Calvin Beasley likes whiskey and wine, rum and rye, bourbon and brandy and tequila. But not necessarily to drink. He likes them for the flavors they impart into beer.
This weekend Beasley, his fiance, Beth, and head brewer Eric Nichols will open Beryl's Beer Company at 3120 Blake Street, a brewery that will specialize in barrel-aged beers.
"Barrel-aged beers are our passion. That's what drove us into this and what we love," Beasley says. "You can go to a lot of places and order a pale ale or a lager or a saison. But you can't go to a lot of places and get something barrel-aged every time."
Located in River North -- which has become the go-to neighborhood for new breweries -- Beryl's includes an intimate taproom with room for about fifty people, along with a seven-barrel brewing system and two fifteen-barrel fermenters.
But the stars of the show are the barrels. So far, Beasley has about forty of them inside the 3,500-square-foot space. But he has also leased out an additional 3,500 square feet next door where he hopes to store hundreds more barrels over time.
The brewery's first beer, Antero Ale (named for the 14er where the mineral beryl is found), which Nichols describes as a cross between an ESB and an English mild, was brewed in May and has been aging in brandy barrels since then. When it opens, Beryl's will serve both the fresh and barrel-aged versions of that beer so that people can compare them and taste what the aging has done to the beer.
Beryl's will also serve other unaged beers, a Baltic porter called Bothnia and a lighter, Bavarian-style Wald Bier. The barrel-aged versions of both will eventually be on tap.
Beasley met Nichols when he was working at the nearby Black Shirt Brewing, where Beasley was volunteering in order to learn more about brewing. They have also become friends with their neighbors at Smirk, a clothing shop and graphic design firm. "We love the community feel," Beasley says. "Something kept drawing us back to RiNo."
Smirk has since designed the website and logo for Beryl's; the name is a play on the word "barrel" and a reference to Colorado's state gemstone, aquamarine, also called beryl.
Beryl's will open at 11 a.m. on Saturday, June 28; there will be food from the Capt'n Crabby food truck and live music from Rick & Noel. After that, the brewery will be open Friday through Sunday.
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