Cumulative Update #2

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Cumulative Update #2
 
We are inside 4 weeks till opening day, barring any major catastrophes!  Things are flying along and a lot of last minute decisions are being made.  We have finalized our Beer lists, and are working on our Wine list right now.  The food menu is finalized and that menu is in design.  Final colors were picked today, and all of our art work has arrived!  I won’t give any of it away but Karen Hartsoch did an amazing job picking out and designing all of the artwork for our main walls.  It will be awesome!  The muralist started painting today, and the back bar is in the final design stages.
 
We are still looking for Servers if anyone knows of anyone looking for a job.  All of our Bartender positions have been filled.
 
We are starting to get super excited, and we hope all of you are too.  This has been a long time in the making and it is so close we can almost taste the cold beer.
 
Coming soon – Food, Wine, and Beer pricing posted to the website.  More surprises for our followers.  More beer reviews and beer specials posted as we get closer to opening day.
 
May all of your beers be tasty!
 
Nate
High Plains Tap House
“Why go to a bar in Denver, when you can go to a Tap House in Littleton?” posted: October 17, 2013
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Great Customer Service through Efficiency!

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Efficiency = Great Customer Service
As Laura and I started thinking about and planning High Plains Tap House, we didn’t necessarily know the best ways to do everything we needed to do because we had never done it before.  This did bite us in a few instances, but it helped us as well.  It helped us because we took a fresh (unknowing) look at how to build in efficiencies in our bar.

If you take a look at what it takes to have outstanding customer service, you will find a lot of components.  One of the major components of great service is being able to serve the customer what they want as quickly as possible.  You can have the best servers in the world, but if they can’t get the drinks to the customers in a timely manner then what is the point.  Laura and I have been amazed over the years watching this process, and it is almost without exception the same everywhere.  First the server comes to your table and takes your order.  Then they hit whatever other tables they need to and then go and enter your order at a Point of Sale terminal.  Sometimes there is a line at the POS and sometimes not, but regardless in a busy environment it could be 5 minutes or more before your order is even entered into  the system.  At that point the server grabs their previous orders, deliver them, and then go back to repeat the process grabbing your order and finally bringing it around to your table.

When Laura and I began looking at POS systems, we wanted to fix what we saw as a horribly inefficient process, regardless of if it was how everyone else did it.  That led us to look at table side ordering.  This is a fairly new thing that you may have seen around in different markets.  The premise is simple, put the POS in the server’s hands.  This is what we have done.  We chose a company called AccuPOS that makes and Android based POS system that can be ran on any Android tablet.  This greatly reduces the time it takes to receive your drink from the time when you order it.  When the server shows up at your table and you tell them what you want, the server will enter it directly into their tablet.  This will then immediately print a ticket for the bar tender letting them know to pour your drink.  By the time the server has visited their other tables and makes it back to the bar, your order is ready!  The drinks than can be delivered straight to you!  This should allow us to be at least 50% more efficient than using a traditional POS system.  We are hoping that quicker delivery of drinks on top of quality servers and staff will make for one of the best customer experiences you have ever had in a bar or restaurant!

This is just one of the many efficiencies we designed into our build out.  Laura and I are hoping that each and every efficiency adds to the overall enjoyment our customers will have at our Tap House.

May all of your beers be tasty!

Nate
HighPlainsTapHouse
“Why go to a bar in Denver, when you can go to a Tap House in Littleton?”
  posted: October 11, 2013
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Nate's Current Beer Rotation

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Nate's Current Beer Rotation

So I have fallen in love with the liquor stores that offer build your own six packs from singles.  Our friends over at Chatfield Wine and Spirits offer this fun, as well as Tipsy's liquor world.

So this is what I am currently in love with... and yes I have a fickle heart.  This weeks love might be next weeks fond memory.

First off, I have been drinking a lot of New Belgium's Abbey Ale.  Every since Dayton from NB turned me onto this beer I have been in love.  Fantastic Belgium style ale with an amazing mouth feel and a wonderful body that just keep me coming back for more.  On almost every sip I tell myself what an amazing beer!  Little known fact - this is NB first ever beer that they brewed.  Get some!

