Highlands Ranch is set to get its first microbrewery as Grist Brewing Company plans to open this October in Commerce Center, across the street from Shea Stadium.
Award-winning home brewer Rob Kevwitch, who grew up in Acres Green and graduated from Highlands Ranch High School in 1994, saw the need in the area and hopes the taproom and brewery will be far from the last in Highlands Ranch.
“The more the merrier,” he said. “Just because we live in the ’burbs doesn’t mean we don’t like to have a good time. There just aren’t as many places to have a good time.”
Kevwitch will get his wish about a year after opening too, when Breckenridge Brewery, the fifth-largest brewery in Colorado, relocates its Denver brewery to a 12-acre spot between Aspen Grove and Hudson Gardens in Littleton — just 2½ miles north of Grist Brewing Company.
An organic chemist, Kevwitch first got interested in brewing when he was in graduate school, but while living in Houston started getting passionate about his hobby and built an all-grain brewing system with a friend. He moved back to Colorado three years ago and plans for a brewery began to take shape.
The company, run by Kevwitch and three silent partners, has already purchased a 20-barrel brewhouse from W.M. Sprinkman Corp. out of Wisconsin, which will be installed in mid-August.
“All of our equipment we will have in the brewery and taproom is American-made,” Kevwitch said. “That is something that is extremely important to us.”
The taproom will feature six to eight brews when it opens in October, and Kevwitch said the brews will definitely include a Hefeweizen, a Kolsch, an American IPA, a Bock and a brown. Plans also call to add a fruit malt cider soon after opening.
The layout will feature a large taproom with an angular bar, and patrons will have the ability to watch beer being made while they sip a cold one, as the brew house will be set up on the other side of a waist-high wall. Tours will also be available to all patrons.
“We want them to really feel like they are in a brewery,” Kevwitch said. “That’s the idea, we don’t want this to feel like just any other bar.”
As far as beer to go, growlers and kegs will be available at the time of opening and plans call for a canning line around the end of 2014. There will also be limited bottling runs of specialty brews from time to time, Kevwitch said, adding that there will be no food sold at the brewery due to zoning.
For more information on Grist, please visit www.gristbrewingcompany.com.