Around eight years ago, when A.J. and Darcy Brinckerhoff started brewing small batches of ale in their Denver garage, they were everyone’s favorite neighbor. Distributing bottles to friends and folks in their ’hood, they graduated to a kegerator before someone finally said, “You know, your beer is really good—you should think about doing this professionally.”
They did more than think about it.
In the winter of 2014, the Brinckerhoffs sold their home and moved to Silverthorne, which, until Dillon Dam brewmaster Cory Forster quit and opened Bakers’ Brewery in 2015, lacked a single brewpub. “In Silverthorne, not only did we have more opportunity to open a brewery—towns like Breck and Frisco already had breweries—but we love skiing and the mountain lifestyle,” says A.J., who, after taking an entry-level job at Crazy Mountain in Edwards discovered that the “mountain lifestyle” sometimes means a 44-mile commute over Vail Pass. “After a few months, I thought ‘I must be nuts to be driving in the snow like this every day to deliver kegs.’” From Crazy Mountain, he gravitated to Dillon Dam, then Frisco’s Backcountry Brewery (as assistant, then head brewer) while he and his wife, a CPA, refined a business plan, and settled on a name, Angry James (a play on A.J.’s initials), for their brewery and shopped around for real estate.
In September 2014, the Brinckerhoffs bought a lot in the heart of their hometown’s nascent center, just across from the bus station and the then yet-to-be-built Silverthorne Performing Arts Center, and spent two years revising plans with their architect as they navigated the town’s permitting process, finally breaking ground in August 2016. At press time in early November, with brewing equipment in place, the Brinckerhoffs were tending to final details like taproom lighting, and the tongue-and-groove aspen wood ceiling, anticipating (fingers crossed) an early January opening. Focusing their attention on beer recipes (including two IPAs and a “pre-Prohibition-style pilsner”), a dining menu was shelved, partly a nod to the niche of Bakers’ Brewery, which occupies a former Village Inn chain restaurant on a hilltop above the interstate off-ramp. Forster, Silverthorne’s brewpub pioneer, may be a competitor, but he’s also become a friend. “In this industry, everyone is so supportive of each other—like the proverb ‘a rising tide lifts all boats’ kind of idea,” says A.J. Brinckerhoff. Especially when that proverbial tide is borne on fermented suds.
Angry James Brewing
421 Adams Ave, Silverthorne; 301-551-5433, angryjamesbrewing.com