to a larger system for its move to its new Ivywild digs.
Zach plans to brew a wide variety of beers, but they'll be grouped by whether or not they adhere to the fifteenth-century German beer purity law known as Reinheitsgebot, which forbade brewers in Bavaria from using anything but water, barley and hops in their recipes.
"Half of our beers will be Reinheitsgebot beers that will be traditional styles, and the other half will be fruit beers and sours," he explains. "That is where the name Mockery comes from. We are basically mocking the Reinheitsgebot law."
Mockery will include a 2,500-square-foot brewery and taproom and a large biergarten with sixty to seventy seats, along with garden games like bocce ball and horseshoes. There is also a back building where the Rabuns could host beer-pairing dinners and private events.
They hope to open Mockery in late March 2014.
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