By: Lauren Hoff
When you walk into Black Bottle Brewery you won’t see old barn wood, rustic décor, or bike wheels hanging from the walls like most breweries in the area. There will be industrial steel tables, and urban influenced artwork that looks like it could be on a skateboard deck. The parking lot will be full of Audi’s with mods, not bikes. There will be more Van’s than Chaco’s on the feet of the people inside. And you will probably never hear bluegrass there.
Growing up in Fort Collins, CO, owner Sean Nook saw the brewery culture spark and grow. He saw it influence the culture of the town as a whole. Sneaking H.C. Berger and Odell Brewing Co. beer in high school, as rebellion against his father’s affinity for MGD, he found a love for craft beer. While the craft beer culture exploded, Nook still felt a void he wanted to fill.
Being a Coloradoan, Nook has an appreciation for the outdoorsy Colorado themes, the bikes and the bluegrass. “It’s just not us”, says his wife Erin Nook.
A former master mechanic, Nook was already of a different mold than the typical brewer. He used his differences, and his experiences, to provide inspiration.
Traveling to renowned beer bars like the Map Room in Chicago and Churchkey in D.C. he saw beer culture that didn’t exist in Fort Collins at the time, even though there was a demand for it. He took insight from places such as this to help create Black Bottle. Still he had the rebellious streak of creating something unique, “something out of place, on purpose”, according to Nook. Fort Collins was his home, and he wanted to bring something new to it.
While striving to create a different dynamic in their brewery, they spent a lot of time and effort to see what is successful in the beer industry. Black Bottle has found a nice formula, what Nook calls a “full concept”, that is going to create success. It is apparent they possess the creativity of the Odell pilot system, sours of New Belgium, innovative food like Gravity 10/20 at Fort Collins Brewery, numerous taps like the many beer bars and a community like Equinox and Funkwerks. They are the embodimentof the Fort Collins beer scene, without being Fort Collins.
Black Bottle Brewery is open 11am-midnight every day. They have a rotating selection of their own beers, and several guest taps, 40 handles in all. In the month they have been open, they have gone through kegs quickly. It is always an impressive list, and no flagship beers will make the cut. While you’re there, swing by the window to see their 7bbl copper kettle down below. They had to take the floor out to fit it in.
Along with a full bar they also have a full kitchen. Make sure you try the food, the sliders and mussels are already favorites. In procuring liquor and food, locally sourced products are a priority for the owners. With the drinks, the food, and the ambiance, Black Bottle Brewery is a place that you can spend several hours with good friends. Look for them to bring new beers, new dishes and new adventures as they get settled into their new brewery.
Learn more about breweries and beer culture in Northern Colorado by visiting Lauren Hoff’s website NapaofBeer.com