You know you're doing something right when the mayor drinks your beer and gives you a high-five. So brewer Chad Yakobson must be doing okay.
On Friday, Yakobson will open his new showpiece brewery, Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project, inside the Source, an indoor market in River North. Yesterday, he hosted Mayor Michael Hancock, fellow brewers and other dignitaries to the not-quite-finished brewery in order to kick off the ten-day-long Denver Beer Fest. (Westword photographer Danielle Lirette was there, and you can see her Crooked Stave slide show here.)
Hancock tapped a firkin of sour beer -- one called Vieille Saison -- and commented that his job was a lot easier than the Denver Beer Fest kickoff last year, when he actually shoveled grain and dumped hops during a brew at Denver Beer Co.
But city officials are likely thanking the craft-beer industry, which has exploded in Denver over the past five years, not only boosting the number of beer makers in town from about eight to nearly thirty, but providing hundreds of new jobs.
Crooked Stave, which already operates a small tasting room in Sunnyside, will be the latest new brewery to open, following on the heels of Black Sky Brewery, which opened in late September, and Diebolt Brewing, which went into business in August. At least five more breweries are expected to open inside Denver city limits by the end of 2013.
"It's been a long time coming, but we finally have a space where we can welcome people in and really show them what we can do," Yakobson said Wednesday.
The brewery is still being finished -- it is currently missing a draft-line system, tables and chairs and some aesthetic touches that Yakobson says will give it a farmhouse feel -- but that won't matter to the hordes of beer fans who will descend on the brewery over the next ten days before, during and after the Great American Beer Festival.
They will be there to sample the sour and wild ales that have given Yakobson an international reputation in just three years and to admire his brewhouse setup, which includes an unusual open-fermentation piece called a "coolship."
Yakobson has been brewing at other breweries (Prost and River North Brewery) and transporting the unfermented wort to his Barrel Cellar on 46th Avenue in the Sunnyside neighborhood, where he has operated a tap room since September 2012. He'll begin brewing at his own brewery soon, though, and close the Barrel Cellar to the public.
He'll bring over two of his foeders -- giant wooden fermentation barrels -- and some other brewing equipment to the Source in the next few weeks.
Crooked Stave will open at the Source at 3 p.m. on Friday, October 4, and Yakobson will host a celebratory toast at 6 p.m. The tentative hours are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.
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