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HighSide brewing celebrates 4th anniversary; Fairplay expansion in progress

Summit Suds: Beer news, reviews, recipes and more

HighSide Brewing owner David Axelrod sits at the bar of the soon-to-be second taproom for the brewery. The space will give the brewery more opportunity for experimentation.
Michael Yearout/For the Summit Daily News

HighSide Brewing is turning 4 years old, and the brewery is marking the occasion with a party as a thank you to the community. The festivities begin at 5 p.m. Saturday, May 14, at 720 Main St. in Frisco, with free live music from Denver bluegrass band Pick & Howl.

Afterward, three members of The Infamous Stringdusters — Andy Hall, Jeremy Garrett and Chris Pandolfi — will perform with Benny “Burle” Galloway. Galloway recently wrote “What’s That You’re Doin’” with Garrett and the song has recently been on the top of the bluegrass charts.

Guests can participate in giveaways, where 100% of proceeds will go to High Country Conservation Center. HighSide Brewing owner David Axelrod is on the board of the center and the brewery frequently takes part in the annual Party for the Planet fundraiser. Prizes at the anniversary celebration include a half-day river trip, concert tickets, restaurant gift certificates and more.



As people listen to the music, they can eat the restaurant’s barbecue items in a grab-and-go format and wash it down with a new version of the Spring Runoff India pale ale. The beer came out last year for the third anniversary, and general manager Kurt Zolbe said that head brewer Thomas Larsen tweaked the hazy beer’s recipe to make it less bitter and more palatable this year.

That citrusy brew will be joined by the brewery’s peach gose for a pair of easy drinking spring options. Zolbe and Axelrod also recommend trying the cold-style IPA. This trendy style is an IPA made with lager yeast that ferments at a colder temperature. Not a standard IPA — and not an India pale lager either — Zolbe said it has a balanced hop flavor that finishes smooth.



Those seeking a darker beer will take comfort in knowing that the ’90s Obligatory Amber will also be on tap for the party. The beer sits at 5.7% alcohol by volume and harkens back to the decade when mainstays like New Belgium Brewing Co.’s Fat Tire and others hit the scene.

“We made a really tasty amber that will remind you of all those,” Zolbe said.

HighSide Brewing’s Fairplay location includes a two-bedroom apartment, which owner David Axelrod plans to use for employees to help alleviate the affordable housing issue.
Michael Yearout/For the Summit Daily News

Larsen will soon be able to experiment even more once the brewery expands into Fairplay. The brewery closed on the former home of furniture store Calamity’s Cabin at 411 U.S. Highway 285 in January and is targeting July 1 as the opening date for its second taproom. HighSide will still brew in Frisco for now, but production will eventually move to the second location around the fall.

The biggest hindrance currently is cold storage, and Axelrod said the expansion will at least double the brewery’s current production capacity with new brewhouse equipment, a large refrigeration unit and tank space.

“It’s tough to have a brewer we really love and really has a lot of potential but then handcuffing him to a system that doesn’t allow him to show him his value,” Zolbe said. “If anything, I’m hoping this move will allow us to be the best brewery we can be. It gives us so many more opportunities for everything.”

The roughly 7,200-square foot building was a bar before it was a furniture store, and Axelrod wants to still highlight the original L-shaped bar top that will have likely 16 taps, exposed adobe brick and vaulted ceilings. He is also keeping the attached two-bedroom condo to help with housing for employees.

Aside from beer, amenities like pinball, live music and a barbecue food truck are in the works, in addition to a large patio with yard games. Guests can bring in outside food from neighboring establishments, too.

“The people over there have been fantastic to work with,” Axelrod said of Fairplay. “It’s such a great community. It kind of reminds me of what Frisco was 20 years ago over there. It’s that really cool, small-town feel.”

HighSide Brewing is opening a second taproom in Fairplay this summer. Production will eventually move to the new location in the fall.
Michael Yearout/For the Summit Daily News

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