There is more to the business than just brewing beer. Thirsty Eye has a coffee program that helps satisfy patrons’ caffeine fix as early as 7:30 a.m. daily. It now offers a seasonal house brew called Rio de la Casa roasted by locals Cutbow Coffee Roastology. Other caffeinated options include café au lait; espresso; Americano; Red Eye!, which is a double shot of espresso with the house brew; cappuccino; latte and mocha. Several teas and a nonalcoholic kombucha named Blue Butterfly, made with green tea and butterfly pea flowers, also are available.
“We liked the idea of maximizing the space,” said Thirsty Eye co-owner Kim Arthun. “Breweries are closed in the morning. Coffee shops, they start winding down in the afternoon, and then their spaces sit empty. Our idea was, why don’t we combine the two, maximize the space? So far, it’s worked out.”
The idea to open Thirsty Eye started when the space became available to lease.
“I had the gallery next door Exhibit/208 for 20 years, and we moved down to this location in 2010,” Arthun said. “(Co-owner) David Mahlman was our landlord, and this was originally his architecture office. David has designed numerous public works all over the city. He retired four years ago, and he was trying to lease this space. I’ve been into the craft beer thing since the beginning. I’ve watched the whole thing kind of blossom. This just seemed like a really good fit for the gallery in terms of financially supporting it, make it sustainable. Running a contemporary gallery isn’t a moneymaking effort, so we really needed something to sustain it.”
Arthun, Mahlman and co-owner Shawn Turung have strong backgrounds in art but not in brewing. Through a network of friends, they were introduced to brewer John Kofonow, who attended the American Brewers Guild Craftbrewer’s Apprenticeship program and interned at Chama River Brewing Co. before it closed.