Beer Man

Ten breweries that will open in metro Denver before the Great American Beer Festival

Diebolt Brewing opened last weekend as Denver's newest small craft brewery, serving up beers and camaraderie in the Sunnyside neighborhood. The brewery plans to hold a grand opening event during the Great American Beer Festival, which returns to town October 10-12, but it will have some company by then when it comes to offering people that new-brewery smell. At least ten other beer-makers plan to open their doors in the Denver metro area by early October -- eight of them within Denver city limits.

It may be difficult to keep them all straight -- especially after you've had a few -- so here's our guide to the next wave of mile-high breweries.

See also: Great American Beer Fest changes policy to accept every brewery in 2014

Epic Brewing Denver Epic Brewing, the Utah-based company that is already operating a second twenty-barrel brewery in Denver's River North neighborhood, plans to open its attached taproom at the $2 million facility on September 28, followed by several big events during GABF. Epic is already distributing most of its beers in Denver, including three new bottles that it brewed just for Colorado. The taproom will be large and have an extensive taplist. Factotum Brewhouse Denver Chris and Laura Bruns, the sister-and-brother team behind Factotum Brewhouse, want to pay their respects to home brewers by opening a brewery that uses their recipes and gives them a chance to make their beers on a much larger scale. Their spot in the Sunnyside neighborhood will include a seven-barrel system where homebrewers of all skill levels can brew a beer with help from Chris, an experienced homebrewer himself, and then have it served on tap and get customer feedback. Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project Denver Chad Yakobson has been operating the Crooked Stave Barrel Cellar from an office park since last year (and contract brewing his beers at nearby Prost and River North), but in September, the wild and sour beer expert will open his own showplace brewery inside the Source, a European-style artisan food market and retail space that is expected to open this month in the hot River North district. The new spot will give Crooked Stave a much larger and fancier taproom, an even higher profile, and its own twenty-barrel brewing system (including an unusual piece of fermenting equipment called a coolship). At that point, he will close his current barrel cellar to the public and use it just for fermentation and barrel-aging. Lost Highway Brewing Denver Named for Route 40 (otherwise known as Colfax Avenue), Lost Highway Brewing is the creation of James and Tina Pachorek, who own the Cheeky Monk Belgian Beer Cafe next door, as well as two other Cheeky Monk locations and the Royal Hilltop in Aurora. Originally known as Three Saints, the place got a name change to avoid a trademark issue. When it opens, Lost Highway will serve cheese and charcuterie plates along with a wide variety of beers brewed with a seven- or ten-barrel system. Black Sky Brewery Denver Harry Smith, who has been making beer for Breckenridge Brewery for eleven years, and his wife, Lila Mackey, will open Black Sky Brewery at 490 Santa Fe Drive, just a block from Breckenridge. The heavy metal-themed brewpub will feature thin-crust, "New Haven-style" pizza and beers from a variety of local breweries, in addition to Smith's own creations. Smith and Mackey hope to eventually add an outdoor beer garden. They also have plans to have art, music and brewing lessons at the brewery, which is in Denver's Art District on Santa Fe, as well as tastings with Cicerones and other beer experts. Jagged Mountain Craft Brewery Denver Downtown Denver will soak up another beer-maker when Jagged Mountain Craft Brewery opens at 20th and Lawrence streets, next to the 20th Street Café. Two years in the planning, Jagged Mountain (named for a peak in the San Juans) will specialize in making "adventurous," higher-alcohol specialty beers, along with barrel-aged brews and other beers that require some sort of specialized processes. The founders -- RJ Banat, Randy Stinson and Wayne Burns -- went with that theme because they are involved in backcountry outdoor sports; they plan to decorate the taproom in a similar fashion and partner with outdoor nonprofits. Burns, who will be the brewmaster, worked for a year with Boulder's Mountain Sun group, has been brewing for twenty years, primarily in Michigan, where he worked for Bell's Brewery and Kuhnhenn Brewing, among others. Former Future Brewing Denver After looking for a home for nine months, Former Future Brewing owners James and Sarah Howat finally found their spot on South Broadway's Antique Row, a fitting location since the brewery will specialize in making "futuristic interpretations of historical styles." Former Future already has most of its brewing equipment in place, including a 3.5-barrel system that it bought from Bennett Forgeworks in the town of Ridgway. It also bought some fermentation tanks from TRVE Brewing, which is located about a mile north on Broadway. Keep your eyes out for a Kickstarter campaign as well, which may help the Howats raise money for a coolship and sour-beer program. Station 26 Brewing Denver Station 26 Brewing, owned by Justin Baccary, is looking to open in a former fire station between north Park Hill and Stapleton by early October. Located in a residential neighborhood in a part of town with no other craft brewers, Station 26 will offer a wide variety of beer styles, from sessionable ales to saisons to hoppy IPAs, with the help of Wayne Waananen, who was the first head brewer at the Sandlot at Coors Field. Baccary himself is also a brewer, having spent time at Dad & Dude's Breweria in Parker. Kokopelli Beer Company Westminster After a long and arduous process, Kokopelli Beer Company, helmed by Christine Wares, is hoping to finally open its doors in late September across from the the future Westminster Mall renovation. The brewpub, which includes a ten-barrel brewing system, will serve a variety of styles of beer, including regular and rotating selections, along with artisan pizzas. It will also carry wines from Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah. Sanitas Brewing Boulder Okay, yes, Sanitas is in Boulder, not Denver, but the brewery may make an impact across the Front Range since it plans to can several of its beers, a black IPA and a saison, right away -- and because of its size: owners Chris Coyne, Michael Memsic and Zach Nichols have secured a 15,000-square-foot, fifteen-barrel brewery and taproom, as well as space for a large patio and three-season beer garden covered with solar panels -- and with a view of Mount Sanitas.

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Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes