Black Shirt Brewing has sold to new owners

Jimmy and Karen Dodson haven’t been to downtown Denver much over the past decade, they’ve never worked in the food and beverage industry before, and they’re not very familiar with the restaurant scene. craft beer. So the newly retired couple from Roxborough Park weren’t sure they wanted to bid on Black Shirt Brewing when they started looking for a brewery to buy and run as their next career.

But then they walked inside – and felt the vibe and met the staff.

“They have an amazing team. We love them. Without them we wouldn’t have been involved,” Jimmy said, adding that he and Karen first spent a few months as clients. “They work amazingly well together as a team, they are friendly and the pizza is excellent. It’s a winning combination.”

In December, the Dodsons bought Black Shirt, at 3719 Walnut Street, from Chad and Carissa Miller, who started the brewery with Chad Branden’s brother in 2012, when there were still relatively few breweries in Denver, and where this particular part of the River North Art District was far from the limits where people ate and drank.


The Millers steadily grew the business, which featured an iconoclastic mindset and black-clad Johnny Cash musical philosophy, adding an outdoor stage for live music and then a pizza kitchen in 2017, becoming one of Denver’s premier breweries. to convert. to a brewery model. But after a falling out in 2018, Branden left the company, while Chad and Carissa moved to the West Slope, running the brewery from afar. They also hired David Sakolsky to take over as head brewer; he stays at work.

The Dodsons had also planned to start their own brewery in 2012, when they lived in Evergreen. A Colorado native and home brewer, Jimmy had chosen both a brewer and a location. But then his company moved him to Florida, where the couple’s three grown children live, and they left.

Now, both are excited to pick up where they left off – but they plan to take some time before they make any changes so they can keep the same feel as Black Shirt.

Click to enlarge Jimmy and Karen Dodson are the new owners of Black Shirt Brewing.  -JIMMY DODSON

Jimmy and Karen Dodson are the new owners of Black Shirt Brewing.

Jimmy dodson

“The first order of business is not to mess things up,” Jimmy laughs. “We want to be careful not to make space around us. We want to spend the first few months learning from people.”

Ultimately, the duo would like to refresh Black Shirt’s two patios and bring back live music. They also plan to add a few TVs inside, but not too many, he says, as this is a “rebellious rock-and-rock bar.” As for the pizza, they plan to leave that out, although they can add different appetizers.

And when it comes to beer, Jimmy admits that even though he was an amateur brewer, he mostly preferred pilsners and wasn’t very familiar with some of the other styles. “I have a lot to learn about the beer scene, what’s popular and what people want,” he explains. But he plans to bring back some of Black Shirt’s original “red beers” and brew some of its flagships more consistently.

Elizabeth J. Harless