Haven't really settled into the Fall or Winter beers yet... still running around in flip flops.  With that said, I just tried an amazing Pilsner for the first time a couple of nights ago by Paulaner.  Of course, anyone who knows beer, knows Paluaner.  They make some fantastic beers.  Their pilsner is no exception; it is amazing.  Really crisp, with a strong Pilsner bite, that would go amazing on a hot day.

Bard's Beer.  Gluten-free!  I tried this beer on a whim as I needed one more beer to round out my 6 pack.  I was pleasantly surprised.  This beer is brewed with Sorghum, a type of grass.  This clean drinking beer has a wonderful side note of almost peat.  Adds a nice touch to a clean finish and makes for a really drinkable, fun beer!  For all of you who have sworn off beer because of gluten, come back to the fold and enjoy a Bard's!

Magic Hat #9.  This beer is really hard for me to decide what I like about it...  I just like it.  They call it a not quite pale ale, but I don't really know what that means.  It strikes me as a nice medium bodied drink that adds some interesting nuances without anything jumping out at you.  What you get is a fun beer that you can't quite put your finger on...  Maybe it has crack in it, as I just keep buying it.

Telluride's Face Down Brown - this is just an amazing brown beer.  Takes the heavy duty brown and balances it with nice hop action and really leads to a superbly balanced beer that just goes great anytime you feel like a brown.  Definite recommendation if you like browns and haven't had it.

Finally, and this is just strange, I really like the Vietnamese beer Saigon.  Hard to find, but we get it at our favorite Pho places.  This beer is great because it seems to combine two of my favorite things... beer and Saki.  This beer is made with rice as the grain, and thus give is a clean drinkable finish with just a hint of that Saki not quite vinegar bite.  I could just drink these all day.  So tasty.

Quite a strange list, I agree but everything on there is tasty and well worth including in your own six pack.

Stay tuned.  Next time - Super Efficiency using Tablets to put in your order table side.

May all of your beers be tasty!

Nate
HighPlainsTapHouse
"Why go to a bar in Denver, when you can go to a Tap House in Littleton?"

posted: October 7, 2013
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State of the Art Beer Delivery System

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How to build a State of the Art Beer Deilvery System

I imagine everyone that is reading this has seen a beer poured from a keg via a draft handle.  What goes into getting the beer from the keg to the beer faucet?  The answer to that question can be very simple, to very complex depending on the setup of the bar.  In many cases the beer is being taken from coolers far away from the tap handles and travels along a series of tubing to reach the handle.  The main problem with this setup is that the longer the runs of tubing the more turbulent the beer becomes.  I am sure we have all seen many beers poured where the head takes up half the glass and the server has to then overflow the beer into the drain to get the appropriate amount of head on a beer.  This over foaming is due directly to the length of the tubing from the keg to the handle and the temperature of the beer in the line during the time it travels, and sits in the line waiting to be poured into a glass.  This is very wasteful, and also leads to a poor head retention and a flat beer.  This problem is almost always due to temperature fluxuation in the beer from the cooler to the handle.  Every time the beer changes temperature from the temperature it was stored, CO2 is released from the liquid.  This CO2 collects in the line and causes foaming and wasted/flat beer.  Often times, this problem is basically un-solvable due to the distance and lack of temperature control available to the system as a whole.  Depending on who installs the system, you can run a glycol chiller with the lines that greatly helps with controlling temperature in the line and thus helps with better poured beer.  This system is complex and takes a special chiller and setup, etc.

