Friday, February 17, 2012

Golden ticket...

Lots of "Rocky Mountain Spring Water"
The worlds largest single site brewery
Thank you for the nice tour Shelly!

            Golden Colorado is most famously know for being the home of Coors Brewing Co.  Golden is also home to a smaller lesser know brewery, Golden City Brewing.  I was going to name this post David vs. Goliath but honestly there isn't any competition between these guys. They are in two totally different leagues.  Having gone to college for Chemical Engineering (yeah Clarkson!) I really enjoy a large production facility tour. I had been to Golden about 12 years ago and toured Coors with my family and was just a few months shy of being able to indulge legally. Well not this time!  They do a nice tour and you can see most of the operation. I was most interested in the malting processes because most craft and micro breweries don't malt their own grains.  Shelly our tour guide was very informative but a little nervous due to the "brewery staff" jacket I was wearing. As an ex brewery tour guide I promised not to be annoying or interrupt her.  In the end her information was right on and she did a great job. I also love the labs at bigger breweries, it really shows how committed to quality they are. Coors also spreads the freshness word on their tours which I am a huge advocate of. (I guarantee I'll rant about this early and often)
The tasting room had a ton of memorabilia, it was like walking through a museum. I got to try a few lesser distributed Coors products that came out of their AC Golden research brewery. Batch 19, their pre-prohibition lager was pretty good, more flavor than their regular offerings.

Coors - 500 BBL Mash and Lauter Tuns

East meets West
GCB - 10 BBL Brewhouse and 30 BBL Fermenters

A short drive or long walk from the Coors facility is Golden City Brewing who proudly markets themselves as Golden's second largest brewery. To put this in perspective Coors has a football field sized room full of 500 Barrel Brew Kettles, Golden City has one 10 Barrel system.  I luckily went on a "slower" night and was able to chat with Derek at the bar quite a bit before I was able to sneak back into the brewhouse and chat with Matt their brewer. Bribing brewery staff with east coast brews seems to do the trick! If you go there in the Summer the place to be is their beer garden attached to the side between the owners house and this carriage house turned brewery. It is open most of the year for the die-hards that dare brave the cold.There are a few inside tables which were all full when I was there, not hard when only 20 or so packs the place.  I even met some Coors employees there enjoying the brews.  It was a fun lively group, full of characters, including Mayor Wayne! This guy ALMOST won the mayor's election last year. Nice guy, craft beer fan, foodie and outdoorsman... he has my vote! GCB had a nice selection on tap and my pick was the American Stout (dark, roasty and great hop aroma from Falconer's Flight hops).

Falconers Flight Hops: "Hopunion LLC Falconer's Flight™ is a proprietary pellet blend comprised of many of the Northwest's most premier hop varieties including the highly acclaimed Citra™, Simcoe®, and Sorachi Ace along with experimental hops and numerous other NW varieties." 

- Partial proceeds benefit the Glen Hay Falconer Foundation that awards two scholarships to The Seibel Institute every year to a Northwest brewer.

Rumor has it a fresh batch of Evolution IPA is hitting the taps in the coming days, there is NOTHING like a FRESH IPA, I wish I had time to backtrack! Mad Molly's Brown Ale (a nice malty English style Brown) was my other favorite.  If you go to Golden you have to make time to see both... I mean who doesn't have time to see two breweries, I am not asking a lot here folks.

It was time to get back to Denver and once again my buddy Mike "talked" me into another brewery visit. I got there just in time for last call.  Great Divide Brewing Co. is in downtown Denver and has a great selection of beers.  They are a mid size craft brewery and expanding rapidly. In August I was able to check out their new tanks. This time the tasting room had been expanded. I was only able to try a few of the 16 beers on tap but all were well made.  The Hoss' Rye Lager (Spicy, Dry, Hoppy Amber) and the Espresso Oaked Yeti (roasty, a hint of oak and lots of local coffee flavor) were my favorites.  It's time to get some rest so I can hit the mountains and get some turns in.  See you Apres Ski!

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