Photos: River North Brewery will open this weekend with four beers on tap

River North Brewery will officially start pouring pints of Belgian-style beers on Saturday, adding a new element to Denver's quickly growing roster of neighborhood breweries. The brand-new spot is located inside a portion of the vault-like space once run by Flying Dog Brewing, which moved to Maryland in 2008. And although the high ceilings that once covered 100-barrel fermenters seem to dwarf River North's equipment, owner Matthew Hess is actually starting off bigger than most new breweries.

He has a fifteen-barrel brewing system, three fifteen-barrel fermenters and two thirty-barrel fermenters; Hess also has a small bottling system on which he plans to package 22-ounce bomber bottles of the saison and a double IPA he is working on.

The high-ceilinged brewhouse is visible from the elegant taproom through large glass windows; the corner spot also has windows looking at the neighborhood architecture.

River North has actually been open, on and off, for the past week. Hess, a former engineer who moved to Colorado three years ago with his wife, wanted to make sure everything was working right, and he says most of customers have been people who live or work nearby. The brewery is technically located within River North, although the surrounding blocks are often associated with the Ballpark neighborhood.

And the brewery, which is six blocks from Great Divide, could have more company soon, from Black Shirt Brewing, which hopes to open this year at 38th Avenue and Walnut Street, and Crooked Stave, which plans to move from Fort Collins to RiNo.

River North will have four beers on tap when it opens tomorrow at 3 p.m.: A 7.5 percent ABV saison called J Marie; a 6.2 ABV black IPA called Hello; Darkness, a 6.4 ABV Belgian pale red ale called BPR; and a 5 percent ABV Belgian wit called River North White. "I developed all the recipes myself from homebrew batches," Hess says.

On Saturday, the Street Eats food truck will be outside, and on Sunday, the Mestizo truck will be on hand; the tap room seats about 35 people.

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