Kevin Weese was on a mountain-biking trip with friends when he began pondering the idea of an outdoors taproom where patrons could pour their own craft beer, hang out and tinker with their bikes.
It would have topographical maps and retail sales of basic gear - chains and tires, climbing chalk and other recreation essentials and, somewhere nearby, access to popular trails.
He pitched the idea to his friends in the biking community, and they were enthusiastic. Now that his vision is approaching reality in Red Rock Canyon shopping center west of Old Colorado City, Weese hopes the rest of us will be too.
"It's a great location. You get serious mountain bikers and people just cruising," said Weese, who considered sites around the region before settling on three commercial bays at the plaza's east end. Weese has the liquor license, and remodeling by Echo Architecture is underway, with a September opening planned.
The historical Buffalo Lodge, now focused on attracting cyclists, is nearby, as is the Midland Trail. The taproom won't be only for those on two wheels, though.
"The whole idea is like a base camp, before or after an adventure," said Weese, who works in the IT sector. "We want to get a lot of the young outdoor crowd. It's techy - kind of this rustic but modern feel."
Denver opened its first pour-your-own craft taproom in the RiNo district a few years ago, but Weese's high-tech concept is the first of its kind in the southern Front Range.
"All the screens on the walls are tablets. They'll describe the beer so you can read about the beer and the brewery and build your own knowledge," Weese said.
Patrons swipe a driver's license and credit card and receive a digitally encoded badge used to activate taps that pour tasters, full pints and anything in between. The 40 adult libations - craft beers, with a focus on Colorado brews, three wines, three ciders and a kombucha - will be priced starting at about 50 cents per ounce, with a primer on proper pouring.
"You can right-size your consumption to whatever you want. If all your friends drink and you don't, you can just pour a little bit," Weese said.
An east-side deck, accessible by garage doors, will hold tables, seats and an outdoor bike tune-up area stocked with basic tools.
"The idea being, your bike needs work and you've got a friend who can do it. You can say, 'Meet me here, and I'll buy you a beer,'" Weese said.
Weese's taproom won't serve food, but he's working on partnerships with nearby KFC, Nara Sushi, Papa Murphy's and Wimberger's Old World Bakery & Delicatessen on BottAvenue.
You'll be serving yourself, so there's no need to tip. But any gratuities collected will be donated to local trail and humanitarian charities, Weese said.
"This is a place to build community while giving back to the community," said the Colorado native, who lives in Monument. "I grew up here. I learned to bike here. I think Colorado Springs can become a destination place - a 'bike central' - and I would like to see this help serve a small part of that goal."