Goodbye to BREW, gospel- ninja-soul & Cuckoo's 20th

Goodbye to BREW, gospel- ninja-soul & Cuckoo's 20th

Raise one last glass to BREW this weekend for their Grand Closing party with Liver Down the River playing at 9 p.m. Saturday.

Chris Aaland - 03/28/2019

Sadly, one of Durango’s favorite nightspots and a magical brew-pub, BREW Pub & Kitchen, closes its doors this month. Like many other restaurants and businesses, the aftermath of the 416 Fire chipped away. Erik and Lainie Maxson fought the good fight for nine months after the devastating event, but the cards weren’t in their favor. If you suffer a string of dismal months in the winter or the shoulder season, you might survive. Lose nearly three months of peak revenue during the height of tourist season and recovery is next to impossible.

BREW was more than just one of Durango’s six –then five, and now four – breweries. It was a unique and daring vision that allowed Erik, one of this town’s most celebrated brew-masters for the past decade and a half, to explore small-batch, craft beers. He had no mainline beers. No Pinstripe or Colorado Kolsch or Durango Wheat. Instead, Erik brewed three or four new varieties each month, working his way through the alphabet by giving them people’s names. One would feature hops, another malts, another yeast, and another would be a session. Big beers like barrel-aged barleywines were also featured on tap and in bombers. If you loved one, you’d have to show up regularly before the keg ran dry because once the batch was gone, a new beer would replace it. It was perfect for A.D.D. drinkers like myself (refer to my 38 bricks at the old Lady Falconburgh’s for additional proof of this wonderful affliction).

Sure, there were favorites that made annual appearances: Zen, with cucumber and lemongrass; Jesus, brewed with yarrow and set for Easter resurrections; and Joey, a coffee kolsch, were just a few so-called “regulars” that appeared year after year. Erik challenged you as a beer connoisseur, tasting new styles and ingredients. These weren’t your run-of-the-mill pilsners.

The doors will close for good Saturday night, with a 9 p.m. Liver Down the River performance to turn the wake into a festive event. It’s fitting because Liver’s mandolin player, Patrick Storen, is a longtime BREW employee. This gives you one last chance to guzzle Woody, a spectacular double bock and one of the finest beers I’ve ever sipped. Or Patty, a sassy Irish red named after Lainie’s mom. Or the aforementioned Joey, which confuses me every time I tip back a pint ... my brain thinks a clear, yellow kolsch shouldn’t have dominant coffee aftertastes, yet somehow it works beautifully.

BREW was always there for a nonprofit putting on a fundraiser, offering up kegs, growlers, gift cards and swag for silent auctions, donor events, concerts in the park and more. It didn’t matter the cause. The Maxsons are generous folk who truly believe in community. Perhaps they gave more than they should have.

I’ll miss my intimate relationship with Erik’s beers. But I have a soft spot for ABC, Carver’s, Ska and Steamworks, too. There will be no shortage of suds. But none of those places have BREWtine, an interpretation of Canada’s national food. Or that delicious BREW burger with saute?ed onions, a fried egg and that special aioli. Or the beet salad (yes, I occasionally eat healthy). And they don’t have Alex or Zach, two of my favorite restaurant employees of all time. But mostly, they don’t have Erik and Lainie, who toiled for the past seven years to launch a dream that made thousands of people very happy.

Cheers, BREW.

Get your dance on at 9 p.m. Friday when Zach Deputy brings his self-dubbed “island-infused, drum ’n’ bass, gospel-ninja-soul” to the Animas City Theatre. He dropped his first album, “Out of the Water,” in 2008 and has since released four more critically acclaimed records. He’s pioneered looping and synth guitar, which sets the stage for his live show. Tone Ranger opens the show. He’s an electronic DJ whose experiences at Standing Rock and with native tribes throughout the Southwest allow him to unite light and shadow, chaos and order, future and retro.

The ACT also hosts the Cuckoo’s 20th anniversary party at 7:30 p.m. Monday, with ’90s music from DJ P.A. Jackson. Cuckoo’s itself will have food and drink specials before the party, closing at 8 to let its staff get down and party like it’s 1999.

KSUT announced four upcoming spring and summer concerts this week. Tickets are already available online at ksut.org for Americana/rockabilly sensation Eilen Jewell (May 24), Four Corners alt-country/indie-rock favorites the Black Lillies (June 27, with an opening set by the Still-House Junkies) and rock & roll legacy Amy Helm (Levon’s daughter, July 26), all at the Henry Strater Theatre. These KSUT concerts at the Hank usually sell out, and pricing is set for discounted advance-ticket sales. Plus, tickets will go on-sale tomorrow at durangoconcerts.com for a June 26 coproduction of legendary folksinger Patty Griffin at the Community

Concert Hall. Station manager Tami Graham promises even more this summer, including an outdoor show at the station’s annual Party in the Park. All this is in addition to the long-sold-out Joan Osborne 4/20 concert at the Hank, which celebrates Durango Acoustic Music’s 20-plus years of bringing live music to the Four Corners.

It’s still a week away, but the Sheridan Opera House welcomes the Tim O’Brien Band at 8 p.m. on Thurs., April 4. Ever since launching a solo career in 1991, O’Brien has strayed from the bluegrass he’s most associated with to incorporate country, folk, Celtic, Cajun and rock elements into his mix, crafting pure Americana even before that term was the all-encompassing genre assigned to American roots artists. And the formula worked, especially since Hot Rize always gave Tim a fix for his bluegrass Jones. This winter, he released the eponymous “Tim O’Brien Band” album, which returns to his bluegrass roots. This week’s sun certainly brought on mud season, and time’s a wasting if you hope to get a few more turns up in Telluride. Tim O’Brien might be just the excuse you need to head high into the San Juans.

Finally, the Dolores River Brewery brings Americana from New York to the region at 8 p.m. Wednesday when Upstate Rubdown comes to Montezuma County.

So stack those chairs upon those tables, and stack those empties upon the bar. Email me at chrisa@gobrainstorm.net.

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