Rocky Mountain Brewing News December 2015/January 2016 : Page 1
ROCKY M OUN UN TAIN AIN MOUN UNTAIN W IN G N E W E S BR A day at the brewery brings "canned" laughter. P HOTOS COURTESY OF F LASH P ARKER By Amy Moses O pening a small business is hard. Really hard. It takes years of prepa-ration and a ton of perseverance, guts, and wherewithal, not to mention a significant amount of capital. Over the past 18 months, a group of brave souls opened their own businesses in Fort Collins– and those four breweries are going strong! The owners have a mul-titude of plans for growth as they continue entrenching themselves in this very active and craft beer-crazed community. These amazing peo-ple took time out of their busy day to answer questions about their grand adventure of making and selling beer in the Choice City. Carol Cochran and her husband Tim, launched Horse & Dragon Brewing in an industrial park in north Fort Collins in May 2014. It’s close enough to brewery row that many cyclists See Fort p.2 By Ty Martinez Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes Who’s Who INSIDE Homebrewing ...............................4 Craft Beer Directory ................ 8-10 Calendar of Events ....................15 State by State News Idaho...............6 Wyoming.........7 Utah...............11 Montana..........11 Denver..............................12 Central Peaks..................13 Front Range.....................14 Western Slope.................15 Four Corners...................15 Starting in August 2014, Black Tooth Brewing Company underwent a complete transformation that ended in mid-June 2015. “It was ten and half months of awesomeness!” exclaimed the VP of Liquid Assets, Auggie Katzer. He continued, “The expansion we just finished is a big step in the right direction to becoming a regional brewery.” The project included adding 8,500 square feet with 43-foot high walls, and a fully automated 30-barrel four-vessel system with a steam-fueled calandria. Six 90-barrel fermenters and three 90-barrel bright tanks were planted inside, and they have plans to install two 120-barrel fermen-ters and one 120-barrel bright tank in the near future. “We’re looking at producing 6,000 barrels in our first year of production with this expan-sion, and then 15,000 barrels by 2016,” explains Auggie. Originally, Black Tooth Brewing Company started in 2010 with a two-vessel 10-barrel system, and supplied seven very demanding and thirsty counties of the 23 total counties in Wyoming. With these recent upgrades, the brew-ery is able to supply every city within the four corners of Wyoming, as well as Bozeman, Billings and Miles City, Montana. The South Dakota mar-ket is now included in their footprint, and they’re looking to add Idaho by spring of 2016. The plan is to offer draft and can assortments within seven states surrounding Wyoming over the next five years. As their building was going through a physi-cal transformation, the owners began thinking it would be a good time to change their brewery’s identity and rebrand. “We needed something that was going to be true to our roots in Sheridan, but we also needed something that was going to resonate in states surrounding Wyoming,” shares See West p.4 Colorado
Four In The Fort
JOYS AND REVELATIONS IN YEAR ONE
Opening a small business is hard. Really hard. It takes years of preparation and a ton of perseverance, guts, and wherewithal, not to mention a significant amount of capital.
Over the past 18 months, a group of brave souls opened their own businesses in Fort Collins– and those four breweries are going strong!
The owners have a multitude of plans for growth as they continue entrenching themselves in this very active and craft beer-crazed community. These amazing people took time out of their busy day to answer questions about their grand adventure of making and selling beer in the Choice City.
Carol Cochran and her husband Tim, launched Horse & Dragon Brewing in an industrial park in north Fort Collins in May 2014. It’s close enough to brewery row that many cyclists Can take a quick detour and arrive in their cozy tap room and sip beers created by brewer Linsey Cornish but you can also find them on tap around the city and neighboring communities.
Snowbank Brewing opened in August 2014 along Fort Collins’ “brewery row” and owner and brewer Dave Rosso now has three partners and has even started contract brewing for other Northern Colorado breweries.
At about the same time, Kirk Lombardi transitioned from Regional Brewmaster at CB & Potts to opening a brewery with his brother, Eric. A long-time dream-come-true for the siblings, Zwei Brewing is located right off the Mason Trail and offers...you-guessed-it – German beers.
