Breckenridge Brewery’s New Home

2013 appears to be the year of the new brewery. So far this year Denver has seen Epic Brewing confirm it’s new facility, DeSteeg opening up in the Highlands and Crazy Mountain looking for a second location in Denver. However, the biggest move, both literally and figuratively, has been the new Breckenridge Brewery.

After a squabble with the Liquor Enforcement Division last year that raised the possibility of Breckenridge moving its entire operation out-of-state, the brewery announced plans to relocate its long-time facility at 471 Kalamath Street to the 6700 block of South Santa Fe Boulevard, according to the Denver Post (if you’re interested in the nitty-gritty of the new facility, we suggest checking out First Draft’s extensive article).

New Breckenridge Brewery

Rendering of the new Breckenridge Brewery

When the brewery announced the move, it also published a fact sheet with all kinds of bits of information about the new brewery, the space and future plans (h/t to Eric Gorski for uploading the fact sheet). While the big story is the new brewery, there were two notes that piqued our interest and seemed to be lost in the shuffle – the creation of the Mountain Series and an expansion of the barrel and firkin programs.

We set out to learn more about these nuggets of knowledge and asked Todd Thibault, director of marketing with Breckenridge Brewery, to give us the inside scoop on the Mountain Series, an upcoming series of one-off beers outside of the year-round lineup. While we weren’t able to get much information since the series is still in the design phase, Thibault did say it will most likely be a draft-only line available at Breckenridge and other select locations in town. Pilot Batch 1234, the working name for a single hopped pale ale currently fermenting, will be the first release in the new series.

The new facility also allows Breckenridge to expand their barrel-aging program with the inclusion of a dedicated 2,000-square-foot cellar. Thibault said that beers like Summer Cab Ride, SummerBright ale aged for 14 weeks in wine barrels, will see an increase in production, as well more variety of barrel-aged beers being produced. Barrel-aging isn’t the only creative outlets getting more attention – Breckenridge’s firkin program, which was introduced as part of First Friday’s in 2012, will also grow as the result of the new facility, as Thiabult said the company now has a brewer specifically for the firkin and barrel programs.

In addition to producing more beer, the new facility will add to the growing Colorado hop farm industry that Westword profiled last fall. Breckenridge’s new 12-acre property will include its own hop farm in addition to the brewery, restaurant, general store and beer garden, but Thibault said the exact size of the farm has not yet been decided. Thibault estimates that the farm will only provide enough hops for one or two of Breckenridge’s own beers, so don’t expect to see its hops featured in an offering from other area breweries. Perhaps having an on-site hop farm and a new outlet for one-off beers will allow Breckenridge to experiment with some wet hopped creations in the future.

Since 471 Small Batch, an imperial IPA, is named after the brewery’s current home, we had to ask Thibault if the beer name would change when company moves. Traditionalists can take comfort as Thibault anticipates the name will stay the same as a way for the company to pay homage to its current facility and history.

About Peter MacKellar

A native Coloradan who thinks our fine state offers the best beer and snow anywhere in the U.S., Peter recently moved back to Denver after spending a few years in New York City.