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Renegade Brewing opens Sunday in the Art District on Santa Fe

If beer is art, then the next great gallery is about to open in the Santa Fe Arts District.

Renegade Brewing, at 925 West Ninth Avenue, will roll up its garage door this Sunday at 2 p.m., welcoming people who appreciate the finer things in life -- things like craft beer.

The spot should be a good one for owners Brian and Khara O'Connell, who have been renovating the vacant warehouse -- a former Dr. Pepper bottling plant -- into a gorgeous modern brewery and tasting room. Renegade boasts a bar made from a variety of exotic woods, foot rests rescued from old railroad ties, and coat racks made from railroad spikes. It includes a garage door that can swing open on nice days and a large window that will give beer lovers a view of the fifteen-barrel brewing system in back.

"We're in an arty neighborhood, so we wanted to have our own piece of art in here," says Brian, who has been handing out fliers with the "beer is art" quote. "That is the bar."

He's also hired local brewer Rick Abitbol to run the fifteen-barrel brewing system, which sits in a large space with a lot of room for growth.

Renegade is part of a surge of small breweries that have opened or are about to open in the Denver area this year, including Copper Kettle and Caution Brewing, along with Denver Beer Co, Wit's End and Arvada Beer, which all plan to open this summer.

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"I don't know what to expect," Brian says about opening day, but he hopes to have the same reception as Copper Kettle, which was packed in its first hours of operation.

On tap at the opening: 5 O'Clock Blonde, a session beer that uses flavoring and aroma hops but nothing for bittering; Una Mas, a Mexican amber made with a hint of chile pepper; and Ryeteous Rye IPA, a big, hoppy beer made with 30 percent rye malts.

Down the road, Renegade will also pour a red ale called Hit Me and a delicious (trust me) Baltic porter called Another Thrill, with notes of chocolate and raisins.

Follow Westword's Beer Man on Twitter at @ColoBeerMan.

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