Denver will get a new tap house later this summer when Eric Warner opens the Rackhouse Pub in the building recently purchased by Stranahan's Colorado Whiskey.
Warner, the former head of Flying Dog Brewery (which moved from Denver to Maryland in 2008), says the place will have fifty beer handles in addition to a wide mix of tavern/bistro grub and pizza or flat breads.
The location, at 200 South Kalamath Street, used to be the Heavenly Daze, but has been mostly vacant since that brewpub closed nearly ten years ago. Stranahan's bought the building on May 6 and will use a good portion of it to triple their whiskey production. The rest will be leased to Warner and possibly some people seeking office space.
"It's kind of weird, and I've heard Mayor Hickenlooper say this as well, that Colorado kind of touts itself as the Napa Valley of beer, but we really only one major tap room, the Falling Rock Taphouse, to showcase that," Warner says
In addition to a large selection of Colorado beers, the Rackhouse will feature brews from Belgium and around the country. There will also be pool tables, a private room and meeting area, and possibly live music at some point.
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The Rackhouse takes its names from the part of a distillery where the barrels are stored, and Warner says he wants it to be a showcase for Stranahan's. In fact, he says he will offer some menu items that integrate the whiskey and special cocktails made with it.
Warner knows Stranahan's owner Jess Graber because Flying Dog used to make "wash" for the distillery and because Aspen businessman George Stranahan was a partner in both ventures. (Wash is non-hopped beer that Stranahan's uses to begin the whiskey-making process.) The distiller can now make its own wash with the equipment left behind by Heavenly Daze.
When Flying Dog moved, Warner decided to get into the restaurant business, opening the Barking Goat Tavern, at 363 Village Square Lane, in Castle Rock on March 12. He hopes to open the Rackhouse in time for the Great American Beer Festival in September.