Beer Man

Denver Beer Co plans a major expansion and a second tasting room

The Denver Beer Co, which just celebrated its first birthday last month, plans to spill over into a separate, 1,700-square-foot space next door that will be called the Barrel Room at Denver Beer Co. The addition, scheduled for completion in December, will allow the brewery to expand its production capacity by a whopping 142 percent and add a second, smaller tasting room for special events and dinners.

When the project is done, Denver Beer Co will have added four fifteen-barrel fermenters to the six seven-barrel fermenters it already has. That will allow the brewery to produce 3,500 barrels per year and distribute some of it to bars or restaurants around town.

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But the expansion means Denver Beer Co will also shift its brewing strategy slightly so that it produces several regular beers in addition to the one-offs it has focused on since the beginning, says brewery co-owner Patrick Crawford.

"Part of our big passion is to do one-offs, but as we start to keg and distribute beer around town, we hope to have one or two beers that people can go back to, and seasonals that are around for a whole season instead of just a week," he explains.

When Denver Beer Co opened a year ago, Crawford and co-owner Charlie Berger decided not to feature any year-round staples, preferring to focus on a seasonal tap list that was comparable to the menus at the city's chef-driven restaurants, full of specialties that come and go. But demand for some of those beers, especially the Great American Beer Festival award-winning Graham Cracker Porter, convinced them to alter those plans a little.

That decision -- not to mention their taproom and patio that won Denver Beer Co Westword's Best New Brewery award in 2012 -- have worked. The brewery employs fourteen people and may be looking for more help after the expansion.

Accessed by a separate entrance, the Barrel Room will include a 1,000-square-foot bar area with 45 seats and a "tasting parlor." The room will be lined with barrels and will offer a different lineup of beers -- including specialty IPAs, wood-aged beers and sours -- many of them aged in the barrels on the walls.

The space, a former gift shop, will likely be open from 5 p.m. to midnight.

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Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes