The little brewhouse that could
Denver Beer Co. sourced their 7 barrel brewhouse from a brewpub in Newington, Connecticut. Charlie (pictured), told me that they are routinely able to yield 8 barrels per batch from the trusty system. Squeezing that much out of the system can sometimes result in a little boil-over. Here, Charlie can be seen using a solution of Fermcap to prevent the boil from foaming out of the brew kettle.
55 different beers in 6 months
Since opening in August, 2011, Denver Beer Co. has brewed 64 batches of beer, 55 of which have been different recipes. The colorful chalkboard used to display what's currently on tap is constantly hoisted up and down so it can be kept up to date with what’s pouring.
Plethora of grain types
Brewing so many different styles of beer on a weekly basis requires constant access to malts of every conceivable variety and roast.
On the day we visited, Denver Beer Co. was brewing their first collaboration beer with Uplsope Brewing Company from Boulder. The as-yet unnamed beer is a Belgian Strong Dark Ale brewed with tart cherries and cocoa nibs. A version of the beer was brewed at Upslope that used Stryian Goldings hops, while the Denver Beer Co. version used Columbus hops (pictured).
The aforementioned cocoa nibs were sourced from TCHO in San Francisco. They are added with the cherries to the beer once primary fermentation has begun—not during the boil.
Wort transfer pump
A small food grade industrial pump is used to transfer the finished wort from the brew kettle to a fermentation tank.
White Labs WLP530 Abbey Ale Yeast was the yeast of choice for the Denver Beer Co. and Upslope collaboration brew. Pictured here are two active yeast starters primed for addition to the wort now housed in the fermentation tank.
A brewday isn’t over until all of the sodden spent grain has been removed from the mashtun. In a small brewing operation like Denver Beer Co. this is an entirely manual operation and is arguably the most backbreaking work of the day.
Barrels, barrels, everywhere
At virtually every craft brewery in America, in 2012, former wine and spirit barrels can be found lurking somewhere in the building and housing all manner of beers. Denver Beer Co. purchased barrels from the outset, and began aging beers for eventual special tappings.
Denver Beer Co. founders Charlie and Patrick fashioned much of the brewery walk-in cooler themselves. 99 percent of the beer they brew passes through here for consumption in the tap room, or to go in growlers.
One of the most exciting things about Denver Beer Co., and one of the things that keeps people coming back, is the ever changing tap list. There is always a surprise or two waiting to be discovered. The standout on the day we visited was the charred and fruity Black Powder Saison.
Every Friday at Denver Beer Co. a special firkin of beer is tapped at the bar. On the day we visited the beer in question was an dry-hopped IPA using an experimental hop called X-342.
The tap room
The brewery tap room can accommodate 90 people. Another 100 people can be accommodated on the outdoor biergarten-style patio.