James and Tina Pachorek, who own the Cheeky Monk Belgian Beer Cafe, have quietly bitten their lips over the past two years as they watched new breweries, one after another, open in Denver. Now the couple plans to jump in themselves by taking over the space next door to their original Colfax restaurant for a Belgian-style brewery and market.
"This is pretty epic for us," says James, adding that he and Tina have wanted to open a brewery for several years but were waiting for the right opportunity. That chance came when the attached mattress store at 530 East Colfax closed. Together, the two spaces total 8,000 square feet, and the Pachoreks are negotiating to buy the entire building from Pearl Investments, which owns it.
"I wouldn't want to put the money into the brewpub if we didn't own the space as well," James says. The couple also owns two other Cheeky Monks, in Westminster and Winter Park, and the Royal Hilltop in Aurora.
The new brewpub is tentatively named Three Saints Brewing, and the Pachoreks will face a liquor-license hearing in November. But they may have a bigger hurdle ahead, since a California vineyard that's also called Three Saints has already filed a protest letter over the name. "Three Saints fits with our Belgian and monk theme, but we'll come up with a backup," James says.
The couple plans to begin with a seven- to ten-barrel brewing system along with a smaller, ten-gallon pilot system with which they can experiment. They'll make Belgian-style ales rather than IPAs and the like. "There are hardly any brewpubs that just concentrate on Belgian styles," James points out. "And we like that European vibe."
Three Saints, which could be open in the fall of 2012,will offer smoked meats, cheeses and breads rather than "a poppers-and-wings-style kitchen," he explains. "That way, you can comes in a make your own picnic, the French/Belgian way." The couple is also planning to build a rooftop patio with a garden.
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Five new breweries have opened in Denver so far in 2011, and the Vine Street Pub, which isn't far from the Cheeky Monk, is still planning to open its large brewery by the end of the year. But James believes there is room in Denver's beer scene for all of them.
"Everyone has a different twist on it," he says, adding that Denver is just beginning to realize its full potential as a beer city. "We never had any problems from a production standpoint, but strangely, as the Napa Valley of Beer, there haven't always been a lot of places to go to. That is changing, and we hope to be part of that future."