Luck of the draw: Beer brewer settles in Rifle after coming up dry in Silt |

Luck of the draw: Beer brewer settles in Rifle after coming up dry in Silt

Brewzone Rifle owner Richard Lynch pours a beer on Tuesday.
Ray K. Erku/Post Independent

Taps are up. Board games are ready. Cold beers are good to go.

Following more than a year of trying to open a new brewery in Western Garfield County, Richard Lynch has himself a nice corner spot in downtown Rifle.

Called Brewzone Rifle, this new tasting room adorns the corner of West Third Street and West Avenue. It right now boasts nearly 20 flavors concocted by a small-batch brewer, local bands regularly serenade patrons every weekend and the 53-year-old Lynch hasn’t been busier.

“I’m brewing more than I thought I would have to,” he said on Tuesday, adding that he’s only had a soft opening so far. “We’re moving more beer than I thought.”

Richard Lynch stands behind the bar in the Brewzone Rifle tasting room on Tuesday.
Ray K. Erku/Post Independent

Silt is originally where this Philadelphia-born beer lover planned to open up shop. By November 2021, in fact, Lynch was unloading his taps inside the building across the street from the liquor store in downtown Silt.

That location, however, didn’t work out. Lynch then tried to open up three blocks west of there, but that also ultimately didn’t work out. The lease fell through with the landlord, Lynch said.

Lynch now estimates he’s invested about $200,000 into this local brewery venture so far.

“We had a disagreement with our landlord there and decided it was best if we parted ways,” he said. “And here we are, in probably the best location I could’ve dreamed of.”

Lynch, who didn’t specify what happened with his former landlord because it’s in legal proceedings, also wanted to set the record straight with the town of Silt itself.

“The city was 1,000% on our side and totally wanted us there and they were epic,” Lynch said. “They treated me great.”

Lynch later acquired his current spot in Rifle from Aaron Badolato, owner of Sweet Coloradough. The storefront is roughly 3,500 square feet and houses a tasting room, sturdy bar tables and there’s a large outdoor patio that can seat about 75 people.

Board games sit on a bookshelf inside Brewzone Rifle on Tuesday.
Ray K. Erku/Post Independent

The brewery, still in its soft opening, has so far served people Thursday-Saturday until about 8-9 p.m. each night. Two part-time employees cover the shifts, and the beer itself — like Lynch’s Irish Reds, Volcano Stouts and Grapefruit India Pale Ales — is brewed about a mile west, on Access Road. 

Lynch expects the brewery to be fully open by May. 

“The new owner is very pro-business. Aaron, who owns Sweet Coloradough — shout out to him,” Lynch said. “He’s just been an awesome landlord.”

Lynch’s journey to becoming a small-batch hops aficionado started in 2018 when he got tired of doing construction. By the time he got his brewer’s license in San Diego, however, COVID-19 hit. He said he still made it work as he went after five-star reviews.

“I got a few lights, a few IPAs, hazys, and then I got a creme ale. That’s the best seller so far,” Lynch said. “It’s just an easy drinker and it’s a great introduction to craft beer.”

Ever since its soft opening, patrons are made up mostly of locals, Lynch said — mostly from Rifle, Silt and New Castle. And to cater even more to his customers, Lynch said he hopes to build an awning over the patio this summer and create garage doors in the walls to open a large entryway between the indoor and outdoor sections.

Tables occupying the main space inside Brewzone Rifle on Tuesday.
Ray K. Erku/Post Independent

As for food, Lynch, also a former East Greenville, Pennsylvania firefighter, originally wanted his brewery to sling Philly cheesesteak sandwiches out of a food truck. Now, he said, patrons are encouraged to order from local restaurants and eat it inside his brewery.

Lynch said this has helped create a great family atmosphere in the brewery.

“One of the greatest parts of the past nine weeks, only one or two people have asked me to put anything on the television,” he said. “People are coming in here, playing games, talking to each other and not (caring) what’s on TV. That’s been epic, bringing food, bringing families, then they roll out when they see bands coming in and it’s a pretty adult crowd at night. 

“It’s just worked out perfect.”

Post Independent western Garfield County reporter and Assistant Editor Ray K. Erku can be reached at 612-423-5273 or

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