Blue Moon quietly opened its new 30,000 square-foot brewery Sunday, introducing a 400-person bar and restaurant and 20-barrel brewhouse to the craft-dominated RiNo district.
The new space at 3750 Chestnut Place is designed with the moon in mind and features round lighting fixtures, walls, booths, and a bar. It's a modern and industrial vibe for the Coors-owned company that started out in the Sandlot in Coors Field more than 20 years ago.
"We spent the last 20 years trying to elevate the quality of the beer, so we felt like it was equally important, now that we have a space for Blue Moon, that we have an equal level for the service and food," says General Manager Josh Luman.
On tap at the new RiNo facility will be 24 rotating beers, which Luman says are mostly "brand new" to the brewery.
This week available beers from head brewmaster John Legnard and founding brewer Keith Villa included the brand's classic Belgian White, a Belgian Pilsner, Belgian Pale Ale, and English Amber Ale. The brewery was also featuring an English Brown, Cappuccino Stout, and a Belgian Saison and Dubbel.
Chef Darrell Jensen's food menu is "globally inspired and locally sourced," according to Luman. Appetizers include a Brussels Sprout Chop, Chilled Golden Beet Soup, and Kalbi Short Ribs. Among the entrees are a Monkfish and Pork Shank. Lunch specials offer a Niçoise Salad and Chicken Paillard.
Guests to the new brewery can walk in, grab a beer at the bar, and take a self-guided tour around the open 20-barrel brewhouse and two hectoliter pilot system. The main dining room and bar seats 200 people, a special events room seats 60, and an additional VIP room offers a large communal table and eight additional wall taps.
"Our hope is that we accommodate as best we can any kind of experience that somebody would want," Luman says of the space. The building's west-facing wall is covered in garage doors that open onto a 150-person patio.
With this opening, Blue Moon hops onto a trend of elevated combined brewing and dining spaces that include Avery and Fort Collins Brewery. Chef Jenson previously cooked for Oskar Blues in Longmont.
"I think we do want to elevate the standards, and I think you’ll see it in the ambiance and the time we’ve invested with our staff to educate them," Luman says of jumping on the trend. "We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel, but again we spent 20 years to get our beer to a certain standard, so we feel like we owe it to our beer to make sure everything else lives up to that standard."
Meanwhile, Anheuser-Busch InBev and SABMiller on Wednesday received the U.S. government's go-ahead for a $107 billion merger. As part of the deal, the combined two largest brewers in the world are expected to sell SAB's stake in MillerCoors to Denver- and Montreal-based Molson Coors.
"Honestly it’s business as usual for us," says Luman of the merger. "I think everybody that’s here has been laser focused on bringing Blue Moon to life, on this project, and not what’s going on in the peripheral."
Blue Moon brewery and restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week, at 3750 Chestnut Place.
All photos by Adam Larkey.