By the end of the year one of Colorado’s most sought after breweries will have the capacity to brew 50,000 barrels of beer a year. Raise your glasses! Great Divide is adding three 300 barrel fermenters to it’s tank farm. The sound of construction outside the brewery at 2201 Arapahoe Street shows these guys are stepping up to meet the rushing demand of big, bold hand-crafted beer. Last year the brewery finished with 30,000 barrels. Great Divide had to pull out of some markets but with their new babies, they can filtrate them again.
Instead of one designated brew master at Great Divide, there is a head brewer and five other brewers that all take the same amount of credit. The finish on the beer shows different touches and the diversity of the brew team. Right now the pilot system is cruising so brewers can experiment with smaller batches of beer and expand creativity. None of the beers have made the one of the 16 draft handles in the tasting room, but you betcha when it does you will ask for a top off on an empty glass.
With an influx of craft breweries saturating the state it’s a treasure hunt to find out what makes each one tick. Great Divide was established in 1994 by home brewer Brian Dunn. Having worked in North Africa and living in several European countries over the course of five years, Dunn brings a broad perspective into the brewing culture. His perspective would have been lost if he didn’t have a change of heart on his way to a job interview in California. Within one year of writing a business plan, Great Divide started to take shape. Dunn says they use the best ingredients, strive for bold flavors and strive for beers that are nice and balanced. It’s a big enough operation for an in-house bottling line that can top off 120 twelve oz. bottles a minute and 60 twenty two oz bottles a minute. 35 employees keep the brewery buzzing and beer flowing.
Take a seat in the newly expanded tap room and sample some beer. Select from seasonal beers like the Nomad Pilsner, Old Ruffian or the Espresso Oak Aged Yeti that is made with coffee from a Denver coffee shop called Pablo’s. Or pick from some year-round beers like the wild raspberry ale, Hercules Double IPA, Denver IPA or the Hoss. No matter what you choose you will come out a champion because this brewery has the credentials having earned 17 Great American Beer Festival Metals and 5 World Beer Cup Awards.