The last two breweries to occupy the long, narrow space at 1604 East 17th Avenue didn't fare too well. Deep Draft Brewing opened in 2015 and closed two years later, while the Thirsty Monk Pub, an offshoot of the North Carolina brewery of the same name, took over the spot in 2017 and left for good in March 2020.
Nate and Lindsey McAlpine are hoping that the third time's the charm. The two will open Reverence Brewing, with a vintage lounge theme and a variety of beer styles on tap, as soon as late July.
Nate says he researched where the previous two breweries struggled, which is why he's planning to start with some broadly appealing beers — including a hazy IPA, a Mexican lager, a raspberry wheat and a stout on nitro — and then react to what the neighborhood wants and doesn't want. "I think the previous breweries may have pigeonholed themselves," he explains. "So I need to listen to myself as an entrepreneur — not as a brewer — so that it's not all about who we are, but who the neighbors are, and then we meet in the middle."
The McAlpines may be uniquely qualified to take on that task, based on their experience starting new breweries. Nate got his start as a brewer in 2006 in his home state of Wisconsin and then traveled the country and even into Canada, working short stints at a wide variety of spots, including Deschutes Brewing in Oregon, Founders Brewing in Michigan and, most recently, Avery in Boulder. But he specialized in helping startups get their brewhouses online and their beers going, working with at least six in three states.
Lindsey, a yoga instructor, also worked at several breweries — most recently Cellar West — learning how to operate the front of the house, experience she will bring to the design and ethos at Reverence.
"Reverence means respect," she says, adding that she and Nate plan to show respect to their customers by using real ingredients rather than flavorings, and to the community by donating 1 percent of profits to various charities. They also want to make sure that Reverence is open and inviting to people of all backgrounds.
The couple landed in Colorado in part because of Nate's job at Avery, but also because they both have family here. They decided to stay once they found the Thirsty Monk space, which they were able to take over for pennies on the dollar, Nate says. Given the number of breweries in the United States and the challenges of the pandemic, "I knew that at some point we would be able to purchase something on the cheap," he notes.
Along with every other Colorado bar and restaurant, the Thirsty Monk closed to on-premises service on March 17, 2020, because of the shutdown. It never reopened; its small size didn't allow for social distancing. The Denver location was an outgrowth of the Asheville, North Carolina-based string of Belgian-style breweries and beer bars owned by entrepreneur Barry Bialik, part of an effort to expand the business across the country.
The McAlpines acquired the Thirsty Monk's brewing equipment and fixtures (including a large fiberglass monk statue that they are trying to offload), which the Asheville outfit had inherited from Deep Draft. They will add a small canning line — a Gosling from Wild Goose Engineering — thanks to a loan from the Colorado Enterprise Fund.
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