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Westword - After a Quiet Year, Boulder's New-Brewery Scene Gets Busier

By: Jonathan Shikes

Boulder's new-brewery scene was quiet for the majority of 2016. While existing powerhouses like Avery Brewing, Twisted Pine, Boulder Beer and Upslope all made news, no new breweries opened their doors during the first eleven months of the year. The most recent had been Vision Quest Brewery, which kicked things off in east Boulder in December 2015.

The scene picked up at the end of 2016, however, with the debut of Kettle & Spoke Brewery on December 2 and Cellar West Artisan Ales a few weeks later. This year, there will be at least two more brewery openings — that of Gunbarrel Brewing, at 7088 Winchester Circle, and Beyond the Mountain Brewing, at 6035 Longbow Drive. (A plan from Upslope Brewing to open an 11,000-square-foot brewery and restaurant at 34th Street and Valmont Road has been delayed at least until 2018 and perhaps longer.)

But the pace of new brewery openings in Boulder as compared to openings in other Colorado cities is still pretty slow, especially for a town that helped define Colorado's craft-brewing scene over the past four decades.

The reason for that is "obvious," says Marie Fox, who plans to open Gunbarrel Brewing with her husband, Jamie, this spring. "The barrier to entry in Boulder is very high. Real estate is exceedingly expensive, and there is very little of it." The city requires breweries to be located in areas that are zoned for industrial uses, and there aren't many empty buildings in those areas. The Foxes searched for three years to find a big enough space that also had parking and room for an outdoor patio.

They got what they wanted, though: Gunbarrel will be in a 20,000-square-foot warehouse close to where the Foxes live, and they are putting in a 3,200-square-foot taproom with plenty of seating and games, along with a patio. The rest of the space will be reserved for a ten-barrel brewhouse and canning and bottling equipment — with lots and lots of room to grow.

"Every brewer we have ever met said, 'Space, space space — you can't have enough of it.' So we listened to them," Marie says. Jamie, who has extensive home-brewing experience and an education in Brewing Technology from the world-renowned Seibel Institute, plans to make a wide variety of beers, including barrel-aged varieties as well as sour and wild ales.

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Entrance located on West side of property. Enter via second left on Winchester Circle. Drive around the building for parking. Main entrance on the north/east side of the building. Google Maps provides inaccurate parking directions. GBC GoogleMap