July 1, 2013 Updated: July 12, 2013 at 11:45 am
Phantom Canyon Brewing Co. opened a patio dining and lounge area Monday atop an expanded brewhouse that will double the brewpub's brewing capacity and allow it to start selling its beers on a retail basis from the restaurant and several downtown liquor stores.
Heather Robinson, Phantom Canyon's general manager, said the rooftop patio features 75 seats, including two high-top firepit tables, that will be covered by awnings. The patio can be accessed by a separate entrance on the west side of the restaurant at 2 E. Pikes Peak Ave.
She said the patio, part of a 2,750-square-foot addition built on the north side of the historic building, features full table service and a full menu. It will be open for dining until cold weather arrives, but will function as an outdoor smoking area year-around after 9 p.m.
The $1 million project was driven by Phantom Canyon's need to expand its 2,000-barrel annual brewing capacity, which had prevented it from aging its beers as its brewmaster wanted to. The expansion will enable the restaurant to sell 22-ounce bottles on site as well as from several downtown liquor stores and other bars and restaurants, Robinson said.
Phantom Canyon also plans to demolish the previous location of its brewhouse to add up to 30 seats on the restaurant's first floor, which now has a 180-seat capacity, she said.
"The primary reason for the expansion was to add (brewing) capacity but we believe the rooftop patio will be a huge hit," Robinson said. "We went through product so quickly that we have not been able to age our beers the way we want to. This will allow us to do that as well as get our beers into off-site sales."
The project, completed by Murphy Constructors of Colorado Springs, also includes installation of five fermenters and a basement aging room, and a remodel of the west end of the building's second floor, which includes the restaurant's billiard hall.
The restaurant also plans to switch to a seasonal menu by the end of the month that will change four times a year to allow more fresh ingredients and a greater variety of food, Robinson said.
Phantom Canyon is owned by Denver-based Breckenridge-Wynkoop LLC, which owns 11 other brewpubs and restaurants in Breckenridge, the Denver area and Grand Junction. The business will open The MainLine ale house in Fort Collins in August and Session Kitchen in the Old South Pearl Street area south of downtown Denver in September.
The company's flagship location, Wynkoop Brewing Co., in downtown Denver was founded by Gov. John Hickenlooper, who no longer has an interest in the company or its restaurants.
Phantom Canyon plans a grand opening of the rooftop patio in late July or early August as part of a combined celebration to recognize the seasonal donations it makes every year to area nonprofits.
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