Brewing, Cideries & Spirits  March 13, 2023

Ex-New Belgium brewer opens taproom in Aurora

Aurora has a new taproom just a five-minute walk from Stanley Marketplace. 

Owner and brewmaster Ross Koenigs recently opened his dream brewery, Second Dawn Brewery Co., with his wife Amy at 2302 Dayton St. 

The name references Aurora, which is Latin for dawn. The Koenigs believe if there were two dawns, the second would be after work enjoying a cold beer. 

Ross Koenigs previously worked for New Belgium Brewing Co. as a sales associate, brewer and head of new product design and research. The couple decided to open their own brewery during the pandemic.

“It has really always been my dream and ambition,” Ross Koenigs said. “Entrepreneurship has always been very important to me.”

Koenigs paid $1 million for the property last year. The 5,100-square-foot taproom used to be an auto body repair shop. Koenigs completely gutted the space, although garage-like doors still lead from the taproom to the brewing area behind it. There’s 1,000 square feet of patio space that wraps around the side and rear of the building. 

“We want to develop this whole area as more of a bar and restaurant, nightlife scene that folks can come out to,” Koenigs said. “Especially those that maybe don’t want to go downtown, but still have very high-quality options available to them in their own neighborhood.”

With 12 taps, Second Dawn is focusing on IPAs and hoppy beer. One of the top sellers right now is an Italian Pilsner, Koenigs said, which is described as “crisp, refreshing and assertively hoppy.”

“The other thing we’re trying to do in programming, instead of trying to offer every flavor permutation under the sun, we’re trying to take a more culinary and cocktail mentality to our beer offerings,” Koenigs said. 

That means that, instead of quickly expanding the number of taps, Second Dawn will offer blends that can be added to staple beers. 

Koenigs said the technique was traditionally done in Germany with sour-style beers, but is new to the Colorado brewing scene. 

“It’s not exactly a new idea, but we’re trying to take that and bring it into a modern thought, to reimagine it in a new way,” Koenigs said. 

Right now, customers can order a lemon spritz blended with beer or seltzers, as well as a traditional winter citrus, which is a combination of grapefruit, lemon and lime. On St. Patrick’s day, Second Dawn is introducing an imperial stout and a shamrock shake blend.

Koenigs plans to start barreling and experimenting with sour blending in a few months. He said if people like the beer, and business is good, Second Dawn will explore distributing and expanding. 

“We want the experience here to be joyful,” Koenigs said. “You can trust the quality of the beer that’s coming out of here, I have literally done nothing else in my life but work in craft beer.”

Justin Herman with Unique Properties found the space for the Koenigs.

This story originally appeared in BusinessDen.

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