If you’ve been to Banded Oak Brewing at 470 Broadway, then you understand its physical limitations: At just under 2,000 square feet, it's one of the tiniest breweries in Denver. But owners Chris Kirk and Will Curtin have made creative use of every inch since Banded Oak opened in 2016, keeping their fermenting tanks outside and adding a big wraparound patio in the parking lot off Broadway.
Now Kirk and Curtin are getting creative again as they emerge from the lockdowns and limited capacity of the pandemic, moving their ten-barrel brewing system, along with all of their tanks and wooden barrels, to a new 3,000-square-foot off-site location on Jason Street near Santa Fe Drive.
The change won’t increase their taproom capacity that much, but it will give them enough space to host acoustic music, comedy and other events that have become the lifeblood for many breweries. It will also allow Kirk, the head brewer, to make more beer and to make it more often — something that will be important now that Banded Oak is also canning a few of its offerings. (It canned its Vienna Lager late last week.)
“We outgrew our space rather quickly,” says Curtin, adding that he is well aware that opening a brewery in such a small facility was a “fool’s errand.” But it was also what they could afford — and it's paid off, as the brewery has a dedicated group of customers who continued to make their way to the COVID-expanded patio throughout the pandemic to drink beer and listen to live music. "Someone turned to me during that time and said, 'It feels like COVID isn't even happening.' And that was such a great feeling, such a compliment."
“It was insane, completely humbling,” he adds. As a result, the brewery wants to add to its events and to be able to offer them year-round, which means having “a cool space to hang out” indoors.
The expanded patio, which takes up several parking spots, will be allowed until October 2022, along with other COVID-related patios around the city that were approved by permitting variances.
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