BREWMASTER – Brian Lutz
Brian was introduced to "good" beer when he was 17, spending a few months in a small Bavarian town as an exchange student in 1985. He was struck by the way in which beer was interwoven into Bavarian culture, and how it was revered and proudly cherished by the people. He knew then that he had to brew!
After a series of many strange, but fortunate events he began working at Left Hand Brewing Co. in 1993. It was there that he learned that brewing beer and hard work went hand-in-hand - a good lesson to learn! Managing multiple yeast strains and respecting consistency in brewing while at Left Hand led him to help.
Opening Redfish New Orleans Brewhouse in 1996. The brewpub environment allowed him to experiment with a great number of different yeast strains and adjuncts, and before long he became obsessed with the way small artisanal Belgian brewers were approaching their craft. The Belgians brew beers that can be compared to no other on the planet: they recognize that each beer has a personality of its own, and aren't hampered creatively by trying to fit into a specific style.
In 2001, he began brewing at Oskar Blues in Lyons, CO. One day the owner told him that they should buy a canning machine and can their 6.5% ABV over-the-top hopped Pale Ale. Brian thought it was the stupidest idea he'd ever heard. They bought the canning machine, and that was the start of the canning revolution in the craft beer world.
“I'm beyond excited to be a part of West Flanders Brewing Company,” he says,“It's a place where the traditions of Old World brewing are married with New World passion, coming together to create beers that will challenge our palates and satisfy our senses!”
FOUNDING PARTNERS – Mark and Chris Heinritz
In 1992 brothers Mark and Chris Heinritz partnered with their brother James, and Boulder native Cameron Stainton, to purchase The Sink from the Kavaur family. They bought a University of Colorado institution known for the “Sinkburger,” and for being central to the collegiate nightlife.
In 1996 the partners opened Redfish New Orleans Brewhouse just off the Pearl St Mall on 13th Street. The original concept was to create a brewpub that didn't serve traditional pub fare.Redfish was a success, becoming both a local favorite and an industry leader and trendsetter in combining food and beer.In 1997 the ownership of Redfish changed. Mark and Chris continued to grow the concept and patronage of The Sink, which they still own to this day. The dream of brewing new beers and creating Pearl Street's hot spot for the beer community were shelved.
Chris went looking for some new experiences and landed with the upstart Noodles & Company.He joined when the company totaled three restaurants and left five years later as the company was approaching one hundred.While there, Chris played roles in operations and construction helping to refine the concept.
Now approaching their twenty-year anniversary at The Sink, the Heinritz brothers have evolved the concept to be more food driven, serving food made from scratch, and have even caught the attention of the Food Networks' Diners Drive-ins and Dives, as well as President Barack Obama who visited in April 2012. This transformation has occurred without taking anything away from the allure and traditions The Sink has been a part of for ninety years.
With West Flanders Brewing Company, the brothers have once again teamed up with their old friend Brian Lutz to rekindle the spirit they first created at Redfish. As Mark likes to say, “We're getting the band back together with a new drummer (Barry Wolfman). I'm excited to revive the dream of Redfish and create a community based space that celebrates the craft of beer and good times.”
PARTNER/GM - Barry Wolfman
The restaurant business first took hold of him when, at 17, he learned that being a waiter for the Steamboat Ski Corp would earn himafreeskipass,andgivehimdaysfreetouseit. Hewassoon hooked on the joy of learning about great food and drink, and sharingthatexperiencewithguests. Overthefollowingdecade- plus, he found that the restaurant business was his ticket to the life of a winter ski bum, summer beach bum, and plenty of freedom and fun.
At 30, in Steamboat, he met and married a kindred spirit – someone else who worked in the restaurant industry, and was a beach bum, and semi-ski bum. Choosing an entrepreneurial path together, they headed to the Carolinas, where they started a small chain of gourmet pizza restaurants, and a small family. The plan was always to return to the Rockies, as they were determined to raise their daughters there.
“Now, with one daughter in school in Steamboat, and another a freshman here at CU, opening a brewpub on Pearl Street is truly a dream come true on many levels,” he says.“I look forward to meeting you at West Flanders! Cheers!”
As much as food, beer became a passion that started an infatuation with exploring the art of combining food and beer.He says: “West Flanders is the culmination of a career-long passion that will pair beer and food in new and unexpected ways, for a truly fun beer and food experience!”