About Black Shirt Brewing Co

Black Shirt Brewing Co is a progressive, artisanal brewery located in the RiNo Art District in Denver, CO. The brewery was founded by brothers Chad and Branden Miller and Chad's wife Carissa. Our focus is on creating unique, assertive, vibrant, complex, and ultimately perfectly-balanced beer. We do everything by hand, in small batches. No gimmicks. No bull shit.

Genuine. Passionate. Soulful. Authentic. Beer.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The latest...

Well, finally we signed a lease. A 10 year lease to be exact! If you have been reading along or have been in on any of the conversations, you would know how long and hard this process has been. We have been in atleast 100 buildings, nearly signed a lease on several, and found ourselves picking up and moving on from each of these for a variety of reasons. Either the landlord was a crazy son-of-a-bitch, or the property manager wouldn't allow us to vent our equipment (sounds safe, right?), the zoning wasn't right, or the buildout would have cost us a 100 grand.

Everyone keeps asking if every microbrewery has gone through this same lengthy process and, without knowing anyone personally, I can only assume they have. Or they started with more money than we have and could make situations work for them that just wouldn't work for us. All I know is that we have signed away the next ten years and we are gonna make a hell of a run at opening Black Shirt Brewing Co.

For now, we are keeping the location under wraps. Just know that it is a fucking piece of shit building in a rough part of town. It needs a lot of work. We need a lot of money to do this work. But the zoning is right and the landlord is easy to deal with - "you guys uh need a knock a wall down or sumpin, fuckin do it, you know? Shit, I don' need a know!" So, we will be updating the blog soon with more details and pictures and hope to keep updating through the processes of permitting, construction, licensing, inspections, and, maybe... just maybe... the day we finally open this artisanal brewery up.

From all of us at Black Shirt Brewing Co - Happy Holidays and Happy New Year! We hope 2011 is filled with laughter and excitement, challenges and accomplishments, love and kisses, and joy and fulfillment!

A preview:

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Holiday Gifts

Hopefully your Thanksgiving was a blast, and filled with delicious food, laughter, friends, and something tasty to wash it all down. Now that you have the dishes finally cleaned, returned to their rightful owners, and have eaten all that leftover turkey, your attention is probably turning to the upcoming Holiday - Christmas!

Well if you would like to avoid the crazy bastards at the shopping mall, the long lines, and the frustration of a new door ding from the nimrod in the parking lot, check out what Black Shirt Brewing Co has to offer:

Men's Organic Anvil T-Shirt - $18 - Available in Large and XL

Women's Bella - $25 - Available in Medium, Large, and XL

Women's V-Neck - $20 - Available in Large and XL

BSB Swag Packs - $5 - Includes stickers, postcard, bookmark

To Order, Please email us - info@blackshirtbrewingco.com or come by Rancho Relaxo.

Note: Shipping not included in above pricing. We accept cash and check. No credit cards yet.

Another Note: Your purchase helps fund our brewery and take it from concept to reality. We cannot thank you enough for your support. Happy Holidays and Cheers!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


It's an unfortunate truth that we have found in starting Black Shirt Brewing Co that systems are in place in this country to keep the little guy from grabbing his piece of the pie. Whether it be landlords who, even in a time of recession and staggering vacancy, are afraid to give a new business a chance; or SBA who won't loan money to a startup company; or the Zoning and Planning administration that doesn't know how to read its own code, new businesses in America face a number of seemingly unsurmountable obstacles.

Even if a startup brewery can muster the strength to make it through all of these obstacles, (and keep in mind I haven't even touched on Permits, Licensing, Approvals, Inspections, etc) then we get to deal with INBEV and MillerMolsonCoors starving us out for position on the liquor store shelves. The latest disappointment in our "free market" comes from a new bill being introduced by Congress (and backed by big money distribution companies) that would put the power of deciding shipping laws of alcohol back in the State's hands. Instead of opening it up and allowing an interested consumer the ability to purchase our beer, these laws stand in the way. We can't just ship a bottle of beer to our friends in Reno because, oh no, it's illegal. Come on, damn it. Here we are in the midst of an unbelievably horrible recession, and we want to put up more walls?! Here is the article that fueled this morning's frustration:

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

It's Snowing Outside!

Finally, winter has come here in Denver. In all honesty, we are expecting a fairly mild one due to La Nina, which favors the northern part of the country and, historically, leaves us a little high and dry. Well, we will just have to wait and see. In the meantime, when it does snow I love to close the garage doors and warm up with some coffee and catch up on some reading. Hope you are staying warm as well!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Brew Masters (& BSB) on Discovery Channel

One of the most creative and exciting guys in the beer world and someone we look up to, Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head Brewery, has a show on Discovery Channel starting Sunday Nov 21st, 2010. We were honored to find our brewery's logo on one of the previews yesterday. In fact, Chad was screaming out loud and I was giggling like a little schoolboy! For a tiny brewing company like ours, to get this sort of a spotlight is just unbelievable. We certainly have a great group of loyal fans here in CO but this will possibly create more across the country and even expose our brewery to an industry where we are still unheard of! We couldn't be more thrilled.
Please take a minute and check it out:

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Happy Halloween!

