There will be plenty of artisan brews to draw customers to the area, with sixty tap handles that will pour a rotating selection of beers from around the country. Kyle says that as a liquor-store owner, he's managed to build great relationships with beer distributors, which will show in the rare, seasonal and one-off batches he'll highlight.
Beer won't be just in the glasses, though; it will be part of the food menu too. A majority of the pizzas, appetizers and even desserts will feature ingredients found in the brewing process that will help give the food brewery-specific terroir. The Moyers are working with consulting chef Jensen Cummings, founder of Brewed Food, to add wort, hops, yeast and other ingredients — mainly from the nearby Epic and Diebolt breweries — into dishes.
That means the pizza dough will contain spent grain and wort, the short ribs will be braised with wort, the house salad will come with a hopped honey-mustard vinaigrette, and the housemade butterscotch pudding will be topped with hoppy brittle. "There are already lots of collaborations between breweries; this is like a collaboration between breweries and restaurants," Kyle explains, adding that Crafty Fox will be only the second restaurant (after the Rackhouse Pub in RiNo) to feature the Brewed Food concepts Cummings brings.
Customers will be able to build their own pizza or choose from a list of house specials, including a French onion pie topped with braised beef, burnt wort onions, Swiss cheese and white sauce, and the Baconator with Tender Belly bacon done three ways. Other bites range from chicken wings with five sauce options, to bruschetta, breadsticks and hot sandwiches built on bread from Hinman's Bakery. In addition to beer, the Crafty Fox's bar will feature a range of American whiskeys as well as wine and other spirits.
The restaurant is laid out on two floors, with the rectangular bar — topped with wood from the old Elitch Lanes — at the center of the ground floor, surrounded by booths and tables. Big garage doors open onto a spacious patio with great views of downtown, especially if you grab the bench seat made from a retired Breckenridge chair lift.
The upstairs, equally bright and sunny and with its own patio, will eventually become the main dining area but right now is set up as an indoor-outdoor beer garden with turf flooring and space for games.
In keeping with the neighborhood, the Moyers have selected an industrial theme for the space, with corrugated metal panels, shop lights dangling from steel poles, a chandelier made from sixtel kegs, and a massive art piece depicting the restaurant's logo — a pint glass with a stylized fox tail — built from recycled materials by Awd aRT. Other art pieces include vintage photos of some of Denver's first breweries — a nod to the importance of beer in the city's history. Other decor includes an enormous map of the United States color-coded by region to match colored bands on tap handles.
Although you won't see any industrial beers on tap, Kyle will have Coors in bottles. "We wouldn't be here if it weren't for Coors," he says of the craft-beer industry in general, explaining that mass-produced beer is like fast food: It has its place, but it's not something you'd want all the time when there are plenty of better options.
The Crafty Fox opens at 11 a.m. Saturday; regular hours thereafter will be Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. (closing at 9 p.m. on Sundays). The grand opening is planned for March 12.