Six years after opening its prominent taproom inside the Source, Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project has decided to leave the food hall at the end of this year in favor of its original digs in the Sunnyside neighborhood. Like the beers it makes, the brewery's experience at the Source has had sour notes and sweet ones, effervescence and character — and it's always been at least interesting.
A grand reopening of Crooked Stave's Brewery and Barrel Cellar, at 1441 West 46th Avenue, will take place January 9 and 10, as the brewery celebrates its ninth anniversary.
“We couldn’t be more excited to reopen our original taproom. It’s really where it all started for us, it was a place where people could come in and be a part of something that felt new and exciting. We are hoping to rekindle that feeling," says Crooked Stave founder Chad Yakobson. The move means that the brewery's taproom, brewing equipment and employees will all be in the same place, which will give it a more intimate feel.
"People really come for that experience," Yakobson adds, saying that customers like to be able to see and smell the brewery and to be in the place where the beer is actually made.
Crooked Stave first opened the Barrel Cellar in 2012, using the industrial warehouse both as a fermentation space and a simple tap room. Yakobson, who'd founded the brewery in Fort Collins a year earlier, didn't have a brewhouse at the time, though, choosing to make his beer at other breweries before transferring it to the Barrel Cellar, where he aged it in wooden barrels and foeders with wild yeast, bacteria and fruit.
In 2013, Yakobson announced that he would open a brand-new tap room and brewery — with his own equipment — inside the Source, Denver's gritty, glitzy first food hall. But the realities of operating a working brewery inside that space didn't work — and after a bitter dispute with the Source's owners, Zeppelin Development, Yakobson moved his brewing equipment out of the food hall and into the Barrel Cellar, where he had rented more space.
Two years later, Crooked Stave completely overhauled the Barrel Cellar, adding even more square footage, an open-air coolship, a wooden interior ceiling, barn-wood trim and a twenty-foot window that gives patrons a view into the brewery's foeder cellar. Although the space wasn't open to the public, Crooked Stave did hold events there from time to time. The brewery also veered away from its roots as a sour and wild ale producer and began to make and can "clean" beers, including a pilsner, an IPA, a coffee porter and a sour rose, among others.
But now it will reopen the taproom full-time — specific hours and days haven't yet been determined — with eighteen to twenty beers on tap and numerous bottles and cans for sale. Yakobson says Crooked Stave plans for its last day at the Source to be December 31, 2019.
"The big impetus for us to do this really was the Great American Beer Festival," he explains. The brewery opened up to the public for a few days during the annual event this past October and got a lot of positive feedback.
"It was more about what made us want to be back here," rather than what made the company want to leave the Source, he adds. "This is our home, and we are happy with where we are as a company and as a brewery."
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