Permits, paperwork, fits, starts and bumps, Mu Brew opens as Colfax’s first micro brewer in Aurora

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AURORA | It wasn’t fast.

And it wasn’t without a few hiccups along the way. 

But after more than a year of work, beers are flowing at Mu Brewery on East Colfax Avenue. 

Nathan Flatland, the founder and brewer at Mu, said that after city inspectors gave him the go-ahead last month, he started brewing his first batch of beer. He served the first few customers June 6. 

That isn’t to say those first few brew days were easy. They weren’t. Still, Flatland said that after the first few tries, whipping up batch after of batch of Mu’s raspberry red, maple porter, whit and others is getting easier and easier. 

“Now I’ve got the process down,” he said last week as he sweated through a marathon brewing session for Mu’s raspberry red. 

That brew has been so popular during Mu’s early days — which haven’t featured much marketing as the brewery gets off the ground slowly with a “soft opening” — that Flatland said he had to brew a second batch a week after pouring those first pints. 

For Flatland, the process of launching his own brewery at 9735 E. Colfax Ave. — in the heart of the burgeoning Aurora Cultural Arts District — was a lengthy one that had its share of lumps. 

Initially, when he announced plans for the brewery in spring 2013, Flatland planned to be up and running by the following fall. The target was the annual Oktoberfest weekends, a popular time for beer drinking. 

But the fall passed and the small storefront near East Colfax Avenue and Dayton Street sat unchanged, the squishy floor and dusty counter once used by a day labor operation still sitting there. 

Finding a contractor to turn the storefront into a brewery and tasting room proved more difficult that Flatland imagined. It wasn’t until February that construction there finally started. 

From there, the following few weeks were a bit of a blur. The long-dormant storefront quickly morphed into a spacious tasting room with a brew house in the back. With construction quickly moving along, Flatland had hoped for an opening sometime in April, but problems with a ventilation system pushed that out to June. 

Flatland said that once he got started brewing at Mu, he realized he had a lot left to learn about commercial brewing. He has been brewing beer at home for years, but scaling up to a large-scale operation was trickier than he
expected. 

The first day was a brutal 17-hour slog. 

“I was like, ‘Maybe I did this wrong, maybe I was an idiot and didn’t know what I was up against,’” he said. 

The first batch of brown ale had to be dumped down the drain after a glass thermometer in the kettle burst, mixing shards of glass with the otherwise tasty brew. 

With the frustration mounting, Flatland said he found helpful advice from some other local brewers who told him that several uber-successful local brew pubs experienced equally rough first days. 

Flatland said it took him a while, but he figured things out over time. 

“I didn’t get better until about day four,” he said.

Flatland has said he hopes Mu will tap into a growing number of beer aficionados always looking to try something new from local craft brewers. 

According to the Boulder-based Brewers Association, more than 400 new breweries opened around the country in 2013, bringing the total number to more than 2,700. That’s up from 1,900 in 2007.

For now, Mu is open Thursday through Sunday and Flatland said he is planning a grand opening celebration sometime in July.

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Jeff
Jeff
7 years ago

Hey, you beat Lost Highway as the first brewery on Colfax. It took those clowns like 3 years to figure everything out.