10 Barrel Brewing Co. makes its official Denver debut this weekend

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10 Barrel Brewing brewmaster Kay Witkiewicz (left), Praytell Agency strategist Maggie Stankaitis and Blucifer, a small-batch brew in a pint glass. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)  beer; brewery; denver; colorado; denverite; 10 barrel brewing; rino; five points; kevinjbeaty; food;

10 Barrel Brewing brewmaster Kay Witkiewicz (left), Praytell Agency strategist Maggie Stankaitis and Blucifer, a small-batch brew in a pint glass. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Oregon brewery 10 Barrel Brewing Co. has been doing business at 26th and Walnut streets since its soft opening in the fall of last year, but with a full-time head brewer now onboard and settling in, its ready for a grand opening.

Maybe you’ve already popped into 10 Barrel if it caught your attention from across the street at Park Burger, Osaka Ramen, Sweet Leaf and Voicebox. The soft opening was on Oct. 17, about a week after Great American Beer Festival, where 10 Barrel took home a gold medal for its P2P American-style stout.

Since then, the brewery has been on a hunt for a brewer to head up its Denver operation. They finally found the right guy in Boulder.

10 Barrel Brewing brewmaster Kay Witkiewicz poses in among the tools of his trade. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)  beer; brewery; denver; colorado; denverite; 10 barrel brewing; rino; five points; kevinjbeaty; food;

10 Barrel Brewing brewmaster Kay Witkiewicz poses in among the tools of his trade. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Kay Witkiewicz was the head brewer at Twisted Pine Brewing Co. for about three of his four and a half years there before 10 Barrel lured him out to Denver. It’s a step up in scale, coming from Twisted Pine’s 15-barrel system to 10 Barrel’s 20 barrels.

Witkiewicz is only in his first week there, but it won’t be long before he puts the system to good use.

“I’m feeling things out right now, but I obviously have some recipes in mind that I want to brew,” he said. “I want to do a tropical pale ale with rye next, and we have this awesome barrel-aging room with a bunch of empty barrels that need some love, so I’m definitely going to do a lot of barrel aging and hopefully turn something out in a couple of months here.”

“I like to have a lot of fun with beers and I think something that’s important to me about a pub setting is, you know, you want to hang around and have a beer with a couple of your buddies, so you gotta brew some session beers,” he added, “and that’s something I really look forward to bringing to the table. I love session IPAs, pale ales and lower-ABV stuff.”

Benny Shirley (right) and John Hefter serve beers at 10 Barrel Brewing, Walnut and 27th Streets. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)  beer; brewery; denver; colorado; denverite; 10 barrel brewing; rino; five points; kevinjbeaty; food;

Benny Shirley (right) and John Hefter serve beers at 10 Barrel Brewing, Walnut and 26th streets. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

That attitude suites 10 Barrel’s founding philosophy, which is to brew beer, drink beer and have fun doing it.

10 Barrel got started in 2006 in Bend, Oregon, where Garrett Wales and twin brothers Chris and Jeremy Cox decided to open a brewery. They first opened as Wildfire Brewing and only sold beer at their bar, but as their beer grew in popularity, they began expanding. By 2009, it was 10 Barrel Brewing Co. and the beer had won a medal at Great American Beer Festival.

In 2014, they partnered with Anheuser-Busch and The High End. They’ve since opened brewpubs in Boise, Portland, San Diego and Denver, and maintained their philosophy.

“Just kind of get people around a table and chat and have a good time, drink some great beer,” Witkiewicz said of his goals. “That’s kind of my main thing. I want people to come to 10 barrel and say man we had a great time. Great food, great beer, great people.”

10 Barrel Brewing's Denver location head chef Kiel Ard in the kitchen. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)  beer; brewery; denver; colorado; denverite; 10 barrel brewing; rino; five points; kevinjbeaty; food;

10 Barrel Brewing's Denver location head chef Kiel Ard in the kitchen. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

10 Barrel is pulling out all the stops for Saturday’s grand opening block party. They’ll shut down Walnut Street between 26th and 27th streets, and they’re bringing in their own rail jam truck and some quality live music in the form of Dragondeer, Brent Cowles and Rapidgrass. They’ll also have giveaways, including a raffle that will benefit Big City Mountaineers, a Golden-based nonprofit that mentors under-served youth through wilderness expeditions.

The party is free, open to all ages and runs from 4 to 10 p.m.

Weird note: It’s not on tap, but if you like cucumber drinks and sour beers, I highly recommend you get yourself a six-pack of 10 Barrel’s Cucumber Crush.