Rocky Mountain Brewing News February/March 2016 : Page 1

FEBRUARY/MARCH • 2016 VOLUME 14 • NUMBER 1 2 Row brewer Brian Coleman and son Derek. PHOTO BY BRIAN MANTERNACH PHOTO BY DERRICK HOFFMAN By Bridgett Weaver f you’d asked him three years ago about hops and what it takes to grow them, Derrick Hoffman wouldn’t have been able to tell you much. But after a year of grow-ing hops on his small farm in Greeley, Colo., he has a little more knowledge under his belt and he’s gearing up for another year armed with what he learned. Hoffman is one of very few hops producers in He said he received a lot of advice and help from growers in Michigan — which has a larger hops market of about 300 acres a year — and he bought supplies out of New York. “A lot of it for us was just learning,” Hoffman said. “We know how we’re going to do things next year.” He said the extremely wet spring last year was really helpful to his hops growing. While it was hard to get them in the ground, the plants need rain in the first few months and sun to fin-ish. In 2015, that’s exactly what they got. From about a quarter acre lot, Hoffman said they harvested about 200 pounds of wet hops. That is almost unheard of in a first-year hop field. “We were really lucky that (the yard) pro-duced anything,” he said. “A lot of the new hop yards had a rough first year.” States like Michigan and New York are emerging in the hops market, though nowhere See Hops p.2 U By Brian Manternach tah’s Salt Lake Valley runs from Salt Lake City at the north to “Point of the Mountain” twenty miles south. Almost exactly halfway between these two locations is the city of Midvale. Though its 28,000 resi-dents have understandably fewer attractions than downtown Salt Lake City, it is the home of a “brewer’s row” that draws beer enthusiasts out to the suburbs. The trio of Bohemian Brewery, Hoppers Brewpub, and Salt City Brew Supply are all within a short distance of each other. Now, just a little further down the road, is Utah’s newest brewery—2 Row Brewing. Named after the high-quality malt used by most craft brewers, co-founders Brian and DeDe Coleman bring both brewing expertise as well as small business experience to the operation, which has been open since June 2015. “I’ve been self-employed all my life,” Brian says. His previous startup companies ran the gamut from tools to trucking to a towing busi-ness. But along the way he also developed a passion for homebrewing. Initially just a hobby, it quickly grew beyond a casual interest. “Most people that know me know that I don’t just take on a mild hobby,” he laughs. “I have a tendency to overdo everything.” See 2 Row p.4 Colorado. A few others in Weld County started this year and last, but just like Hoffman, they’re fledg-ling hops growers. Despite the state’s more than 230 brewer-ies, there were only 125 acres of hops strung for harvest in Colorado last year. That number wanes in comparison to Washington’s more than 30,000 acres or Oregon’s 6,800. INSIDE Homebrewing ..........................4 Craft Beer Directory ..........8-10 Calendar of Events ...............15 Colorado Idaho...............6 Wyoming.........7 Utah...............11 Montana..........11 State by State News Denver.......................12 Central Peaks...........13 Front Range.............14 Western Slope..........15 Four Corners...........15

Hops Production In Colorado

Bridgett Weaver

If you’d asked him three years ago about hops and what it takes to grow them, Derrick Hoffman wouldn’t have been able to tell you much.

But after a year of growing hops on his small farm in Greeley, Colo., he has a little more knowledge under his belt and he’s gearing up for another year armed with what he learned.

Hoffman is one of very few hops producers in Colorado.

A few others in Weld County started this year and last, but just like Hoffman, they’re fledgling hops growers.

Despite the state’s more than 230 breweries, there were only 125 acres of hops strung for harvest in Colorado last year. That number wanes in comparison to Washington’s more than 30,000 acres or Oregon’s 6,800.

He said he received a lot of advice and help from growers in Michigan — which has a larger hops market of about 300 acres a year — and he bought supplies out of New York.

“A lot of it for us was just learning,” Hoffman said. “We know how we’re going to do things next year.”

He said the extremely wet spring last year was really helpful to his hops growing. While it was hard to get them in the ground, the plants need rain in the first few months and sun to finish. In 2015, that’s exactly what they got.

