New Belgium at The Source | A Community Based Brewery Experience
As the fourth-largest craft brewery in the country, New Belgium Brewing has the reputation of doing big things in the industry. However, their newest project at the just-opened Source Hotel seems to be in stark contrast to this model. The 10-barrel brewing system, run by brewer Geoff Wenzel, plans to focus on small-batch, artisanal creations with an emphasis on the Source community.
The Source, a former iron factory, was one of the first buildings in the country to put together the concept of a multi-use, multi-vendor space for patrons to explore and enjoy. Taking the idea of craft and re-imagining it through the lens of food and drink, The Source has created a hub of very talented and imaginative artisans. Seeing this concept come to life, New Belgium approached the Zeppelin team to become a part of this collaborative culture in 2014 and has been a critical part of making this vision become a reality ever since.
From the instant you check into the hotel and are handed a New Belgium beer (which happened to be a bright and tropical-forward mixed culture sour made in the 10-barrel brewery), you begin to see what an integral part New Belgium played in the project. The next sight you behold after the bottom of your beer glass is the open and glass-encompassed 10-barrel production facility. One feels as though you are looking into a fish bowl as you see the entirety of the brewing process, but that was of course exactly the point. The NBB and Source teams wanted the ability to tell the story of how New Belgium does beer. With a self-guided tour and open facility, even craft beer newcomers can feel like they can grasp and understand the production process. And there’s a lot of exciting things that Wenzel intends to do in this 10-barrel facility that visitors and local beer fans alike can look forward to.
This small facility is going to be ground zero for New Belgium in terms of experimentation, collaboration and creativity. In fact, Wenzel has already been working with the other talented teams within the building. Safta’s acclaimed chef, Alon Shaya, shared the plans for a Mediterranean-inspired ginger and turmeric IPA. Across the way at the newly opened bakery, Reunion, Venezuelan bread maker Ismael de Sousa created a malty and savory beer bread with New Belgium’s stalwart 1554. Beverage Manager for smoked-food specialists Smok, Alexis Osborne, put together a unique and booze-forward beer with Aperol, guava, lemon, and a New Belgium dry-hopped sour to create a drink that satisfies with a balanced flavor profile for easy drinking, even in the winter.
It seems clear that these collaborations and exchanges of ideas aren’t going to stop any time soon. There was a clear buzz in The Source as we moved from location to location, and each manager discussed the possibilities and creations that they were working on with New Belgium. From spent grains from NBB’s production being used in breads and fermentations at Safta, to the knowledge exchange of various ingredients among all the teams over at The Source, there’s a huge amount of creative brain power focused on collaboration in one location.
The Woods at The Source has the potential to be one of the most interesting small brewing systems in the Denver area. Wenzel exuded so much passion as he described the unique opportunity he was given at this new brew-house. With the support and knowledge of the industry powerhouse that is New Belgium, combined with the creative freedom of a kid when their parents leave town, there are sure to be some interesting things to come from New Belgium at The Source. These creations will only be available at this location and the tap room over up in Fort Collins, so take the opportunity to check out the amazing view from The Woods rooftop while sipping on some uncommon and one-off beers from New Belgium.
Photos by Michael Malvitz