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Incoming brewer taps into Silt

Having just gotten to town, Brew Zone Silt owner Richard Lynch starts unpacking furniture in his new brewery, which is slated to open in late January.
Ray K. Erku/Citizen Telegram

A San Diego-based brewer is uprooting his Southern California tap house and hopping over to a new home.

Richard Lynch, current operator of Brew Zone SD, is in the process of opening a new brewery in downtown Silt. The Philadelphia-born brewmeister plans to offer small-batch, non-filtered craft beers accompanied by a food truck dishing out authentic sirloin-sliced Philly cheesesteak sandwiches.

Called Brew Zone Silt, soon patrons will be able enjoy a smorgasbord of fare in an ambiance a kitty-corner to your average hipster hangout. The brewery is slated to open in late January.



Lynch, a 52-year-old former Pennsylvania firefighter and construction manager superintendent turned brewer, plans to construct a more rustic, blue-collar interior.

Police, firefighter and military memorabilia will be a common sight.



“You can call it a dive brewery if you want,” he said Friday, just days before hitting the road to Colorado.

Beer, of course, is a big deal in Colorado, and the Roaring Fork Valley boasts its fair share of breweries. Using a freezer-full of more than 50 varieties of hops, however, Lynch intends to offer 30 different recipes to the thirsty beer lovers of Western Garfield County.

Most creations are made with fresh fruit, no chemicals and no clarifiers, Lynch said.

This is partly why Lynch decided to migrate east. Not only have big brewers essentially cornered So Cal’s market, their large scale operations have shrunk what used to be vast, diverse beer menus.

As a smaller brewer, Lynch is unencumbered by budget caps and is free to incorporate more ingredients into one single batch.

“In San Diego, the small business market is dead here. If you don’t have a restaurant, if you don’t have food, it’s just not a big thing here anymore in California,” Lynch said. “The craft is gone. It’s all about show. Going to a place like Silt, they haven’t enjoyed the craft yet.”

The sign for Brew Zone Silt on an exterior wall of the new brewery.
Ray K. Erku / Post Independent

But Lynch’s great California beer exodus is also fueled by fortuity.

Lynch said he eventually fell in love with the mountains while working in the area as a contractor and began planning to uproot his life.

“I always said if I had to leave San Diego, it’d be for the mountains of Colorado,” Lynch said.

Lynch has so far obtained a special use permit to operate within city limits, which the town trustees voted to approve Monday.

Lynch is approved for a brewery, as well as an on-site bottling and packaging facility inside the former Skip’s Market, a corner grocery store that closed in 2020.

Its site plan shows a small service bar area, about 16 interior seats and possibly a future 400-square-foot seating area on the second floor. In addition, the outdoor patio section will likely be open year-round.

To-go growlers are also allowed.

“The (Silt trustees), planners, everybody involved in the city has been amazing, and I really want to give them the credit,” Lynch said. “I love how their arms were so open and made it easy. They didn’t even judge me for being from California.”

The new brewery is set to join a growing commercial scene in the otherwise unassuming main drag of Silt.

Just this past year in fact, the town saw at least three new small businesses emerge: a funeral home next door to the taproom’s proposed site, a crystal and candle shop and a small grocery right down the street.

Silt Town Manager Jeff Layman agrees this is a sign that Silt is more and more becoming a happening place, as more newly established businesses help attract even more prospective enterprises.

Brew Zone Silt owner Richard Lynch.
Ray K. Erku / Post Independent

“I think there’s no doubt about it. The brewery will help fill the businesses we already have,” he said. “You can pop in there for a beer and a sandwich, you might pop into another store. We’re going to need to build more buildings.”

Layman said Lynch’s final stop in the permitting process is obtaining zoning permission to build, including a run through with the community development department over landscaping and fencing plans.

Once all paperwork is finalized, the city will be anxious to simply get the place open, Layman said.

“I will definitely be in there tasting the beer,” he said.

Reporter Ray K. Erku can be reached at 612-423-5273 or rerku@citizentelegram.com.


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