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milieu fermentation company | Opening Weekend Preview

Rob and Andrew, Co-Owners of milieu

Opening a brewery is a journey full of challenging times and rewarding payoffs. For every newly installed and wrenched tapline spewing precious liquid across the countertop upon first test, there is the hard earned reward of that very first draft pour. Rob Bessett and Andrew Bergeron, co-owners of milieu fermentation company (pronounced mil-you) in Aurora, just outside of Denver, know all too well the difficult work that has gone into preparing their brewery for its opening weekend on May 4. Now that the date is set and the opening is just around the corner, PorchDrinking took some time to check out their renovated taproom and chat about what the future holds for milieu.

It Takes An Army

With help from family and friends, Rob and Andrew completely revamped the former Ursula Brewing space. “Redesigning the space was our first priority,” explains Andrew. “The vision was to create a modern and inviting environment that can accommodate all of our customers’ needs: remote working, happy hour and late night.” Andrew and his dad painted the ceiling, a true labor made possible only by love. Andrew’s mom offered her design chops to reeinvision the interior. The restrooms were redesigned to be more friendly, becoming unisex and offering ever appreciated changing tables. “There is so much love and care that has been put into this space that it’s hard not to smile every time we walk in,” beams Andrew.

Rob and Andrew, Co-Owners of milieu
Rob and Andrew, the smiling co-owners of milieu

The most arduous task in getting the space fully functional was installing a glycol system. Instead of hiring an expensive external company and being beholden to someone else for repairs, Rob designed the system himself and installed it, learning the ins and outs of everything along the way. The Co-Owners joked that they could now start a glycol consulting business, but running a brewery should offer plenty to keep them busy.

milieu tap wall
milieu tap wall

milieu now has a clean modern vibe that is made even more inviting by numerous plants of the sitting and hanging varieties. The tap wall has been expanded from 10 to 21 lines, giving milieu plenty of real estate to add all types of fermented libations. Numerous spaces exist for parties of different sizes, and outdoor tables offer a relaxing area to enjoy Colorado’s often lovely weather.

milieu burgeoning vinyl collection
Burgeoning vinyl collection

Plans for milieu

The opening weekend of Saturday and Sunday May 4-5 will no doubt be a busy one for milieu. With their location situated adjacent to the sprawling Anschutz Medical Campus, they have been peppering flyers around announcing their upcoming opening. Combined with their network of friends who work at the campus, there is plenty of buzz about the new place next door. Says Andrew, “We love that we can be a local watering hole for the Anschutz Medical campus. There are thousands of people walking around every day, many of which who’ve already expressed excitement for the new space!” milieu will be open 11 AM – 9 PM both days and Nickel City Provisions will be slinging Western New York fare from their food truck.

Beyond opening weekend, Rob and Andrew hope for a steady stream of med campus happy hour workers to visit their convenient location, but they also recognize a need to engage their community. “We want to give our guests different reasons to come in,” explains Andrew. On that front, there is already programming designed to appeal to their unique community. Tuesdays will offer Anschutz staff and student discounts, and Thursday – Saturday will feature both lunch and dinner time food trucks on site. Vinyl nights on Wednesday will encourage a music loving crowd while Saturday trivia beginning in June should bring in an engaged audience. Monthly Saturday morning yoga is being arranged, adding a wellness factor to attract customers. 

Being situated next to a campus that is thriving during the work week but fairly vacant on the weekends will no doubt bring its challenges, but milieu has accepted their unique situation and plans to accommodate and adapt as they get their footing. Their brewery is located in a rare brewery desert just outside of Denver city limits, and milieu sees that as an opportunity. Andrew is already making plans with local officials from Aurora to drum up interest in the new brewery and bring people into the taproom in creative ways.

The Lineup of Fermentations

milieu plans to start strong with great fermented momentum. Of their own in-house brewed drinks, they will have Hazy Beta 1 and a Hard Tea. The Hazy IPA is the first in a series where milieu will donate some of the proceeds to a different charity every month. Collaboration beers on draft will be Smooth Talking Mango, a Smoothie Sour brewed with Verboten Brewing, Should Be A Big One, a Hazy Double IPA collab with Peculier Ales, and From the Depth of Dreams Barleywine brewed with Baere Brewing. There will also be guest drafts including seltzer to round out their lineup with something for everyone. NA options have not been forgotten with milieu’s own Hop Water making an appearance.

milieu x Peculier Ales Should Be A Big One - first draft!
milieu x Peculier Ales Should Be A Big One – first draft!

Looking forward milieu already has several libations fermenting including a Keller Pils, Kolsch, West Coast Pilsner, West Coast IPA, Oatmeal Stout, and a hard Kombucha. Including fermentation in milieu’s name is no mistake as they will offer various alcohol beverages and give themselves room for plenty of experimentation. Perhaps realizing that consumers’ tastes and the craft beer market as a whole are going through a sea change, this setup allows milieu to be adaptive from the get go and continually innovate within the alcoholic beverage space. 

Going Forward

After the exodus of a couple breweries from northwest Aurora, it is refreshing to see milieu step in to fill a void. Situated on the perimeter of a large medical campus in a booming area of town, they are well positioned to make inroads with their local community and become a destination for all manner of crafted libations. This opening weekend hopes to just be the start of a lasting relationship with Aurora and beyond. Best of luck to milieu fermentation company!

All photos by Britt Antley

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