Beer Man

Liquid Mechanics One of Several Breweries Jumping Into Canned Beers

Colorado recycling bins, already stuffed with empty craft beers cans, are going to be pushed to their limits over the next few months as a slew of breweries begin canning or add to their existing canned-beer lineups.

Some of the most anticipated offerings, though, will come from Lafayette’s Liquid Mechanics Brewing, which was founded in 2014 and has matured into one of Boulder County’s best young breweries. Beginning next month, Liquid Mechanics will begin distributing four canned beers: Hop Nectar, a hazy, New England-style IPA; Hop’d Up, a more traditional IPA; a dry-hopped Belgian-style double IPA; and a Kolsch.

“We chose the beers that have had the best run in the marketplace,” says Liquid Mechanics co-founder Eric Briggs. “Despite what critics of craft beer have said, IPA is still the number-one-selling craft beer.”

New England-style IPAs, which typically have less bitter, more tropical flavors than traditional IPAs — and a controversial, hazy appearance — are especially popular right now. But Briggs says the brewery’s Belgian double IPA has also received a lot of attention, and predicts that it will sell well in six-packs.

Liquid Mechanics, which has a ten-barrel brewing system, plans to self-distribute its beer to the fifty liquor-store accounts where it currently sells bottles. But if the beers do well in the market, Briggs says he will consider adding new ones and hiring an outside distributor. And despite the increasingly crowded shelves, he says he has no problem convincing stores to stock the brewery’s beers.

That could change in the near future, though. Because of the popularity of cans in Colorado — they are lighter, more recyclable and easier to transport in our outdoor-obsessed state — more and more breweries are turning to aluminum.

That includes Longmont’s Left Hand Brewing, the fourth-largest craft brewer in the state, which had vowed that it wouldn’t switch from bottles to cans. The brewery is preparing to roll out several of its flagships in cans over the next few months. Odell Brewing, the third-largest craft brewer in Colorado, has also increased its canned offerings recently, despite a hesitance to accept that package in the past.

But many smaller breweries, including some brand-new ones, plan to begin canning soon. They include: Arvada’s New Image Brewing; Golden’s just-opened New Terrain Brewing; Lost Highway Brewing, which is searching for a production facility after announcing that it will move from Colfax Avenue in November; and Greeley’s Weldwerks Brewing, which plans to roll out two new cans next month.

In the meantime, Declaration Brewing, Copper Kettle Brewing and River North Brewery, all in Denver, have said they plan to introduce several new cans to the market soon.

Look below for photos of some of these beers.

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