By: Courtney Messenbaugh

 

 

The 2nd annual BrüFrou in Denver on April 25th brilliantly showcased the exuberant and flourishing collision of Colorado’s abundant brewing and food scenes. With over 80 craft breweries and chefs from around Colorado represented, I had plenty to keep my mouth busy. Between sips and bites however, I made sure to chat with a few of the brewers, because in my opinion, craft beer is best appreciated by knowing a bit about the master of the craft. I spoke with Ryan Kilpatrick, Founder and Chief Beer Geek, of Fiction Beer Company in Denver; Jack Diebolt, the Founder, Owner, and Brewer of Diebolt Brewing in Denver; and, Jeff Griffith, Head Brewer at FATE Brewing Company in Boulder. Each of these gentlemen started out home brewing, then fueled by their passion, some luck, and the drive to create something unique, each has found his way into brewing as a profession. And professionals these guys all are. Each seems to employ a great mix of precision and artistry in their batches, all the while coveting the fact that life is pretty good when your day job is crafting beer. They also have mad respect for their peers in the seemingly tight-knit and collaborative craft beer community. Below are some highlights from our exchanges:

 

On the elusive pursuit of perfection…

Kilpatrick: There is always a place for improvement and we will try to improve.

Diebolt: I feel that every batch we brew is one step closer to the perfect batch. Although, I’m sure if you talked with some brewers who have been in the industry for decades they would say the same thing.

Griffith: When I first started brewing commercially I started modifying recipes and really making them my own. Once I made that step, I immediately starting getting great feedback from the brewery’s owner and sales started increasing.

 

On the addition of creative ingredients…

Kilpatrick: The green tea in our stout and the lime sea salt in our gose. Both add an amazing character to the beer creating something just different enough to be interesting, if not unique.

Diebolt: We brew a series of beers called the French Expat Series that explores a day in the life of French Expats across the globe. The Series incorporates indigenous ingredients from some of these countries into French style beers like Biere de grade or Saison. The first of this series is an Algerian Biere de Garde called Figgy Noir that uses Figs, a Sweet Algerian Curry and Palm Sugar. Figs present a unique challenge to brewing beer due to the couple hundred very small seeds per fig; kind of a pain, but very tasty.

Griffith: Wine must. Viognier white wine grape must, to be exact. The concept for our second anniversary ale was inspired by the description of the New Zealand Nelson Sauvin hop having “white wine-type characteristics.” We brewed a beer with French saison yeast, Nelson sauvin hops and added white wine grape must pre-fermentation. Once the brew was finished fermenting we aged it for a few months in wine barrels. We think it turned out great and we haven’t seen anything else like in the market.

 

On favorite beers (besides their own)…

Kilpatrick: I am huge fan of sour beers and in Denver we are privileged enough to have Crooked Stave nearby. I like nearly everything of theirs but my go to sour from them is their Origins series.

Diebolt: I’m really getting into sour beers, particularly ones using mixed culture fermentations. My favorite brand is Russian River’s Consecration, a dark ale aged in Cabernet barrels.

Griffith: Stone IPA. I’m a hop head. I love hops and it’s just a great everyday IPA.