Rather than have to fight with poor pouring beer, we chose to design our system literally from the ground up.  As soon as we had our space signed for, Laura and I brought in Buck from Thirstaid.net.  Everyone I had talked to in the industry recommended Buck; from people who had their systems designed by him, to people who have had their systems fixed by him, they all highly recommended Buck.  With this recommendation, I brought Buck in and asked him how he would design the perfect keg delivery system.  The first step he said was to store the beer at 27-28 degrees.  This allows for better beer by allowing more CO2 to be dissolved into the beer.  This means a better carbonated beer, with better head retention and better overall flavor.  This is a little counter intuitive as you would think the beer would freeze, but since the liquid is under pressure and contains alcohol the freezing point is much lower.  This temperature alone creates a challenge for the beer delivery system build out, as everyone thinks you’re crazy and quotes you a refrigerator instead of a freezer.  In the end we decided to have our freezer built from scratch.  This allowed us the size and placement necessary to follow the rest of Buck’s recommendations.  Buck’s second recommendation was to have the freezer as close to the tap handles as possible.  Along with that, Buck told us that it was vital to carry that 28 degree beer all the way to the tap shank (part where the beer comes out).  This is an interesting problem that can lead to some serious design challenges.  The main problem is that if a beer travels through any sort of drywall, insulation, or any other wall or barrier, the temperature changes and you get beer foaming.  So how do you get the shortest beer lines possible, and keep the beer at 28 degrees all the way to the shank?  Simple, you design the tap wall directly into the side of the freezer.  So this is what we did.  We literally built the cooler directly behind the wall where the taps are located.  Along with that, we actually cut a foot high channel out of the cooler so that our custom made stainless steel tap wall and tray were actually a part of the wall of the cooler.  This saves us the problem of having our beer lines go through any sort of wall, insulation, etc.  So from the keg, through the line all the way till the beer is coming out of the faucet is always 28 degrees.  And since all the kegs are directly behind the tap wall, the longest run of beer hose is less than 10 total feet.
This setup will allow us to pour a perfect beer that will actually come out of the tap with no loss of CO2 and with no head!  To allow us to add a head, we will be installing specialty beer shanks that allow us to actually create a tight head to any level we desire.  This will allow us to pour rich, fragrant and great tasting beer with almost no loss.

Amazing what you can come up with when you design the system from the top down!  Just one of the innovations that I believe will help us live up to our motto of Top Taps in Town!

May all of your beers be tasty!

Nate
High Plains Tap House
"Why go to a bar in Denver, when you can go to a Tap House in Littleton?"
 
  posted: October 1, 2013
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Cumalative Update

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Cumalative Update:

Coming Soon! - We are within 6 weeks!  Just keep your fingers crossed that we don't hit any major snags!

Glass ware for beer and wine have been picked.  We are going to have 6 oz pours for wine, and 4oz, 8oz and 16 oz pours for beers.  All beers will be avaialble in the 4oz size.  Beers over 8% ABV will be served in an 8oz pour.  The glasses are fun and should be enjoyable to drink fine liquids from.

Colors are picked.  We have the floors, furniture, bar counter, etc. all picked out color wise.  We are shooting for a modern home away from home look with warm colors and nice contrasts.

Beers on Draft are pretty set, prices are being finalized and last minute adjustments are being made.  Bottles may change up a bit.  I don't think I want to carry Corona, as lets be honest, it is awful.  So there may be a few changes in the bottle line up before we get there.

Hiring is going full swing.  We are talking with canidates this week.

Furniture and Equipment are being ordered this week.  Our furniture will be fun and comfortable with a nice theme throughout.  We can't wait to show it off!

Muralist and decorator working on designing our main wall!  Will be fun when it is done.

The next update will be on our State of the Art beer delivery setup.  So stay tuned.

May all your beers be tasty!

Nate
High Plains Tap House
"Why go to a bar in Denver, when you can go to a Tap House in Littleton?" posted: September 25, 2013
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Now Accepting Applications!

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Now Accepting Applications!

We are still approximately 6 - 8 weeks out from opening, but everything is ramping up to full speed around High Plains Tap House.  With that in mind we want to start looking for our partners in the beer and wine slinging biz!

First, what are we looking for in our team members?  At the absolute top of our list of qualities we are looking for is a desire and passion to provide great service.  If Laura and I do everything else wrong in this biz, we will always insist on top quality service.  Our customers will be number one every time.  Next, and this should be a no brainer, we want people who are passionate about beer.  Don't like beer?  Don't apply.  Lastly, we are looking for applicable experience.  The more experience, the better.

To start, we are looking for Bartenders and Servers.  Most nights we will most likely be having 1 Bartender and 3 servers.  We will also most likely be looking for 1 kitchen staff to help plate food, but we are not looking for that individual yet (stay tuned).

