Soulcraft Brewing

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Music Puts the Soul in Soulcraft

In Colorado’s crazy-competitive craft beer climate, what makes the difference between soaring success and sorry, we’re closed? Sometimes, in addition to making amazing beers, it helps to find a niche. Soulcraft Brewery in Salida, Colorado, found theirs, a little unexpectedly—in music.

A passionate group of local investors opened Soulcraft Brewery in November 2016 with every intention of simply being a local tasting room serving incredible beer. It wasn’t surprising that the locals responded immediately. It also wasn’t too shocking that tourists traveling to nearby Monarch Mountain Ski Resort responded big time. Soulcraft is right on Highway 50 with a bright neon sign shouting, “Brewery.” This is more than enough to entice adventure-seekers rolling through.

But then an intriguing thing happened. This music-loving town of just 5,500 residents had always had more soul than space. But Soulcraft’s location was in a large, former furniture warehouse so its rare spaciousness got people thinking. Dreaming. Could their tasting room become an entertainment destination? Oh yea.

“We’ve had a great response regarding live entertainment, whether it’s live music, comedy, jam sessions, or trivia nights. Our oversized tasting room is perfect for live entertainment,” said Eric Ramsey, Soulcraft marketing manager.

“The crowd is able to get close to the band which encourages interaction and dancing. We also leave some tables in place for those who just want to sit and chill,” Ramsey said. Then if you need some air, there’s an outdoor beer garden for that. Having 16 different beers on tap keeps everyone happy, too.

Soulcraft has already hosted many acts, including a Reggae series, headlining Sol Seed, a massively popular reggae band from Eugene, Oregon. On July 22, the funky electronic music duo Float Goat lights up the place and on Aug. 8, they’re hosting the Band of Heathens, an internationally touring band based in Austin, Texas.

The Band of Heathens (BOH)

But really, why would bands agree to play such a small, intimate show? The Band of Heathens(BOH), a group that plays major music fests, shared the hour with Elvis Costello on Austin City Limits, and won the 2007 Best New Band of the Year at the Austin Music Awards is a case in point. This year alone they’ll perform in 26 different states, three European countries (Denmark, Germany, Spain), and a music cruise that sails through a couple more.

So why, Salida?

“We feel that bands are loyal to small communities that make them feel welcome and special. Our staff goes out of their way to treat them like family,”

…said Ramsey. “The relationships between local promoters like Steve Finch and Brian Waldrip have with some of the bands are key.”

Finch, a talent promoter, agreed. Finch and BOH go way back. “I have a really long history with BOH. I started working with them seven years ago. They’re like brothers to me. I wanted to bring them to Salida. I knew the town would like them and they do.”

Finch, who stays busy booking bands for Cervantes in Denver, also booked music for Salida’s premier fest, FIBArk Whitewater Festival for 12 years. In 2011 he booked BOH as part of the FIBArk entertainment lineup. Then they played the SteamPlant Theater twice and an acoustic gig at Currents Restaurant.

“They really like it here. They feel like Salida is one of the last true small mountain towns,” explained Finch. While in town, band members go on whitewater rafting trips, fly fishing on the Arkansas River, and soak at Mt. Princeton Hot Springs.  What’s not to like?

Friends Helping Friends

Bringing in BOH is also an act of friendship.

“I’m investing my own money in this to help the owners of Soulcraft. These guys are good friends of mine. I’ve been lucky in this business and like to give back. I want to help this brewery start a legacy, get a good thing going that will continue to establish their reputation as a real known music venue,” said Finch.

Music is constantly changing, he added. “A few years ago indoor venues were dead. Now they’re big again. This one can do well. They’re really motivated. They’re doing this right.”  Although they don’t have a formal stage and lights yet, they have added acoustic panels that help disperse the sound.

They’re doing it free to the public, too.

“Free shows are important for connecting us to the community. Everyone is welcome here and free shows encourage more people to come out and enjoy the arts,” said Ramsey.

