Since they started 14er Brewing in July 2016, former Wheat Ridge High School classmates Andrew Kaczmarek and Nato Francescato haven't had a brewhouse to call their own. That's changing this summer as 14er slowly takes over the former Beryl's Beer Company space at 3120 Blake Street in the River North Art District.
14er currently brews and cans its beers at Crazy Mountain Brewing in Denver, including Mt. Massive IPA and Rocky Mountain Saison (which won a gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival in 2016), and operates a bare-bones taproom (with no brewing equipment) at 2801 Walnut Street. Kazmarek and Francescato opened the space last summer for can sales, but eventually added tap handles and expanded hours.
Over the next year, though, they plan to close that space and remodel it into a sour-beer showroom with a three-barrel brewing system and plenty of wooden barrels in which to age beers. In the meantime, they will also transform Beryl's, which closed in May, into their primary brewery and taproom — and into a real home.
"We were looking for a second location so that we had a brick-and-mortar while the Walnut space is under construction, because we want to be able to tell the story of our brand and interact with customers," Kaczmarek says. "The patio space here is fantastic, but it needs to be updated. As for the taproom, we will clean and brighten it up so that it doesn't look like a basement, and rebrand it."
"We're going to get it turned into a cool drinking space and a cool place to hang out," Francescato adds. "There is a huge following for this space, so it will be nice to keep the continuity."
Beryl's, at 3120 Blake Street, was founded in 2014 by Calvin Beasley and Beth Murray. It enjoyed some success, but not enough, and the two began shopping it around earlier this year; eventually, they had to turn it over to building owner Trent Carlyle, who then offered it to other existing breweries as a turnkey space that included not just the seven-barrel brewhouse and all of the equipment, furniture and supplies, but also some existing beer that is still aging in barrels. The 3,200-square-foot building seats about sixty people.
Carlyle got multiple offers but went with 14er because they were comfortable with the possibility that he could choose to sell the building at some point in the future or to raze it and build something else, Kaczmarerk says. "The deal worked for us because it came at the right time and because we were okay with that."
In the meantime, though, Kaczmarek and Francescato are looking forward to brewing some specialty beers there, including a hoppy French saison, a salted pale ale and a banana cream pie beer. "These are some of the beers we have been missing," Francescato says, adding that he plans to serve 14er's flagships as well.
In addition to the two taprooms, 14er also just leased a 1,670-square-foot space at 4045 Pecos Street in the Sunnyside neighborhood, where it will open another brewery-less taproom by the end of this year or early in 2019. The two-story building, which is being renovated into a mixed-use development called Block Forty45, will also include co-working, other stores and eventually some residential units.
Kaczmarek and Francescato would also like to open more small satellite taprooms to "fill in the gaps in neighborhoods," Francescato says. "We think that will be very successful."