Just about everyone who lives in Denver, or who visits friends and family here, makes a pilgrimage along West Colfax Avenue in Lakewood to Casa Bonita — whether it's once a week, once a month, once a year or once a decade. But now there's another reason to pull into the vast parking lot (currently being redone) in front of the iconic pink building: Westfax Brewing.
Owned by transplanted New Yorker Anthony Martuscello, Westfax opened this month right next door to Casa Bonita; it will host a grand opening this Saturday featuring eight different beers (two served carbonated and on nitro), a food truck and giveaways.
“I'm encouraged by what we've seen so far,” Martuscello says. "The spillover from Casa Bonita has been great. We get dads who run over to grab a beer because they need to be away from their kids for ten minutes…we've also had managers and employees from Casa Bonita who come over after work to try us out.”
The brewery boasts a rustic but elegant reclaimed-wood and metal decor, with a wooden art feature depicting the mountains. There's also a patio with a view of Casa Bonita's front door, which has got to make it one of the best spots for people-watching in Lakewood.
“The parking lot is huge, but you come here on a Saturday and you can't find a place to park,” Martuscello says. “But all those people, seeing our logo, it gives us some brand recognition. It puts us in the back of their mind and they will start to come back.”
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Martuscello, an industrial engineer and homebrewer who moved to Colorado about five years ago, has had the lease on the space for about a year. He hired longtime professional brewer Alex Stansbury, formerly of Tommyknocker Brewery, to handle most of the brewing operations.
Beers on tap right now include Two by Ale, a low-hopped golden ale; Two by Peach, a version of the starter beer made with peach puree; Worldly Pale Ale, made with Southern Hemisphere hops; a hop-forward ESB, regular and on nitro; a hoppy red ale called Casa Roja; and an oatmeal vanilla porter, also regular and on nitro.
For the grand opening on Saturday, Westfax will tap a new Belgian-style Abbey Ale. In coming weeks, it should have a second, hoppier IPA, a stout and a blueberry wheat.
“We are constantly brewing. We are not stopping because I don't want to run out of beer,” Martuscello says. And that's a good plan, considering how full that parking lot gets.