Meet the Band

Music fan Rusty Roberts of Denver describes BOH’s sound as “a smoldering caldron of smoky, soulful rock, blues, funk, and good ole American music with groove and grind covered in prolific writing.”

Their Americana, rockabilly sound is varied and diverse with the perfect blend of contemplative singer/songwriter songs and get-up-and-dance rock ‘n’ roll. Insightful and often autobiographical lyrics talk about life and love and even what it’s like to eat a marijuana cookie. Their new album “Duende,” is their fifth studio album and eighth overall. Band members include Ed Jurdi (guitars, keys, vocals), Gordy Quist (guitars, vocals), Trevor Nealon (keys, vocals), Richard Millsap (drums, vocals), Scott Davis (bass, vocals).

Already massively popular in Europe, Finch noted that BOH is right on the cusp of busting into the big-time. This is the kind of band you want to see in a brewery that holds about 150-max before they’re booking arenas and losing their accessibility.

As a huge added bonus, comedian Chris Porter of Last Comic Standing and Comedy Central Presents fame will open for BOH at the Salida show. That’s a friendship thing, too. Porter and the BOH guys met while performing on the Kid Rock’s “Chillin the Most” music cruise.

IT ALL COMES DOWN TO BEER

BOH are huge craft beer fans, too.  “They wanted to do this in a brewery. They’re stoked. They’re big IPA and pale ale guys,” said Finch.

Band members and music lovers alike will enjoy Soulcraft’s X-Ray IPA (7 % ABV) or their Soulcraft Pale Ale (6 % ABV). Others tasty ones to try are the Work Release Pale Bock, Colorado Hoppy Blonde, refreshing Lemon Wheat, and the Sticky Pils.

 

Article by Sue Bjorkman with Porchdrinking.com
July 11, 2017

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Out With the Old, In With the New

Salida, CO – Hubbub Brewing, only four months old, is on the receiving end of a trademark dispute and will need to change their name. In the coming weeks, Hubbub Brewing will transition over to Soulcraft Brewing. The trademark has been applied for and rebranding is moving forward. Business owner Mike LaCroix states, “The name is something I’ve been thinking about for a while now, years in fact. The name initially came from a Bad Brains song, Soul Craft. To me the song and lyrics represents a way of life, being grateful, and striving to be your best.”

Indeed, the crew at Soulcraft has a lot of passion and works tirelessly to provide the best product possible. It was a group decision and the name fits the goals and desires of the company. Hubbub may be getting a new name and look, but one thing that won’t change is the quality of the beer.

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There’s Quite a Hubbub in Salida

The Arkansas River Valley is a magical spot in the heart of the Rockies. The area is home to Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area for rafting, biking, kayaking, hiking, fishing, and camping; Monarch Ski Area for skiing and snowboarding some natural snow; and now, Hubbub Brewing.

Salida is the antithesis of the mountain towns depicted in films and on television. It is a classic, unpretentious town nestled in the Arkansas River Valley populated with a mix of outdoor enthusiasts chasing their favorite adrenaline high, artists, and ranchers. With a charming downtown full of local businesses and local character, it has a slew of activities and attractions to offer residents and visitors alike. This has been a year of changes for one long-standing Salida business, Amicas Pizza and Brewery, who has dropped the “brewery” side of things and moved to a larger location around the corner from their original storefront. But Amicas devotees (count me amongst them – vegetarian lasagna sans sauce is just pure heaven) shouldn’t worry, as Amicas beers are still on tap and being brewed by 14-year head brewer Mike LaCroix, if just a little farther away from the pizza oven than before.

Mike, now head brewer and part owner at Hubbub Brewing, has 24 years of experience as a professional brewer working at different breweries across the US. Hubbub and Amicas have maintained a very close relationship as, in addition to Hubbub brewing all of Amicas’ beers, Amicas has set up a food truck, the Munch Box, in Hubbub’s parking lot. I met Mike years ago while watching him try to squeeze around and behind some very tightly-packed fermenters at Amicas and, through visits to Salida for The Colorado Brewers Guild Brewers Rendezvous as well as ski and rockhounding trips to the area, we have grown to be friends. His stories of brewing at a variety of breweries – 11 in total – and his mellow, welcoming personality truly shines through at Hubbub, both in the atmosphere and in the beer.

