Behind the curtain

a tour of Boulder Beer Company

On the second day of the inaugural Beer Bloggers Conference, our group loaded the buses for a harrowing trip to Boulder Beer Company, where we worked our way through a buffet of Mexican chow and enjoyed pints of the beer brewed by “Colorado’s first microbrewery.”

There’s a snappy little pub area with a host of delicious beers on offer–I stuck to the cask Obovoid Oatmeal Stout and the Planet Porter. It was a good venue for mingling and chatting with new friends. Once we cycled through the food, Chicken Dan Weitz and Brewmaster David Zucker delivered a lively tour of the facilities.

It was very a much a “behind the curtain” moment. While the great hall where Dorothy et al paid a visit to the Wizard was grand and beautiful, the nuts and bolts of brewing aren’t always so picturesque. Though they’ve been at it since 1979, the energy has gone into the glass, not the facade visible to the public. While we like to think of craft brewing as an artisanal, idealistic utopia–and it is–the fact is that a brewery is a factory.

With few exceptions, regardless of its size, a brewery pumps out as much beer as it can and strives to do so with a quality, consistent product. Boulder Beer is an example of a brewery that has maxed out its space and has allowed the beauty and frugality of duct tape and pvc pipe to offer practical solutions to daily needs. Unlike the shiny copper style of so many brew pubs, Boulder Beer gets the job done in a gritty working man’s (or woman’s) environment.

As brewers know, what matters is how clean the inside of the tank is.

In contrast to the newer and larger facility we saw at Oskar Blues the night before, the space at Boulder Beer is tight, inventive and practical. Just like artisans are in real life.

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