Couple takes on cattle, brewing business in Cedaredge
4B’s Brewery is located at 215 W Main Street in Cedaredge, Colorado. For more information, call (970) 856-7762 or visit their web page at 4Bsbrewing.com.
John and Barbara Breitnauer of Cedaredge, Colo., hadn’t thought about getting into the brewing business until two of their friends made the suggestion. “They said a pub would be good for Main Street,” said Barbara. “I told them they were crazy.”
The couple already owned a century-old building in town. Once known as Cedaredge Floral and Gift, it was closed during the recession. Once they started brainstorming about bringing it back to life, though, the idea of putting a brewery inside kept sounding better and better.
For John, who raises cattle (he’s also a pharmacist at Cedaredge Pharmacy) the most appealing thing about brewing beer was the hops they’d be using — he knew leftovers could be fed to the herd.
“Cows love it,” he said. “I believe it gives the meat better flavor.”
Before the 4B’s Brewery could officially get off the ground, however, the 100-year-old building had to undergo a complete renovation which took nearly a year.
“We had to update the electric and plumbing. A delivery dock was built off the back alley. A front window was removed in order to get the brewing equipment inside, and a special air-conditioning and cooling system was installed since beer must have a steady temperature in order to ferment, especially during the heat of the summer,” Barbara said.
To save money, Barbara ordered a used, 9×12 walk-in cooler from Denver. When it arrived, however, she discovered it was only 8×10. Because shipping was not cost effective, it couldn’t be returned.
“Nothing like a little stress,” she said ruefully. They figured out a solution, though. “A business across the street had panels of different sizes that they didn’t need. Our air-conditioner man was able to fit them to use.”
Red tape took time to cut, as well. First, the Breitnauers had to go through Town Council for approval, which involved gathering signatures of support. Citizens turned out to be overwhelmingly in favor of the project. Many wanted to see the return of the antique soda fountain which had been in Cedaredge Floral and Gift.
Restored and fully functioning, the nostalgic fountain is once again open, complete with soda jerks to dispense ice cream, malts and other treats. It even sits in the exact same place – only now at the rear of the dining area. Eventually, John wants to stock homemade root beer.
John and Barbara had to apply for a Federal Brewer’s license, as well as a Brew Pub license, which allowed them to make and sell food. That process took months because of backlog. After those were finally granted, they had to go through both State and then Town Occupancy paperwork.
“One thing hinged on another,” Barbara said. “There were pages and pages of paperwork.”
Only after everything had finally been approved were they able to begin beer-making.
“Starting out, I didn’t know which way to go,” she said. “We had just one beer in the beginning, but we’re now up to ten taps.”
In part, she credits local couple Patrick and Amy Wright for their success. Amy originally came on board to help set up the computers, but ended up accepting a position as a manager. Patrick and John do the brewing and admit they are still learning.
“Craft beers taste differently depending on the water, the recipe and the equipment used to make them,” Patrick said. “It takes 14 days per batch, and you have to follow each recipe exactly and do the steps in the right order. Temperature is the most important thing.”
Patrick’s goal for spring is to start going to different, local farmers in order to try a variety of hops. When not experimenting with different formulas, he fills in as a bartender and bouncer at 4B’s.
“I’m three of those four B’s,” he joked.
The name actually stems from the Breitnauers and their two grown children.
“An advantage of brewing in Cedaredge is our water,” Amy said. “Someone in a different area might use the exact same recipe we do, but it will taste different. Our water is spring-fed off Grand Mesa, which gives the beer a unique taste.”
For the 4B’s signature Apple Graff, Big Creek Brown, Bull Elk Harvest and Cedar Mesa Pale beers, John said they use a heat method to brew the beer, but that’s had its speedbumps as well.
“Once, we had the temperature too high and the beer became overly bitter. We had to dump it,” he said.
The Breitnauers are free to buy beer from other distributors in Montrose, Palisade and Hotchkiss.
They also serve local wines — some from Two Rivers out of Palisade and Stoney Mesa from Cedaredge.
The beer, wine and food menus vary depending on the season.
“Right now with this cold weather, chili is the most popular item,” Barbara said. “Our head cook, Cheryl Lauderbach, has been wonderful about coming up with homemade soups like chicken corn chowder, hamburger stew and broccoli cheddar.”
In addition, the 4B’s serves a variety of dinner items such as Philly Cheesesteak sandwiches, Reubens and flatbread pizza.
And of course, they serve hot wings and pretzels on football nights.
“You should be here when the Broncos play!” she said. “Things get crazy.”
What John and Barbara Breitnauer are trying to do is, as they say, “create the perfect place to stop into after a day on the Mesa, somewhere to relax that’s family friendly.” ❖
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