Great Divide adds a pilot brewing system for small-batch, experimental beers

Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

Great Divide Brewing will add a new dimension to its ever-expanding beer empire next month when it sets up a seven-barrel pilot brewing system that will allow its brewers to experiment with one-off beers, special releases and new recipes.

The equipment, which was delivered this week, will complement Great Divide's existing fifty-barrel system, with which it brews all of its other beers, big and small.

"We have been doing a lot of expansion, and this just seemed like the next logical step in terms of rounding out the brewery," says Great Divide spokeswoman Hanna Laney. "It will be a chance for our [five] brewers to flex their creative muscle."

Several big Colorado breweries, including Odell, New Belgium, Dry Dock and Ska, have pilot systems where some of their most well-known beers were first brewed. Odell's five-barrel system is probably the most famous, since its 5 Barrel Pale Ale takes its name from the equipment (now owned by Denver's Caution Brewing, by the way). Others, like Breckenridge and Oskar Blues, have more than one brewery or pub, which gives them the freedom to experiment on a smaller scale before going big with a particular beer.

Great Divide just doubled the size of its tasting room in October, so the brewery wanted to be able to make some small-batch beers just for its local customers, Laney says. It's possible that the brewery could eventually bottle some of its pilot-system beers as well.

The pilot system should be up and running within a month, but Laney says Great Divide isn't sure what the first beer brewed on the system will be.

Follow Westword's Beer Man on Twitter at @ColoBeerMan
and on Facebook at Colo BeerMan.

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.