Beer Man

New Belgium Planning Brewery and Poolside Barrel Lounge at the Source Hotel

New Belgium may be opening a massive new brewery in North Carolina, but the company is also planning to open a third operation a little closer to home. Colorado's biggest craft-beer maker will open a ten-barrel pilot brewery along with a rooftop barrel-aging lounge and swimming pool at the future Source Hotel, being built by Zeppelin Development right next to The Source market on Brighton Boulevard in River North.

“It came about though a pretty organic process,” says New Belgium spokesman Bryan Simpson, adding that some New Belgium employees had been to the Source and enjoyed the feeling there. “The concept of showcasing artisans' work – you could see them working in the window – and the beautiful hands-on aspect really appealed to us.”

The Source, which opened almost two years ago, currently includes a butcher, a bakery, a cheese shop, two restaurants and the Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project taproom, among other businesses.

Like Crooked Stave, the new New Belgium brewery will focus on sour and wild ales, which it will brew on-site in the ground-floor brewery and taproom, and then age and ferment in at least fifty oak barrels (some of them wine barrels and some whiskey) on the eighth floor, according to a statement from New Belgium.

The rooftop lounge, called “The Woods,” will serve New Belgium beers “paired with small plates and will include a snack counter and bar, sit-down dining and beer garden. The 8th floor will also include a pool and roof deck with mountain and downtown views,” according to New Belgium.

Beers created in the 2,000-square-foot brewery will be used elsewhere in the Source and the Source Hotel. New Belgium will hold a manufacturing license, while the Source operators will be in charge of food and tap handles.

New Belgium began brewing sour beers in 1998 and has become well-known for its offerings, like La Folie, Transatlantique Kriek, Eric's Ale and Le Terroir; the company is opening a second major production facility in Asheville, North Carolina, by the end of this year.

“After 25 years in Fort Collins, we’re really excited to get more deeply involved in Colorado’s cultural and political capital,” says Jenn Vervier, director of strategy and sustainability at New Belgium, in a statement. “We’ve long considered creating a Denver location to bring the New Belgium experience to more of our Colorado fans and to the millions of travelers who visit Denver. RiNo is already a vivid scene with a rich art and craft-beer culture, and will soon have great access for bikers and walkers.

“This small batch brewery will allow us to collaborate with the Woods’ chef and mixologists to create innovative beers, drinks, and pairings you can’t get anywhere else. The Source Hotel and the Zeppelin Development team are the perfect fit,” she adds.

Construction on the Source Hotel is set to begin this summer, with an anticipated opening in the first quarter 2017.

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Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes