While the majority of breweries in Colorado have patios — some of them open whether rain, snow or shine — the process of ordering a beer usually takes place inside the tap room. But in the last month, two Denver breweries have added outdoor bars, an uncommon amenity, in an effort to add some fun and get beer into people's mouths faster.
The first was Station 26 Brewing, which added a bright-red, twelve-foot cargo trailer on its patio; the mobile bar is equipped with a fully insulated cooler and twelve taps pouring the brewery's full lineup (excluding some of its high-ABV and barrel-aged selections) and is open Friday through Sunday during peak hours.
"Over the years, we've had jams in service at the bar which we've tried to combat with various efforts," says Station 26's Dustin Darker. The brewery has added two specific walk-up areas "so that guests sitting at the bar aren't being reached over," along with more staff, an improved credit-card system and multiple taps of the most popular beers, like Juicy Banger and Tangerine Cream, to help speed things up.
"Still, we found that there is a limit to how many guests we can serve over the bar in a given amount of time. The draft trailer was born out of necessity, really. We want to make sure our guests are enjoying their time while they're here, not waiting in lines. Having an additional bar lets us get beers into hands quicker," Darker explains.
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The second was Ratio Beerworks, which built a six-tap outdoor bar as part of a three-stage patio renovation project that finished up in early August. "The main impetus was to ease congestion off of our main bar, and to allow an easy access for those enjoying the patio," says brewery co-founder Jason zumBrunnen. "We are also hoping to be able to stretch it into the extended fall months, and possibly into winter under a heated tent for special events."
Customers should be able to open a tab at either bar and then close it at either one, as well (this is true at Station 26, too), meaning payment will be faster and more efficient.
Built by Perspective Design Fabrication, the bar is "beautiful and minimalist," zumBrunnen adds, so as not to detract from a new, 100-foot long mural painted by Portland artist Blaine Fontana. Perspective Design also created several other features on Ratio's patio, including the spiral fence and the tables.