From about a quarter acre lot, Hoffman said they harvested about 200 pounds of wet hops. That is almost unheard of in a first-year hop field.

“We were really lucky that (the yard) produced anything,” he said. “A lot of the new hop yards had a rough first year.”

States like Michigan and New York are emerging in the hops market, though nowhere near the bigger ones.

The niche crop is growing in Colorado as the brewery scene continues to thrive.

“It’s very much in its infancy in this area,” Hoffman said. “The people who are doing it have been doing it maybe three to five years, so they had good pointers.”

The pointers were nice, but Hoffman had to go outside of Colorado to seek help when planning his hop field.

“The vast majority of hops in this country are grown in three states — Washington, Oregon and Idaho,” said Bart Watson, chief economist at the Brewers Association, based in Boulder, Colo. “We’re seeing acreage grow very rapidly (in the U. S.). It grew significantly in 2015 and I expect it to in 2016.”

According to U.S. Department of Agriculture reports, hops production was up 11 percent across the nation from 2014 to 2015.

In 2014, the value of hops production in the U.S. was $260.6 million. It is expected to be about 33 percent more in 2015, which hasn’t yet been totaled.

Colorado, while expanding, is not really in line to challenge the hops production leaders anytime soon or probably ever, he said.

“This is not going to challenge those three big states in terms of total acreage, but we’ll see some of those other states have thriving small markets for breweries that want 100 percent local raw materials,” Watson said.

He said one of the most common local materials used in beer production is water, which is a contentious commodity in Colorado.

The state’s governor, John Hickenlooper, just ordered that a state water plan be developed last year to help fairly allocate water in the state.

The raw materials movement is why the local hops market is still relevant and it’s how small hops producers will continue to do well.

Coloradans are huge on the “grow local, buy local” movement, so Colorado ingredients are a hot commodity, Watson said.

“There’s a push for local and that’s one of the things that’s pushing the explosion of local breweries,” he said. “When you have more breweries, those breweries need to differentiate themselves and one way you can do that is by having different ingredients.”

Hoffman agreed.

“A Cascade hop grown here in Colorado is going to have a different characteristic and different profile than one grown in Oregon,” he said. “So the breweries that you work with, you’re going to want to stick with them because they’re going to learn the best way to use your hop.”

The same logic could work against newcomers.

“If you’ve been using hops from Washington for 15 years, switching to Colorado hops provides some risks,” he said. “(Brewers) want consistency in flavor that beer lovers expect.”

Hoffman said there was no way he could have grown enough for the demand. And it will likely never become a problem of excess in the Centennial State.

Hoffman said he thinks the market for Colorado-specific hops will continue to grow, though it may never rival the Pacific Northwest.

“I’m sure more people will try to do it,” he said. “The biggest issue is we’re high altitude desert, so securing the water to grow hops would be difficult for most people.”

Even so, there are already a few established hop yards in Colorado and some new ones.

High Hops Brewery in Windsor, Colo., grows its own hops to make beer out of Colorado ingredients. Niwot Hops in Niwot, Colo., distributes hops to many Colorado breweries, stores and restaurants. G5 Hop Fields in Windsor started planting hops last year like Hoffman Farms, but the yield was more in line with a normal first year.

Don Shawcroft, Colorado Farm Bureau president, said they’re very supportive of branching out from traditional crops — especially with grain prices ringing in low in 2015.

“It certainly is a trend to grow more local, in particular to source food and ingredients locally,” he said. “It makes sense if you can do it in an economical fashion.”

If farmers can find a reason to grow a crop and there’s a demand for it, he said they support the changes.

“I think that there has to be enough demand to see significant growth in it,” he said.

Dave Dale, from DD’s Home Brewing Supplies in Greeley, said they are importing most of their hops from the Pacific Northwest, but would love to offer local hops to home brewers.

“It seems like we could benefit by growing a whole bunch more with breweries popping up almost weekly,” he said. “The demand’s got to be there.”

Hops grown on a small scale though are sometimes more pricey, so he said producers would have to get serious about making their prices competitive.

“A lot of home brewers are really, really frugal,” he said.

But still, many people will pay the extra for the stamp of a local product.

