Red Truck Brewing, a Canadian beer maker that opened a slick new brewery and restaurant in Fort Collins in August, celebrated with a coming-out party in late September at the Great American Beer Festival, showing off its beers to people in Denver and its trademark branding, which features...red trucks.
“That was a big part of GABF for us — doing marketing and making a splash,” says Red Truck general manager Laird Mulderink. “We were kicking on the speakers pretty often.”
Red Truck doesn’t do anything small. Founded in Vancouver in 2005 by Mark James, the brewery makes a wide variety of beers that it distributes throughout British Columbia and Alberta. The flagship location is decorated with real vintage red trucks “which represent those simpler times when life moved more slowly,” the company says.
In May 2017, the company announced that it was invading the United States by purchasing the buildings and equipment belonging to Fort Collins Brewery (one of the twenty largest beer makers in Colorado at one time), shutting it down, renovating and reopening under the name Truck Stop.
The job took longer than expected, but Truck Stop opened in August at 1020 Lincoln Avenue, with eighteen beers on tap, including several staples from the Canadian location — among them Classic Lager, Hard Day Northwest IPA and Endless Summer Golden Ale — as well as plenty of new ones cooked up by brewer Shaun Salyards, who has spent time at Barrels & Bottles, Snowbank Brewing and Fort Collins Brewery.
At the moment, Truck Stop is using a new, ten-barrel brewing system, but it plans to fire up the fifty-barrel system it bought from Fort Collins Brewery in the next few months.
“He’s put together some really good beers,” Mulderink says, adding that the styles are more Colorado than Canada. They include a hazy IPA, an India pale lager, a doppelbock and a black-currant Belgian ale. “The bar is set very high in Fort Collins for the caliber of liquid you have here.”
The restaurant portion of the brewery offers classic pub food like burgers, wings, green chile cheese fries, all-day breakfast, and ice cream beer floats. There are also patios, fire pits, a walk-up beer window, a working water tower and red trucks, including a 1957 Power Wagon, a 1941 WWII weapons carrier and a 1957 GMC.
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“We went from opening the Truck Stop to GABF, so things have been unreal,” says Mulderink, who had been with Rockyard Brewing in Castle Rock for eight years before joining Red Truck. “All of the breweries here have been more than welcoming. It’s been fun. The town, the community, the brewing industry — they’ve been excited to see the concept... . We are doing stuff that is different, and there is a cool factor to what we have built.”
Red Truck hopes to begin packaging and distributing some of its beers in cans in the next six weeks to two months, using eight-packs rather than four-packs.
The company, which purchased land in Denver’s River North Art District, at 3601 Brighton Boulevard, also plans a second location there. Construction is due to begin next year, with a probable opening in 2020.