Great Divide Brewing brings back LoDo history with Beach Milk project

If you look closely, above the bars and restaurants and between the galleries and boutiques of Lower Downtown, you can see vestiges of Denver’s past — not just in the repurposed old brick warehouses, but in the faint “ghost signs” once painted on those buildings.

One of those signs can be seen on the side of what is now Great Divide Brewing, at 2201 Arapahoe St. It reads “Beach Milk Co.,” and it harkens back to a dairy wholesaler that occupied the building from the 1930s to the 1950s, selling milk to hotels and restaurants, as well as to long-gone convenience stores like Piggly Wiggly and even the U.S. Army.

After that, the building — constructed in 1924 — was home to Fairmont Foods Co., Sinton Specialty Foods Co. and Mountain High Yoghurt, which was born in Boulder in the 1960s and has since become ubiquitous at supermarkets. Great Divide moved into a small portion of the building in 1993, sharing it with a snowplow company and several bands, who used a former freezer space and its 4-foot-thick walls to muffle the sounds of their practices.

The brewery, which now occupies the entire space (and then some), will pay homage to that history and to the ghost sign beginning Thursday, Sept. 15, with a new beer series called the Beach Milk Project. The beers in the series will be brewed in small quantities and only available for limited periods at Great Divide’s two Denver taprooms.

The styles in the series will vary greatly, Great Divide said, but one of the first offerings, fittingly, was brewed with milk sugar, or lactose. Solid Together is a “smoothie-style” sour made with blackberry, raspberry, blueberry, strawberry, mango, cherry and black currant. It will be available on draft and in 16-ounce  cans alongside a second beer, Dream Argument, a tropically flavored New England-style IPA made with Nectaron, El Dorado and Citra hops.

“We recently installed a new canning line that allows us to be much more flexible in terms of the volume of beer we can process in a single run, opening the door to these small-batch releases,” Great Divide marketing manager Matt Sandy said in an email. “When we were considering what to name this project, we wanted something that still had meaning to the brewery but would also inspire people to ask questions. Beach Milk Project is an odd but fun word jumble.”

Sandy said the brewery has had to remove most of the old vestiges of the building’s previous tenants to make room for its fermentation tanks and the canning line.

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