Renegade Brewing

More beer. A sentiment that can’t be stated often enough.

The Brewers Association reported an increase of 164 breweries operating in the US from 2009 to 2010, to a total of 1,759 breweries operating in 2010. Denver saw the opening of Strange Brewing. In the surrounding area, we welcomed Elk Mountain, Grimm Brothers, and New Planet, and Ouray Brewery. I’m probably missing a few.

In 2011, we can expect a few more to join the ranks. Enter Renegade Brewing.

Brian O’Connell is the Chief Beer Officer of Renegade. He’s been homebrewing for 5 years. O’Connell started off like many homebrewers: a Mr. Beer kit for Christmas and a taste for the good stuff. And like many homebrewers, O’Connell dreamt of going pro.

About 2 years ago O’Connell started working on the business plan for what would become Renegade Brewing. This past new years day, he signed a lease for a 3,000 square foot location at 9th and Santa Fe, right in the heart of the Santa Fe Arts District. Construction started March 1st, with the hopes of being completed at the end of this month. Friday, they received their Federal Brewers Permit from the TTB.


Digging the trenches

“I really wanted to have a job I enjoyed,” said O’Connell, who’s gig before Renegade involved stats analysis at UC Denver. “And I really wanted to provide others with jobs they would enjoy, too.” He wants to open a brewery that will be a good part of the community, a good business partner, and an environmentally friendly neighbor.

While O’Connell is confident in his homebrewing, he understands the leap from 5 gallons to 15 barrels (1 barrel = 31 gallons) is a large one, and plans to hire a professional brewer. “The beer can’t be second best,” he explains. “And I’m a homebrewing, not a pro brewer.” O’Connell plans to be heavily involved with the broader scope of recipe creation, but will let the head brewer create the detailed scope of each beer. He intends the recipes to follow the company’s tag line: Offensively Delicious. The flavors will be intense. “I don’t care if you like it. I like it,” explains O’Connell.


The buildout continues

Not all the beers will be big 15% barley wines though. While O’Connell does love the extreme beers, he also wants to make some refreshing classic beers that you can crack open after long day at work and just relax.

Renegade will be brewing on a 15 barrel system. They will have 2 15 barrel fermenters and 1 15 barrel brite tank, and plan to brew 2-3 times a month at the start. O’Connell hopes to have 4 regularly offered lines plus 1 experimental / seasonal offering. He’ll also bring in his 10 gallon homebrew setup as a pilot system.

Renegade is starting with a bigger system than most new small breweries. “Plan to be successful,” says O’Connell. He hopes to have Renegade on tap at around 45 accounts after a year of brewing, and the size of his system will allow for that and more.

Look for Renegade to open by June 15th at the latest.

About PJ Hoberman

PJ likes beer. A lot. And whiskey. Gin. Wine. Cocktails. Um.. what were we talking about?

  • Bess Dougherty

    Yay new beer!!

  • JohnMcG

    I’ve driven down that part of Santa Fe a dozen times and commented that a brewery would do tremendously well in that location. Good for them for choosing wisely.

  • Jake

    Good for them! So awesome! I can’t wait to check their place out and meet them, oh yeah and drink their beer.

  • denverbeerchick

    I can’t wait! Hooray for Renegade! These guys have some awesome stuff going on!

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