We are gearing up for Halloween here at BLACK SHIRT BREWING CO by cutting some pumpkins and prepping our costumes. The weather here in Centennial has been crazy lately – lows in the upper 20s and highs in the 40s - old man Winter is just around the corner. In fact, last week saw the opening of both Loveland and Arapahoe Basin Ski Areas, better get the boards in for a tune and wax.

Chad and Carissa also arrived back in CO after spending some much needed and well-deserved time in CA. They brought back some fantastic beers and even better stories from breweries all over Southern and Central CA. Carissa even caught a shark on a crazy, last-minute, grab your shit lets go deep-sea fishing trip! Somehow, after the whirlwind vacation, they came back rested, inspired, and really motivated (aside from Carissa’s head cold).

First things first, our Architect is missing and assumed dead. We haven’t filed a report yet, but our guess is he got caught on the wrong side of a mob dealing. Additionally, we acquired some new equipment that made our scale too large for the building we have spent three months trying to get into (still a ridiculously small-scale, in case you were scared that we were no longer artisanal in size). We have taken it as a sign that we were never supposed to be in that space, and have decided to keep looking at other options. Again, BLACK SHIRT BREWING CO is without a home. We aren’t super happy to be starting again from what seems like scratch, but we must keep our heads high and persevere. The right space will find us and we are comforted in knowing that.

Happy Halloween from the entire crew at BLACK SHIRT BREWING CO, we hope it is safe and fun! Stay warm! Drink good beer!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

BSB update|10-6-10

As of this morning, Chad and Carissa are enjoying their honeymoon in CA, currently sitting on a beach or in a restaurant in Mission Beach, San Diego. It is raining and has been since they flew in yesterday; however, the sun is on its way and the temps are going to rise steadily for the next few days. Back here in CO, Branden is well-rested after a whirlwind couple of weeks and is ready to put the focus back on BSB.

We are currently working with our architect Doug, the City of Centennial, and South Metro Fire Dept on a facility that we would like to turn into a BSB brewing facility. Our architect is drafting the site plan, reviewing codes and regulations to ensure that this facility will meet our needs and be compliant with every requirement. This location is close to Rancho Relaxo in Centennial and would allow us to brew and sell our beer wholesale. This facility does come with a major drawback – we wouldn’t be able to be open to the public. No tap room, no tastings, nothing. It would basically serve as our private workshop to make beer and get it out to the retail establishments and fine restaurants that we are focused on.

As of today, we are waiting on our architect to send us the appropriate drawings and forms stating that we are compliant with the city, then, we will forward that along to the city and wait for inspections. Once the inspections have been completed, we will know how to proceed. After we have signed the lease and begin moving in, we can submit our liquor license applications and our TTB application. The liquor license could take anywhere from 3-12 months, and we won’t be able to put beer out to the market until we have acquired that license.

So, for those who are eager to purchase our beer, we appreciate your patience and understanding. We are working as hard as we can to get the beer to market. Nothing is moving as fast as we would like, and everywhere we turn is another obstacle to overcome. But rest assured, we won’t stop until your glass is full of BSB!


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Black Shirt Story On The Radio

BSB on the radio! Originally aired 9/6/10.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

2010 Red Ale

Some of you have had the chance to taste, some have not. To those less fortunate, we thank you for your patience. We are working as hard and fast as we can to get BSB from its concept stage into reality. Things are happening, we assure you.

Branden has been working hard on getting the website up and running, and this includes taking pictures of our tasty beer. He had to share one with you! Have a great afternoon!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Eating Well

As Anthelme Brillat-Savarin wrote in 1826, "Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are." The quality of the food you eat relates directly to the quality of your state of mind, and in turn, your health and well being. If your diet consists entirely of PBR and hot dogs, you may not be feeling as well as you could.

We encourage anyone with enough time and ambition to garden, and for those who don't, to purchase a CSA from a local farm. Get to know your food, where it comes from, and who grows it. You just might discover a whole world that you didn't know existed before. A world filled with enthusiasm and passion, creativity and curiosity. And we encourage you to wash it all down with a beer that mirrors this same level of ambition, awareness, involvement, and passion. Cheers, BSB

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Style and Personality

"We are not trying to race down the hill to see who can go the fastest. We are trying to make the most of the terrain. There are so many approaches to the same line, and how you decide to express yourself on a slope reflects your style and personality." - Taro Tamai (Gentemstick Snowsurf Founder and legendary Japanese shaper, snowboarder, and filmmaker)
This quote can be used purely for the matter it was written for, snowboarding, or it can be translated to the very basis of life itself. I first came across this piece while watching an amazing and passion-filled snowsports film made by Boulder-based Sweetgrass Productions. Taro had such a connected and grounded approach to snow and the earth and his conviction for the purity of it all blew my mind. I had never thought about snowboarding in such a deep way. I came away with a newfound love and respect for the sport and for nature and how the two were so deeply intertwined.
Taro's vision applies to beer as well. We can make pasteurized, homogenized, thoughtless, heartless beer for the masses in the name of making a buck, or we can devote our life to the commitment of creating beer filled with passion, emotion, character, and style. Here at Black Shirt Brewing Co, we have chosen the latter. In fact, we have no choice in the matter, it's just who we are. Inspired and inspiring.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

BSB Goes To Costa Rica

Ok, maybe we didn't go to Costa Rica, but our shirt made it there courtesy of our good friends Casey and Ashley. Check it! Thanks guys!
Please Note: Beth Merfeld, our wonderful friend and kickass photographer, gave the photo its BSB feel. Thanks Beth!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Black Shirt Brewing Co In The News...