Plus, Hoffman said, it’s not an easy or inexpensive crop to get started.

It takes about three years for the hops plants to mature and start yielding what they’re capable of, and in the meantime, it’s a capitalintensive crop.

Hops grow up like vines, called bines, so building a hop yard requires big poles and ropes, as well as the rhizomes or the baby plants, which are sold by a per plant price.

“It’s not something you can do for a short time,” he said. “And if you’re looking to get rich quick, it’s not the crop for you.”

Hoffman says it was just dumb luck that his hop yard yielded in its first year, but he made decisions throughout the startup process that other hop yards in his area didn’t.

He chose to go with the slightly more expensive option of starting his field with plants instead of rhizomes, which he said he thinks saved him in the long run. That and the rainy, sunny season.

“Mother nature cooperated this year,” he said. “Hopefully she’ll cooperate in year three or four when they’re really established.”

Harvest this year for Hoffman Farms was all done by hand, something he said they won’t do in the future when they produce more.

“We had everything picked in two days,” he said. “If the plants had been fully established, that would have probably taken two weeks.”

Plus, he learned a lot after the harvest.

“There’s a whole other learning curve beyond just growing them because we have to grow and do the packaging, plus the marketing of them,” he said. “It’s not like any other crop where you take them to a middle-man or a broker. That just doesn’t exist here.

Hoffman said he’d like to see the industry continue to expand in Colorado, and as he said before, there’s room for growth.

“It’s definitely labor intensive, definitely expensive and the big thing’s always going to be just getting water,” he said. “But if you can avoid hail and everything works out, there is definitely demand for hops.”

Colorado Beer

Colorado ranks third in the nation for craft breweries per capita with 6.1 breweries per capita.

The economic impact of the industry is ranked fifth in the nation with 2.7 million in economic impact.

Colorado producers planted a total of 125 acres of hops in 2015 to support the craft beer scene.

The state produces 1.7 million barrels of craft beer per year.

Colorado adults over 21 consume an average of 13.6 gallons of beer per year.

Read the full article at http://rmbnonline.brewingnews.com/article/Hops+Production+In+Colorado/2391937/290036/article.html.

1st Class Beer

Brian Manternach

Utah’s Salt Lake Valley runs from Salt Lake City at the north to “Point of the Mountain” twenty miles south. Almost exactly halfway between these two locations is the city of Midvale. Though its 28,000 residents have understandably fewer attractions than downtown Salt Lake City, it is the home of a “brewer’s row” that draws beer enthusiasts out to the suburbs.

The trio of Bohemian Brewery, Hoppers Brewpub, and Salt City Brew Supply are all within a short distance of each other. Now, just a little further down the road, is Utah’s newest brewery—2 Row Brewing. Named after the high-quality malt used by most craft brewers, co-founders Brian and DeDe Coleman bring both brewing expertise as well as small business experience to the operation, which has been open since June 2015.

“I’ve been self-employed all my life,” Brian says. His previous startup companies ran the gamut from tools to trucking to a towing business. But along the way he also developed a passion for homebrewing. Initially just a hobby, it quickly grew beyond a casual interest. “Most people that know me know that I don’t just take on a mild hobby,” he laughs. “I have a tendency to overdo everything.”

Each year of homebrewing brought Coleman more experience, more understanding, and more enthusiasm. In order to get feedback and guidance, he started sending his beers to homebrewing competitions. “The very first competition I sent to was the National Homebrew Contest. That was my very first contest and I got four awards out of it,” he says. “I started shipping to other states and I found every time I sent bottles of beer to competitions, I came back with at least 50% with medals almost every single time. So here I was on to something.”

Although the homebrew competitions immensely improved his brewing, Coleman wasn’t content to stop there. “I realized I had to take it further and find better avenues to make my beer even better,” he says. “So there were a number of things that I did, and the first was to become a judge myself.”

Preparing for the intense certification provoked some anxiety, as Coleman memorized pages of information on styles, the brewing process, and recipe nuances. He remembers it as “probably the hardest exam I’ve ever taken in my life.”

But it was worth it. Being a certified judge allowed him to work alongside professional brewers and “pick their brains” while they judged competitions together.

