Bierstadt Lagerhaus – probably the next brewery to open in River North — got a big boost late last week when the owners took delivery of eight huge tanks and a whirlpool that will be used to make German-style lagers.
Cranes lifted the tanks into the brewery, which will be housed inside the Bindery on Blake, 2875 Blake Street, a former warehouse that will also include a cidery called C Squared and a restaurant that will serve as a showcase for both booze producers.
“Go big or go home,” says Chris Rippe, who owned the Rackhouse Pub for five years off of Kalamath Street and is overseeing the project along with Bierstadt owner/brewers Bill Eye and Ashleigh Carter, both of whom used to work for Prost Brewing.
The brewery and cidery may begin operations first, but Rippe plans to open a new, 160-seat version of the Rackhouse on a second-story mezzanine inside the former bindery. And although it will have the same name as the old spot, it will probably have a completely different menu, he says.
The décor will feature some of the old bindery equipment that was still inside the building, as well as an old neon sign that Rippe found.
The Rackhouse will primarily serve Bierstadt's lagers on tap, although it will reserve at least one handle for a guest beer (likely an ale). There will also be an extensive bottled beer cellar focused on high-gravity and sour selections. The cellar could have anywhere from 650 to 2,500 bottles.
The combination of taps and bottles will be a great way to feature both what Bierstadt does well and what other breweries do well.
Carters says Bierstadt will make a pilsner, a dunkel and a helles all the time, but will also produce seasonal lagers, sometimes traditional, sometimes not.
In 2014 Eye and Carter traveled to Germany, where they purchased an 82-year-old, 35-barrel copper brewing system that they have since imported to the United States; it is currently sitting in a crate at the Bindery.
Rippe had originally intended to bring a distillery into the project, but those plans didn't work out. They still could down the road, though.
C Squared, owned by former Wynkoop head brewer Andy Brown, already has its own equipment in place and could open in the next few months.
There are currently nine breweries in the River North district and Great Divide is also building its own massive facility there. A packaging and warehousing facility should be completed this summer, along with a small taproom. But Great Divide won't start brewing on the site until 2016.