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InSider 2014: Welcome 

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Late last spring, brewer Mike Bristol and restaurateur Joe Coleman raised the curtain on their $5-million-plus Ivywild School project, south of Colorado Springs' downtown. Having brought a brewhouse, upscale deli, bakery, coffee/liquor emporium and various other businesses into an old elementary school, it was time to see how the concept — a first for the Springs in many ways — would be received.

As the Independent's Matthew Schniper reported, by September their initial financial projections were in tatters. On-site Bristol Brewing Company sales were 2½ times what they'd been at a smaller space a year prior; bakers and mixologists had quadrupled some of their output; and screaming success forced charcuterie chefs to "convert an old walk-in cooler across the street into a mini processing plant." The space was also alive with dozens of public gatherings and art exhibits — look at the event calendar today, and you'll see everything from blues concerts to Broadmoor Garden Club meetings.

When something blows up like this, there are of course plenty of reasons. One of them, we believe, is that people in Colorado Springs really do value community. So in the Indy's ninth "annual manual," we've tried calling out a good number of our local cultures and subcultures, so visitors, newcomers and long-timers alike can find their people, and follow their bliss. To wit:

Did you know there are at least a half-dozen radio outlets where you can get exposed to local music?

That a single Meetup.com meet-up can loop you into a tight-knit cycling community, or pair you with dozens of your fellow vegans?

Or that Bristol, for all its success, is actually only one of more than 20 breweries now in our beer-crazy region?

No matter your interests or inclinations, we invite you to mine this InSider and find something new to enjoy in the Pikes Peak region. Good luck, safe travels, and bottoms up.

— Kirk Woundy

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