Just three years after opening in a former garage on Platte Street, Denver Beer Co has just tapped a huge new production facility in the Sunnyside neighborhood, making the brewery a perfect symbol for the rapid rise of craft brewing's third wave.
Denver Beer Co's Canworks in located inside a cavernous 11,000-square-foot warehouse, at 4455 Jason Street, and includes a thirty-barrel brewing system -- making it the fourth largest in Denver -- and four sixty-barrel fermenters. It also boasts a large canning line from Boulder's Wild Goose Engineering, which the brewery will use to package six-packs of Graham Cracker Porter, Incredible Pedal IPA and other beers.
"This is what we've been waiting for," said co-owner Charlie Berger during a tour of the facility on Thursday. "This is crunch time, but I guess it's always crunch time."
So far, Denver Beer Co has brewed six batches of beer, Graham Cracker and Incredible Pedal, on its new system, though it had to dump one because it didn't meet expectations, Berger says. "There's a learning curve to every piece of equipment in here."
The two canned beers -- Denver Beer Co ordered 204,000 cans from Ball Packaging in Golden -- will debut at Argonaut today, at the brewery over the weekend in six-pack cardboard boxes before hitting other Denver-area liquor stores.
Designed by Andrew Klein of the Unleaded Group, each can is printed with one of 24 different GPS coordinates around Colorado; the coordinates correspond to some of Berger and Crawford's favorite places in the state. Customers who figure out the locations, visit them and upload a selfie to the brewery's new Denver Beer Co Explorer web site before November 24, 2014, will be eligible to win free beer for a year.
In September, Denver Beer Co plans to can its Hey! Pumpkin, followed by a rye ale, tentatively named Snow Ride, in December, and Kaffir Lime Wheat in 2015.
The brewery, which will continue to operate its small brewery and popular taphouse on Platte Street, will also open a small taproom inside the new facility this fall.
Berger and Patrick Crawford, who had been beer-drinking classmates in college, opened Denver Beer Co in August 2011 as one of the first of what industry experts call the third wave of craft breweries nationwide. They joined breweries, like Strange Craft, Copper Kettle, Wit's End, Renegade and Caution among the third-wave pioneers.
Denver Beer Co now employs 23 people.
Turn the page to see photos from the new facility. Turn the page to see photos:
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
Westword's Beer Man on Twitter at @ColoBeerMan and on Facebook at Colo BeerMan