Second, VERY IMPORTANT: You must be able to follow directions to be considered for employment!  Here is how to be considered for employment.
Step 1:  Have your resume with APPLICABLE experience ready in Word format.
Step 2: Email Jobs@HighPlainsTapHouse.com with why you beleive you would be a good choice as a team member and your availability.  Attach your resume to the email.
Step 3: Be patient.  We are still a ways out, so we will be contacting folks as we have time between meetings, etc.  Pestering us about your resume will not move you to the top of the list.  If you haven't heard from us in 10 days, feel free to send a follow up email if you would like.

That's it!  Laura and I are easy to work with, but we do expect individuals to do their jobs and work to make High Plains Tap House the home away from home that we want to give to our customers.

We look forward to hearing from you!

May all of your beers be tasty!

Nate
High Plains Tap House
"Why go to a bar in Denver, when you can go to a tap house in Littleton?"
posted: September 19, 2013
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Beer Menus Posted!

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So I have finally gotten around to sorting through all of the beers available to us and have picked out 120 of what I hope will be everyones new favorite friends.

You can see the Draft list here, and the Bottle list here.  (www.highplainstaphouse.com)

A few of the highlights:
Over 20 Colorado Crafts Beers on Tap.  I selected many favorites, but also pulled from many of the less known breweries around the state.

10 IPA Draft handles and another 17 IPA Bottles, for a whopping 27 IPA beers from you to choose from.  This doesn't include Strong Hopped Ales, Hopped Reds, etc.  So there is plenty for even the most discerning Hop Head.  NOTE:  Pliny the Elder is almost impossible to get.  I have added my name to the long list of bars that want some, but I wouldn't get your hopes up.

I have tried to pick a nice selection of the known and unknown.  If you don't see something on the lists that you think is a must have, please let us know by using the contact page on our website.  This list is not set in stone, just the accumulation of many hours of beer research and tastings.

Final note on nano breweries, and the small self distributing breweries around the city and state.  Nano and Self-Distributing breweries we are finding can be very difficult to work with.  They generally are not able to brew enough beer to keep a steady stream of product in the market place, and they are usually understaffed to the point where they do not have the time to talk sales.  We will be including beers from these smaller breweries as they become available, but we chose not to count on them to start.

I hope you all enjoy the lists.  It took quite a bit of doing to make happen, so I look forward to your comments and suggestions.

May all you beers be tasty!

Nate
"Why go to a bar in Denver, when you can go to a Tap House in Littleton"
posted: September 14, 2013
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New Beers from New Belgium

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Dayton stopped by from New Belgium to do a beer tasting for Laura and I.  First off Dayton is a great guy, with expansive information on craft beers but also with regards to starting your own craft beer bar slash tap house.  Dayton was nice enough to listen to our whole concept and add in his suggestions when we asked for it.  Great thanks go out to Dayton!

Now to the beers!  Dayton brought a nice selection of beers I had had quite a bit of over the years, and brand new stuff that I had never even heard of before.  We started off with the New Belgium Pumpkick, their seasonal fall beer, that has already been out for over a month.  This is an interesting beer as it doesn't have the huge "pumkin/spice" profile of a normal pumpkin beer.  Laura and I found out that is because they actually mix Cranberry in with their pumpkins to make a super smooth drinkable fall beer.  If you think of it in that light, rather than expecting a huge pumpkin spice blast then you will enjoy this beer.  Get to it soon, though, as there are doubts it will be around once fall actuall hits here in Colorado.

We tasted some stuff that we have had before, including the Abbey (I love Dubbels) and 1554 which I drank for years when it first came out, a wonderful Dark Ale if you have never had it.  Then some of the more interesting stuff came in.  I had never had a Ranger IPA before so we sampled that.  Very hoppy throughout with the hoppy finish.  Then we jumped to the Rampant Imperial IPA.  The Rampant is basically a doube Ranger, so I was expecting much of the same.  Instead you get a great beer that is actually smoother and finishes cleaner than the Ranger due to the higher ABV.  I would highly recommend tasting a Rampant if you get a chance (we will have it on tap), as it is an epic, drinkable IPA that won't leave you wishing you had a tongue scraper.

