Road trip: Colorado welcomes newest craft beer hot spot, The Bakers’ Brewery
On a clear, blue morning last week, I took my trusty Subaru onto Interstate 70, driving past snow-capped mountains, with a special destination in mind. With three breweries behind me and two to the right, I turned left, into Silverthorne, up a winding road to Summit’s newest craft beer hot spot — the Bakers’ Brewery.
Upbeat music played inside as people ordered food and drinks. Out the window, Buffalo Mountain disappeared into clouds, hinting at the view that the brewery founders opened up when they remodeled the old Village Inn building. Clinking silverware and lively conversation filled a room that previously rang with the harsh sounds of construction. Between the new booths and tables, the mountain-rustic design of the bar and the row of shiny brew tanks, not even a ghost remains from the building’s previous life.
Last week, the brewery hosted several days of soft openings before the official grand opening on Friday, March 6.
“It was awesome,” said brewery co-founder Cory Forster. “There was such a great turnout.”
During all of the opening events last week, Forster and co-founder Stephanie Sadler circulated around the room, stopping every few feet to talk with another person — answering questions, making suggestions and smiling at congratulations on a project long in the making finally coming into its own.
At 2:45 p.m. on Friday, a simple ribbon-cutting ceremony marked the true opening of the brewery. The place instantly filled up. Sadler estimated at least 480 people came through the door that day.
“I did expect to be absolutely slammed the first day and actually it carried on through the weekend,” she said. “I wasn’t surprised by the busy-ness; I was surprised with how well we dealt with it,” she added with a laugh.
Though Forster said there was never a specific moment when it really hit him that the brewery was finally opening, he said there’s “still a little bit of disbelief, I think. And it’s not like the work load lessened; it just changes.”
The entire event was a memorable moment for Sadler.
“The whole thing just seems like this big giant blur of people and excitement,” she said. “It was honestly hard not to get kind of emotional about finally being open, … opening the doors and having, instantly, the bar full and people sitting down and eating, having that visual of people being in there and enjoying what you worked so hard to create.”
ALL ABOUT THE BEER
Fortunately, Forster doesn’t mind being busy. In the last six months, while in the throes of opening an entirely new business, he still managed to have a hand in four different collaboration brews with various breweries both in and out of the county.
Currently, three of those beers are available on Bakers’ Brewery taps. These are the Safety Meeting Barleywine, a collaboration among all six Summit County brewers; the Prickly Peach Strong Belgian Ale, which Forster brewed with Kannah Creek Brewing Co. in Grand Junction; and the Imperial Candy Bar Porter, created with the minds behind Shine Restaurant & Gathering Place in Boulder.
The barleywine and the Belgian ale are both headed to the Collaboration Fest in Denver this month. More collaboration projects loom on the horizon.
The remaining taps feature beers from other craft breweries, and are changing daily. Some are from local breweries, like Dillon Dam Brewery, Pug Ryan’s Brewing Co. and the Backcountry Brewery, while others are from outside Summit, such as Elevation Beer Co.’s 8 Second Kolsch, or Ska Brewing’s Modus Hoperandi IPA. Several Ska beers have been on tap, in fact, driven up in kegs from Boulder by Forster, the only way the brews are currently distributed in Summit.
The Bakers’ Brewery doesn’t have any of its own beers on tap just yet. The brewers are waiting for one of the final steps, their federal brewing permit, to come through. Initially expected to be approved in about 65 days, Sadler and Forster have now been waiting over five months.
“It’s not just us,” Forster said. “I knew it’s going around the country, because there’s just a huge demand right now.”
At this point, all they can do is wait and get ready to jump right in when the time comes.
SMOOTHING OUT THE WRINKLES
Currently, the brewery is open for dinner, though the plan is to incorporate breakfast and lunch in the upcoming weeks. The Bakers’ menu is handmade, from soups to the bread for its sandwiches.
“Right now we’re just trying to get everyone in the restaurant ramped up so we can add those meals — breakfast and lunch. Then we should be open all the time, cruising along,” Sadler said.
All in all, Forster is pleased with the progress they’ve made.
“It’s amazing how every day you can totally feel the difference of it being a little bit smoother, a little bit easier, a little more comfortable, pretty much all the around the building, front and back of the house,” he said.
Those interested can find updates and more information on the brewery website (www.TheBakersBrewery.com) or on the company’s Facebook page.
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