1876 Ale Works preview; Cleats refreshes itself with an arcade concept; Oka Ramen keeps expanding 


At the recent soft opening of the Springs’ newest brewery, 1876 Ale Works, we caught up with brewer Nickie Freund. Like owner Kevin McCarthy, Freund’s a veteran, and as her day job, she works as a clinical technician at Fort Carson. She’s a graduate of the American Brewers Guild’s Brewing Science & Engineering Program, a 23-week online course that she says concluded with a hands-on final on a commercial-grade system.
Location Details 1876 AleWorks
3352 Templeton Gap Road
Colorado Springs, CO
“The training modules are pretty much based off of what you get at the University of [California-]Davis,” she says. “You have to already have a background in microbiology, physics, engineering or chemistry in order to be approved into the program.”

After completing the course in 2016, she apprenticed at Fossil Craft Beer Co. under brewer Josh Mater before she linked up with McCarthy.

“He’s been kind enough to work with my crazy schedule and get me back there brewing with him,” Freund says. In December, Fossil tapped Don’t Call Me Ginger, a winter warmer she brewed in collaboration with Mater. She’s aging the remaining 5 gallons in a Distillery 291 rye whiskey barrel and plans to offer it on tap at 1876.

Here, she brews with a pair of two-barrel fermenters, meaning that while her capacity is limited compared to many breweries in town, she can at least have two beers going at once if need be.

For the soft opening, 1876 presented four beers; another two hit taps after the grand opening. She brewed White Water wit, a lemon-forward witbier; Zebulon saison, a spicy and sessionable brew she says she’s most proud of from her first lot; Ruddy Silt Scotch Ale, a malty brown beer; and Colorado Sunset hazy IPA, an East Coast-style IPA that bursts with tropical hops.

Games and sports

Say farewell to Cleats Bar & Grill East. As of Feb. 28, the spot will reopen as The Control Room at Cleats East, the Springs’ newest gaming bar. It’s still owned by Malorie and Paul Corney, who also own Cleats West in the Rockrimmon neighborhood. Thanks to support from Denver’s Mile High Arcade, the spot will host 20 arcade cabinets plus pinball machines, billiards and air hockey. It’ll welcome customers of all ages until 9 p.m. daily, and the Corneys have added non-alcoholic slushies to their menu to welcome younger guests.
Location Details The Control Room
6120 Barnes Road
Colorado Springs, CO
In a press release, Paul notes there’s still room for live bands on Friday nights and karaoke on other nights of the week.

Oka expansion

Oka Ramen launched in mid-2017 at 4431 Centennial Blvd., but has quickly opened two more locations. Oka Ramen 2 is at 5605 N. Academy Blvd. and, most recently, Oka Ramen 3 opened in the former Marilyn’s Pizza at 964 Manitou Ave.


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