Finkel & Garf Brewing Company opened this week in Gunbarrel, adding its taps to a growing list of neighborhood beer makers in the towns and communities surrounding Boulder. The brewery, owned by Eric and Dan Garfinkel, derives its moniker derives from the lifelong nickname of both father and son. The two, along with brewer Mychal Johnson, opened the doors of Finkel & Garf on Monday, with ten beers on draft. Two more are slated to be tapped next week.
The Garfinkels will be pouring weekdays from 3 to 9 p.m. and weekends from noon to 9 p.m., focusing on what Eric Garfinkel calls "sessionable beers with quality, consistency and adherence to style."
The two say working together as father and son is great, in part because they share a similar vision. "We asked ourselves what kind of brewery we'd like to go to," says the elder Garfinkel, and they both came up with the same answers: a fun place that doesn't take itself too seriously and has a wide range of quality beers.
"We do take the beer seriously though," he continues. That's why they hired Johnson, who has previously brewed with Fate, Tommy Knocker and Tallgrass Brewing (in Manhattan, Kansas). Garfinkle says that the three brainstorm over the flavors and styles they want to serve and then Johnson builds the recipes and brews the beers.
For the fun part, the Garfinkels hired Fin Art Co. (which has also lent its touch to Station 26 Brewing as well as Linger and Old Major, to name a few) to outfit the tasting room with playful flourishes and rustic textures. A Rube Goldberg device made from Cessna airplane parts and old rollerskate wheels is among the features that keeps adults and kids entertained at the brewery.
They've also loaded the place with games like Table Top Bowling and a giant Connect Four board, and stocked the bar with such snacks as Twinkies, Cracker Jack and regional potato chips from around the country.
Dan Garfinkel and his father are proud of the beers they've made so far, including a cream ale that shows elements of a pale ale, an amber and a wheat beer, and a dark cream ale that has even dark beer-avoiders ordering seconds. Dan mentions a "super-clean" wheat beer that also comes in raspberry or peach versions, while his father says their lager, due to start flowing next week, is noteworthy because they installed special equipment to brew it traditionally. They also serve housemade rootbeer with madagascar vanilla listed among its ingredients.
Plans for the future include a canning line from Wild Goose, which should be up and running in September or October, and possibly some barrel-aging and a cask ale program. If all goes well, they plan to ramp up their fifteen-barrel brewhouse from producing about 1,800 barrels a year to somewhere near 4,000.
But for now, the father-son duo are just enjoying serving beer to a community of neighbors and businesspeople who often walk over from their homes and offices.
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