In addition, he started taking out-of-state classes to further understand fermentation, water chemistry, and to get some hands-on experience with modern, industrial brewing equipment.

All of this information continued to feed his interest as well as his ambition. “This $100 beer kit was so much fun,” he says. “I kept taking that to new levels to the point where I wanted to do everything like the pros did.”

Little by little, his operation grew, along with his passion for brewing. “I built this little brewery in my garage and I just enjoyed brewing so much that I realized Sunday mornings when I was out in the garage with the music going and the flame going and all my brewery stuff working brewing beer that I was happiest. I found myself just smiling. No one around, just smiling.”

Opening his own brewery was both the obvious and logical next step. “You know, all my life, being self-employed, I found myself seeing a hobby that I loved, watching that industry on a commercial scale grow like crazy, and [with] my expertise in starting-running-selling businesses, there was no way it wasn’t going to happen.”

Good fortune continued to follow him as he found the ideal digs for a small brewery in Midvale. The building 2 Row occupies at 6856 South 300 West has everything it needs, from the right square footage to tall ceilings to pipes for floor drains and more than enough industrial power to run the electric brewery.

He says the city of Midvale has also been extremely welcoming and, from a business perspective, “very easy to deal with.”

The other thing the location provides is room to grow. Although currently operating a three-barrel system, the brewery was built with a seven-barrel capacity. When the time comes, he can make that move with little to no modification of the infrastructure. In fact, their first expansion may be only a few months away, though they have been open for less than a year.

Not only would that allow them to increase their brewing capacity, but they could also add new varieties. Right now, they offer four styles. The 24K Golden Ale is described as “easy drinking” with “moderate hop fruitiness.” At 5.7% ABV, it is well-balanced, clean, and crisp.

Dangereux American Farmhouse Ale uses a French saison yeast among mostly American ingredients to create a 9% ABV beer that is fruity and slightly spicy.

Accelerator Single IPA has high hop flavor without being overly bitter. At 7% ABV, its prominent tropical fruit aroma has notes of orange, tangerine, pine, and melon.

Lastly, the Random Double IPA uses six pounds of hops per barrel to create an 8.5% ABV “hop lover’s dream.”

The next varieties are already in the works. Coleman has an 8.5% red rye version of the Random IPA practically ready to go, as well as a porter that will debut under a “Limited Release” label.

Since all of the 2 Row beers are high point, they are only available for purchase at the brewery and at select bars and restaurants along the Wasatch Front. On the menu at popular, beer-friendly watering holes in Salt Lake City like the Beer hive Pub, The Bayou, and Beer Bar, Coleman’s beers are on the cusp of getting into state-run liquor stores. When approved, this would bring his young brewery to the attention of a much larger, statewide clientele.

Therefore, Coleman is careful to remain realistic and savvy in planning for the future, despite all the fun he’s having along the way. “It’s very common for people to make their hobby a business and never make money with it because it’s still a hobby,” he says. “So you’ve really got to remember that it’s a business that you really enjoy a lot, but it’s still business first.”

While Brian is the brewer and visionary, the business is a family endeavor. His wife, DeDe, runs the bottle shop, handles much of the accounting, paperwork, and bill paying, and is in charge of social media. Their son, Derek, a student at the University of Utah, works in the brewery on weekends and other times that don’t conflict with his studies.

This all-hands-on-deck approach has definitely been a big part of the success they have seen thus far, and that success has provided a glimpse as to how the brewery could grow in the future. Coleman envisions eventually getting into the Utah draft market by brewing up the requisite 4% ABV session beers. He also knows that hiring additional employees is an inevitability that will have to be addressed sooner rather than later. But he is careful not to take on too much too soon.

Though his business sense has always guided his hobby-turned-career, Coleman admits that 2 Row Brewing is not just after a quick profit in order to sell off to the highest bidder.

“You know, I don’t start a business to sell it,” he says, “which is exactly the opposite of what they teach you to do in business, I think. They tell you to have an “out plan” before you start your business. My whole motto has been ‘do what you love.’ And when you don’t love it anymore, go do something else.”

Read the full article at http://rmbnonline.brewingnews.com/article/1st+Class+Beer/2391951/290036/article.html.

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