On belay; beer on
So this will be something entirely new to town: a public house that funds a nonprofit from inside a climbing gym. Lemme 'splain.
As soon as mid-October, CityRock (21 N. Nevada Ave., climbcityrock.com) will open a community space and beer-and-wine hub — yet to be named — that will give 50 percent of its proceeds directly to UpaDowna. In turn, that nonprofit will run extensive, multi-sport programming on-site.
"It's not just another bar," says UpaDowna executive director (and former Indy beer reviewer) Steve Hitchcock. "This will be a representation of UpaDowna. Anyone who's been to our events knows that you get 3-year-olds and 93-year-olds, drinkers and non-drinkers ... the emphasis is on non-motorized adventure and outdoor play ... relationships are born."
Hitchcock plans to host everything from classes and lectures to occasional film screenings and live music in the space at the gym's entryway. In down hours, he hopes to attract the community to enjoy a beer, wine or coffee and small plate of food while socializing or treating the area as a work space.
"Climbers are a built-in clientele," he says, "but we want people who don't climb to hang out here, too."
Why would they? Well, the venture will host at least 10 beer taps and a craft can array, plus an expanded espresso bar. For food, it'll be grab-and-go eats and light plates (not requiring a kitchen with a grease trap).
"The concept is much like The Arc," he says. "That nonprofit helps those with developmental disabilities, which selling clothes really has nothing to do with, other than it provides a funding platform for the nonprofit. It's the way they fund themselves instead of having to go out asking people for money."
And before anyone raises a stink about drinking and climbing, Hitchcock says CityRock has a plan, to include the same ID/card scan climbers currently use to check in, so drinkers will be "flagged," so to speak.
"We'll do everything in our power to make sure no one climbs intoxicated."
Pikes Peak Brewing Co. (1756 Lake Woodmoor Drive, Monument, pikespeakbrewing.com) introduced a cool gadget last week that allows guests to fill a 32-ounce can with any house beer to go — basically growler service, but with metal instead of glass.
"Oskar Blues calls theirs 'the Crowler,'" says owner Chris Wright. "We call ours 'The Peak Can.'"
The tool is a modified soup-can seamer that creates an airtight seal. While glass growlers only keep beer fresh for a few days, Wright has already tested the Peak Can for six weeks: "We opened one the other day, and it was just as fresh as it was off-tap."
The Peak Can costs $6.95 for PPBC's flagship brews, with a small upcharge for high-ABV beers. PPBC remains the sole Springs outfit currently canning its beer.