New brewery offers unique experience in not so hidden location – Garden City Telegram

BY JUDE GLASSMAN NEAR Special to The Telegram

An old song lyric comes to mind upon hearing the ideas that inspired the creation of Garden City’s new nano-brewery, Hidden Trail Brewing: “Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name; and they’re always glad you came.”

Owners Cody Cundiff, Colin Williams and Michael Cole began talking in June of 2020 about opening a small brewery here in town. The three were coworkers and friends with a background in brewing and food service and a shared vision to create a comfortable place to hang out and have a beer with friends and family. Together they bring a combined total of over 31 years of experience to the new business, opened at the end of November 2021.

“We’ve always been kind of a threeheaded monster,” said Cundiff, “and our ideas form together…I wanted to bring a bar for people that really aren’t typical of bar people…we’re familyfriendly, dog-friendly. The three of us all have young kids and we wanted it to be a very family-friendly (place) for people to bring their families and hang out. Just something a little bit different – ​​not so much a restaurant, not so much a bar, but more of its own hybrid monster.”

The brightly lit, open concept space features clean white walls and a full view of the brewing equipment. Modeled after breweries they’ve enjoyed visiting elsewhere, it has a much different feel than other drinking establishments in Garden City. And that is exactly the point.

“We all saw the possibilities to do something different that this town’s not used to. We all three had the same vision to have a likeness to other breweries we liked in Kansas and in Colorado,” Williams said.

Hidden Trail has arcade games, board games, cards and books to be enjoyed by patrons of all ages. They already have regulars who come in at certain days and times. They encourage diversity and want Hidden Trail to become known as a place where people of all ages and walks of life come together and feel at ease.

In addition to the 19 regular tables that seat four to six, the establishment has two large high-top tables that each seat up to 12. They want people that enter as strangers to leave as friends.

“Two nights ago there were (two groups of four), one sitting at each table. They didn’t know each other but eventually they just kinda meshed in and so community is one of our main things that we strive for,” Williams said

Hidden Trail Brewing is located at 2010 E. Schulman Ave., near the intersection of Campus Drive and Schulman Avenue. Williams said it’s a great location because it’s in an area where the city is growing and thriving.

The original plan to open in a 125-year-old barn on the property owned by Williams was scrapped when it became evident that the amount of work that would have been necessary to convert the barn made that option impractical. They found the barn that now houses the brewery and it just felt perfect. With some help from the Finney County Economic Development Corporation and the Kansas Small Business Development Center everything else fell into place to bring the dream into reality.

Why a barn?

Cundiff elucidated, “There’s nothing more Kansas than drinking beer in a barn. So, yeah, the idea of ​​just feeling like you’re hanging out in a friend’s barn was really exciting to all of us.”

Cundiff, Williams and Cole used all local contractors to do the work necessary to make the space what it is today. The interior of the barn was taken down to the beams and rebuilt from the floor up. Plumbing, electrical and HVAC had to be added. All three of the owners had hands-on involvement with the process, bouncing ideas off contractors and each other.

Cool characteristics of the location include corrugated metal wainscoting repurposed from the barn’s original roof. All of the brewery’s tables were made from recycled barn wood and boards which originally comprised the barn’s interior walls. Michael Knudsen, a local artist, is creating a mural on one wall which will include a gorgeous Kansas sunset, the barn, a buffalo and each of the owners.

Another unique feature of Hidden Trail Brewing is the conscious decision not to have a kitchen on site.

They prefer to support other local small businesses by inviting food trucks to park in front of the business and offer their specialties. It keeps things fresh and provides variety having a different food truck every day on Thursdays through Sundays each week.

The featured food trucks provide tacos, burgers and barbecue. Customers can order at the truck and food is brought in and delivered to the table. Additionally, Pinky’s Cheestro offers a special delivery menu for Hidden Trail Brewing customers. Patrons can also bring or have delivered their own food to enjoy with their favorite brew.

The brewery utilizes five fermentation tanks and two brite tanks – where the carbonation takes place and the beers are kegged off. They offer 10 to 11 varieties on tap per week. These can be enjoyed on site or they can fill a to-go crowler, a 32-ounce can, of any beer on tap. They also offer root beer and cream soda.

Future plans for entertainment include showcasing live music, a trivia contest with local teams and the Garden City Community College Quiz Bowl team and stand-up comedy.

In March they plan to launch a discount program for law enforcement and first responders.

Hidden Trail Brewing is available for booking events such as class reunions and small, informal events on the days they are not open for regular business.

The owners feel that an unified vision and a commitment for life will be key to the success of the business. The three are not just friends, they are family, fully involved in each other’s lives.

“We’re all very invested in each other…we all hope this works out, obviously, but no, it has to work out for all of us,” Cundiff stated, “We’re putting everything we have into it because it’s not just me and it’s not just him, it’s all of us.”

The brewery is open 3:30 to 10 pm on Wednesday and Thursday; 3:30 to 11 pm on Friday; noon to 11 pm on Saturday and noon to 8:30 pm on Sunday. The business is closed on Monday and Tuesday.

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