Sunburns, snowstorms and fresh-blooming suds: Welcome to spring in the southern Front Range.
The Colorado Springs area is celebrating the season of rebirth - and Saturday's sixth annual Colorado Craft Beer Week kick-off - with the opening of two new breweries, Black Forest Brewing Co. in the city's northern suburb and Brass Brewing Co. downtown.
Brass Brewing, Wayne "Woody" Briggs' military-themed brewery, began taking shape inside 318 E. Colorado Ave. last fall, after Briggs and his wife and business partner, Kellee, took over the lease on the historic space formerly occupied by Triple S Brewing.
From there, "pretty much everything went according to plan," said Briggs, whose soup-to-nuts remodel included a reconfigured bar and customer areas and an uber-pubby new entryway opening onto the sidewalk.
"We definitely are happy that the garage door was open for the nice weather this weekend," Briggs said. "And it was cool enough to light the fireplace at night, so the hallway was definitely an attraction."
The brewery's grand opening last Thursday, and the turnout over the weekend, was "better than expectations," with a packed house, live music and beers created by brewers Kevin Glaspie and Brian Faulkner.
There was one last-minute tweak to plans, but it was met with howls of approval.
"We also decided that the hallway should be dog friendly, so several patrons brought dogs over the course of the weekend," said Briggs, an Army veteran and former Colorado State Patrol trooper who will devote 1 percent of the brewery's profits to charities that support veterans.
Also last week, the Black Forest neighborhood's first brewery celebrated a soft opening at a shopping plaza at Black Forest and Burgess roads. Owner and retired Air Force Col. Donovan Routsis originally planned to open the German-themed spot in late summer or fall of last year, but encountered a series of unexpected "construction snags" and other issues, including problems arising from the area's lack of a sewer system.
He kept followers up to date on progress - and anticipation stoked - through regular posts on the brewery's Facebook page.
"This is the longest tease in World History. How much longer am I going to have to go elsewhere for my beer?" groused one commenter in February, finishing with a smiley-face.
The answer, finally: "no longer."
Black Forest Brewing Co. opened its doors quietly for Facebook friends and family last Thursday, to "get our feet wet," Routsis said.
The brewery marks its official grand opening Saturday.