It's a big week for the Denver Broncos, who take on the Green Bay Packers in a battle of unbeatens on Sunday. It's a bigger week for Little Machine Beer, which opens its doors next to Sports Authority Field for the first time today at noon.
Founded by Brett Williams, Mike Dunkly and Ben Chenard, Little Machine will go through a trial by fire on Sunday night when thousands of people stream past — and through — the brewery at 2924 West 20th Avenue on their way to the stadium (Little Machine's two TVs will broadcast the games as well). But the owners are ready — and excited to be open.
"It will be interesting," Chenard says. "What we've seen so far is that most of the people who are on their way to the Broncos' stadium are on a mission to get there. It may take a few weeks for people to work us into their routine."
Since there are only a few game days per year, though, Little Machine is more focused on becoming a neighborhood hangout and a spot for good quality craft brews. The brewery features a cool circular bar with 22 seats where people will be able to face each other. The bar, the bar stools and the drink rails were all made from a single honey locust tree harvested in northern Colorado.
There are sixteen handles fed by a ten-inch overhead metal pipe that connects directly to the cooler. For now, the brewery has six beers on tap, but Chenard says they hope to work their way up to ten soon, including some smaller-batch stuff.
On tap for opening day: an IPA, a saison, a "Colorado Stock Ale," a nitro oatmeal stout, a coffee-infused version of the oatmeal stout, and a kettle sour made with black currants. Chenard says Little Machine will re-brew those beers on its ten-barrel system once they get low, and add in several others as well, including a double IPA, a pilsner and a double brown. "We love those styles, and we think that they are classics, so we wanted to come out of the gate with them," he adds.
Little Machine also features a robot theme that comes from the name. "The brewery is the little machine," Chenard explains. "The robots evolved out of that. Once we had our logo, it just allowed us so many robot branding opportunities, we just decided to go with it."
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Eventually, the owners would like to build a small patio out front and a larger one on the side. For now, they have roll-up windows that give the space an indoor-outdoor feel. The total capacity inside is 85 people.
Williams, the head brewer, left his high-profile job as lead brewer at Dry Dock's production facility in north Aurora to open Little Machine. Dunkly has seventeen years of front-of-house experience, most recently at Dry Dock’s tasting rooms. Chenard has the business experience. All three are excited to be in the Jefferson Park neighborhood.