The last two I will mention are the Shift Pale Lager and the Lips of Faith (one offs specialies) Yuzu.  First the Shift is a Lager rather than an Ale, so it has a bit more non-hop body than a traditional Pale Ale would.  It has a nice hop flavor to start but finishes with a clean body and smooth finish.  This is a great session beer and I am sure I will be enjoying it again in the future.  The Yuzu is a unique beer that is a one time shot through New Belgiums Lips of Faith line.  This is a Berlinerweiss beer that is a mix of a light grassy earthy flavor with a nice sour overtone.  Not quite a lip puckering sour, but when you mix that with the grassy light drinking flavor you get an amazing combination of flavors.  I would highly recommend that if that sounds at all appealing that you get out and get a bottle soon (bombers only).  I will bet it will not be around long and then it will be gone for good.

Thanks again to New Belgium and Dayton for the tasting and great insight into beer that they provided!  We look forward to these beers on tap and in the bottle when we open up.

May all your beers be tasty!

Nate
High Plains Tap House
"Why go to a bar in Denver, when you can go to a Tap House in Littleton?" posted: September 7, 2013
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Bar vs. Tap House

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So we have had a few questions that we keep getting over and over, so I thought I would answer some of the questions we get a lot.

First off we are not a brew pub, meaning we do not brew our own beer.  Actually the SW Littleton area would not allow commercial brewing as it is against their zoning codes.  I do however brew at home ;)

The second question Laura and I get quite a bit is what differentiates a Tap House from a Bar.  In this case I differentiate it it mainly by the fact that we don't serve liquor (or mixed drinks) and our main product is beers on tap and in bottles, cans and bombers.  We will be moving into fine Scotches and Whiskeys, though, as soon as we get settled.  We still won't be mixing drinks with these as it will all be top quality sippers, not something you would want to waste by mixing.

Lastly, we do not have an opening date set yet.  We get asked this daily, but we are just too far out to make anything more than a general guess....  which is hopefully sometime in late October.  We will post it here first as soon as we set a date, so stay tuned.

Also we do not teach tap dance.  LOL

I hope that answers some questions for everyone especially in the Bar vs. Tap House question.

Have a great Labor Day and may all of your beers be tasty!

Nate
High Plains Tap House
"Why go to a bar in Denver, when you can go to a Tap House in Littleton?"

posted: September 1, 2013
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Epic Brewing = Epic Beer Tasting!

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John Turk form Epic Brewing stopped by to give us a taste experience.  First off, John is an awesome guy.  Super craft beer enthusiast, has his own craft beer radio show on AM 760 Saturdays starting at noon (coloradocraftbeershow.com), and he is just an all around super knowledgeable guy in the craft beer arena.

With that said he picked "the best brewery" to work for in his words, and I can see why.  Epic is the only brewery in the nation to specialize in only high ABV beers, and with that they really put the craft into craft beers.  If you have never had an Epic beer, run (don't walk) to the nearest place you can find one and try them.  You will not be disappointed.

We tried the Blueski Lager, a wonderful easy drinking lager that will most likely be the Bud/Coors replacement for us on tap.  Laura and I also loved the Sour Apple Saison, a ridiculously strong beer (that doesn't taste like it) and bordering just on the edge of sour (without souring agents).  Add in some spices and you have an amazing beer.  We also really liked the Stout.  Everything a stout should be, without any fancy stuff.  Most likely the Guinness replacement on Nitrous.

Their Brainless series is just that, so good you don't need to think about it...  just drink it.  They have peach, raspberry (which we tried - Laura's new favorite), and cherry along with the belgium golden which is the base for all the fruit beers.  These beers close in on the 10% ABV range and taste better than Kool-Aid (meaning can't tast the alcohol and easy drinking).  Get some.

The last one I will mention is the Escape to Colorado IPA.  This is a great bridge IPA that we will have to have on tap.  Wonderful hop flavor, but not overwhelming at all.  This will be a great beer to bridge people into IPAs that want to try them.

All in all, a wonderful tasting event.  Thanks John for the beer and the industry info!  We appreciate it!

May all of your beers be tasty,

Nate
Strving to be the best darn Tap House in the bar Denver Littleton Area. posted: August 27, 2013
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