Late Shift Lager House all set to move into its new home in 2023

The new production facility for Late Shift Lager House and Sandia Hard Cider will be located at 12th and Aspen.

First up, nobody panic, especially all those Liverpool fans out there (you can just panic over the direction of your season) — The Craftroom is not going anywhere.

The production facility in the back of The Craftroom, where Sandia Hard Cider and Late Shift Lager House are located, is moving down the road a ways later this year.

I caught up with head brewer Ram Khalsa to discuss the pending move, and how things have been going for the Late Shift brand over the course of the past year, for our Look Back/Look Ahead Series.

“It was good,” he said. “We didn’t do a whole lot of marketing, which is kind of intentional, because we have this new building on 12th (Street) coming. That’s going to be a Late Shift-focused taproom. So we’ve just been letting it grow organically, by word of mouth and such. It’s been working great. Cider sells 50-50 to beer, so it’s been going good.”

Part of that intent was to grant Khalsa and his team the time they needed to perfect the recipes. Lagers are, after all, among the trickiest of beer styles to master.

“It definitely gives us a chance to hone in all of the recipes, the directions we want to go,” he said. “Admiral (Beverage) wants to pick us up. As soon as that new building is fully operational, we’ll put a couple beers in cans, and see where it goes.”

Until the new taproom is open, you can still visit The Craftroom, where beer and cider sales are now 50-50.

Brewers are often reluctant to pick a favorite among their creations, but for Khalsa and his customers, they are in agreement about La Vida Lager.

“Well, the helles lager has really been great, and we’re really enjoying tweaking it,” he said. “We have a system capable of step mashing. So I’ll buy some under-modified malts, maybe mix some base malts, just trying different things. That’s been our consistent number one seller, which is awesome, because it’s always IPA, right?

“We have three IPAs, but the helles is always number one, which is awesome. It’s been great to see people enjoying lagers. We have a fruited wit that also does well; I guess that’s not a surprise. It’s just nice to see people drink things besides IPA.”

The new production facility, located at 1501 12th Street NW, will be the big focus of 2023.

“It’s going great,” Khalsa said. “We’re hitting all the right dates. The slowest part was getting it purchased, obviously. Drains are being poured right now, and getting approved. We have electricians over there. It’s all going well. It’s a 17,000-square-foot building, really pretty, it’s got some nice, natural light, and a big space for the taproom. So that’s going to roll out probably around late summer. Everything is going according here to plan.”

As noted, The Craftroom will remain in its current location at 2809 Broadbent Parkway.

“This is going to stay as a satellite taproom, and all of the production is going to end up on 12th,” Khalsa said.

The Liverpool fans are usually back in that corner. We dare not show their colors, lest we curse our poor website.

The Liverpool fan club should also stay put, which could free up another soccer team’s fans to claim the new taproom.

“I think they’re going to stay here,” Khalsa said. “They really enjoy it here. We have all the TVs synced up for them.”

There are no immediate plans to increase production as soon as the new facility is up and running.

“Yeah, at this point it’s really just set up the brewery, put in the infrastructure of the brewery the absolute best that we can,” Khalsa said. “I’ll tell you, I’ve worked at a few breweries now, and drainage is always a thing. We’re really making sure we’ve got everything set up well. The (new) toys will come later.”

As we already noted in our Gravity Bound article in this series, that contract-brewing relationship will continue. For Khalsa, it is just as big of a positive for him and Late Shift as it is for the GB team.

“We’ve been partnering up with Gravity Bound, and that’s been going well,” he said. “I think they’re purchasing a couple of lagering tanks, which hopefully they’ll let me use. That’s been great, those boys have been great.”

As things stand, the combined production of Late Shift, Sandia, and Gravity Bound all fits together fairly nicely.

“When breweries are small, we’re not brewing definitely not every day, sometimes not even every week,” Khalsa said. “Especially with a 20-barrel system, there’s plenty of room for them. With the addition of more tanks, there’s still even more room for them. It’s no big deal. If we added anyone else, then it would be too much. Two is perfect, any more and we’d start stepping on each others’ toes.”

Odds are, even if you did not visit The Craftroom, you probably saw Late Shift at quite a few festivals, including WinterBrew.

While all of that is happening behind the scenes, Khalsa wanted to invite everyone to come by The Craftroom and try the Late Shift lineup. And yes, even the hopheads are invited.

“We still make plenty of ales, so there’s a beer here for everybody,” he said. “Obviously we’re just more focused on lagers.”

A big thanks to Ram for taking a break in the middle of work to chat. We look forward to our first tour of the new facility on 12th Street in the coming months, and our first pour at the new taproom.

Keep supporting local!

— Stoutmeister

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