Because inside the bland exterior facade is an awesome true microbrewery (They brew off a 2.5-barrel system.) that's churning out some of the most impressive German sours in the "Mile-High City."
Baere, which celebrated its one-year anniversary in summer 2015, is celebrating the milestone by offering even more hours of beer enjoyment.
Mashing in at Baere Brewery — Photo courtesy of Dustin Hall / Baere Brewery Company
Baere Brewing Company is the creation of Ryan Skeels and Kevin Greer. The friends – who had around 12 years of collective home-brewing experience between them when they opened – said the idea for Baere had been brewing for a few years.
The dream slowly turned into a reality in the summer of 2013, when the pair began searching for funding in the form of friends and family. By October of that year, they had enough to sign a lease in what Greer calls "our little piece of strip mall heaven on Broadway."
A year after opening, business is booming at Baere, and the place was packed when we visited on a rainy Tuesday night.
While the brewery used to be open only two days a week, they've also recently expanded hours. They're now only closed one day per week.
The interior is made entirely from reclaimed wood, including boxcar floors. And even though the brewery can seat up to 80 people, it still feels cozy, whether you sit at the bar or one of the side tables.
That said, Greer believes the extra business can be a mixed blessing, as Baere's focus is on quality rather than quantity.
"We are trying to move as slowly as possible to maintain quality and our sanity. We started out opening just one day per week and are now open five days," Greer says. "We're focused on maintaining a full tap list at the expense of limited hours. We're getting better at scheduling and understanding our sales, so we hope to start moving forward with expanded hours."
Currently, Baere beer can only be purchased at the brewery, but they're hoping to start moving forward with outside accounts, too, as they get their production up.
Baere is best known for their Big Hoppy Brown and their Baere-liner Weisse, which Greer considers to be their staple beers.
The Baere-liner Weisse is their take on the Berliner Style Weisse from the Germany with the same name. It's a low-alcohol (3.1%), clean and tart sour beer – the perfect summer beer. It's a refreshing drink that can be served in its original, full-strength tartness or sweetened with a few drops of flavored syrup.
"Our version incorporates our house mix of lactobacillus (both wild and lab isolated) to give it a subtle, rustic character," Greer says. "I can't speak for all of Berlin, but we understand that they generally serve Berliner Weisse mit schuss or 'with syrup' to balance out the tartness."
The syrups are made in house, and they're absolutely delicious. When a few drops are added to the beer, it creates a hint of sweetness in a sea of sour.
There are usually three or four syrups to choose from, including the traditional woodruff and raspberry and the house specialty syrup made from grapefruit and hops.
Big Hoppy Brown is exactly that: a high-alcohol (8.8%) and generously hopped (50 IBU) brown ale.
"It's not as sweet as American Brown Ale or as hoppy as a double IPA, and it just doesn't fit very well into a category. We love it fresh, but we also age it in freshly dumped bourbon barrels from Laws Whiskey House for a special treat we call Barrel Hoppy Brown," Greer says. "We recently picked up a Secale Rye Whiskey Barrel from Laws, where we are aging a rye-heavy version of Big Hoppy Brown. This beer has proven to be very versatile, and we can't help but play around with different versions."
Beyond their staple beers, Baere usually has some 10 beers on tap. These often rotate, but they usually include at least one IPA, a stout and some barrel-aged selections, too.