Pitcher perfect: Yampa Valley Brewing completes renovations, plans to open Steamboat tap house next week
The fence around the property at 1125 Lincoln Ave. is gone, and the building is sporting a fresh look. It’s a sign the taps will start flowing soon at Yampa Valley Brewing Co.’s newest taproom, The Hop House.
“We’re excited,” said co-owner Paul Brinkman. “The goal of the brewery has always been to cater to all of Northwestern Colorado and the Yampa Valley. … Now we’ll have a tap house in Craig, we will have a tap house in Hayden, and we finished the new brewery production in Hayden, so we’re producing all our beer in Hayden. The last piece of it was to open up a Steamboat tap house tasting room.”
The opening is set for Friday, Sept. 30. After purchasing the property at 1125 Lincoln Ave. in January 2022, Brinkman revealed plans to renovate it a little more than a year ago.
The new taproom will be on the building’s ground floor facing Lincoln Avenue. Brinkman said the remaining portion of the ground floor, along with the entire second floor, is also being renovated and will be leased as office space once complete.
“The building itself is about 8,000 square feet on two floors,” Brinkman said. “The brewery just has about half of the ground floor with a large 2,000-square-foot patio, and the balance of the building will be an office space.”
On Thursday, Sept. 22, Yampa Valley Brewing Co. co-owner Christian Dufresne and taproom manager Chris Hoak were busy unpacking, setting up furniture and looking after all the details that need to be completed before Friday’s opening.
“My vision was always to kind of expand to the two neighboring towns, and just to really prioritize on-premise sales,” said Dufresne. “We’re making the beer. We’re serving it to the people. … We are focusing on making our taprooms places where people can fill their need for craft beer and make it a place where they can have a good experience.”
Dufresne has been with Yampa Valley Brewing since 2017 when he started working with former owner Jared Aylor, who started the brewery in 2015. When Alyor left in 2019, Dufresne earned equity in the company as part of his compensation and formed a partnership with Brinkman.
Last year, the company built a new production facility in Hayden that increased production from 600 barrels in 2020 to 800 in 2021 with expectations of growing to 1,500 barrels. Brinkman said the Hayden production facility — which now supplies Craig, Hayden and Steamboat — has quadrupled its output since 2019.
Dufresne said the customer experience will be different depending on if someone stops in at the taproom in Hayden, the Barrel Room in Craig or The Hop House in Steamboat Springs.
“The goal is to have them each have their own feel,” Dufresne said. “We wanted them to fit in and reflect the communities where they were located. Hayden definitely has more of that traditional craft brewery feel, where you can see the brewing equipment in the back. Craig has evolved into a location that definitely revolves around more of an eatery feeling with a brewpub feel to it.”
Dufresne hopes Steamboat will feel like an old-world pub that has an upscale kind of European vibe.
The Hop House will feature 17 taps and will have a large selection of bottled beer on hand, offering guests the largest variety out of the three taprooms. The actual bar was still waiting to be installed on Thursday, but it was easy to envision a bartender filling a tall glass of beer from one of the brass fixtures.
The owners are also excited about the large patio area that wraps around the building, offering a large outdoor space in the warmer months.
“We were able to keep three large trees in the front patio, so that was really nice, and provides a lot of great shade and softens that appearance on Lincoln,” Brinkman said. “We added some gabion walls to the patio and a new patio cover as we come into the building.”
He said it had been 30 years since there had been any improvements to the actual building, which was freshened up with more modern siding, as well as a new mural by artist Dan Toro that blends the Colorado Flag with the slopes of Steamboat Resort. Toro has done several murals near the Hayden tap house.
In addition to the beers, The Hop House will have root beer on tap, along with a second rotating soda and kombucha from Wave Brewing Company. Brinkman said the Hop House has a relationship with the restaurant next door, and there will be a QR code at the tables so customers can order food inside and on the patio.
The taproom will open at 11 a.m. seven days a week and stay open until 10 or 11 p.m., depending on the day of the week and demand.
“People have kind of focused on what I would say is the east side of downtown and Yampa,” Brinkman said. “So, we’re excited because we really felt like the west end of downtown needed some focus and some improvement. … We were excited about kind of what’s going on in the west end of downtown and being part of that.”
To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.
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