Mike Josh Dev

Mike has apparently taken photos before… we have clearly not…

Hubbub is located off The Rainbow Highway (US Highway 50) and is hard to miss with a giant “BREWERY” sign along the road and their bright green sign contrasting with their large, black building. It is conveniently located in the midst of the majority of the hotels in town and just a short drive (or 20 minute walk) from downtown Salida.

BREWERY

If this sign doesn’t make you thirsty, you need to check yourself.

Hubbub Front

Bonus of Salida: easy parking!

In contrast to Amicas’ small brewpub set up, Hubbub has a respectable 15 BBL system with room to add more fermenters and brite tanks as needed. Instead of focusing on one brewing region or group of styles, Hubbub is taking a cue from the environment around them and offering their patrons a wide variety of flavors to explore. Their beers range from pale ales and IPAs to a coconut milk stout and two chili beers. One the day we visited, we enjoyed a flight of all ten beers they had on tap, with the Moon-Itcher Helles, Fresco y Seco, X-Ray IPA, and their flagship Type 2 Pale Ale all standing out. I even enjoyed the Coconut Milk Stout, not a style I usually like as they tend to smell (and sometimes taste) like sunscreen. Needless to say, Hubbub’s was not in that camp.

Hubbub Brew System

That’s one sexy brewhouse

There’s a fine balance breweries must walk in designing a mountain-town taproom. On the one end they can feel a little too “on-the-nose” log-cabinesque; on the other end, there is big-city sterile minimalism full of white tile and white counters and uncomfortable white chairs. While I’m a huge fan of log cabins with patched carpet, plaid sofas, and that distinct Cabin Funk™, it’s not necessarily to everyone’s taste. And the hospital-level sterility doesn’t exactly encourage relaxation après outdoor activities. Hubbub strikes a good balance. An attractive, long wood bar complements the decidedly modern wood-and-steel chairs. A bright orange wall behind the bar makes the large space feel much cozier without the need to have beetle-kill pine dripping from every corner. Hubbub’s tasting room invites you to stay a while, but not in the “I think the couch is eating me” kind of way.

Hubbub Tap List

Would you like a beer?

Besides the décor, the tasting room is large and bright, thanks to large windows lining the south side of the building. This also provides excellent passive solar heating, which allows for a warm escape from the freezing winter winds. The large bar provides plenty of seating for those who want to make new friends and ample table space allows for you to gather with old friends comfortably. In the summer (or winter, if you’re bold) you can enjoy their outdoor patio which is pup-friendly.

Hubbub Taproom

Cozy up

While we were sitting at the bar chatting with Mike, an older gentleman in a cowboy hat sauntered in to pick up a couple of growlers for watching the Broncos game (which I’m glad we missed due to the lack of TVs – it sounded like a travesty). Having lived in Salida for some time, Mike seems to know everyone who crosses the threshold and this customer was no different. When he asked Mike for beer suggestions, he added that he needed something that women would like. Mike, smiling, responded that he doesn’t know how to put beers in categories like “for men” or “for women”, but if the gentleman knew what the ladies usually drank, he could make suggestions. I enjoyed that response immensely as I sipped my X-Ray IPA. Tasters were poured, laughs exchanged, and the man left with two growlers: an IPA and a pale ale. I have no doubt he, and his lady friends, enjoyed them more than they did the game.

Hubbub Taps

After so many breweries behind him, and so many years at a well-established brewpub, I was curious about why Mike had decided to take the risk and strike out on his own, so I asked Mike what was different about owning his own place (besides the long hours, the stress, etc). He responded that what made him the most excited about Hubbub is “the four guys who built this place.” The “three guys” in addition to Mike are: Tom Price, Eric Ramsey, and Scott Boulton, who, between the four of them, have experience in brewing, marketing, ranching, restaurant management, and even bull riding. Opening a new brewery is always a risk, but in Colorado, with its plethora of breweries, and in the middle of the mountains, some might call the venture crazy. When asked, in the face of all of the obstacles to success, why he wanted to open a brewery, Mike’s response was simple: “I wanted to get behind something absurd.”

