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Brewery opening in Eagle

Derek FranzEagle correspondentVail, CO Colorado
Derek Franz/ dfranz@eaglevalleyenterprise.comKen Hoeve shows off some barrels that Matt Wirtz modified to be used for beer brewing at their beer-tasting establishment, which is set to open in Eagle this November. Hoeve is considered an unofficial spokesman and the Ale Ambassador of Bonfire Brewery.
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EAGLE, Colorado – The vision began with beer. Or perhaps it’s better described as a spark. Either way, Matt Wirtz’s home-brewed beer started a fire. Soon, Bonfire Brewery will offer a unique venue for the community to “gather ’round,” as its slogan suggests.The beer-tasting establishment is likely to open mid-November at 127 Second St. in Eagle with hours from 4 to 10 p.m. six days a week. That date mostly depends on legal paperwork. Never mind that the opening date is over a month away, though. The hype is already spreading quickly as the business flickers to life. The community seems eager for what the brewery promises – something different, something fun, something to light up the town in more ways than one. Bonfire Brewery already has a website and Facebook page. The latter is “liked” by 137 people and a thief has already stolen a magnetic logo, according to the Facebook page.

Like the beer, pretty much everything about Bonfire Brewery is made by locals for locals. Only a little more than two years after he started brewing, Wirtz’s friends banded together to start the business, with each adding his or her own unique skill. “It’s definitely a synergistic relationship with all of us,” said Andy Jessen, the lawyer of the group.Their common belief was that Wirtz’s beer was too good to keep to themselves. And they needed to pay the mortgage.”(Wirtz) has gotten really good at it in a short amount of time,” Jessen said. “He’s got a technical mind.”In fact, it seems everyone who knows Wirtz describes him as a skilled jack of all trades. Not only does he brew the beer, he also figured out how to craft machinery needed for mass beer production.”It saved us thousands of dollars,” Jessen said.Wirtz is doing a great deal of the building’s construction as well.Other “team” members include a “Dominatrix of Design,” who serves as a Web designer and promoter, and an “Ale Ambassador” known for his connections throughout the area. There is a passive investor as well. While all those people continue to work day jobs, it’s obvious they’re having fun putting the brewery together.Ken Hoeve, the Ale Ambassador and unofficial spokesman for Bonfire Brewery, pointed to a large pine tree by the front door, which is easily visible along Highway 6.”We want to make this the Christmas tree of Eagle County,” Hoeve said. “We’re going to have lights all over this thing. Then we’re going to put in a homemade bike rack here. … A pool table on wheels is going here,” he continued to walk around, excitedly sharing the vision. “The landlord, the town of Eagle – everyone seems to be behind us. This isn’t corporate. This is going to be a true, ground-up operation. We want to be a healthy, contributing component to the town.”Hoeve said the other eating and drinking establishments around town shouldn’t fear the brewery, especially since it won’t be serving food that isn’t pre-packaged.”We’re going to bring more people to town,” Hoeve said. “They’ll stop by here for a drink and then go get something to eat down the street.”


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