GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - Fruita's new tap room, Copper Club Brewing Company, isn't just a place to drink beer."We want it to be a neighborhood meeting place," owner Daniel Collins said.It's not a bar; rather, Copper Club is a home for small-batch craft brewing. It's a place to hang out (and even play board games), and it doubles as a supply retailer. Plus, there's space for live music."You can bring food in," Collins said. "We keep it casual."And co-owner Lorie Gregor noted that everyone should wear their favorite hats to the tap room, especially to its grand opening Friday, Jan. 18. Customers wearing the best hats will be featured in photos to be hung on the tap room's wall for everyone to enjoy.Brian and Lorie Gregor, both Fruita residents for more than a decade, recently joined forces with transplants Daniel and Michele Collins to open Copper Club together. The couples met after the Collins' first business, Fruita's Kettle Homebrew Supply, opened February 2012. "Brian was one of our first customers," Daniel said. "He came in and he was brewing like mad. He got lots of kits and recipes. Our mutual interest led to this."Brian added: "My wife bought me a kit, and I really got into it. ... We were looking to invest in a business, and Daniel and Michele wanted to open the brewery."The Collins family moved to Fruita from Flagstaff, Ariz., in fact, with a vision for Copper Club Brewing Company already forming. Daniel, who got his start as a home brewer and then graduated from a Master Brewers Program with the American Brewers Guild in 2010, said Copper Club is the result of "kicking the can down the road and seeing where it goes."Fruita became the destination and the end result. They even had Copper Club's name picked out ahead of time."Copper is an old term used for brewing kettles," Daniel said, adding that the name goes well with the tasting room's old-time feel.Copper Club indeed has a historic vibe, with old Fruita photos and a refurbished building brought back to the original bones. "There's lots of history in this building," Brian said. "All four of us very much embrace the history of the town."Turning the retail space into a tap room and shop was lots of work, but worth it, the brewery owners said. After the building was purchased, Brian and Daniel did the majority of the remodeling work themselves, and they even created a copper-penny bar top.The building was built in 1901, Brian said, and its current floor is the original slab. The storefront is spacious, and brewing takes place in the back on a seven-barrel system."We can brew seven barrels, or 217 gallons, per brewing session," Daniel said. Copper Club sells both pints and growlers. Kegs are not available to the public yet."Bottling or canning would be the goal," Daniel said. "But we need to get our sea legs right now."Beers currently available to the public include Hoocheweisen, F Town Amber, 18 Road IPA, Moonlight Rye, Healthy Heart Oatmeal Stout and rootbeer. Aspen Street Porter, featuring Aspen Street Coffee, will be Copper Club's first specialty batch."In small batches, we can do things that are experimental and not the norm," Daniel said.Creating unique flavors, with both traditional styles and brewing innovations, makes small-batch brewing fun. And, both Brian and Daniel noted the camaraderie and respect felt in the tight-knit brewing community, both locally and statewide.Plus, the owners at Copper Club Brewing Company agreed that entering Colorado's micro-brew niche market is definitely exciting."Colorado is beer-centric," Daniel said. "We have constituents with high-quality taste buds."And, with all the beer lovers out there, small-batch brewers aren't in competition, Daniel and Michael said. Rather, it's a brotherhood of like-minded individuals who love to brew.Check out Copper Club Brewing Company at 233 E. Aspen Ave., Fruita, Colo. Though the tap room has already had a soft opening, its grand opening is set for Friday, Jan. 18. For more information and pricing, call 970-858-4700 or visit www.facebook.com/copperclubbrewingco. Or visit www.kettleshomebrew.com.
New beer room brewing in Fruita
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