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Lone Tree

Brewery in Lone Tree pairs science with new flavors

Highlands Ranch business opens second location in Entertainment District


Popular Highlands Ranch brewery Grist Brewing Company is pouring over into Lone Tree’s Entertainment District.

“We are super excited to be in Lone Tree,” said Nate Wannlund, whose business card gives him the title of a “purveyor of brews” and who does marketing for Grist. “It was nice to bring this higher level of design and experience to the area … When you come here there is a curated atmosphere. We want to be something this community is proud of.”

The second location for this brewery, 9535 Park Meadows Drive in Lone Tree, has a taproom focus, creating a destination stop for beer lovers in the area.

The new taproom is twice as large as its Highlands Ranch counterpart, with a capacity peaking at 252 beer lovers. Its tall ceilings and dangling lanterns induce a warm, industrial atmosphere. The space has leather couches, a large bar, a conference room that can be rented out and a patio with a fireplace and unobstructed views of the mountains.

“The game has been stepped up,” said Rob Kevwitch, founder of Grist. “You can no longer just throw a beer into an empty warehouse and say ‘this is our taproom.’ There is a design element to it.”

The 20-barrel brew house in Highlands Ranch opened in November 2013 at 9150 Commerce Center Circle. At the Highlands Ranch location, the company’s core beers are made in large batches.

It is important to the brewery to buy American-made brewing equipment — their 20-barrel brewing system was purchased from Wisconsin. The creative beers are made at the Lone Tree location in smaller batches in three new, Colorado-made barrels.

“All the brewing equipment is heavily capital-intensive,” Wannlund said. “You can buy cheaper stuff from China and there are a number of folks who do, but, for us, it was very important that we spent the extra money and bought American.”

Grist takes pride in its core beers being “approachable,” or true to their style.

Science and creativity are a vital balance at the brewing company. Kevwitch has his Ph.D. in organic chemistry, making the science of beer an important element of Grist’s foundation.

“All of our beers are built on the back of that scientific thinking and precision but with a creative side that allows us to explore some new compounds,” Wannlund said.

The science that binds Grist’s taproom to consistency is in the replication of core beers. To match the previous batch as accurately as possible, head brewer Tyler Swaim analyzes international bittering units and measures color intensity. The brewer also counts yeast cells in the batches and matches original and fermented gravity, a measurement in fermentation.

“The beers we have year-round are tested from start to finish to make sure they are as accurate as possible,” Wannlund said. “Our creativity beers are single batch. We are less concerned about hitting certain numbers and more concerned with hitting certain flavor profiles.”

The creative beers, curated by Steve Nolan, are one-off, seasonal specialty beers. While still approachable, these beers are highly unique, some even having notes of bubblegum from the yeast.

“We are here to grow, improve and realize what is best to produce,” Nolan said. “To be able to pour your beer to the public is pretty rad … we are about gaining inspiration.”


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