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CASTLE MALTING NEWS in partnership with www.e-malt.com
22 October, 2021

Brewing news USA, CO: A Bit Twisted Brewpub & Smokehouse to hold soft opening this week-end

Some might say that Texas-style barbecue and Colorado craft beer make the perfect combination. Others might think that any attempt at a mashup between these two very different states is a little bit twisted. That's why the owners of A Bit Twisted Brewpub & Smokehouse will take both approaches at once, the Westword reported on October 21.

The new brewpub, at 3095 South Peoria Street, in Aurora, will host a soft opening all weekend. It will be one of at least four breweries that have opened taprooms or sales rooms in Aurora in 2021; the others are Jade Mountain Brewery & Teahouse, Six Capital Brewing and Cerebral Brewing (which is running a production space).

"I’m a Texas guy, born and raised. I know barbecue and I know how to run pit pretty darn good. But when I moved to Colorado in 2011, that is when my passion for craft beer started," says Matt Vargocko, who will handle the barbecue pit at the brewpub in addition to creating and brewing many of the beers on tap.

Along with a college buddy, Brandon Foreman, Vargocko became pretty good at home brewing over the years, even selling beer out of his garage. So the two men, along with Vargocko's brother-in-law Michael Richie and another Colorado friend, decided that a brewery would be a great idea. Two guys from Texas, two guys from Colorado.

"He spent eleven years really learning the craft and fine-tuning it," Richie says. "My end of it comes on the liquor side." In addition to beer, A Bit Twisted will have a large selection of spirits from both Colorado and Texas distilleries. Richie will also handle some of the beer-brewing responsibilities.

A Bit Twisted will open with eight beers on tap, including a few IPAs and some lighter offerings, Vargocko says, which will go well with his oak-smoked barbecue sauce and rubs, which are of the Central Texas variety. But later, he plans to have at least three IPAs on at all times, in addition to several other styles. "We will press on hazy IPAs...but you name it, and it will eventually roll through our taps."

Vargocko and Richie are using Launch Pad Brewery's old two-barrel brewing system, and they say that brewery, located about six miles northeast of A Bit Twisted, has helped them get up and running. But they also believe that Colorado's third largest city is underserved when it comes to craft beer. There are currently only about ten breweries in Aurora, and the closest to A Bit Twisted is more than two miles away — by comparison, there are more than a dozen in Denver's River North Arts District alone.

"We both live in Aurora, and we love it," says Richie, who has been there for thirty years. "We have seen it change and evolve, and we wouldn't leave it. So we see this as a chance to dig our roots a little deeper."

And in light of the pandemic, Vargocko and Richie aren't surprised that people in Aurora want to stay closer to home when they are having a beer, something that could help the city's beer scene expand.

The two other taprooms that opened this year, Six Capital (which coincidentally also features Texas barbecue) and Jade Mountain, are owned by people who went to high school and/or grew up in Aurora. Cerebral's owner, meanwhile, was born in Aurora and attended grad school there.

The 2,000-square-foot brewery will have a sports bar feel to it, especially when it comes to University of Texas games and local teams. It has room for at least fifty people and will sell cans to go. Barbecue will only be served on weekends, but A Bit Twisted will offer other kinds of elevated bar food, including burgers, tacos and wings during the week along with guest beers and spirits.

As for the name, it actually goes beyond the Colorado-Texas mashup to encapsulate the feeling that the owners had when they were home-brewing in their garages. For instance, their logo and branding features in-your-face drawings of skulls, skeletons and numerous torn-up dolls.

"We are about having as much fun as possible...and we like to take things and twist them up, to do things our own way that may not coincide with social norms," Vargocko says. "We want to be respectful and friendly and inclusive, but we want to keep our individuality and our twisted mindset."


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