Editor's note: This story has been updated with a quote from FireWheel's former owner.
[UPDATE Jan. 22 at 1:12 p.m.: Backcountry Brewery will celebrate a grand opening the weekend of Jan. 29-31. Deets.]
North Texas will soon be home to a little piece of Colorado's craft beer scene when Backcountry Brewery opens a second location in Rowlett.
The ink is practically still wet on a deal that allows the Frisco, Colo. microbrewery to move into the former FireWheel Brewing Co. facility, which closed in November. Backcountry took over the building lease and purchased FireWheel's remaining assets in hopes of opening the new taproom and beer garden in February 2016. Blog Beer in Big D first reported the news.
Backcountry, which opened in 1996, began distributing beer to Dallas-Fort Worth in August and, according to co-owner Charlie Eazor, the beers were "extremely well received."
"Fortunately and unfortunately it put us at the top of our capacity to brew in Colorado," Eazor said by phone Tuesday.
That's when he started looking for ways to expand the brewery's production capabilities and caught wind of FireWheel's closing.
The new facility ups Backcountry's capacity to about 6,000 barrels annually with room to expand up to 15,000 barrels between the two brew houses, Eazor said.
Recently, crews have been brewing test batches and adjusting recipes to the local water, air density and altitude, Eazor said. Brewers at the new location in Rowlett will brew four recipes -- a double IPA, pilsner, amber and pale -- primarily for distribution in D-FW and eventually other Lone Star cities. Eazor plans to keg and can the beers brewed locally. Backcountry will continue to brew other recipes, such as its imperial saison and breakfast stout, in Colorado and distribute them to Texas.
The company's lead brewers, JP VanderVeen and Dan Lewis, will man brewing operations until Eazor is able to hire a local staff.
FireWheel owner Brad Perkinson will not be involved with Backcountry. In a social media message Tuesday, Perkinson called the sale "mutually beneficial" and said he may be moving to pursue a position as a brewery equipment sales rep.
Backcountry Brewery will celebrate its grand opening Jan. 29-31 with $4 pints, $1 of which will benefit tornado relief efforts. The party runs Friday 4 to 10 p.m., Saturday noon to 9 p.m., and Sunday noon to 6 p.m.