Beer Man

Crazy Mountain Brewery Makes Beer Changes in Denver and in Edwards

Crazy Mountain's tap handles are ready to pour beer at the Denver location.
Crazy Mountain's tap handles are ready to pour beer at the Denver location. Jonathan Shikes
As Crazy Mountain Brewery continues to grow into its newish Denver location — Breckenridge Brewery’s former headquarters at 470 Kalamath Street — the brewery is making significant changes to the missions of both that space and its original brewery and taproom in Edwards.

In December, Crazy Mountain moved its canning line from Edwards to Denver, meaning that all of its mainline beers, like Hookiebobb IPA, Lava Lake Wit, Horseshoes and Hand Grenades ESB, and Lawyers, Guns & Money Barleywine-Style Ale, will now be brewed and packaged here. In addition, Crazy Mountain has moved the majority of its contract-brewing business down the hill.

As a result, the Edwards brewery, which can make up to 15,000 barrels of beer per year, will be used entirely for the production of the Local’s Stash Reserve Series. This series of limited one-time releases, packaged in 750ml bottles, “is intended to explore the creative depths of a brewer’s mind while continually pushing the boundaries of fermentation science,” the brewery says.

Crazy Mountain will brew and bottle a new beer in this series every week, meaning it will create 52 different beers over the course of a year. Some will be brewed with unusual ingredients or hop variations, while others will be soured or aged in wine and spirits barrels.
Crazy Mountain Brewery Facebook page
"It takes a lot of effort from the entire team to come up with new and different beer ideas,” says Crazy Mountain spokesman Andy Nottingham. “Everyone gets a say and a chance to participate, from our packagers, maybe our accountant. We all work together on the recipes.”

It’s an unusual model for a brewery, but one that Crazy Mountain hopes will work, especially since it has tied the Local’s Stash series to a quarterly subscription-based bottle club similar to what wineries do, Nottingham explains. “We figured, why not give it a chance and see how it works with our business model?”

In Denver, Crazy Mountain has also made some changes since taking over the building in late 2015. For starters, it made a big splash in February with the opening of a Texas-style barbecue joint at the brewery that was operated by Beaver Creek-based Group970 Restaurants (which also runs Blue Moose Pizza in Vail and Beaver Creek). But the restaurant closed very quietly three months later. Since then, the brewery has been operating a simple tasting room in the space; it is currently open seven days a week.

This spring or summer, though, Crazy Mountain plans to gut the old kitchen and use the space for an expanded taproom and beer garden, with food trucks on site on a regular basis.

On the brewery side, Crazy Mountain contracts brews for several other companies, including Stillwater Artisanal Ales, Omnipollo (out of Sweden), Colorado's Acidulous Brewing, which doesn't have a taproom, and 14er Brewing, which plans to open its own taproom in River North later in 2017.

The Denver brewery has the capacity to eventually brew 100,000 barrels per year; Crazy Mountain currently distributes in 24 states and nine international markets.
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Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes