After a pint of Cherry Kriek at the Strange Brewing tap room, I head east three blocks to a warehouse on 12th Avenue. At the top of the stairs, I swipe my card through the card reader at the door. Across the tasting room is another door, which leads into a chilly 5,000 sq. ft. room of wooden lockers. I spot mine in the second row. I turn my key in the lock and there it is – my beer stash.
Brooks Marsted started Corkscrews this past July to provide Denver with wine storage options to private collectors and businesses. With the growing amount of people aging craft beer (like yours truly), he’s catering to beer lovers as well.
The warehouse is temperature and humidity controlled. The lockers are under 24-hour video surveillance and as Brooks showed me – there is an app for that. The feed streams to his iPhone so he can make sure nothing mischievous is afoot.
Brooks has been in the wine world his whole life. He grew up very close to the wine mecca of California. Many of his closest friends had parents who worked in the wine industry and most of his weekends growing up involved horsing around vineyards. Though Brooks studied finance at the University of Colorado, he always longed for the day to someway get involved with his passion for wine. His opportunity came in 2008 when he and his wife decided to leave Denver and open up a small wine shop in Lake Tahoe. The shop did well and they had an opportunity to sell it in late 2009. They then moved back to Denver and moved on with their careers.
In late 2011, Brooks recognized a void for a facility providing private, temperature controlled wine storage. After extensive research, he launched Corkscrews Wine Storage of Denver.
“I was having trouble finding a place where I could age some wine, outside of my house. I was looking for an affordable, secure solution and there just was not much out there. Recognizing that others likely were having the same dilemma, I opened up Corkscrews. It is a state of the art, wine and beer storage facility. We keep temps constant at 55 degrees. Although we have only been open since July, we have developed a great group of members and are growing fast.”
As my humble beer collection grows, space in my house is at a premium. The locker gives me much-needed room and I no longer need to exercise willpower to avoid a 2am raid of the cellar that I’ll regret the next day. Beers that I want to age are safe from their thirsty owner, while bottles I want to drink soon are kept in my fridge. My beer is also now protected from Denver summers in my non-air-conditioned hotter than hell house.
So what do I age? What I don’t age is lighter beers, wheat beers, and hoppy beers – those are best drunk fresh. But barleywines, old ales, and Belgians are all great for aging. As are sours. As a member of the Crooked Stave Cellar Reserve club, I find the locker is the perfect place to let Chad’s funky creations get even funkier.
Prices (and a discount)
The prices vary depending on the locker size. Until the end of the year, Corkscrews is offering half off locker rentals for the first 12 months as well as free inventory service for the first year. Here are the details on the wine lockers:
- 4 cases. Regular price – $15/month. Discounted price – $7.50/month.
- 8 cases. Regular price – $25/month. Discounted price – $12.50/month.
- 12 cases. Regular price – $35/month. Discounted price – $17.50/month.
- 24 cases. Regular price – $60/month. Discounted price – $30/month.
For those interested in beer storage, what you can fit into a locker is not as black and white because of the wide variety of bottle types. As an estimate though, a 4-case locker can fit about 48 750ml bottles. If you have bombers and 12-ouncers then you will obviously be able to fit more. The lockers are also tall enough that a shelf can be installed which will double the storage capacity, so you’re looking at about 96 bottles in a 4-case locker. You can always split the locker with a friend if you can’t fill it yourself.
I stop in every couple of weeks to check on my stash and add to the collection. One of the drawbacks of having the extra room offered by the locker is that now that I have it, I feel the need to fill it. Looks like I’ll still need some willpower after all.