Rob Forczek visits Great Divide


Let me first start off by saying I think I completely fell in love with Denver, Colorado. I sat at dinner with my family the night of my return and in a crazy dad voice said, WE’RE MOVING TO COLORADO! By the time dinner was over I realized it’s just not that easy anymore when you have a wife, two kids, a dog, and a house that you would need to sell in this terrible economy and housing market. It was a great thought though and maybe someday could actually happen.

The culture and beer community out there was something I found incredible, and in all my years in New Jersey and the business had never seen before. Adam Kimball from Great Divide Brewing Company welcomed me into Denver and showed me around the town as well as the brewery. I had a chance to hit the market for a bit with Adam and couldn’t believe my eyes at some of the places. Everywhere we went people were just so interested to talk with us and so in tune with the beer culture. It was rare to walk in a bar and not see Great Divide as well as other Colorado breweries on tap. I was amazed at the size of some of the stores and how they were so properly marketed and craft oriented, I felt like I was in my Graceland. It made me realize how New Jersey is still a daily struggle when it comes to craft, but we are rapidly growing and hopefully will reach such a level of passion and culture.

I got a chance to tour the Great Divide brewery and meet their entire staff from top to bottom including owner, Brian Dunn, and head brewer Taylor Rees. Everyone couldn’t have been nicer and made me feel at home. The tasting room was jumping by 1 PM and was still packed when I left around the early evening hour. One thing I thought was really fun and interesting was that since they don’t serve food, each day a different food truck pulls up out front and serves to the patrons. I was intrigued by how many people were there both days to just drink and support the brewery. We’re so use to people looking for something different from a brewery and not always wanting to support a breweries core portfolio. I understand that Great Divide has a rather large portfolio but I was impressed that both days I was there the only beers on the taps were core products. No specialty items or crazy one off’s and the place was packed.

I also got to see their offsite warehouse and barrel aging space which is roughly about a mile away from the brewery and also located near the area where the new brewery will be breaking ground hopefully in June during their 20th anniversary. Along with keeping the current 50 barrel brewhouse and tasting room, they will be building a huge $38 million dollar 125 barrel production brewery in the old Denver north end industrial area. The new brewery will be laid out in a 5.1 acre site which currently takes up a two city block radius. Last year the brewery produced roughly 39,000 barrels of beer, the new facility will initially be able to produce 100,000 barrels with a final capacity of roughly 250,000. There is also a plan to put a huge beer garden at the new facility, since they have been confined to such a small patio at the current spot. They feel it’s important to be able to enjoy beer outdoors and overlooking the mountains.

Not only are the citizens of Denver behind the beer culture and Great Divide but the city as well. This will be the third time the city will be partnering with Great Divide and helping with loans to expand their cooperation. The city of Denver and Brian Dunn have a great relationship since the beginning stages of making the brewery a reality. It is also why Great Divide feels it would be wrong to uproot the brewery into the suburbs. The city is also putting together a huge renovation and revitalization project into the area where the brewery will be located. Plans have been started on realigning the interstate, building a new train system, and also eventually adding real estate and more businesses. There are few businesses that have already opened such as The Source which was really cool and I highly recommend. It’s a huge old brick front warehouse converted into an artisan food market. This includes shops/restaurants, and also a small brewery called Crooked Stave that has been around since 2011 brewing at different locations. They will soon have a 20 barrel brewhouse on site and they focus on Belgian sour beers. Another cool thing I found refreshing was the craft cocktail lists at most of the restaurants in the area and at The Source as well.

My next goal is to figure out how to get back out there for one of my other passions baseball season! The brewery is so close to Coors Field that I would love to go there and see the Rockies play and park myself in the tasting room before and after the game! Well I could go on and on about how much I loved Denver, and where I went but I think I summed it up pretty well.


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