Part of the media package at the Great American Beer Festival is a tour organized by Visit Denver, the tourism board for the city. After the media luncheon on Friday morning, dozens of journalists and bloggers piled onto two buses to check out a few of the newer craft breweries in town. The first brewery on our tour was your typical neighborhood spot, pouring a wide variety of mostly average beers for a roomful of local beer geeks.
Our second stop however was Factotum Brewhouse in the Sunnyside neighborhood of Denver. As we pulled up to my brewery I looked out my window to find us right in the middle of a residential neighborhood – houses everywhere. Its definitely an odd place to find a brewery, especially coming from a place like Los Angeles, but its totally fitting considering the concept behind Factotum. Founded by a brother and sister team, Factotum’s goals are to teach the community how to brew and help show off the Denver’s roster of homebrewers by scaling up their batches and presenting them to the world.
The idea behind Factotum is simple: for a fee, a homebrewer (or an average joe off the street) can develop a recipe at Factotum and brew alongside their brewers. Factotum provides you with a keg of the beer to take home, a generous tab at the bar and hosts a tapping party for when your beer is ready for the world. It’s a simple concept that really speaks well of the Denver brewing community – there’s world class beer all over the city, but Factotum is a place that wants to help find the next great brewer.
The space is comfortable and community-oriented, with a huge variety of beers available for drinking. Oddly enough, Factotum didn’t appear to have a core lineup of beers that they consistently brew themselves, which, in my mind is a bit of a misstep. I’m all for allowing the community to help brew, but a brewery should always have 3-4 styles that they do consistently and do well. Otherwise the quality of whats on tap is hugely dependent on the homebrewer coming through the doors with a recipe in hand.
Lucky for us, there were a few great options on tap – including their GABF Pro-Am entry: a light and crisp kolsch-style ale that was a beautiful representation of the style. While a few of the other options were a bit forgettable, a kolsch this tasty showcases that Factotum has a real handle on their process and there’s potential for their homebrewer co-operative to really take off.