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On December 1, Cheluna Brewing Company opened inside Aurora’s sprawling Stanley Marketplace. This was a momentous occasion not only for the owners, Javier and Jennifer Perez, but also for the long-awaited Stanley as its second business to officially open to the public (the first was OpenAir Academy preschool).
While Javier and Jennifer Perez are new to brewery ownership, Javier, who is also an ER physician, has been brewing beer since he was a young adult. Twenty six years (and a lot of training) since he started, Cheluna, which combines the Mexican slang word for beer (“chela”) with the Spanish word for moon (“luna”) is the fruition of a long-held dream.
Given its name, you might assume that Cheluna’s brews are inspired by Mexico. And you’d be right…sort of. “Aztecs and Mexicans didn’t do beer,” Javier says. “Every beer drank in Mexico is a German lager, so we make that our starting point, then go beyond with inspiration from Mexican ingredients.” Take, for example, the rich Coco-Xoco Porter, which is infused with cacao, vanilla, and toasted coconut in a nod to the popular Mexican coconut candy, cocadas. The brew offers a roast-y, well-rounded flavor and just a hint of chocolate. The couple is also working on a soon-to-be-released brew steeped with hibiscus flower, a common ingredient in Mexican cuisine.
The decor of Cheluna is definitely inspired by Mexico—specifically the brightly painted plaster houses you’ll find in Oaxaca. The brewery’s walls were hand-troweled to look like thick plaster and then painted in vibrant colors. A wall of Mexican tile accentuates the look. “We want it to feel like you’re walking into a 400-year-old Oaxacan village,” Javier says.
2501 Dallas St., Aurora, 720-990-6743
Bonus: A handful of businesses are now open at the Stanley. Aside from OpenAir Academy and Cheluna, Comida Cantina, Stanley Beer Hall, Poppy & Pine, and Sterre Denver are all up and running.