Three and a half years ago, Erin Franklin Hutton was breaking into Colorado’s beer scene as a bartender and server at Colorado Plus Brew Pub in Wheat Ridge.
Now, after working his way up to assistant brewer, earning his cicerone — essentially a beer sommelier — certification and moving to Minnesota last July, he’s got his own brewpub on the brain.
After gaining zoning approval from the city earlier this month, Hutton hopes to open the New Prague brewery and taproom — dubbed Giesenbräu Bier Co. (1506 1st St. NE., New Prague, giesenbraubierco.com) — next summer.
“We’re trying to go for the overall theme of walking into a Bavarian beer garden,” Hutton said. “We’re going to do our best to emulate that, but with a modern twist.”
The inspiration comes from years spent studying in Germany, where he met his future wife, a New Prague native.
That background combined with an experimentation vibe at Colorado Plus — they once made a Hawaiian pizza beer and a wasabi stout — gave Hutton the idea for his own upstart, a name formed from his wife’s maiden name (Giesen) and the German word for “brew” (brau).
Hutton plans on brewing a Bavarian haus, a Bavarian weissbier and an IPA as the flagship beers, as well as offering a rotating stout or porter, a Czech pils, seasonal Belgians and a rotating boch handle featuring Oktoberfest boch and Maiboch (a spring festival beer) among other things.
Experimenting with different ingredients — like local maple syrups and honeys — could come next.
Earlier this month, in Minneapolis, another brewpub officially opened its doors.
Clockwerks Brewing (25 N. 4th St., Mpls., clockwerksbrewing.com), which had an extended soft opening beginning in October, hosted a grand opening in downtown Minneapolis on Nov. 12.
The brewpub, which specializes in “session-style” or drinkable beers, is housed in a 3,000-square-foot space in a former warehouse, most recently City Billiards, with 14-foot ceilings and a 20-person bar.
Their offerings include a German alt, an extra special bitter (ESB), an extra pale ale (EPA), a Belgian witbier, a Bohemian rye Pilsner and a Kölsch, as well as their newest addition, an American IPA.
There is also a nod to the past: a pool table.
“It’s classy and dark and welcoming,” said Lonnie Manresa, who owns the place along with Brett Michlitsch. “It’s kind of sexy. It’s been consistently busier every week as it progresses.”
They recently added a mini kitchen aimed at churning out charcuterie plates and panini, as well.