Beer Man

Primitive Beer Will Reopen With Outdoor Seating, Vaccine Requirement

Primitive Beer
One of Colorado’s smallest and most unusual breweries plans to reopen its taproom to the public this fall, eighteen months after shutting it down due to the pandemic. Primitive Beer, which has now been closed as long as it was open, will also be one of the first — possibly even the only — breweries in the state to require proof of COVID-19 vaccination for entry.

The brewery, at 2025 Ionosphere Street in Longmont, is owned by Brandon and Lisa Boldt and specializes in brewing and blending Belgian-inspired wild and sour beers that are barrel-fermented with naturally occurring yeast. Some of these “spontaneously fermented” ales are then served or packaged in plastic bags without carbonation — an old Belgian tradition — while others are carbonated and bottled.

As part of its reopening, however, Primitive will bring “a reinvigorated ethos inspired by Belgian beer cafes,” Lisa Boldt says. That means the brewery will offer expanded and socially distanced outdoor seating, more days of operation, an extensive cellar list of both foreign and domestic Lambic and Gueuze beers, and possibly a wider variety of styles, made by other breweries.

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Brandon and Lisa Boldt of Primitive Beer.
Primitive Beer
Depending on licensing approval, the Boldts say they also want to serve other “favorite fermentations,” including "minimal-intervention wines" and ciders. “We are aiming to have one of the most extensive and approachable lambic cellars in the U.S. — a tall order when you consider some of the greats in our own backyard, but a worthwhile endeavor in our minds,” Lisa says.

The Boldts will also have plenty of their own beers, of which there are quite a few since Primitive continued to produce beers during the eighteen-month closure.

But in order to try them, guests will need to show proof of vaccination either with paper vaccine cards, a photo of the card or via the myColorado photo identification app. “The hypothesis is that if we are selecting for customers that aren’t turned off by the vaccine requirement, we are selecting for customers that trend toward more responsible decision-making in regard to public safety,” explains Brandon Boldt.

“It will definitely make for some uncomfortable exchanges, both online and in person," he continues. "But given the nature of our brewery, we are used to ‘critical conversations.’ At the end of the day, we are doing this to keep our family safe while still sharing what we love, and I hope even people who disagree with our decision can empathize with our considerations.”
Primitive Beer
As for other breweries requiring proof of vaccine, Brandon says, “I’m not familiar with any yet, but I have a feeling it will soon happen in droves. We are currently finishing a trip to see family in New York City, and vaccine requirement is the modus operandi out here for the service industry — not to mention Red Rocks is now requiring this for live shows.” Several restaurants and restaurant groups in Colorado have also implemented vaccine requirements for both staff and customers.

On September 2, Boulder County began requiring people to wear masks while they are indoors again (except when eating or drinking) as a result of the spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19, but officials are considering a plan to make exceptions for businesses that require vaccination for staff and customers.

Primitive will host a soft reopening September 10 to 12, from 2 to 8 p.m. each day, “to coincide with an influx of friends and colleagues around the Craft Brewers Conference, which is taking place in Denver," the brewery says. It will then begin its regular hours the first week of October, with details to be announced soon.
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Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes

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