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The craft beer business is booming in Boulder County. With more than 40 breweries in operation, it’s harder than ever for a new venture to get noticed. So instead of trying to make an insane IPA or big barrel-aged beer, the founders of one-year-old Finkel & Garf in Gunbarrel wanted to do something different. They put the fun back in beer drinking.
Location: Located just eight miles northwest of the city of Boulder, Gunbarrel has long existed in anonymity—until now. Construction is booming, bringing new businesses (and fresh beer) to the area. Nestled inside a small industrial park across from the only grocery story, Finkel & Garf would be easy to miss if not for the large sign perched on the edge of the building. Numerous housing developments are springing up behind the brewery, which are not only a testament to the changing dynamic of the neighborhood, but are sure to bring a swarm of new clients through the brewhouse’s doors.
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Brew Story: Finkel & Garf is the creation of Eric and Dan Garfinkel, a father and son team new to the brewing business. “We both loved the experience of sitting around with friends drinking a good beer, but it seemed too many brewers were in a race to create big beers that seemed to dominate discussions,” says Dan Garfinkel. “We decided to do the opposite.” Instead, the duo built a brand around straightforward drinkable beers in a variety of styles, ones that offer excellent flavors, but won’t be the only thing that drinkers discuss in the taproom. Their label features a variety of toys—an homage to Eric’s past as a successful toy seller. “Life can be complicated, you beer doesn’t have to be,” says Eric Garfinkel. “It should be well made and delicious. We want to remind people to have fun. Hopefully our beer helps with that.”
Ambience: While many breweries focus on their beers’ flavors and complexities, Finkel & Garf’s tasting room is all about the fun you should be having while drinking. From the rack of vintage table games hanging on the wall, to bins of Duplo blocks on each table, to the bowls of tootsie rolls on the bar for snacking, it’s obvious that the Garfinkels want their customers to enjoy their time spent in the space. Long, metal shelves behind the bar (with its reclaimed boxcar flooring countertop) are filled with toys for sale and every type of junk food imaginable—from Twinkies to beef jerky. And their tasting menu, which pairs these snacks with their beers, may be the most original of any brewery in the state.
Who You’ll Meet: A mixture of locals, cyclists, families with kids (there’s fresh-brewed root beer on tap, as well), and workers fill the indoor and patio seats. There’s usually at least one dog roaming amongst the crowd looking for a dropped snack. Due to the proximity to the new (and popular) Avery Brewe
ry up the street, Finkel & Garf offers drinkers a spot to relax away from the beer-crazed crowds that gather there.
On Tap: With a large selection of “session” beers created in their 15-barrel system, head brewer Myke Johnson is focused on delivering flavorsome beers without too big a punch. With an abundance of tap lines available—each boasting straightforward titles like IPA, American Lager, and Rye Saison—chances are you’ll find one to your liking. This summer, the newly released Dry Hopped Amber offers full flavor with a crisp, clean finish at only 5.2 percent ABV. And in honor of their one-year anniversary in July, they rolled out a Lemon Saison that paired perfectly with the late summer doldrums. If you’re having a hard time picking just one brew to try, don’t worry—they offer flights of six beers, and yes, you can order a snack pairing to go with it.
Visit: Finkel & Garf is located at 5455 Spine Rd, Unit A, Boulder; 720-379-6042