The newbies to this energetic group are Matt Kriewall and Jason Connor, co-owners of Rally King Brewing, which opened in June 2015 right off the Spring Creek Trail. Matt, a chiropractor and Jason, a software engineer, hung onto their day jobs and have managed to do those while running their brewery.
How has having your brewery open for business been different than what you expected when you were in the planning phases?
Carol: (H&D): “We planned in earnest for a year plus before we opened, and dreamed about doing this for about 20 years before that. We had a complete business plan which we revised several times about 10 years before we ever acted upon it. So if anything, we were over-planned! A lot about the opening and first year went as we hoped and anticipated. But a few things were still surprising, for example: despite the fact that every small business owner can caution you about the hours you put in the first few years, the hours and exhaustion level took me by surprise.”
Dave: (Snowbank): “I spend a lot less time brewing and way more time on the financial/ planning/management side of the business than I expected. I had an idea in my mind of what beers we were brewing that would be the most popular, and after opening have found that I was right on a couple but mostly surprised by what was eventually the most popular.”
Kirk (Zwei): “Good question. Well, we were short on money at the end, so opened with a little less capacity than we wanted to, so it's been a bit of a scramble to keep up with our goal of having 20 beers on at the tasting room. Thankfully we have two new 20-barrel lager tanks coming and this should help with that situation.”
Jason (Rally King): “The brewery is a lot more work than anticipated, mostly on the taproom and business side, but there have been a few surprises on the brewing side as well. We custom designed our system and it mostly works as expected. However, cleaning a seven-barrel fermentor is a lot tougher that you'd imagine it to be.”
What has been your greatest joy so far regarding the brewery?
Carol (H&D): “Our greatest joy has definitely been the people we’ve met through the brewery — in the taproom, in the trade, and through various organizations that we’ve been involved with. The people involved with craft beer are wonderful, and the community that naturally springs up around a craft brewery is heartwarming.”
Dave (Snowbank): “This is a tough one because two things really stick out. First I am so proud and happy to work with the people we have at Snowbank. I am constantly surprised and delighted with their awesome character and the level of service they provide. It also brings me a lot of joy when have a successful event such as pairing our Smore's Chocolate Stout (made with nibs from Nuance Chocolate) with Stuff'n mallows and when we get a great turnout. It's truly a joy to see a plan come together, to work with other local companies and to have a great time!
Kirk (Zwei): “I love seeing the peeps and their kids and critters having a good time in our establishment.”
Jason (Rally King): “The greatest joy for me is still the brewing process. It has been really wonderful to engineer a system and then to see it work.”
Do you feel more a part of the Fort Collins community now that you are a small business owner?
Carol: (H&D): Fort Collins is a very easy place to feel connected. Other businesses and community organizations are visible, supportive, and responsive if you make an effort to contact them or get involved. There are so many people willing to help others (which is fortunate, as I think there are many clear areas of need here in Larimer County), and so many folks who are eager to make our community constantly stronger, more interesting, more accepting, and healthier. The long-established breweries in town have been incredibly supportive and are great leaders in our industry. And because of people’s support of craft beer culture here in Fort Collins we are often contacted by other organizations looking for a place to meet or celebrate or asking us to get involved in their events/business. For a craft brewery, at least, it is very easy to feel a part of the community here.
Dave (Snowbank): “I felt love for and felt connected to Fort Collins before opening Snowbank and now it's even stronger. As a business owner you can truly help shape the community in many ways.”
Kirk (Zwei): “Hmmm, growing up here I've always felt like I was part of the community, but attaining my 25-year goal of having a small business is swell.”
Matt (Rally King): “I personally have had a small business in Fort Collins for the last 18 years, so I have always felt close to the Fort Collins community. Now, with a brewery, I feel a close sense of family with the other brewers of Fort Collins. They have really been supportive and kind.”
Favorite beer you've released?
Carol (H&D): “Picnic Rock Pale Ale, hands down. I love it alone or with almost any food.”
Dave (Snowbank): “So far I would have to say our collaboration beer (Reinheitsgenot White Stout) because we were able to work with two other incredible local breweries on it (CB & Potts, and Zwei Brewing).
