|Brewers Todd Baldwin, Michael Acerra, and Jeff Lockhart in the newly opened Red Leg Brewing Co tap room.|
“You may be whatever you resolve to be.” Stonewall Jackson
These words were on the chalkboard last weekend when Red Leg Brewing Company opened their doors with a bang, and with a solid lineup of beers, during the fitting July 4th holiday. This brewery has big plans. Big 15 barrel plans, but it is going to take some time. As it is a familiar story with several new breweries and expanding breweries, Red Leg is still waiting on the 15 barrel system for another couple of months. They are expecting, and hoping, to be brewing on the system in September so they can begin distribution soon thereafter. It puts them a little behind schedule, but with their smaller pilot system they’re still able to crank out some brews.
Two of their brewers have already picked up a small canning line. They bought the two-filler set up from Great Crescent Brewing in Indiana on what sounds like an adventure of a trek to bring it to their spacious brewery off of Forge Road, near Garden of the Gods Road. Until the anticipated system arrives, they will continue to keep up with demand on their one barrel pilot system.
|Red Leg’s 1 Barrel Brewing System|
The military background of both Todd Baldwin and Jeff Lockhart rung through the tap room with a camouflage wall, red and blue furniture, and of course the American flag. Each of their beers’ names have a military connection including Sgt. Pils, named for its pre-prohibition style that was commonly drank by soldiers during World War I. This is the first of a series of beers they’ll be releasing that are a reproduction of historical styles. The brewery is also planning to give back to their military roots. Todd Baldwin said, “I went from jumping out of airplanes to jumping in to a cubicle.” This was very difficult for him and he found an escape in brewing. When he wanted to open a brewery, there were also many obstacles he faced. Todd wants to use his new business to help others that are in a similar situation. First, he is welcoming help from military members in an effort to give them the therapeutic relief that brewing was for him. Second, Red Leg Brewing will be opening up their seasonals for input. They will be accepting applications from units to determine the name and style in a contest-like set up, and proceeds from the seasonal will go towards the unit chosen. Thirdly, Todd wants to be a mentor for veterans looking to open their own business. He wants veterans to know they don’t have to sit in a cubicle, he can help them minimize the obstacles to go the entrepreneur route, and that they “may be whatever [they] resolve to be.”
|Red Leg’s tap handles against their chalkboard|
This philosophy, and the beer, has been a hit. Their very first weekend open Red Leg Brewing Company’s tap room was packed. There were even whispers of (gasp!) running out of beer (another commonality with new breweries). Red Leg has jumped right in to the midst of the “Bermuda Triangle of Breweries” in the neighborhood. They already have regular customers, and I heard murmurs of people claiming it their new neighborhood hangout. Sitting at the bar I saw several veterans come up and instantly have a connection with the brewers. These customers obviously felt at home and quickly shared stories. On Saturday afternoon, a group of cyclists were sitting in the corner that had just finished the Ride-to-Recovery in Denver. They had each gotten the flight to try all of the new breweries beers and were very excited to have a spot in town that was supporting those who have served. Not having any military ties, I didn’t feel like an outsider.When it comes down to it, Red Leg is a brewery that makes great beer. My favorite: Devil Dog Stout. This beer was a nicely balanced stout with roasty, coffee, and rye notes. The most talked about beer was Redhead Saison. This ironically named ginger and pepper beer received a lot of praise. The rest of the beers were solid as well, so Red Leg left a good impression on all.
Thanks to such a popular response to their opening, Red Leg will be doubling their tasting room hours just two weeks in to their operations. Starting July 18th, they will be open Thursday through Sunday, Noon-8pm. If you are looking to check them out this weekend, they will be open Friday and Saturday, Noon-8pm. It is always welcoming to see new breweries in the Pikes Peak Region, and encouraging to see them do so well.
Red Leg Brewing is located at 4630 Forge Rd. in Colorado Springs.
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