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.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

TTB Federal Brewer's Notice Approval...

Damn! The TTB (Alcohol and Tobacco Tax & Trade Bureau) got fast! We had heard that with the current renaissance, or full-on gold rush, of new breweries applying for their federal license that it could take months to receive the notice. Scratch that - online submission = 5 week turnaround! Now we just have to get our State Manufacturer's License (which has been applied for and the state is reviewing it), along with a hundred and ten thousand tasks around the brewery completed, and we might yet open this little brewery! Woohoo!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Latest Tasting Room Addition...

For some time now, we have been searching for barn wood for the tasting room. Old, authentic, rustic barn wood to create a warm, inviting space with some modern/industrial accents. We looked at craigslist, we scoured RiNo, and pursued several other leads that didn't pan out. We knew that Lynn and Vicky Holstad (Carissa's wonderful parents) had quite a bit of barn wood that they had been saving for a project at their home in Westcliffe. This wood had been salvaged from several sites around the valley and held pretty significant sentimental value to Vicky and Lynn. Recently, we heard that the project may not happen and that this pile of barn wood may be available to us. Aaron had been pushing Lynn to allow us to use the wood at BSB, and recently Lynn finally said ok. 

Wasting no time, Aaron lined up a trailer from his friend Dave Duffy and he and Chad made the journey to Westcliffe to pick it all up. They left at 5:00 am and drove straight into a snow and rain storm. Because of the bitter cold, the windshield was icing up and neither of them could see the road very well. Chad was bent forward driving 70 miles an hour, hauling ass to make the round trip in a day, seeing the lines in the road through a 2 inch square that hadn't frozen. When they hit Hard Scrabble, the storm lifted and the sky cleared, revealing a beautiful blue sky and snow-frosted pine trees. They made it safely to Westcliffe and in a matter of hours, grabbed every single piece of barn wood that Lynn and Vicky would let them take. They loaded the trailer, strapped it down, and hauled ass back to Denver to get the wood inside the brewery. We can't thank Lynn and Vicky Holstad enough for the beautiful wood and we look so forward to seeing the space come together as we have envisioned in our heads. It's gonna be an incredible space to drink Red Ale, listen to great music, and enjoy the company of great friends. Thank you so much guys! We love you!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Late 2011, Early 2012

WOW! Has it really been two months since the last update? How time flies sometimes, huh? To say the last two months has been magical and spectacular would be a huge understatement.First, our family has grown quite tremendously in the past few months. Our little sister and her man welcomed their daughter into the world in late November, and she is an absolute angel sent from the heavens. Seeing our little sister so happy and watching her transition into a momma has been surreal, heartwarming, and completely overwhelming. She has the delicate touch and the firm grip that it takes to be a great mother, and it so exciting and inspiring to watch! Couple that with the most patient, understanding, and intelligent father and our little niece has quite the pair of parents to teach and guide her into the world. I am sure that her sweetness and love will repay them many, many times in the coming years!

Fast forward to one of the biggest blizzards to hit Denver in some time, Thursday, Feb 2nd, and another brilliant light shined down on us all. Chad and Carissa welcomed their first son into the world in the middle of the snow and wind and craziness (safe and warm in a hospital, just to clarify). Their son, my nephew, is nothing short of a phenom in his first week of life. He is so unbelievably ambitious and anxious to show the world that he has great things in store for it. To make the connection between his personality and that of his parents is way too easy and obvious. He truly is a reflection in all the best ways! And to see the transition that Carissa and Chad have made in literally hours is so ridiculously awesome! What amazing parents. 

The brewery you ask? What's going on with the brewery? Well, the plumbing is in and waiting for inspection. The entryway was torn down as we finally realized that our attempts to salvage it just weren't going to be enough. In hindsight, that room should have come down a long time ago. We salvaged all of the 2x4s from the room and will use them to frame in the bar and possibly some other cool projects that are in the works. Reduce, reuse, recycle! We have one of our old comrades back in our good graces, as Voss Family Farms has agreed to allow BSB to use his hops almost exclusively this year. We met Andrew years ago through a connection I made at the restaurant and we used his dried and also wet hops. The wet hops didn't work as well as I would have wanted back then, but it was only because I didn't know how to utilize them at the time. Anyway, after a short hiatus, his beautiful hops will again grace our kettle and dry hop bags! Look out! After firing our old architect and hiring a new one that we found through our friend Scott Witsoe at Wit's End Brewing, we were finally able to kick the city's ass in to shape and get them on board with our project. What a great ally and pusher we found in Ryan Holtmann of Design Studio Architects. In addition, we have been building the steam boiler that will fire our boil kettle; we have purchased garage doors for the front of the building that will change it's appearance dramatically; we are working on a new front door that will bring the whole project together; we have been filming with Free Mind Productions on their follow up film to Beer Culture; we have submitted our application to the TTB for their review; we have also submitted our Manufacturer's License application to the State for their review. TONS and TONS and TONS! I am out of breath just thinking about it! 

This is an exciting time for all of us. We have found such amazing beauty in so many ways. We fill accomplishment, amazement, and excitement like never before. We have laughed and we have definitely cried. We hope for more of the same as we continue to push to make our dream a reality. We hope your heart is warm and that the new year is bringing you all the best of things too! 

Cheers, Chad, Branden, and Carissa