Kirk (Zwei): “Zwei Helles” Matt (Rally King): “Surfer Girl IPA. It has a special place in my heart.”
Give me one word to describe your beers…
Carol (H&D): “Balanced”
Dave (Snowbank): “Nontraditional.”
Kirk (Zwei): “German” Jason (Rally King): “Can I use two? Easy-drinking.”
What would you like to say to the people of Colorado who have supported your brewery since opening day?
Carol (H&D): “We can’t say an enormous-enough THANK YOU to the many people who have supported us since Day 1 — both individuals and bars and restaurants throughout Colorado. It’s impossible to tell them how grateful we are that they are in on the ground floor helping to make a go of this business. We will always do our best to repay their enthusiasm and support by making great products that they can enjoy with family and friends!”
Dave (Snowbank): “Thank you so much! We Can't do it without you and we have the best fans ever! I love seeing people come back that I recognize and when they bring their friends and family it means a lot.”
Kirk (Zwei): “Great googly moogly thanks so much to everyone for their help, support and friendship!”
Matt (Rally King): “The surrounding neighborhood has been a huge support for our little tap room. I would like to thank all the people of Fort Collins and Colorado that have supported us, had beer with us and generally just welcomed us to the brewing community.”
Goals for 2016?
Carol (H&D): “To continue supplying and supporting our great accounts in Fort Collins while learning how to best connect with craft-beer-loving places further afield. We also hope to begin bottling in small quantities with certain brands by November or December of 2016. We explored both canning and bottling and decided that the bottling lines we can afford still treat the beer much better, over time, than the canning lines we can afford, so now we will begin narrowing down which line, order it, work out installation bugs, and dial in production. This will be a year-long project for us, as we want to get it right. Of course, there’s always the ongoing goal of being proactive members of our community and creating great craft beer products and experiences that enable people to better connect with each other.”
Dave (Snowbank): “Increase our distribution and begin bottling while embracing our nontraditional brewing style.”
Kirk (Zwei): “Expand draft sales and possibly break into some seasonal packaged product.”
Matt (Rally King): “We plan on having several accounts with restaurants and tap rooms around Fort Collins pouring our beers. We will start bottling and getting a couple of our beers out on the shelves. We will also be hiring some staff to help us get out of the tap room and focus on the beer.” Jason added: “To sum it up: we'd like to be able to start regularly drinking Rally King beers outside the Rally King taproom (though not exclusively).”
There You Have It
And just think...those are just four of the many examples in the Rocky Mountain region of people who believed, “If you build it, they will come.”
Read the full article at http://rmbnonline.brewingnews.com/article/Four+In+The+Fort/2341663/283739/article.html.
Drinking The West
Starting in August 2014, Black Tooth Brewing Company underwent a complete transformation that ended in mid-June 2015. “It was ten and half months of awesomeness!” exclaimed the VP of Liquid Assets, Auggie Katzer. He continued, “The expansion we just finished is a big step in the right direction to becoming a regional brewery.” The project included adding 8,500 square feet with 43-foot high walls, and a fully automated 30-barrel four-vessel system with a steam-fueled calandria. Six 90-barrel fermenters and three 90-barrel bright tanks were planted inside, and they have plans to install two 120-barrel fermenters and one 120-barrel bright tank in the near future. “We’re looking at producing 6,000 barrels in our first year of production with this expansion, and then 15,000 barrels by 2016,” explains Auggie.
Originally, Black Tooth Brewing Company started in 2010 with a two-vessel 10-barrel system, and supplied seven very demanding and thirsty counties of the 23 total counties in Wyoming. With these recent upgrades, the brewery is able to supply every city within the four corners of Wyoming, as well as Bozeman, Billings and Miles City, Montana. The South Dakota market is now included in their footprint, and they’re looking to add Idaho by spring of 2016. The plan is to offer draft and can assortments within seven states surrounding Wyoming over the next five years.