Hubbub has joined Elevation BrewingEddyline BrewingMoonlight Pizza & Brewery, Deerhammer Distillery, Woods Distillery, and Jailhouse Craft Beer Bar in one of the best craft libations scenes in Colorado, and being that it’s just 2 ½ hours from Denver, it’s the perfect place to visit while avoiding the World’s Most Scenic Parking Lot (I-70).

Hubbub Brewing is everything a mountain brewery should be: unique, welcoming, warm, and, above all, putting out good beer for everyone to enjoy. It’s a place for the locals to belly-up and share a pint after work (or before – no judgement) and a place for a traveler to find a friendly face and full pint.

There’s a Hubbub Brewing – I recommend you check it out.

Story by Dev Adams of Colorado Brewery List
March 2, 2017

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There’s A Hubbub Brewing in Salida

Salida, Colorado. September 15, 2016 ­ Nestled between the towering fourteen thousand foot peaks of the Sawatch Range and the Gold Medal waters designated Arkansas River, Hubbub Brewing is a new production brewery in the outdoor mecca mountain town of Salida, Colorado. A tasting room and beer garden will feature up to 16 fresh craft beers on tap. “This will be a place where people can come and enjoy a variety of fresh brewed craft beers in a relaxing environment. We want people to feel comfortable here.”, says CEO Mike LaCroix. With a maximum capacity of 5000 barrels per year, there will be no shortage of new ales, lagers, and seasonal beers to experience. To put that in perspective, 5000 barrels equates to roughly 1,240,000 pints. That’s a lot of beer. Distribution of bottles and kegs will initially focus on southern Colorado with Colorado Springs and Pueblo being the main target markets. Beer will also be distributed to bars, liquor stores, and restaurants throughout the central Colorado mountains from Eagle to Alamosa. Hubbub Brewing has also coordinated with the new Amicas on F restaurant in Salida to produce four flagship beers they will carry on tap.

Hubbub Brewing began when friends and brewing colleagues Mike LaCroix and Tom Price, previously of Amicas Pizza and Brewpub, joined forces with Scott Bouldin, founder of the brew house at Moonlight Pizza. The desire was to take what they had learned from their previous careers and grow it into a full service production facility.

Asked where the name Hubbub Brewing came from, Mike LaCroix explains, “ The word hubbub is an older term used to describe a happening taking place. Something people are talking about; an excitement.” Indeed, it’s a fitting name. Construction on the 6000 square foot space began around nine months ago with full renovation of an existing building, (originally a grocery store) located on Hwy 50. From the beginning, people around town were curious about the construction project along the highway. Rumours swirled and as the word got out, excitement grew.

Local community is a driving force behind the brewery. “We want to be the go to for non­profit fundraisers and community events in the Upper Arkansas Valley and encourage people to reach out to us for their beer needs and sponsorships. This generous community has given so much to us and now it’s time to give something back”, says Plant Manager Tom Price.

Plans include a huge tasting room that can accommodate around 100 people, a cozy outdoor beer garden, and a permanent custom food container providing a wide range of unique fresh food options operated by Amicas on F. Brewery tours will be offered by reservation and will showcase the brewing process followed by a sampling of popular beer styles. Tasting room hours will be from noon til 10:00 p.m. everyday.

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Introducing Hubbub Brewing

 

Salida Colorado’s newest brewery is coming soon. We’ve secured a great location on Hwy 50 between H and G streets in what was previously the Rent A Center building. This high visibility location with over 6000 square feet will allow us to produce a wonderful selection of craft beers for your enjoyment. Demolition and reconstruction is ongoing and progressing on schedule. Our tanks will arrive in April and we’ve just purchased our new to us bottling machine. Our first four beers will be an IPA, a Pale Ale, A Green Chili Ale, and a Pale Bock.

Check back with us periodically for more updates and progress reports. We’ll be brewing tasty beers soon!