This is how Cory Forster, cofounder and brewmaster at the Bakers’ Brewery in Silverthorne, describes his approach to brewing beer: “Kind of what I’m doing is making 500 gallons of soup.” He means that in the most delicious way.
Part scientist, part flavor ascetic, part whimsical palate pleaser, Forster enjoys stirring the pot, sometimes mixing as many as 40 different ingredients into a single batch. Favored past ingredients have included honeydew melon, spruce tips, chai tea bags, rose petals soaked in vodka, vanilla beans, and white oak soaked in chardonnay.
“I’m pretty much all over the place,” says Forster, who previously worked as the award-winning brewmaster at Dillon Dam Brewery in Dillon and Wolf Rock in Keystone. “I’m willing to experiment.”
Thankfully, the same can be said for his cofounder, Stephanie Sadler, a former Breckenridge art gallery owner who worked with Forster at the Dillon Dam and is a talented home brewer herself. When the duo opened Bakers’ this past spring, they introduced the area to a relatively rare hybrid: a brewery that is also a bakery. Who knew there was a market for sourdough and saison under one roof?
With its debut, Bakers’ becomes Summit’s sixth brewery and the only brewpub located in Silverthorne. Perched above Highway 9 in the old Village Inn building (which they renovated, thankfully), the space affords sprawling views of Buffalo Mountain and the southern Gore Range from its vaulted dining-room windows. From its bakery side, the menu naturally features a full line of house-baked bread (including Rye and Ale bread, using spent grain from the brewing process) and 10 specialties for breakfast, not least Forster’s signature Brewrito: a wrap of scrambled eggs, pintos, sausage, and pan-fried potatoes smothered in veggie green chili (served Friday through Sunday). And in tune with its brewery side, the restaurant serves ale-friendly lunch and dinner, with standouts like a zesty gulf shrimp ceviche and the Meltdown, a roast beef-and-gouda sandwich on grilled house-baked jalapeño cheddar sourdough.
As good as the grub may be, the brewery may well outshine the bakery. Forster unveiled his four signature brews in early June, a list that will be complemented by seasonal beers offered in small batches. The initial permanent lineup (issuing forth from the brewery’s rolling-pin taps) consists of Barking Dog Brown Ale, which is less intense than an English brown but still packs plenty of chocolate-malt flavor; Cotton-Mouth Killer Session Ale, defined by smooth citrus hops; Buzz-Bird Belgian Honey Wheat, probably the easiest to drink of the four, whose honey infusion is subtle; and French Silk Stout, with chocolate and coffee flavors balancing each other to the finish. As a teaser of his seasonal offerings, Forster promises a mango-ginger saison as well as a Belgian rye pale ale in the future.
None of the four stalwart beers exceeds six percent alcohol by volume, somewhat rare for a craft brewery in Colorado. It was a conscious decision. “I want these four to be gentle-introduction beers for people who have never had microbrew before,” Forster says, adding that he will still offer “beer-geek beers” via small batches. “My goal is to grow the industry and set people on the path to microbrew.” And if they happen to enjoy fresh-baked bread with their pint, ideally made with the grain that fortified Forster’s brew “soup,” so much the better.