Northeast Denver residents have been a little hot under the collar over the past two years as they've watched brewery after brewery open on the other side of town.
But this fall, Station 26 Brewing will cool off those flames when it opens in a former fire station at 38th Avenue and Pontiac Street, between north Park Hill and Stapleton.
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"When I started researching this, I mapped them all out, and the east side of town doesn't have much in the way of breweries," says Justin Baccary, a former investment banker who quit to become a brewer at Dad & Dude's Breweria in Parker two years ago.
The problem with Park Hill and Stapleton, though, is that unlike the neighborhoods on the west side of Denver, there aren't many commercial districts.
"It's all neighborhoods and houses in Park Hill, and it's all new in Stapleton, so I was riding my bike up and down the streets in Park Hill, and I just happened to to see [the fire station]...and it was for lease," Baccary says. "I got lucky."
With its three enormous garage doors -- formerly used for Denver Fire Department trucks -- and sloped concrete floors, the building is perfectly suited for a brewery, he explains. There is also space for a patio, which can seat sixty, and a basement where Baccary hopes to store wine and whiskey barrels for aging beer.
Baccary will replace the old garage doors with new glass ones and use the fire poles inside as dividers between the taproom and the fifteen-barrel brewery. But otherwise, he doesn't plant to focus too much on the firehouse theme.
"I am sort of consciously avoiding the T.G.I. Friday's effect," he says. "I'm not going to hang ladders and hoses on the walls or anything," he says.
Instead, Baccary has hired Wayne Waananen, an experienced homebrewer, brewery consultant and the first head brewer at the Sandlot at Coors Field, to focus on helping him brew a wide variety of beer styles, from sessionable ales to saisons to hoppy IPAs.
Baccary got his federal brewery approval today and hopes to open the doors to Station 26 (which is now up on Facebook and Twitter), at 7045 East 38th Avenue, in October, before the Great American Beer Festival.
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