You read that right. FH Beerworks, fresh off a rebrand from Fieldhouse Brewing, has announced they will be developing a massive new brewery expansion on the East side of Colorado Springs. FH Beerworks’ Travis and Niki Fields have taken control of the property thanks to a very cool partnership with a group of investors, and will be retrofitting the buildings and building out the space for their use. They are starting the demolition phase of their proposed 10-week buildout on Thursday with hopes of having the taproom open by Labor Day.
Before you get all worked up, we need to mention they are not getting rid of the Downtown location. You’ll still be able to get all your favorite FH beer there, but they’ll definitely be expanding the FH footprint here in town.
Nowhere to go
FH Beerworks faced the same dilemma that many breweries face in this time of market saturation. We heard it a few years ago from Tim Myers of Strange Craft Beer at the Salida Brewers’ Rendezvous, where he basically said the market in Denver was “expand or die.” While we haven’t reached that point yet here in Colorado Springs, there still could be some market contraction in the future.
At the point we’re at, breweries like FH Beerworks are surrounded by other businesses that aren’t going anywhere, so the possibility of taking over an adjacent space is nonexistent. FH Beerworks is confined to the 1800 sq ft that they have down on Tejon, with some added office space in an adjacent space, and have nowhere to go but out.
The Fields started looking on the East side in early 2018, but were met with exorbitant rent prices and not much that could be easily transformed into a brewery. The big break came when an investment group approached them with a proposition. The group had found a location further South off of Powers and wanted FH Beerworks to go into it. Long story short, after the Fields checked out the place, it didn’t fit their vision and seemed to be cost prohibitive to convert into a brewery. They came back to the investment group with another idea — they had seen a property for sale off of Victor Place, just a stone’s throw south of Powers and Constitution.
“We saw the property, instantly fell in love with it, but knew it was out of our league.”
The biggest reason for FH to expand east is they see a lot of Westside traffic at their downtown location, but not as much Eastside, so they wanted to provide an option for their fans out east to be able to get FH beer without the drive into Downtown. Plus, the Fields live nearby, so with young children, it allows them to be closer to the operation while still keeping up their family life. The location is right at the Eastern trailhead for the Rock Island Trail, so imagine taking a bike from FH Downtown to FH East and back again.
FH East will be situated at 2490 Victor Place — on 4 acres previously used as a contractor’s compound. Google Maps show dozens of vehicles parked on the west side of the property and buildings like a greenhouse and other metal outbuildings are present. It doesn’t look like much now, but after seeing the development plans, we here at Focus on the Beer are pumped for FH Beerworks to finish the buildout.
They’ll have a 2500 sq ft taproom that shares a wall with the brewhouse and a completely separate barrel/cooler building, which will also be available for private parties and other functions. As Travis said, the space is “ginormous, it’s huge.”
FH Beerworks will be installing a 20bbl brewhouse with 40bbl fermenters later this fall. They’re bringing in a five vessel Alpha system that will allow them to double batch more frequently and easily. For those of us who will be driving out, parking woes will be a thing of the past as well, as the new location will sport 54 parking spaces, complete with ADA accessible sidewalks and ramps.
Moving over to head up the brewing from Downtown will be FH’s current brewer Garret Bowden and newly hired Phil Neumann, who came to FH by way of Trinity and has 7 years of production brewing experience. Phil has already been hard at work helping FH fine tune their processes, and we can’t wait to see what he cranks out on the Eastside.
As for the downtown location, Ben Neumann (no relation to Phil) will move from Test Taps to brewing and Taylor Humphries will take over test tap creation. FH has always done a great job keeping their brewing crew refreshed and creative.
On the business side, FH Beerworks will be expanding their crew of seven employees and adding up to ten more employees for the second location. This has always been part of their plan from the get-go, but they definitely had to change some of the logistics to figure out how to piece everything together. With the size of the property, expect them to continue expanding and adding more employment opportunities on the east side of Colorado Springs. With the current equipment they have planned, FH plans to be producing close to 5,000 bbls of beer each year.
Based on size alone, FH East will be an experience unlike any other brewery in town. The plans are for a 6,000 square-foot beer garden, complete with cornhole and fire pits. They’ll have a huge community table in the beer garden, ready for everyone to meet someone new. Huge windows will allow taproom customers to peer into the brewhouse, at first to observe the final portion of buildout, and then to watch the magic happen.
The expanded space will allow for them to fully realize their passion for community, and host events that reflect that. They have infinite options for what they could do, and Niki even floated the idea of FH hosting farmers markets in the future, utilizing the space at the brewery. The Fields are creating a destination, and it’s going to be marvelous.
Keep buying their beer. They’ll have brand new cans out soon with a fresh new design thanks to REN Creativ here in town, and they’re changing up their flagship beers a little too. Sticky Paws and Forman Red will remain, but Up A Creek will be shelved in lieu of Good Day IPA, a Simcoe, Amarillo and Mosaic West Coast inspired IPA, and Don’t Drink the Juice, their Hazy Tangerine Pale. Expect all four to be in stores by their anniversary this June. We’ll keep you updated as FH East progresses through its buildout.