Drinking Above the Clouds

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by Rick Langenberg:

 

 

 

 

Woodland Council opens the door for new brewpub

Downtown Woodland Park won’t feature any shortage of places for drinking freshly-made microbrews and sipping Colorado and nationally acclaimed wines.

In fact, some community boosters are jokingly ready to tag the area, “Drinking Above the Clouds,” with the prospects of three major outlets for microbreweries and beer sampling spots, a future beer garden and a unique wine bar that features top vino selections from around the county and world, along with nearly 10 retail spots for tasting Colorado wines. And that’s not to mention the area’s assortment of bars and restaurants. The combination of wine and beer tasting, art shows and growing entertainment options is elevating the image of the downtown, according to some business leaders.

Last week, the Woodland Park City Council approved a license for the new Ute Pass Brewing Company, located at 209 E. Midland Avenue in a site formerly occupied by a former Maximillian’s restaurant and earlier by the Martini Hut.

The new owners and operators, Scott Jones and Todd DeRemus of Woodland Park, say they want to turn the business into a full-fledged brewpub. However, they won’t brew their own beer until later this spring or summer.

Initially, the Ute Pass Brewery will feature guest beers and will have a limited sandwich food menu.

But later this year, the owners will install brewing equipment and turn their operation into a brewpub, with a full lineup of food and freshly-made beer. They expect to implement a small brewing system with seven barrels. According to the owners, the Ute Pass Brewing operation won’t be as large as that of BierWerks, which has become a showcase microbrewery for Woodland Park.

The council enthusiastically gave the thumbs-up to the new venture. “I can’t think of a better thing to put in this building,” said Councilman Terry Harrison. The council inquired about where the brewing equipment would be located inside the building, but didn’t have any problems with the proposed operation.

With the council action, a prime building that has remained vacated for some time will see renewed life. Plus, downtown Woodland is becoming a mini-destination area for microbreweries and brewpubs and wine outlets. In recent months, the town has seen a new wine bar, the Lush, open up shop in a building next to Woodland Station that once served as an art school, and the Monument-based Paradox Beer Company reopen inside a massive facility on the east side of town that once served as the home for Tweeds. In addition, plans are progressing for the main owners of BierWerks to open a European-style beer garden inside the Woodland Station area.

Plus, downtown Woodland also has gained notoriety as one of the few spots in the state where Colorado wine tasting areas are located inside retail shops. Nearly 10 shops house a variety of vinos from an assortment of Colorado wineries.

Ironically, this combination of beer and wine tasting hubs comes in the wake of a previous alcohol prohibition town leaders inadvertently approved to make room for a new Christian school in the downtown. State rules bar where new establishments that serve alcohol can be located in relation to schools. However, at the request of the city council, the council lifted this prohibition in the downtown area.