Wheat Ridge welcomes brewery

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Colorado has one of the highest numbers of microbreweries per capita among all 50 states, according to the Brewers Association, and now Wheat Ridge can be added to the list of Colorado cities making that possible.

Wheat Ridge is now home to Rickoli’s, 4335 Wadsworth Blvd., a craft beer microbrewery that opened Nov. 28.

“We really like the area,” said Rickoli’s co-owner Deb Zanker. “It’s close to where our families are living, and there was a need for a small craft brewery in the area. We like the neighborhood a lot.”

And the neighborhood likes Rickoli’s a lot, too.

“The beer has been really well received,” Zanker said. “It’s really been attracting the local neighborhood.”

Rickoli’s has more than 10 beers available, all of which are original recipes created by co-owner and brewmaster Rick Abitbol. The brewery offers several variations of IPAs, which have a hoppy flavor.

Zanker said one of the most popular brews they offer so far is the Delta Pale Ale, the first in the brewery’s single-hop pale ale series. Each batch of the Delta Pale Ale is brewed with a different hop variety, giving each brew a different taste.

Even though Rickoli’s is new the neighborhood, Abitbol is a veteran brewmaster.

Abitbol began his venture into brewing 15 years ago with a home brew kit. Though his first try didn’t turn out quite as well as he planned, Abitbol didn’t give up and tried again with a Mr. Beer kit.

“I brewed it and it was really good,” he said. “I was hooked.”

Not long after, Abitbol entered one of his IPAs into the state fair’s beer competition and was a finalist for the best of show.

After he was hooked on homebrewing, Abitbol took his passion into the big leagues and worked for several breweries in Colorado, after working his way up from shoveling mash and moving hops while learning from some of the best, including Kevin Marley, current brewmaster at Chophouse in Denver.

After spending time as the head brewer at Golden City Brewery and the Chophouse, Abitbol spent eight years at the brewmaster at Rock Bottom Brewery, where he perfected many of the recipes he uses now.

“At Rock Bottom, there were no company recipes,” Abitbol said. “We each had our own beer lineup and I made a portfolio of recipes. I kept notes on all of the recipes while exploring, so all of the beers here have been time tested and proven well-received and unique.”

Among Rickoli’s unique beers are the Black Pline, an imperial black IPA, and Rickoli’s Rye Stout, a brew that combines the flavors of coffee roast and rye spiciness — both of which he was one of the first to explore.

Customer Chris Wood said his favorite brew Rickoli’s offers is the Rye Stout.

“I’ve followed Rick at his previous brewery, Rock Bottom, and he knows what he’s doing,” Wood said. “He uses a lot of hops and I’m a hops guy. As a craft beer geek, I’m always looking for seasonal and unique brews. Rye in a stout is something not found anywhere else. Breweries put rye in IPAs, but not in stouts.”

All of Rickoli’s beers, except those with wheat, also have reduced gluten.

The brewery is open 3-11 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 2 p.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday and 2-9 p.m. Sunday.

Rickoli’s is also open from 7-9 a.m. Wednesday and Thursday to give night shift workers leaving their jobs a chance to try the craft brews. The brewery has also partnered with Salsa Mexican Restaurant, 7620 W. 44th Ave., to provide breakfast burritos during morning hours.

Rickoli’s also offers its own homemade soda, including Azathoth root beer and black cherry soda, as well as some snacks.

For more information about Rickoli’s, visit www.breweryrickoli.com or call 303-344-8988.