A New Brewery Comes to Town
by Kati O'Hare
Aug 13, 2012 | 2902 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print

MONTROSE – What started out as a passion, and developed into a good-tasting beer, has evolved into a business opportunity for firefighters Daniel Leonardi and Brandon Fray.

The result: Two Rascals Brewing Company in Montrose.

Although the opening is a few weeks away, the owners of newly created Two Rascals Brewing Co. are excited to start their new undertaking in the city's downtown area.

They've acquired an old industrial-style building, and added shiny new fermentation and holding tanks, tables, chairs and a patio. With just a floor to refurbish and brews to make before opening, excitement is rising.

"We've put a lot of time and effort into this, and I really think it is going to pay off," co-owner Brandon Frey said.

The owners first hoped to open in July, but stalled, first in acquiring their federal manufacturing, distribution and wholesale license, which was finally approved, and then had to wait for their serving tanks to be delivered. Undeterred, they kept on moving forward.

"It's been an adventure, and eye-opening," Frey said. "We hope to provide a good hangout spot where people can relax, and make a quality product people can enjoy."

After looking at several locations, Fray and co-owner Daniel Leonardi, decided to lease a historic building at 147 N. First St., which was a packing shed in the 1930s and 40s, according to Frey.

"The ambiance of the building is there; we just wanted to get it up and running, and work with that," he said.

Once the floor is finished, about 17 tables, seating up to 52 people, will be put in place, and the bar will provide another 10 seats, Leonardi said. It will be a tasting room, where customers can enjoy a variety of microbrews, along with a few snacks, such as popcorn. There will be sodas, too.

Distributing the brew is “what we've planned from the very beginning,” said Frey. "I don't think anyone has taken advantage of the local distribution area, and we are hoping to get a canning line in shortly."

No food – they’re leaving that to the already thriving restaurant community nearby – but just good, local beer for customers to enjoy.

Two Rascals will brew the beer upstairs, for customers to see, and then feed the brew into one of three downstairs fermentation tanks. From there, it goes into one of six holding tanks, with lines feeding the taps, Leonardi said.

He said they expect four brews at first, but plan to eventually have eight beers on tap.

Although both brewers enjoy more malty and dark beers, they expect to have lighter beers available, including wheat beer, so that there is something for everyone.

Leonardi and Fray, who grew up in the area – Leonardi in Ouray and Fray in Cedaredge – plan to bring a hometown feel to their new establishment, complete with a grill on the patio that could be used for barbecues. They also hope to invite restaurants with food trailers to join them for special occasions, Leonardi said.

Frey and Leonardi first met working together for the Bureau of Land Management's Montrose Interagency Fire Management Unit. They both had a passion for beer, and after homebrewing together, decided to take a brewing course from Colorado Boy's Tom Hennessy. They then came up with a business plan and started looking for investors, Leonardi said.

The name, Two Rascals Brewing Company, came later.

While working a fire in Norwood, the two were digging a fire line, and Frey beginning to laugh, Leonardi recalls. He asked what was so funny.

Frey told him how recently, his grandfather called him a rascal. It sounded like it was a common occurrence, Leonardi said, and he responded to Frey that he too thought he was a rascal, to which Frey responded in kind – and the name for their brewery was born.

Leonardi expects the brewery to open in about six weeks, and then to be open from 4 to 9 p.m. most days, with extended hours from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Currently, they are not hiring any employees, but relying on volunteer friends to work the bar and tasting room until they get a feel for their business and approximate number of needed employees.

They have set up a website to alert people of their exact opening date and operation hours at tworascalsbrewing.com.

"Everyone seems to be very supportive of it," Frey said. "The people swinging by and wishing us well, means a lot to us."

Kati O'Hare at kohare@watchnewspapers.com

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