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Florence Brewing Company opening soon, Howard to GoGC 

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Florence gains a brewery

Unlike El Paso County, with its plethora of breweries, our neighbor to the southwest, Fremont County, only counts a single beer producer: Royal Gorge Brewing in Cañon City. But that's about to change when Florence Brewing Company (florencebrewing.com, 200 S. Pikes Peak Ave., Florence) opens, on May 14.

That's the target date for owner/brewer Hans Prahl, a 40-year-old ex-Marine who's also served in the Colorado National Guard and done tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Aurora native, with German and Danish ancestry (good beer roots), says he was doing government contract work and living in the Springs when he became attracted to the tiny town of around 4,000, deciding to build upon seven years of homebrew experience. He gained a little more knowledge helping out at JAKs and Fieldhouse (which operates on the same five-barrel brew system he's bought), and he's found networking value in joining the newly formed Southern Colorado Brewers Alliance.

Unlike his nearest neighbor, RGB, Prahl says he intends to be a distribution brewery, selling cans and Crowlers to tap into the outdoors crowd, i.e. to sell to rafters, mountain bikers and hot springs journeyers. His 1,500-square-foot taproom and smaller brewery space are both housed in a 102-year-old building, a former small-town convention center, he's told. Large windows and original tin tiles on 14-foot ceilings will soon be complemented by a reclaimed Black Forest Fire-wood bar-top.

As for brews, he'll start with five mains and a goal to fill eight taps with seasonals soon after, including some lagers (for which he's glycol-jacketed his fermentation tanks). "I focus on traditional styles," he says, noting excitement for future Octoberfest and Märzen beers. But he also plans to have fun with a hard root beer, some Belgian sours and some barrel-aged brews, likely hosting weekly firkin tappings down the road. The flagships consist of a Hefeweizen; an American-style IPA and an amber; a Helles-inspired blonde; and a U.K.-style milk chocolate stout.

Aside from imported hops from Europe to stay true to style, Prahl says he hopes to work with local sources for ingredients, including an area farmer who recently launched a hop farm. He's already made a plan with the nearby Pour House Coffee Shop to source coffee for a future brew. And the area's sole food truck, called That Truck, will park regularly at FBC, he says, while otherwise patrons will be encouraged to bring food in from Florence eateries.

McCabe's man to GoGC

As of April 4, Greg Howard will be stepping back from McCabe's, out of a T-shirt and jeans and into a suit, and handing operations over to his wife, Ari. Howard has accepted the position as the new food and beverage director for The Garden of the Gods Club and Resort (3320 Mesa Road, gardenofthegodsclub.com). Find out more about his move and some plans for the club on our Indyblog.

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