Untapped: The Story Behind Angry James Brewery
Published January 17, 2018
It’s just weeks away from opening, and it seems like the entire town of Silverthorne is abuzz as it waits for the highly anticipated Angry James Brewery to tap its first keg. The Silverthorne Pulse thought it was the perfect time to connect with owner and brewmaster, AJ Brinkerhoff, to learn more about the vision for the area’s newest watering hole, and to ask the burning question that has been on everyone’s mind: Who is James? And, why is he so angry?
The answer, Brinkerhoff laughed, isn’t that mysterious. James is his (Andrew James) middle name, and while he’s not angry, he says he can get a little feisty sometimes. Jim Rinke, AJ’s co-brewmaster, isn’t angry either. The name, he said, is just a fun name meant to get people’s attention and to get them excited about the brews they are pouring. So, we have two James’, and neither of them is angry.
What can people expect when Angry James opens its doors at the end of January? Brinkerhoff says folks will enjoy a small, community-oriented brewery and tap room with a seven-barrel system showcasing a variety of American and internationally inspired beers. The neighborhood brewery will promote “drink local,” and will feature four main brews along with four to five seasonal brews that challenge the status quo and cannot be widely found in other Summit County breweries. He anticipates the menu changing from month-to-month because, well, James isn’t easily satisfied and tends to get a little moody.
Off-the-bat, Angry James will be pouring a Norwegian Farmhouse Ale, a big beer, similar to Belgian Farmhouse or Saison, but with a different flavor profile including some lemon and spicy characteristics, and at an 8.5% ABV. They will also be offering an American Style IPA and a hop-forward American Style Brown Ale. The brewing team at Angry James is currently working on a German-style Weiss Beer with vanilla, clove and banana, and will be creating a few additional surprise seasonal offerings.
The brewery itself will have a Colorado mountain feel with a Scandinavian twist, which Brinkerhoff described as, “like a nice cabin,” featuring lots of wood and natural light. Guests will have a good view of Keystone Mountain through the garage doors, and out back there is a German-style beer garden and patio with a fire pit. Upon opening, Angry James will offer limited snacks with plans to expand food offerings in the future.
What inspired the brewery? Brinkerhoff said he and his wife, Darcy, started as avid home brewers in their garage in Denver about eight years ago. They loved gathering with friends and family there to enjoy their beers, hang out and share stories, and thought opening a brewery would be a great way to do it more often. They started looking at space in Denver but it was cost prohibitive. Plus, they were spending nearly every weekend in Summit County at that time, hoping to make the transition to the area. A friend introduced them to Silverthorne and Brinkerhoff said they immediately fell in love with the town, the people and the pace. Serendipitously, the lot across from Mountain Lion Café was for sale, and after meeting with Town Manager Ryan Hyland, who was extremely supportive of the project, they quit their jobs, moved to Silverthorne and decided to give it a-go. Three years, and lots of curveballs later, they are excited to be opening Angry James, and to be part of the Silverthorne community.
“This is such an exciting time in Silverthorne,” said Brinkerhoff. “The new ideas, the new development, there is a lot of motivation right now to do it, and to do a good job. Plus, the Town and the community have been super supportive and collaborative. We can’t wait to open our doors.”