Yesterday we headed just north of town, up to Monument, Colorado to check in on Chris Wright and the construction of Pikes Peak Brewing Co. Chris was working away with his daughter and stopped to give us a little conceptual tour of the space. None of the brewing system or the bar is in place yet, but it’s all set and scheduled to arrive in the next month and a half. The tentative opening date will be in April, so things will start coming together pretty quickly here.
|Pikes Peak Brewing tap handle made of Beetle-Kill Pine *|
First, let me tell you a little about Chris. He’s been a homebrewer for thirteen years. The last five years he’s been dreaming about starting a brewery and the last two years has committed to making it a reality. In 2007 he self-published The Beer Journal, which is an informational booklet that tells you all about style guidelines of beers and helps lead you through the cataloging of the beers you drink so that you can remember them later. This was picked up by a publisher and re-released in October 2010.
|The 2,200 square foot space is now ready for construction. *|
The space is a 2,200 foot space that will be divided between a tasting room bar and a 10 barrel brew house. The ceilings and crossbeams are a really beautiful wood that will contribute a warm, reddish ambiance to the space. The bar itself will have nice sized
windows for plenty of light and a cozy fireplace. The tap handles in the bar and many other features will make good use of Beetle-Kill Pine. There won’t be a kitchen, but each day a number of places around town will bring in food, so they will serve paninis, soups, and other local food. There is an outdoor area as well that will really make for a nice beer garden when it’s warm out. In a move that doesn’t happen too often, Chris wants Pikes Peak Brewing to be a family friendly drinking establishment. He was inspired by Laurelwood Brewing of Portland, OR (one of my personal favorite breweries) who has an entire play area for kids. I’m not sure if Pikes Peak will have a play area or not, but just allowing the place to be open for everyone is a good move and will bring in business from people who might not otherwise be able to come in. Adding to the family-friendliness, Pikes Peak Brewing will be offering handmade sodas, root beers, and ginger ales in addition to the beers.
|The 13-ton grain cylo was recently delivered and will be installed shortly. *|
The production side, will be a 10 barrel system made by Premier Stainless. They will have four fermenters and a number of serving tanks. The plan for the Opening is to have seven beers on tap, six of them will be Pikes Peak beers and one will be something from another local brewery, showcasing nearby talent. Pikes Peak Brewing will have four flagship beers including a hopped up Red, a Belgian Golden Ale, a Stout, and a hopped up Wheat. But there will likely be six of his beers available at first, so what are the other two? It’s not 100% settled, but he’s thinking we might see a Dubbel and an English Mild on tap for the opening as well. I appreciate that Chris has spent the last two years really dialing down the recipes on the flagship beers and still plans to give attention to one-off beer specials, experimental batches, and seasonals. Look for seasonals including a Green Chili Beer in the early Fall, one that is not too spicy but rather warm and round, and a Holiday spiced ale with orange peel and cinnamon. He has ordered in two whiskey barrels and he plans to age the stout for a year and serve the barrel-aged version during the one year anniversary. Also, he wants to try to regularly have a session beer on tap, which I think is fantastic. There will be room to add more taps if these plans take off. And there will be plenty of room to expand if need be. The plan is to start manually bottling, but not immediately. There is another space attached to the brewery that they will be able to move into if it becomes necessary.
So we can really look forward to seeing Pikes Peak Brewing Co. opening in the next few months. We plan to visit a couple more times as different stages of their production comes together, so stay tuned here to see more updates from them. Use Use this link to get Focus on the Beer updates via email. Also, support Pikes Peak by visiting their site and their Facebook page.
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* The photographs on this post were all taken by Dan Flanders. Expect to see more from Dan from now on. Dan’s contact information is here.