Denver's Del Norte Brewing Company, which specializes in Mexican-style craft lagers, is working on a new beer that could be in bottles by the end of June.
The as-yet-unnamed beer is an amber lager, similar to Bohemia, but more hop-forward, says brewery co-owner Joe Fox. A test batch is on tap now in Del Norte's tasting room, 1390 West Evans Avenue, which is open on Fridays from 3:30 to 6 or 7 p.m.
But the new beer is just one sign of growth at Del Norte which, like most other craft breweries, is growing quickly. Within the last month alone, Fox and co-owner Jack Sosebee have hired their first full-time employee, another brewer, and begun selling their beers -- Orale, Manana, Luminaria and Cinco -- to Alaska and Texas.
They've also expanded distribution up and down the Front Range. "The new markets we've been getting into have surpassed our expectations," Fox says.
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And shortly, they will replace three of their 22 twenty-barrel fermenters with forty-barrel fermenters. In fact, Del Norte, which brewed about 1,000 barrels of beer in 2010, plans to make an astounding 4,000 to 5,000 barrels in 2011.
"The start of this year," Fox adds, "has been phenomenal."