This Airport Control Tower in Colorado Is Now a Brewery — With 6 Bowling Alleys and a Wright Flyer Aircraft Inside
Welcome to the intersection of aviation and craft beer fandom.
Setting foot in an airport control tower is a dream held by travelers and aviation fanatics alike. The control tower is, after all, the brains behind the ongoing dance of departures, arrivals, and airspace. Add a beer and a mountain view, and you’re golden. It’s all on tap at FlyteCo Brewing in Denver, which opened its second location in a defunct airport control tower.
The tower couldn’t ask for better tenants. FlyteCo Brewing is an aviation-themed brewery that’s already made waves for the salvaged plane wing and Boeing 737 fuselage replica that sit in its first location in Denver’s Berkeley neighborhood. But FlyteCo's latest venture, which is operating out of the control tower that ran the city’s international airport between 1929 and 1995, takes that aviation fandom up a notch.
“The opportunity to occupy the former air traffic control tower of an international airport could not be passed up. We could not have scripted a better place to open FlyteCo 2.0,” said Morgan O’Sullivan, a FlyteCo Tower co-owner, in an interview with Travel + Leisure.
Currently, the brewery occupies the first two floors at the base of the control tower, but they will be expanding into the third floor with golf simulators, axe throwing, and private event space. And O’Sullivan promises that it’s only a matter of time until visitors can sip their beer from the very top of the tower.
“The idea of sipping a FlyteCo beer from the top of a former air traffic control tower, while watching the sun set behind the Denver skyline and Colorado’s Front Range is a dream we will never let go of,” he said, noting that he foresees “the top of the tower being accessible within the next two years.”
In addition to the sheer thrill of ordering a flight-themed beer in a defunct control tower, the new brewery has played up their location with two floor-to-ceiling aviation murals, a scale model of a Wright Flyer aircraft, and runway markings. They also have several aviation-themed exhibits on loan from the neighboring Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum. The tower is just down the road from the city’s current international airport and an aviation manufacturing facility that was turned into a marketplace for local, independently owned businesses. Plus, O’Sullivan notes that the “world’s largest airline-owned flight training center, United Airlines’ Flight Training Center, that trains more than 12,000 pilots every year,” is also nearby.
Inside the control-tower-turned-brewery are six bowling alleys, mini golf, a full arcade, and lawn and board games. The tap list includes aviation-themed brews like the Vets in Jets Cream Ale, the Beechcraft Blonde Ale, and the Aeromexico Mexican Lager. There’s also a coffee shop that serves bagel breakfast sandwiches.
To give back to the community — particularly aviation fanatics like themselves — the owners of FlyteCo Brewing give 10 percent of their profits from both brewery locations to nonprofits and scholarships that support the future of aviation.
O’Sullivan notes that to date, their 10 percent commitment has gone to fund pilot scholarships with EAA Chapter 43, Stripes To Bars, Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum, Young Aviators 43, and others. With a goal to support “the future of aviation,” many scholarships supported by FlyteCo have gone to people who are underrepresented in the industry — including women, low-income pilots, and those who are transitioning out of the military.
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