Last week we headed up to Ft. Collins to see what sorts of things were happening up there. We didn’t make it to every brewery but we did hit up a few that we were pretty excited about. We went to Funkwerks, Crooked Stave, Odell, and Equinox. We’ll show you some of what we saw, and provide some info on what’s happening in that part of the state. I’m going to divide the trip into a couple posts, this one will focus on Odell.
Odell was founded in 1989, and they were the second microbrewery in the state. Boulder Beer Co. was the first. 1989 is the same year that New Belgium, down the street, started up so it is no wonder that with these two breweries Ft. Collins has become the beer-centered town that it is. According to the Odell website the brewery became successful quite quickly. They began in a converted grain elevator and the flagship beers were the 90 Shilling and the Easy Street Wheat. All their flagship beers use a German Ale yeast. It wasn’t until 1994 that Odell began bottling up unpasteurized six-packs, and they were the first microbrewery in Colorado to offer six-packs.
|We didn’t take any pictures outside so I had to lift this from Brewpublic, sorry Angelo!|
Also in 1994 Odell upped their production in a newly built 8,000 square foot brewery and produced 8,300 barrels. Not bad! But the beauty-of-a-building you see in the above photo above is what the place looks like now. A 45,000 square foot brewery space. In fact it was only very recently that the space was (almost) doubled from 24,000 to 45,00 sq. ft. After all this expanding and growing, I was surprised to hear that 90 Shilling remains their highest selling beer. I would have guessed the Pale or IPA, it seems like people want beers with a more bitter and hoppy profile but I suppose that this isn’t necessarily true. As was pointed out, the beer could easily be considered a sessionable beer as its balance and reasonably low alcohol levels make it an easy drinker.
This photo shows the new space in the brewery. All of it is part of their recent expansion, doubling the size of the brewery. Pretty wild to think about. It might seem like there’s plenty of space here but this month they are adding two 200 barrel fermenters and eventually they’ll add more. So really, they are upping their production and storage space quite a bit. I was curious if this expansion is solely to meet the needs of the 10 states they currently distribute to or if it’s part of a plan to expand into a few other states. As we’ve read recently, a few breweries in Colorado have had to pull out of some of their markets because they couldn’t keep up with demand here. Odell has been very smart in their distribution, they have added one state to their distribution list every year for the past three years (this year was Idaho) and they have not had to pull out of any state.
|Where the brewin gets done|
|We were fortunate enough to be in the brewery when the brewers were working on the Bourbon Barrel Stout.|
We missed the release date of Woodcut 5 by about four days. But we’ll have some soon and we’ll tell you what we think of it. The first batch, Woodcut 1, was about 20 barrels, Woodcut 2 was about 30 and each year there has been a slight increase to fill all the lines of distribution, while keeping the beer in demand. Woodcut 5 was about 60 barrels. Their wood cellar was added to the brewery with the last expansion. With this and their five barrel pilot system they are able to offer the public the Single Serve Series which includes beers like Bourbon Barrel Stout, Avant Peche, Friek, Mountain Standard and my favorite, Sabateur.
At the end of our tour we were treated to some samples. I was familiar with all the beer you can buy in bottle shops so I asked for a number of beers off the pilot system. Angel Kisses was a really tasty hoppy blonde ale that sat at 5.9%. It reminded me a lot of the new Odell Double Pilsner but with a more reasonable level of malt sweetness, the Double Pislner is just a bit too much for me. Also had the St. Lupulin, which was the first beer I bought from Coaltrains a year ago and contends with the Ska Mexican Lager as my favorite warm weather beer so far this year. There was a Campfire Smoked Amber and a really nice Tall Tale Brown made with the lovely Marris Otter malt. We sampled the Mercynary, which Isaac has compared to Pliny the Elder. We learned that the Odell staff had circulated that article around the staff and Isaac is now super famous ;P. Let’s see there was also a Vienna Lager which is only available at a local restaurant and the Odell tap room. That was a nice treat, and it was a really drinkable beer. And then the last one that was quite a bit of fun was the cask conditioned Kölsch that had also been dry hopped with Amarillo hops. I really enjoyed that beer, I would hesitate to actually call it a Kölsch after dry hopping it, but still it was wonderful. And the Kölsch was the perfect way to say goodbye to Odell. Until next time.
Special thanks to Amanda Johnson of Odell for setting us up with the tour and answering all my questions.