Beer Man

Two former Mountain Sun brewers will open Cannonball Creek Brewery in Golden

Former Mountain Sun brewers Brian Hutchinson and Jason Stengl have left the company to open their own place in Golden later this year. Cannonball Creek Brewery will be the second craft brewer in a town that sits in the shadow of the Coors plant.

Hutchinson, who was the head brewer at Mountain Sun, and Stengl both own homes in Golden, so the choice of where to start their business was an easy one.

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"This has been a dream of mine from the day that I decided to make the career move to professional brewing," says Hutchinson, who won numerous awards over eight years with Mountain Sun, which also owns the Southern Sun and Vine Street Pub.

Located at 393 Washington Avenue, the 4,000-square-foot brewery and taproom will feature a seven-barrel brewing system. Hutchinson plans to brew a wide variety of ales and lagers, but with "an emphasis on bigger American-style and Belgian beers." He hopes to have twelve to fifteen beers on tap at all times.

As for his old Mountain Sun recipes, like the Alpha King Challenge-winning Hop Vivant, "they are technically still the property of Mountain Sun, but I have a lot of new ideas and beers I haven't made yet," Hutchinson says. "There are beers that I developed there that were really, really popular -- an IPA, for instance -- but they aren't necessarily the beers I would make today. Now I can do the things that I think are exciting."

Construction on the building should begin this month, and Hutchinson and Stengl are hoping to open Cannonball Creek sometime in mid-December.

The other brewery in town, Golden City -- known for its tagline, "Golden's second largest brewery" -- just said goodbye to its own head brewer, Jeff Griffith, who left to head up the brewing operation at the soon-to-open Fate Brewing Company in Boulder.

Hutchinson says that both Golden City owner Charlie Sturdavant and the owners of Mountain Sun have been nothing but supportive of Cannonball Creek.

The brewery takes its name from the history of Clear Creek, which flows through town and was called Cannonball Creek in the early 1800s.

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