Willits Town Center to Welcome Its First Brew Pub, Plus an Aspen Institution

Capitol Creek Brewery and Mezzaluna will add to the ever-growing Basalt culinary scene this season.

By Laurel Miller February 18, 2017 Published in the Midwinter/Spring 2017 issue of Aspen Sojourner

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Owner Bill Johnson in the soon-to-be Capitol Creek Brewery.

Image: Craig Turpin

Basalt’s Willits Town Center has experienced a surge of growth in the past year, with a new hotel, restaurants, and stores. One thing that’s been missing—the proverbial place where everybody knows your name. Basalt resident Bill Johnson remedies that this spring with the opening of Capitol Creek Brewery.

The brewpub will include a full bar and restaurant with midcentury modern interiors featuring reclaimed materials like masonry brick, flooring from old boxcars, and wood snow fencing. Brewmaster Jerod Day, who helped open Roaring Fork Beer Company in Carbondale, is overseeing the on-premise brewery, which will release a variety of seasonal and year-round offerings available only on tap at the bar. Capitalizing on Basalt’s world-class fly fishing, beers such as Sculpzilla Imperial IPA and Royal Wulff Pilsner are named for dry flies.

Expect affordable, high-quality pub fare like charbroiled buffalo wings, house-ground burgers with hand-cut French fries, and jars of smoked trout rillettes or Avalanche goat cheese with tomato jam. “We’ll be utilizing local ingredients whenever possible and butchering whole pigs in-house,” says Johnson, a former partner in Highlands Alehouse at the base of Aspen Highlands. “We’ll also offer hearty salads with components made from scratch.”

Meanwhile, the Willits location of longtime Aspen fave Mezzaluna is also slated to open this spring, with a more contemporary interior than the upvalley locale. Says co-owner Grant Sutherland (with partner Deryk Cave), “Our goal is to become a locals’ gathering spot for all occasions—a quick bite after work, romantic dates, family celebrations.” The 55-seat restaurant will feature a bar menu and summer patio seating, along with original dishes from chef de cuisine Carl Sfat like a 10-ounce baseball sirloin with gorgonzola greens and truffle potato croquette, as well as such Mezzaluna classics as penne with rock shrimp.

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