Alpine Dog Brewing reopens in Denver after 18-month closure and move

Nearly a year-and-a-half after closing for what was supposed to be just a four- or five-month move, Alpine Dog Brewing has reopened in a high-profile spot along East 17th Avenue.

The brewery, which was founded in 2014 in a space next to the Ogden Theatre on Colfax Avenue, has taken over the former Denver Bicycle Cafe, 1308 E. 17th Ave., which closed in 2019. Although the beers remain the same, the decor and the vibe have gotten a full makeover.

“We are super excited to continue the legacy of beer in this building,” Alpine Dog owner Gardiner Hammond wrote in an email. “As a patron and beer supplier to the old Bike Café and Tandem Bar, it’s really cool to take over the space for Alpine Dog. We are also super stoked to join the Uptown neighborhood where we are part of a community of other great breweries, restaurants, bars and shops. We love the walkability and vibrancy of the neighborhood.”

Hammond retained the open and airy feel of the former café, but rebuilt the bar using reclaimed hickory wood from old boxcars, and topped it with green tile. The brewery also “added plushness … with vegan leather bar stools and tufted couches … loaded the walls with greenery … and incorporated our alpine roots with nods to skiing and the antlers and skulls that adorn our walls.”

The goal, he said, was to “create a more unique taproom experience” with a retro/mid-century vibe “to juxtapose the more raw industrial brick/concrete/steel backdrop of the building.”

Reopening after an extended closure isn’t something many breweries have attempted, in part because it is hard to sustain a business with no revenue coming in and because people tend to move on to the next thing, especially regulars who live within walking distance of a business.

But since the new location isn’t far from the old one, Hammond said he saw plenty of former regulars and friends beginning on Jan. 27, as well as a lot of new faces. Opening weekend “was especially cathartic after a much longer and more difficult than expected buildout.”

The buildout took a long time, he said, because of permitting and construction delays, which are common right now in booming Denver. But it was worth the wait as the new space will eventually have a patio — something he didn’t have at his old spot — as well as a smaller brewing system that will allow Alpine Dog to make a wider variety of beers.

In addition to its flagship Thunder Puppy IPA, Alpine Dog has four other beers on tap right now: Hyper Jam Blackberry Sour, Chico Crujiente Mexican-Style Lager, Dark Ass Beer Bourbon BA Imperial Stout and Strata-Caster Cold IPA. There are also hard seltzers and guest beers.

“We will be working our way up to 16 taps as fast as we can, along with nitro cold brew coffee and kombucha,” Hammond said. Plans are to add full coffee service and to open in the mornings in the coming months.

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