Eagle River Brewing Company opens in Gypsum

Brewery and tasting room host will host grand opening celebrations this weekend

A variety of beers will be on tap at the Eagle River Brewing taproom in Gypsum. Look for German-inspired beers and seasonal brews as the seasons change.
Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily

Get ready, Eagle County, there’s a new brewery coming to Gypsum. The Eagle River Brewing Company will open its doors and taps on Friday with Grand Opening celebrations happening throughout the weekend.

Like many good ideas, Eagle River Brewing Company was hatched over a few beers. Cody Scott and Tom Hail were on Scott’s porch in Eagle. Scott said, “should we do a brewery?” and Hail immediately said, “I’m in!”

Scott and Hail met at the Sandlot Brewery, the first brewery to be located inside a Major League Baseball stadium at Coors Field in Denver. Hail was the brewer and Scott was an intern. Scott was between graduating from college and enlisting in the Marines.

A 1950 Chevrolet pickup that has been in co-owner Cody Scott’s family for generations is part of the decor for the new Eagle River Brewing Company. The brewery opens to the public Friday.
Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily

During Hail’s almost three-decade tenure at Sandlot Brewery, he won several awards and accolades for his brewing skills, including 48 Great American Beer Festival awards.

“During one of the Great American Beer Festivals, Tom won seven medals in one year, which is a lot, but the fact that the Sandlot is owned by a large brewery (with Coors Field being a part of Molson Coors) made people mad, so they changed the rules and it took him five years, but he won Large Brewery of the Year. He may be the only person to win Small Brewery of the Year and Large Brewery of the Year at the festival,” Scott said.

Support Local Journalism

Scott is excited to bring Eagle River Brewing Company to Eagle County.

“There’s a void in this community for sure, especially in Gypsum, and we wanted to brew great craft beer that this community can be proud of,” Scott said.

From left, Brian Lee, Tom Hail and Cody Scott form half of the six-member group that owns Eagle River Brewing Company in Gypsum.
Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily

Scott and Hail are joined by four other partners in the brewery: Brent and Matt Scott, (Cody’s father and brother, respectively) Taylor Shenkman, and Brian Lee.

“I’ve been in the business and part of beer distribution in this valley since 1997, so, for me it was just a great invitation from the Scott family to join this new venture,” Lee said.

Never ask “What should we do this weekend?” again. Get a weekly rundown of all the best happenings in the Vail Valley sent to your inbox every Friday. Sign up here:

For its opening weekend, Eagle River Brewing Company will have about 10 beers on the menu. That amount will fluctuate throughout the year with seasonal flavors and various brews on tap. Eagle River Brewing Company specializes in German-style beer and the team has had fun naming some of the beers.

Hoeft Helles is named after Hoeft Builders West, a local contractor who worked on the brewery build-out.

“Hoeft Builders West has got to be one of the best builders out there,” Scott said.

Pedro’s Pale Ale was named after the supervisor who worked for Hoeft Builders West. “Pedro was here all the time, checking on things to make sure everything was on time and we named a beer after him,” Scott said.

White Buffalo is a German-style Weiss beer that Scott is also proud of. “White Buffalo do exist, but they are rare. A beer this good does exist, and it is also rare,” Scott said.

There are many back stories and inside jokes between the Eagle River Brewing Company team, but sarcasm doesn’t translate in print, so stop by in person to ask about some of the beer names like Snakes & Sparklers Hazy Juicy IPA, who’s caught the biggest fish and who was a better Marine Corps helicopter pilot: Cody Scott or his wife, Anne Scott.

Word is starting to spread about the new brewery and the excitement is starting to build.

“The awareness is pretty grassroots. Today, I picked up my car from the mechanic and he was asking me when we open. Anne went to the bank and was talking about the brewery to someone and then ears perked up all around the bank with people asking about it,” Lee said.  

All brewing is done in-house at the Eagle River Brewing Company in Gypsum. The owners wanted it to be incorporated as part of the experience of the brewery.
Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily

Come to the Tasting Room for the Grand Opening celebrations at 428 Airpark Drive in Gypsum, near the Eagle County Regional Airport. On Friday, Eagle River Brewing Company will open from 2 until 8 p.m. and the Rocky Mountain Taco food truck will provide eats. On Saturday, the brewery will be open from noon until 8 p.m. with the Food Stop food truck and live music by Danger Mountain.

Support Local Journalism