New Brewery Series: Red Leg Brewing
Want a sneak peek at the largest local brewery start-up coming to the Pikes Peak Region? We visited a couple local breweries-in-planning about a week ago. We wrote about Ute Pass and we’ve got a couple more to highlight as part of our New Brewery Series. Today we’re focusing in on the biggest and perhaps most ambitious upcoming operation, Red Leg Brewing. In the coming months, Red Leg will open up a decent sized production brewery just a mile or so down the road from Trinity Brewing, and not far at all from Great Storm Brewing. This trifecta of craft beer goodness has been named “The Beermuda Triangle.”
Red Leg’s branding and identity will focus on the military. Founder Todd Baldwin and brewer Jeff Lockhart have both served in the military and everything that happens at Red Leg will have a military-based theme. The five mainline beers will be geared toward each branch of the military. For example one beer will be named after James Doolittle, an aviation pioneer during WWII. The Devil Dog Rye Stout references the Marine Corps. We were able to sample some of this beer, made on a small pilot system batch, and it was tasty, with some added spice from the rye. We also sampled the Witbier, which also is going to be a good addition to the lineup.
The warehouse space that will soon hold a 15bbl brewery and four 30bbl fermenters currently feels very large. Perhaps that will change when the equipment arrives, but the space is 5,000 square feet so it’s certainly spacious! Instead of starting small like many of the newest breweries do, Red Leg is jumping head first into reasonably fair-sized production. I am really curious to see how this works out, I’ve often thought that many breweries have started too small and then must work quickly to try and catch up. The way things are going I imagine they’re going to do just fine and I bet they’ll be happy they started large. To put things in perspective, Bristol Brewing has been running off a 15bbl brewhouse for years now, although they’re finally about to upgrade to a 32bbl brewery. So yes, this is an ambitious scale. Brewer Jeff Lockhart is confident that this start-up size is the right thing. He helped start Ouray Brewing in 2010 and he has also brewed at Sweetwater in Atlanta and Shamrock Brewing in Pueblo, so he has some good experience behind him. And with the brewery’s focus on the military, and the Wounded Warrior project they’re starting up to provide charity money to family readiness groups, they’re bound to attract some attention in Colorado Springs.
We spent a little time in what will soon be the brewery’s taproom. We’re looking at about 50 seats with a good sized bar and a military based mural on the southern wall. There’s an upstairs area called the “Hail and Farewell Room” that will have different functions, but will be a good place to host a party and play some pub games. From this room you’ll be able to overlook the production area of the brewery and if all goes as planned there will be a catwalk going right over the fermenters and eventually an upstairs outdoor patio looking over adjacent buildings to the majestic Pikes Peak.
We were able to fire off a couple questions to Todd, here’s a brief interview we conducted over email:
How did the name Red Leg Brewing come into existence?
The name Red Leg is a term that is used in the US Army to describe a person who is in the artillery branch. The name dates back to the Civil War when commanders made artillery soldiers wear a red stripe down their pant leg to denote them on the battlefield. I was an artillery officer during my time, so I thought it’d be a good name for our company.
We are a craft brewery that is proud of our service and time in the military. We want to be able to make craft beers that honor those people who have sacrificed for the country. Our beers are designed from a certain era in time when soldiers were over seas or in the US. We will also have five beers in production that have a unique name that each branch of the military can recognize with. We will do seasonal brews as well and we would like to have different military units compete for this. We will name the beer after the winning unit and donate part of the proceeds to the family readiness groups when they are away.
The brewery would like to be known as the craft beer of the military as well as an outstanding craft brewery where anyone can enjoy our different brews.
Who are the people behind Red Leg and what sorts of things have you done previous to Red Leg Brewing?
There are three of us right now. Todd Baldwin, founder and president. My background was in the US Army and I spent a few years in IT sales. I’ve been an avid home brewer and wanted to find a career where I could honor the military and pursue a passion.
Jeff Lockhart is our head brewer with over 10 years of professional beer production experience. He has worked at Sweet Water in Atlanta, Ouray Brewing Company and recently at Shamrock in Pueblo. Jeff spent 4 years in the US Army as a helicopter mechanic. He is an outstanding addition to the Red Leg Team.
Michael Acerra is our most recent addition. He will serve as an assistant brewer and quality assurance. He is an avid brewer with experience in marketing.
What kinds of beers can we expect from Red Leg?
People can expect a wide variety of brews from us ranging from and IPA, Stout, Amber, Brown ale, pilsner, Witt, and Belgians.
What are some of your favorite breweries that you look up to, or that you gain inspiration from?
Breweries that I’ve looked up to our Great Divide, Prost, Ommegang, and all of the other Springs Breweries.
It sounds like if all goes as planned, Red Leg will be open for business sometime in July or August. They’ll start canning their beers so we’ll see them in liquor stores by mid-late summer. They’re also kegging beer so we should see those across town too.
We appreciate the time the guys at Red Leg took out of their day to meet up with us and we’re excited to see their progress throughout the spring and summer. Start looking for their beer soon, and we’ll keep you posted on any opening dates that we here about.