Baere Brewing, a small but integral part of Denver’s craft beer scene for the past nine years, has been sold to a group of local business owners who plan to add a full kitchen and virtual games.
Co-founder Ryan Skeels said he and business partner Kevin Greer want to move on to new chapters of their lives and that they have been shopping the brewery for a while.
“We’re ready to pass the torch on to some new people who are excited about beer and the neighborhood and who want to bring new life to the space in general,” Skeels said, adding that the past three years of the pandemic have been tough.
The new management is made up of Walnut Room owners Leslie and Jonah Munson, along with Kevin Lind, who runs the Back Nine, a virtual golf bar that is attached to the Walnut Room, and Weston Scott, co-founder of Ephemeral Rotating Taproom, which opened last year.
Lind and Scott have been friends for years — both worked in the distribution side of the beer industry — and had talked about buying a brewery together for a long time, Lind said. And since Lind is already in business with the Munsons, the group made for a good match.
As part of the purchase, the new owners will also take over the lease on a former tax business space next door to Baere, where they plan to add an outlet of the Walnut Room’s kitchen, which has become famous over the past 18 years for its pizza, sandwiches and wings. The Walnut Room used to have a second location nearby, so it is also a bit of a homecoming.
Lind will also add a virtual golf bay from the Back Nine where people can play virtual games. “I used to live two blocks from Baere, and I loved the beer, but my main complaint was there was no food and no activities,” he said. The golf bay should be up and running this spring.
The name of the brewery will stay the same, as will many of the beers, especially since Baere’s head brewer, Matt Schenck, and the rest of the staff will stay on. The only change to the beer menu is that the number of in-house beers will be reduced from 16 to eight, and several guest taps will be added, Lind said. That will give Schenck freedom to experiment with styles, he added.
“It’s a neighborhood joint. We get that and we want to keep that the same,” Lind explained.
Situated in a strip mall at 320 Broadway, Baere is known for its welcoming vibe and dedication to being a safe space for all kinds of people. Skeels and Greer nicknamed the place The Baere Den, and often joked about the location, especially with their Strip Mall Pale Ale. Over the years, their beers ran the gamut from IPAs and barrel-aged stouts to saisons and sour and wild ales. Baere’s most well-known beer, perhaps, is one of the first ones that Skeels and Greer ever made, a Berliner weisse, which won a medal at the Great American Beer Festival in 2017.
“Kevin and I started Baere because we loved the beer industry,” Skeels said. “We never expected to make much money. We just wanted to build the kind of community space that we would want to hang out in, and that other people would want to hang out in, too.”
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