The Thirsty Monk, an established brewery and bar chain in Asheville, North Carolina, will make the leap west to Denver next month; it's buying Deep Draft Brewing, at 1604 East 17th Avenue. Opened in 2015 by Robert Lee and his family, Deep Draft had been for sale for several months.
Founded by developer and entrepreneur Barry Bialik, the Thirsty Monk specializes in brewing classic beer styles with Belgian yeast and Belgian twists. In addition to the Denver location, the Monk will also move into a Portland spot as it pursues a strategy of opening several “pocket breweries” across the country. Brian Grace, the former head brewer at Crooked Stave, will oversee both breweries.
The Thirsty Monk is just the third out-of-state brewery to open in Denver, following Epic Brewing, which is based in Salt Lake City, and 10 Barrel Brewing out of Bend, Oregon, which is now owned by Anheuser Busch InBev, the maker of Budweiser.
“We are pulling a mini, reverse New Belgium,” Bialik jokes; New Belgium and Oskar Blues both opened locations in North Carolina in recent years. “Denver is a market I wanted to be in, where I would want to personally spend time,” he continues. “We love the walkability of the neighborhood and the educated beer drinkers.”
Thirsty Monk will brew a variety of beers and share them with the locations in Oregon and North Carolina. It will serve beers brewed in the company’s other brewhouses as well.
But the brewery will also “embrace the beer, food and craft cultures in each of the cities, and operate as a true local brewery and pub,” Bialik says. For instance, “as our Brother Noah Belgian Chocolate Stout is brewed in Asheville using chocolate nibs from our friends at French Broad Chocolate, Brother Noah brewed in Denver will utilize a local Colorado chocolatier and Brother Noah brewed in Portland will be made with local Oregon chocolate."
Bialik says he will remodel Deep Draft slightly, getting rid of the nautical theme and replacing it with his company’s aesthetic. He hopes to open by Thanksgiving.
The Thirsty Monk is also taking over a small retail space next door in order to expand the brewery.