Still, the allure of craft beer is strong, and despite the challenges, there are already two dozen or so breweries across Colorado with dreams of opening in 2021, including ten or so in the Denver metro area. Of those, eight have signed leases and are in various stages of planning, permitting or construction.
It's a smaller number than in past years, when Denver alone could have seen eight breweries-in-planning at this time, and the suburbs might have had at least that many. But new openings were slowing down, even before the pandemic, and closings have picked up. If all of these do make it to opening day, they'll be the first of a new generation of post-COVID breweries and restaurants that will be coming into a new world and a new environment.
5642 South Sycamore Street, Littleton
The founding family of Comet Brews, led by Brian Wilke, are renovating the historic Comet Press print shop in downtown Littleton into a brewery that will serve "limited release, small-batch beers that reflect an organic and deliberate approach to brewing." It will be designed to have a vintage, old-timey feel. Comet beers will be named after family members, including Brian, Lisa, Tom, Joyce, Leslie and Karen.
Odell Brewing Sloan's Lake Brewhouse
1625 Perry Street, Denver
Fort Collins stalwart Odell Brewing, which opened a taproom and brewery in RiNo in 2018, is finishing up a second Denver location at the edge of Sloan's Lake at the former St. Anthony Hospital complex. But this taproom, which will also feature two bars, sixteen tap handles and a rooftop patio, will also serve its own pizza, made on site. It will also have a ten-barrel brewing system that Odell will use to make unique and experimental beers.
Denver Beer Co.
2425 South Downing Street, Denver
Opening: Late spring
Denver Beer Co. owners Patrick Crawford and Charlie Berger added to their mile-high beer empire last January when they bought two buildings in south Denver's Rosedale neighborhood. Construction is now under way on a 2,563-square-foot brewery and taproom that will be similar to DBC's locations in LoHi and Olde Town Arvada, along with a 10,000-square-foot patio with a tiki bar, fire pits and yard games. Crawford and Berger plan to have a permanent food setup, and may even open their own ice cream shop in a small building on the property that was once home to Maddie's Restaurant.
7691 West 88th Avenue, Westminster
Opening: Late spring
Zymos Brewing, which has been winding its way through the permitting process, should start construction any day now, and will join a growing group of breweries in the Westminster area when it opens this year in a 4,200-square-foot building housing a five-barrel brewing system and thirteen taps. It is owned by Alex Tift, her husband, Tyler, and head brewer James Coulter, who comes from Colorado Plus Brewing in Wheat Ridge.
Mestizo Brew Cantina
6800 West 38th Avenue, Wheat Ridge
Opening: Late spring/early summer
Former Rock Bottom brewers Ryan Piec and Ian Hunt, along with former Rock Bottom cook Raphael Gomez, plan to serve several styles of their own beers at Mestizo Brew Cantina, along with Mexican and Latin American street food, tortas ahogadas, cemitas, trompo-cooked carne al pastor, Ecuadorian pinchos and Salvadoran pupusas. Piec says he is using the name Mestizo because his ancestry in half Mexican and half Polish.
3851 Steele Street, Denver
Owned by former Odd13 Brewing head brewer Eric Larkin and his wife, Lisa, Cohesion Brewing will be located in a former U.S. Army medical-supply depot constructed in 1942. The property, in the Clayton neighborhood, is now part of a larger development called York Street Yards, which will border the new 39th Avenue Greenway. The brewery will exclusively feature Czech-style lagers, an underappreciated style in Colorado.
66th Avenue and Tower Road, Denver
Opening: Late summer/early fall
Business partners Nikki Harwood and David Lotierzo plan to begin construction on the 6,400-square-foot Danico Brewing in January. Located just off Peña Boulevard near a string of motels serving Denver International Airport, the brewery will have eight to ten beers on tap.
Smash Face Brewery & Tap Room
1949 Market Street, Denver
Opening: Late 2021
This concept comes in alongside a Tex-Mex eatery and a bar inside the former Tavern Downtown building across from Coors Field. The three venues are the joint project of a Los Angeles restaurant group and a New York entertainment company (the timeline is tentative because of COVID). One of the principals there, Joe Barker, loves dogs and home brewing, so the name is a tribute to "smash face" dog breeds, like Boston terriers, pugs and French bulldogs — and the beer recipes are his, too. The 5,000-square-foot spot will pour eight to ten beers brewed on site (examples include American Gentleman IPA, Vanilla Pug Porter and Frog Dog Lager) along with beers from other local breweries. For food, there will an extensive list of exotic sausages and hot dogs with more than sixty toppings, along with Neapolitan pizza and burgers. Barker says he hopes Smash Face can differentiate itself, because it plans to donate a portion of sales toward animal shelters.