4

Chain Reaction Brewing Inherits Lone Tree's Bigger Brewing System

^
Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

Chain Reaction Brewing, which will celebrate its one-year anniversary next month, gave itself an early present last week when it installed a seven-barrel system that it bought from friends at Lone Tree Brewing. The twenty-year-old system has no bells or whistles and has been used by at least three other breweries – two of them in Colorado – but it's still an upgrade for Chain Reaction owners and brewers Zack and Chad Christofferson, who will now be able to take an occasional breather from the two tiny systems – a one-barrel and a ten-gallon – with which they opened.

Lone Tree owners John Winter and Jason Wiedmaier “were great mentors to us when we decided to open,” says Zack Christofferson. “And they really understood how the one-barrel life was going to be crazy for us.” In fact, Winter and Wiedmaier offered to sell their system if they ever decided to expand themselves. That ended up happening this month, when Lone Tree Brewing acquired a new twenty-barrel brewing system.

Lone Tree's original equipment, which dates back to around 1994 or 1995, was first used by a brewery in Michigan before being sold to Aspen Brewing. From there, it went to Lone Tree, which opened in 2011 and has brewed 745 batches since then. "It is about the closest to the manual way to doing things as you can get,” Christofferson says of the system. “But we don't mind the hard work. We like it. We like the idea of using ingenuity to put new-school beers on an old-school system."

“As brewers, we are problem-solvers and engineers of our craft. Automation sometimes takes the fun out of brewing,” he adds.

Chain Reaction is waiting for a final piece of equipment in order to hook up the system, but once it is ready in late May or early June, the Christoffersons plan to use it to make their six flagship beers: Pink Peppercorn Saison, Orange Cream Ale, IPA, Pale Ale, Red Ale and Belgian Rye Stout. They have also purchased new kegs and fermentation tanks to help handle the increased production.

They will then shift all of their experimental beers – something that Chain Reaction prides itself on – to the one-barrel system. Since opening in June 2014, the cousins have brewed 125 different beers.

The change will allow Chain Reaction to fill growlers of all of its beers and to sell kegs of its flagships to outside accounts, like bars and restaurants. It will also give the brewery the ability to attend more summer festivals.

For the first official brew day, Chain Reaction plans to have the Lone Tree Brewing partners over to make a collaboration beer. "It's a personal friendship we have with those guys — and a deep love for that system," Christofferson says, adding that he isn't sure yet what the beer will be. "That's the proper way to restart her up and push off her new life."


Follow Westword's Beer Man on Twitter at @ColoBeerMan and on Facebook at Colo BeerMan


Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.