It's a good thing Leap Day only comes once every four years, because the week surrounding this calendric anomaly bore witness to a startling shakeup in the metro area's craft-beer scene.
Three breweries closed their doors as of March 1: Pilothouse Brewing in Aurora, Peak to Peak Tap & Brew's Colfax location; and Liberati Brewery and Restaurant. In the meantime, two others opened for business in grand style: Barquentine Brewing in the Edgewater Market, and Outworld Brewing in Longmont. A third new brewery, Lady Justice, announced that it will take over the Peak to Peak space as of April 18.
We'll start with the good news.
Barquentine Brewing opened inside the Edgewater Market at 5505 West 20th Avenue. The owners of the family-run brewery say they were "inspired by the beers of Belgium and the sailing ships, called Barquentines, that brought Old World brewers their provisions. Our taproom will be a comfortable place where every person can feel accepted and appreciated. The recipes are drawn from tradition and modernized for the well-trained palate of the Colorado beer drinker. We will encourage you to take your beers through the halls of our friendly merchants and up to the roof patio. In addition, feel free to bring a meal into the taproom from one of the many delicious food stalls. There will be bountiful parking and all ages welcome."
Outworld Brewing opened at 1725 Vista View Drive in Longmont on February 28. The science fiction- and fantasy-themed brewpub has a full food menu, along with Belgian-, Bavarian- and American-style beers. The owners describe the place as "an interstellar trading post showcasing the finest Terran (Earth) craft, where beer is the most highly traded commodity throughout the Universe."
And although it hasn't opened yet, Lady Justice Brewing is scheduled to take over the space at 9735 East Colfax Avenue in Aurora that Peak to Peak Tap & Brew closed this weekend. Lady Justice is purchasing the equipment there and is tentatively planning to open on April 18 with ten beers on tap. The brewery was founded with the goal of raising money for nonprofits that support girls and women in Colorado, and it donates everything it makes above salaries and operating costs by way of grants. Although the brewery has been around for nearly four years, this is the first time it has had a taproom of its own.
Now for the bad news...
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Pilothouse Brewing, which opened at 4233 South Buckley Road in Aurora in 2017, appears to have closed suddenly without any explanation. The brewery's Facebook page is gone, as is its website. Pilothouse was founded by Jean Verrier and his family and took its name from their love of sailing.
As mentioned above, Peak to Peak Tap & Brew has closed the doors to its East Colfax Avenue taproom and production facility and will cede the space to Lady Justice Brewing. Peak to Peak co-owner Gordon McKennon says he didn't have the "bandwidth" to run both locations and will now focus on his other location on Iliff Street in Aurora. The East Colfax building was originally Mu Brewing before Peak to Peak took it over.
And finally, Roman restaurateur Alex Liberati closed his stellar Liberati Restaurant & Brewery after just one and a half years at 2403 Champa Street, crushing the souls of the people who loved the space, the food and the beer. Liberati was simply not able to garner enough business to keep it running. The place specialized in beer/wine hybrids that Liberati called oenobeers, and he has repeatedly hinted on Facebook and in the media that his brewery concept is not yet dead, even if the restaurant has closed.