As their building was going through a physical transformation, the owners began thinking it would be a good time to change their brewery’s identity and rebrand. “We needed something that was going to be true to our roots in Sheridan, but we also needed something that was going to resonate in states surrounding Wyoming,” shares Auggie. The rebranding is a bold By Bill Downs portrait of a bison-like head which brought a lot of excitement and support, from loyal customers across the state. The new customers and retailers are also excited with the display of branding and the look of bright-colored cans on the store shelves.
More game-changing plays were in the air, and Black Tooth Brewing Company decided to change up their IPA. Indian Paintbrush IPA production was halted when the new brewhouse was fully functional in June 2015. Some say they heard the sound of Taps gently being played in the background, but the new Hot Streak IPA was added to their flagship beers.
“We felt as though our state flower, Indian Paintbrush, as a brand, was hard to intrigue the general IPA drinker,” said Auggie, “At the end of the day, with the new image, and the new branding, we needed something more progressive.” Hot Streak IPA has notes of tropical fruits and pine, and has a clean finish. These flavors are from a blend of Eldorado, Challenger, and Cascade hop varietals, and the hop heads are enjoying this new IPA.
“Our vision is to create a culture of beer drinkers that truly enjoy craft beer for the flavor profiles not just alcohol. We focus on producing, selling and consuming the content that makes up our beer, not the quantity of alcohol, or excess of certain ingredients,” Auggie shares. He continues, “It’s about the experience.”
The three flagship beers distributed are Saddle Bronc Brown Ale, Bomber Mountain Amber Ale, and the new Hot Streak IPA. Black Tooth Brewing Company believes their flagship beers will speak for their brand as far as quality and consistency, and also for them to build off of with seasonal beers and specialty offerings.
Auggie explains, ‘“We have a huge following of Bomber Mountain Amber Ale up here in Sheridan.”
Mr. VP of Liquid Assets illustrates, “Casper, Cheyenne, and Laramie LOVE Saddle Bronc Brown Ale. Cody is hot to trot on “The Bronc” as well!” The popularity of these flagship beers could be the high caliber of quality the brewery upholds, and how sessionable and approachable they are.
The brewery will be rotating in seasonal beers across the region this winter. New barrelaged beers will also be released this winter that may be on a beer enthusiasts’ wish list. The five-year anniversary beer 1314 is a Wyoming Whiskey barrel-aged English strong ale measuring 8. 5% ABV. Be on the lookout for 1516, a Wyoming Whiskey barrel-aged imperial IPA as well.
Beer Is Food
The brewmaster and lead brewer are classically trained chefs, and make award-winning beers and suggest some flagship beer and food pairings. Saddle Bronc Brown Ale pairs well with BBQ brisket due to the roasted coffee and chocolate flavors from the beer. A well-cooked lamb shank brings out the sweetness and earthy qualities of Bomber Mountain Amber Ale. Hot Streak IPA’s tropical juicy flavor is fantastic with a Thai green curry.
Sheridan’s Living Room
Founders Tim Barnes and Travis Zeilstra created an institutional business, job opportunities, and a role in the Sheridan community. Black Tooth Brewing Company embraces a modern and Western theme as they create their craft beers, and they continue to do this as their new brew house is up and running. They are an up-and- coming brewery, and their mission is to be a stellar representative of the Wyoming craft beer community.
Auggie says playfully, “We would also like our role in the community to be a ‘living room of sorts’ for Sheridan, a place where people feel free to come meet up with friends old and new; where people could come celebrate special occasions; where new friends and business relationships could be made; where an individual could enjoy a locally craft beer and be proud to be a part of something special.”
The atmosphere in the taproom is friendly and inviting, and offers live music regularly. Their growler collection from other breweries is also a sight to behold. Tours at this time are not offered on a regular basis, but a tour schedule will be offered by the summer season.
Lastly, they challenge you, and the world, to “Drink the West.” Auggie expounds, “Our motto, ’Drink the West’, is a reminder to drink local, and not to forget where your roots are, and to never stop exploring.”
This motto speaks directly to the progressive, but yet nostalgic practices which Black Tooth Brewing Company bases its culture off of - the American West.
Read the full article at http://rmbnonline.brewingnews.com/article/Drinking+The+West/2341664/283739/article.html.