Chantel • Co-Owner, Novel Strand Brewing Co.

Chantel moved to Denver from New York four years ago. She is an Assistant Project Manager for a local construction company and is currently part of the Denver Water Redevelopment Project. In addition to her day job in a male-dominated industry, Chantel co-owns a boutique brewery called Novel Strand with her husband, Tamir and their business partner, Ayana. They faced a lot of challenges starting the new venture, but persevered and are now operating in the Baker neighborhood.

You won’t see traditional beer categories at Novel Strand. Their beverage selection is out of the box and fluid. The names, which are carefully selected, focus on the attributes, not labels. Speaking of labels, each can is wrapped in a beautiful design, featuring people of all shades. Some of my favorite designs include Queen of All Everything, Brett Crumbs, and Galactic Funk Punch. If you’re looking for something to do on Fridays or Saturdays, stop by. Food trucks are on-site and the beer is cold.

When I asked Chantel to describe Denver in one word, she responded with: Growth. Here’s what it means to be Chantel in Denver.

What does it mean to you to be black in Denver?

One of the first things that struck me on our way to Colorado was the lack of diversity. Where I’m from, I was one in a mass of people who looked like me. In Denver, I’m usually the odd one out. Also, being in the craft beer industry, there are not many people who look like me. When we opened our brewery, there was a lot of conversation around what it looks like to be Afro-Latina in beer. It’s been an interesting experience to figure out who I am here. I haven’t quite figured that out yet, but I feel like I’ve allowed myself to be more comfortable in my skin. Denver is so laid back and judgment-free. There’s a certain level of freedom here.

What do you love most about living in Denver?

Access to nature! Depending on how long you are willing to drive and how much you can tolerate being in traffic, there’s always awesome mountainscapes to find.

How have your experiences in Denver shaped you?

The last four years living in Denver has been an ongoing exploration of who I am and what motivates me. Some of the more critical milestones in my life have happened here. I continue to develop into who and what I want to be when I “grow up”.