As tanks arrive, Mu Brew founder finds hope for future of brewery

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AURORA | The slab of concrete near the back of 9735 E. Colfax Ave. isn’t empty anymore.

After several months of delays, the future sight of Mu Brewery got some new residents last month: eight shiny metal tanks that will one day crank out thousands of gallons of tasty beer.

For Nathan Flatland, Mu’s founder, the tanks’ arrival last month was a welcome sight.

“It took everything in me not to start doing cartwheels,” Flatland said the day after the tanks arrived.

Four of the tanks will be used for brewing Flatland’s various concoctions, a list that right now includes Mu’s flagship brews: a maple cream porter, raspberry red ale, Pilsner and an English brown. Flatland plans to add to that list with some seasonal brews and others, including an India Pale Ale that he has been tinkering with for months.

The other four tanks will be used for serving, with lines running from the tanks to a bar at the front of the tasting room. Each of those will hold more than 215 gallons of beer. The lines connecting these new tanks are still several months away, with Flatland hoping to finalize a deal with a general contractor before Christmas, and work wrapping up this spring.

Flatland purchased his tanks from Pacific Brewery Systems Inc., a California-based company that has been making brewery supplies for more than a decade.

Frank Ma, the company’s owner, said the boom in Colorado craft brewing over the past decade has been good for business, with several brewers like Flatland turning to Pacific for products.

“We sell quite a bit of equipment in Colorado,” he said.

For Mu Brewing, the arrival of the tanks was a major milestone. When Flatland set out to launch Mu and announced his plans in the spring, he had hoped the brewery would be up and running in late summer or early fall.

Both of those target dates passed without much tangible progress at the storefront on Colfax. While it hasn’t been all delays and frustration for Mu — Flatland has made considerable progress when it comes to perfecting Mu’s line of beers — he said the progress being made isn’t always easy for anyone besides him to see.

That’s why he opted to have the tanks delivered now. With construction still a few weeks away, Flatland said he will likely have to pull the tanks out and put them in storage for a while before they are ready to be installed permanently.

But that’s worth it, Flatland said, because having the tanks at the future home of Mu — even if it’s only temporary — shows his staff that the brewery is making progress.

“Now they have something tangible,” he said. “It starts making it real for them.

And while having the tanks delivered a bit early was in part aimed at being a morale boost for Flatland’s team, they’re also pretty easy on the eyes for Flatland himself. The night the tanks were delivered, Flatland said he was reluctant to leave the storefront on Colfax and head back home.

“I couldn’t leave,” he said. “I couldn’t stop looking at them.”