Posted: April 12, 2013
Made in Colorado 2013: BeerEric Peterson
New Belgium Brewing
As usual, there’s plenty of news emanating from the macro-microbrewery that is now the nation’s third largest craft brewer and seventh largest overall.
They’re getting ready to break ground on a new $175 million brewery in Asheville, N.C., that could nearly double production capacity and will shift some production to more effectively target the Northeast, since folks haven’t been able to find Fat Tire north of D.C. The beverages will be available in Alaska, Louisiana and Florida in March, April and July, respectively, making for a 30-state market that spans, well, from Alaska to Florida. The company also went from 42 percent employee-owned to 100 percent in January while also becoming a B Corporation.
But let’s not forget the beer: New Belgium’s big news for 2013 is Hop Kitchen, a new quarterly rotator release with an emphasis on hoppy beers.
Why’s Colorado such a great state for craft beer? “You see a proliferation of small craft brewers and micros and that begets a savvy beer drinker,” says New Belgium spokesperson Bryan Simpson. “That feeds the creativity of it and helps the startup brewer.”
Odell Brewing Co.
Odell Brewing Co. was established in 1989 by Doug Odell, his wife Wynne and his sister Corkie. It’s come a long way in the quarter-century since.
Amanda Johnson-King, marketing and branding manager, says the biggest Odell news in 2013 has been the groundbreaking for an expansion to bring annual capacity up to 100,000 barrels. By fall, she expects to have more brewing capacity, a storage cellar and a new beer garden.
Growth remains steady, adds Johnson-King. “We finished last year up about 15 percent. We’re not expanding into new states, but focusing on existing markets and diving into them.” To this end, Odell now has five out-of-state sales reps, up from two in 2012, covering a 10-state market.
Odell is releasing its first variety 12-packs later in May, dubbed Montage. Each will include three bottles of four different Odell beers.
TRVE Brewing Co.
After cutting his teeth home-brewing in his garage, Nick Nunns went pro and launched TRVE (metal-speak for “superlative”) in Denver’s Baker neighborhood in summer 2012 with a novel funding concept. He sold $50 memberships that included a half-dozen growler fills and another half-dozen discounted growlers.
“There was an outpouring of support from the neighborhood,” says Nunns. “We sold out of 266 memberships in the first two days.”
The ploy staked TRVE with seed money to launch and the hyper-local nano-brewer is now getting ready to offer 366 memberships for its second year. “We’re already looking at expanding the brewhouse,” says Nunns, noting the recent Wednesday and Thursday taproom closure. “Otherwise, we wouldn’t have any beer for the weekend,” he explains.
“We like to think of ourselves as a bar that brews its own beer,” says Nunns. “We’re just taking it one step at a time and focusing on brewing the best beer possible.”
Upslope Brewing Co.
After a decade of working in high-tech manufacturing by day and home brewing by night, Matt Cutter co-founded Upslope in 2007 with Dany Pages, a pro brewer from Argentina. At the time, it was the first new brewery in Boulder in roughly a decade.
Cutter’s high-tech background gave him “a look at working at a startup and working in manufacturing,” he says. “It was great training for Upslope.”
Upslope’s growth curve is aptly described by its name. Cutter anticipated production of 400 barrels in 2008, but the company hit 1,100 and it’s gone gangbusters ever since. “We’ve grown 181 percent from 2010 to 2012,” he says, touting production of 5,300 barrels last year. After outgrowing its North Boulder space, the brewery recently expanded into a second location in Flatiron Park.
Wynkoop Brewing Co.
Colorado’s first brewpub (and one of the nation’s largest), Wynkoop Brewing Co.
is also the first brewery founded by a future governor since President Sam Adams.
But Wynkoop has not been resting on its laurels since Gov. John Hickenlooper traded suds for politics. It’s been canning its flagship Railyard Ale since January 2010, and is expanding to can a fourth year-round beer – Belgorado Harvest IPA – manually in the basement of its LoDo post.
Brewed with hops from Misty Mountain Hops near Olathe and malt from Colorado Malting in the San Luis Valley, Belgorado is an all-Colorado product, says brewery spokesman Marty Jones. “We wanted to showcase homegrown hops and malts,” he explains. “Our fans like small-batch, artful things, especially when they’re made in Colorado.
“We’re tired of these wine people dominating terroir,” adds Jones. “We beer folks can wave the terroir flag, too.”
Brews Colorado Native beer from Colorado ingredients.
Avery Brewing Co.
Known as a brewer’s brewery (or maybe the brewer’s brewery), Avery has been in the business since 1993.
Colorado’s original microbrewery has been in operation since 1979.
Breckenridge Brewery is moving to a new 12-acre Littleton brewery/farm/beer garden on the Platte River in 2014.
Bristol Brewing Co.
Colorado Springs’ standout craft brewer, Bristol has been brewing batches since 1994.
Coors Brewing Co.
Established in 1873, Coors is the largest brewery in Colorado and the seventh largest worldwide.
Dry Dock Brewing
Colorado’s only craft brewer that’s attached to a homebrewing supply store, the Brew Hut.
The saison (farmhouse ale) specialist was the small brewery of the year at the 2012 Great American Beer Festival in Denver.
Great Divide Brewing
One of Colorado’s most critically adored breweries, Great Divide has been brewing in downtown Denver since 1994 (a big year in Colorado’s craft beer industry).
Left Hand Brewing Co.
The decidedly distinctive Left Hand got started with Sawtooth Ale in 1994 and has seen success since.
New Planet Beer
Gluten-free craft beer
Pedro Gonzales needed a gluten-free beer for his own diet, so he made it himself with New Planet.
Oskar Blues was the first craft brewer to can its beer and the “canned beer apocalypse” is going strong at Dale Katchis’ ever-growing, beer-centric empire.
Palisade Brewing Co.
Palisade Brewing is known for the Dirty Hippie, its unique dark American wheat beer.
Ska set up shop in Southwestern Colorado in 1995.
Denver-based writer Eric Peterson is the author of Frommer's Colorado, Frommer's Montana & Wyoming, Frommer's Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks and the Ramble series of guidebooks, featuring first-person travelogues covering everything from atomic landmarks in New Mexico to celebrity gone wrong in Hollywood. Peterson has also recently written about backpacking in Yosemite, cross-country skiing in Yellowstone and downhill skiing in Colorado for such publications as Denver's Westword and The New York Daily News. He can be reached at Eptcb126@msn.com