We recently had the pleasure of entertaining Larry and Darlene Smith. These two are very into craft beer, they are very well versed on the great beers of the world, and they enjoy seeking out obscure and new breweries. We had a great time talking about our beer, our company, and their various travels over the past twenty years. Afterward, Darlene wrote a beautiful article about us for Associated Content - please check it out!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Noble Swine Supper Club Dinner

A few more pics from the lovely Noble Swine Supper Club Dinner on June 22, 2010.

Just before guests arrive, the table is set, the silverware polished, and a zen-like calm oozes through the room for a moment. Then all hell breaks loose for four hours!
Discussing last-minute details before we finally open the door to the hungry and thirsty crowd.

Pictures courtesy of Noble Swine Supper Club

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

BSB | Noble Swine Supper Club | Crema Coffeehouse

We were given the pleasure of teaming up with our friends at Noble Swine Supper Club @ Crema Coffeehouse for a private, 6-course paired meal for 25 people. We poured our Late-Hopped Red Ale alongside a corned beef tongue steam bun with kimchi. This particular pairing was a home run - the subtle funky gamey flavor of the tongue played well with the roasted malt in the beer, and the spice from the kimchi was cooled by a ton of refreshing citrusy hops. You literally couldn't have one without the other. Thanks to everyone who made it out.

The beautiful setting for a wonderful evening. We highly recommend Crema Coffeehouse for your next mid-afternoon pick-me-up.

Outside looking in. The conversation and laughter was literally erupting out of this little space.

Sparklers provided one last bit of entertainment before the warmth of our sheets and the comfort of our pillow pursuaded our departure

The BSB crew was pouring beer, running food, bussing tables, and, you know it, rockin the dish pit!

Monday, June 21, 2010


It takes the best ingredients to produce the best beer. Shown below are just a couple of the ingredients that make our Late-Hopped Red Ale so intriguing, complex, vibrant, and delicious. We are currently purchasing our base malt from a malting company here in Colorado in an effort to produce beer that really showcases what Colorado has to offer. In the future we would love to purchase Colorado-grown hops to compliment the Colorado grown and malted barley and to give our beer a true sense of place. The hop industry in Colorado is in its infancy, but hopefully with an increase in demand, more farmers will see the potential and begin to grow more hops to satisfy our needs. Here's to hoping!

Whole leaf hops used to dry-hop our beer. This allows us to produce beer with amazing flavor and aroma without being too bitter.

Malted barley that gives our beer its wonderful color, texture, mouthfeel, and flavor.

Malted and roasted barley that lends a nice bitter edge and compliments the sweetness of the other malts.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Carving out our niche in a very competitive market…

It’s not enough to brew great beer, package it, and expect to be highly successful in today’s beer world – you have to find a way to stand out. By now you have probably heard one word that we use constantly to describe our company to people who are interested – swagger. It is the best way to describe the feeling we have, and the feeling we hope to give to consumers. It’s a feeling of rebellion, of attitude, of being a badass! When someone buys our product, we want them to feel like they were just accepted into the VIP room at the club – they are now a bandit, an outlaw, a gangster.

And what are we all rebelling against? The mundane, boring sameness that is so present in our society; cookie-cutter houses with white picket fences, light lager, chain restaurants, generic and kitschy products, lives lived without excitement and fulfillment. We are a company that prides itself on a genuine authenticity and a desire to appeal to the inspired and inspiring, and we plan to market our products in a way that draws this crowd in. We are going to package our products in a different format than is traditionally done in America. Instead of “dumbing down” the beer like so many companies are currently doing, we plan to use packaging that gives the products class and style, while maintaining its image of attitude and swagger. This will allow our beer to be enjoyed at venues normally reserved for fermented grape juice, at restaurants whose focus is on pairing amazing food with amazing drink, and to be enjoyed by people who seek out the finer things in life without having a false sense of pretension and arrogance. We are dedicated and hell-bent on making a sustainable and relevant company, and believe our strategy will allow us to do so.

Friday, February 26, 2010

What is an artisan?

An artisan (from Italian: artigiano) is a skilled manual worker who crafts items that may be functional or strictly decorative, including furniture, clothing, jewelry, household items, and tools. The term can also be used as an adjective to refer to the craft of hand making food products, such as bread, beverages, and cheese.

Artisans employ creative thinking and manual dexterity to produce their goods.

Black Shirt Brewing Co utilizes hand-crafted, small-batch artisanal methods to produce stunningly balanced and delicious beer. These beers are assertive and complex, yet clean and refreshing. After all, the beers must pair well with food if we are to achieve our mission of replacing wine on the dinner table.