Despite the fact that most of Colorado's 360-plus breweries are beer-only taprooms, the number-one question that many of them hear is "Do you serve food?" The answer for most of them is "No." And while food trucks have filled in the gap for the past six or seven years, a growing number of breweries have decided to build their own kitchens or bring their food trucks in-house — literally, financially or permanently.
Examples include Black Shirt Brewing in Denver and Wonderland Brewing in Broomfield, which both added kitchens; Station 26 Brewing, which now operates its own food truck; and Denver Beer Co.'s Arvada location, which teamed up with a restaurant operator to open a food truck inside the brewery's walls.
Their reasons run the gamut, from a need to build in another revenue stream to a desire to stand out from the competition to a frustration with the inconsistencies of some food trucks.
Now, two more taprooms are joining the trend.
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On July 4, Declaration Brewing offered a sneak peek at Kings County Kitchen, a permanent food truck that will be located inside the brewery's beer garden. The truck is operated by longtime Denver chef Brendon Doyle and business partner Bob Reiter, who are also opening American Elm, a restaurant on West 38th Avenue.
The truck had previously served as the kitchen for the Wayback, a restaurant that occupied American Elm's new spot before it moved to a different location in West Highland. Kings County Kitchen should be on site at Declaration permanently sometime later this summer, serving up comfort food similar to what American Elm will have.
Big Choice Brewing in Brighton is taking a different tack by adding a kitchen later this summer that will serve artisan pizzas, salads, starters and desserts. "Our customers want a one-stop shop for great beer and delicious eats, and that’s what we plan on giving them," says Big Choice co-owner Andrea Miller.
In 2017, the brewery moved from a small location in Broomfield to a renovated former Buddhist Temple in Brighton that gives the owners a lot more room to play with. A brick pizza oven will be placed on the second floor of the brewery where people can watch the pizza being made. Rather that having table service, though, customers will be able to keep it casual by ordering at the bar and taking a number.