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Red Leg Brewing on the way, CCM expands, Swirl converts 

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Crimson craft (brew)

You could call them "gun bunnies," but "red legs" apparently is a more historically accurate nickname for Army artillerymen — drawn from the smoky battlefields of the Civil War, where crimson pant stripes aided in being seen.

As for Red Leg Brewing Co. (redlegbrewingco.com, soon), aiming to open by July 1 at 4630 Forge Road, off Garden of the Gods Road, founder Todd Baldwin says the name is indeed meant to resonate with military folk. He's one of them — a former Army officer — as is veteran and brewmaster Jeff Lockhart, formerly of Ouray Brewery as well as Pueblo's Shamrock Brewing Co.

"We loved our time in the military," says Baldwin. "We want to give back to charities and get the military involved."

One idea is to encourage current active-duty folks to help name seasonal specialty beers via contests, ultimately paying homage to their respective units (think: "Peterson AFB Porter" for example) and raising money for families of the deployed.

Another is to join regular civilians in the 50-ish-seat taproom for five flagship beers that will likely include an IPA, amber, brown and stout, as well as a special pilsner from a 1911 recipe: "If you were in the Army in World War I, you drank this," say Baldwin, who's enthusiastic about drawing in military history as a thematic framework.

Red Leg aims from the get-go to produce kegs for distribution, and tentatively plans to add a canning line by year's end.

À la carte

• In early May, Colorado Coffee Merchants (coloradocoffeemerchants.com) plans to expand by another 700 square feet into an adjoining storefront (formerly a tax office) at 302 E. Fillmore St. New total square footage for the business: around 2,500 feet.

Owner Eric Umenhofer anticipates around a month of interior renovation (during which the business will remain open as usual) to create a coffee lab of sorts. The vision is to use it as an espresso training bar and demonstration area, where Umenhofer and Co. can educate staffers of wholesale accounts (i.e. restaurants who serve CCM's Ümpire Estate or Idle Truck brands) as well as the public through special samplings.

Umenhofer says he'll likely purchase an additional grinder and another Nuova Simonelli Italian espresso machine to outfit the venture, which, ultimately, he hopes will "build a greater coffee community."

Swirl Wine Bar (717 Manitou Ave., #102, Manitou Springs, swirlismybar.com) closed its retail-front emporium last month and will convert the space into more seating this month. On May 1, it will launch lunch hours starting at noon, providing more time to order the paninis, soups, salads and house-baked pastries that have joined the long-standing charcuterie plates. The eatery closes at 10 p.m. weekdays; midnight, weekends.

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