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Axe and the Oak heads to Ivywild, Paradox Beer Co. reopens a taproom 

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Axe in the Ivywild

Axe and the Oak Distillery (4665 Town Center Drive, axeandtheoak.com) recently earned several medals at international whiskey competitions. Maintaining that momentum, they've just announced late-summer openings of two new tasting rooms.

The first, according to co-owner Casey Ross, will be in a newly acquired space next door to the existing production facility. Plans call for limited tours plus guest food trucks. The distillery also aims to partner with neighboring Ranch Foods Direct on some whiskey-friendly food pairings.

Concurrently around August or September, expect Axe and the Oak to open in the southeast corner of the Ivywild School. They'll create a new patio just outside, and for bites they'll share upstairs kitchen space with the Blue Star Group to enable a small food menu. To be clear: No whiskey production will happen on-site.

Ross says the 2-year-old company is currently making about 1,200 bottles monthly, with a goal to double if not triple or quadruple production by 2016's end. Upward of 170 liquor stores around the state now carry the whiskey, in addition to around 50 bars and restaurants.

In the next couple months, look for the release of a new moonshine followed soon after by a cask-strength whiskey. And by 2017, expect a new rye label. Before all that, catch a one-year bottle release party at Town Center Drive from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday, June 17.

Paradox reopens a taproom

Though 4-year-old Paradox Beer Company (10 Buffalo Court, Divide, paradoxbeercompany.com) moved from Woodland Park to Divide a little over a year ago, the brewery just reopened a taproom last week.

Brewer Jeff Airman says that's because they were aiming for distribution growth more than on-site sales. He says Paradox will soon enter its 12th state, and 2013's 350 cases of product a month has now grown to 1,500 cases monthly. But still, a tasting room does offer educational and marketing opportunities worth the investment.

The nearly 8,000 square-foot brewery sits on 3 acres and much of it has been licensed for consumption, so drinkers can take a stroll or play outdoor games on a patio area. And nearby McGinty's Wood Oven Pub has set up a satellite kitchen to provide meals; hours are currently noon to 9 p.m., Thursdays through Sundays.

A primer if you're new to Paradox: The brewery initially bought wort from Pikes Peak Brewing, but with the move last year, they purchased a 10-barrel system from Eddyline, which Airman says they've already outgrown. Paradox barrel-ages and bottle conditions all its beers, which constantly change (read: no flagships). For example, the Skully label has seen two iterations of a salted watermelon sour, but the newest will rotate the type of melon and salt and age in a different Chardonnay barrel.

"We'll revisit a concept. But for us it's a journey," says Airman. "To make the same beer over and over again is boring."

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