Beer Man

Good River Beer Opens in Denver Without a Tap Room — for Now

Long before they even considered the fun part — making and serving delicious craft beers — most of the breweries that have opened in Colorado over the past five years began with a physical location, their own equipment and some tables and chairs.

But that hasn’t always been the case. Crooked Stave, for instance, started out in Fort Collins using the brewing equipment at Funkwerks; Tivoli Brewing was making its beer at Prost Brewing long before it opened its gleaming new digs inside the Tivoli Student Union; and Oasis Brewing has joined the market with Prost’s help, as well.

That’s also the model being used by Good River Beer Company, which will begin pouring beer this month at a couple of locations around Denver. Founded by Adam Odoski, Preston Hartman and Eric Zarkovich, Good River has contracted with another local brewery to make its first three beers: Gunny Black Lager, a 5.5 percent-ABV traditional schwarzbier, named for the Gunnison River; Fu Fighter, an 8.9 percent ABV Belgian golden strong ale named for the Futaleufu River in Chile; and Class V, an 8.3 percent double IPA named for Colorado’s whitewater rapids.

Although Odoski won’t name the contractor, he says that Good River plans to spread the love around to a couple of locations: “It’s nice to be able to provide some business to local brewers who might have fermenters sitting empty. It also allows us to build a brand and get some experience before we build our own brewhouse.”

When Good River does have its own location, the beer will be made by Hartman, an award-winning home brewer who previously helped make beers under the name Two Creeks at Grandma’s House, which allowed would-be brewery owners to try out their recipes; Grandma’s House made a couple of Hartman’s beers earlier this year.

The name Good River comes from the fact that he and Hartman are “huge river guys” who love paddling and exploring rivers around the world, Odoski says. In fact, they met several years ago on a trip down the Green River. As a result, they plan to donate 2 percent of their profits to river-conservation organizations “from day one.”

And when is day one? Friday, September 11, when Good River will host a beer-release party for all three beers, along with a Great American Beer Festival ticket raffle, at Brava! Pizzeria, 1601 Arapahoe Street. Good River will follow up with a launch party on Friday, September 25, at the Wazee Supper Club, with a second event at Brava! on Saturday, September 26, and a tap takeover at the Blake Street Vault on Monday, October 19. 
KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes