Powder Keg: Bakers’ Brewery on its way to completion in Silverthorne
October 1, 2014
Up until two weeks ago, the former Village Inn building looked not that much different from the way it always has. A glance from Interstate 70 or on the road on the way to Old Chicago wouldn't have revealed the major changes going on just below the surface.
Now, however, the changes are becoming visible. Just recently, large pine trusses have been raised above the main entrance. They are the first outward signs of the building taking on its new identity — that of the Bakers' Brewery, Summit County's latest venture in craft beer.
GUTTING THE INSIDE
Little remains of the original interior, which was exactly the plan when the building was purchased.
"It was cheaper to start with a building that was already here," said Stephanie Sadler, one of the owners and main driving forces behind the Bakers' Brewery. "There are definite benefits."
This includes much of the kitchen structure, including tons of stainless steel, as well as plumbing, walls, ceilings, etc.
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"A lot of the grading and the flow have already been designed, the snow storage is already designed, the sign, we're just going to paint that and re-fill it, it's already good to go," said owner and co-founder Cory Forster. "There's definitely a lot we're going to re-use."
Anyone who spent any time in the building when it was Village Inn won't recognize it when it's done.
After clearing out the tables and furniture, everything from the walls to the floor was stripped down, taken to the bare bones so it can be built back up again. One of the biggest changes is the ceiling. The low drop ceiling has been removed, opening the space vertically to accommodate larger windows, which will showcase views of Buffalo Mountain and Red Mountain across the valley.
"It's a little bit of a natural, industrial combination," said Forster of the overall design concept. "We're thinking about doing an old mining cabin feel for part of the dining room. … The idea is you're standing on an old deck on the side of the old mining cabin, looking up at a beautiful view of the mountains."
"I feel like every day there's progress," Forster said.
They've been deep into demolition for months, while simultaneously juggling future planning such as filling out paperwork and ordering equipment. The next step is to start building up.
"There's been a lot of coming apart," Forster said, but now things are starting to come together.
The newly erected trusses are just the beginning.
The building is roughly 5,000 square feet total, 1,000 of which will be dedicated to the brewery. With four serving tanks, Forster estimates he will produce just under 1,000 barrels per year.
"The way things are looking, we're hoping Thanksgiving we can do a grand opening party," he said. That's not a solid date yet, however. "It's still up in the air."
The main push at the moment, he said, is to finish the outside renovations before winter hits.
"For the first time, I'm scared," he said, laughing, of the upcoming cold. "(Usually) I'm happy winter is coming, I'm all about it." Now, he keeps a careful eye on the upcoming weather, hoping everything will come together before any snowflakes fall.
FOCUS ON HOMEBREWING
In addition to the restaurant and brewery, Forster and the other owners are planning a large focus on the homebrewing aspect of craft beer. The kitchen will feature an area specific to homebrewing, where local amateur brewers can gather to learn more about the art of brewing, as well as try their hand at some beers of their own.
Forster is considering things like how-to homebrew classes in the future, "to build that community bond," he said. A small tap will feature local homebrew beers on a rotating basis, and serve as a place to learn about beer, whether it's tasting a new style for the first time, or experimenting with the making of the beer itself.
"We want to further the brewing industry as a whole, and a big part of that is education," Forster said.
Love of beer runs deep among those working on the Bakers' Brewery, from the owners — Sadler is one of many homebrewers in the ranks, and Forster is the former brewmaster of the Dillon Dam Brewery — to the future employees.
Eli Snell, who will be the bar manager, is a longtime friend of Forster's. They both moved to Summit County from Minnesota together and have worked together on and off over the years.
"I think we have a real good dynamic. It's going to be a lot of fun, I'm very excited," Snell said. He's also been enjoying watching the building's progress.
"It's amazing. I mean, my only concern is that I'm not taking enough pictures to document the whole process, because it's really, really exciting," he said. "Every day we come to work and there's something new. It's transforming right before our eyes."
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