Adam turns pro

[This is the fourteenth installment of an ongoing series by Adam Draeger,  an experienced homebrewer and engineer transitioning to the world of professional brewing through coursework at the Siebel Institute of Brewing Technology–this is the end of the road–Adam got a job! ]
After moving out to greater-Denver and settling in, every day for the first few days I was putting 200 miles on my vehicle dropping off resumes and business cards (I use the term “business cards” loosely since I bought some custom rubber stamps and blank coasters to craft my cards–pictured right)
and visited:
Left Hand
Oskar Blues
Mountain Sun
Boulder Brewing
Southern Sun
Great Divide
Rock Bottom
Golden City
Fort Collins Brewing
New Belgium
Bull and Bush
Gordon Birsch
BJ’s restaurant
Asher Brewing
Denver Chophouse
Pints Pub
Del Norte
Dry Dock
Twisted Pine
Yak and Yeti
and the Brewer’s Association HQ (for networking purposes)Even though I was willing to volunteer a day or two, most places weren’t giving me the time of day or returning emails/phone calls, etc.
(a shout out to TommyknockerDel NorteFunkwerks and the BA for letting me job shadow/intern) There were several days that I was so frustrated that I considered flushing my degree down the toilet and going back into engineering.

Well, the fact of the matter is I visited the KROC homebrewing club and these great guys and gals gave me a couple job leads. One lead was that Chris Kennedy at Yak and Yeti Brewpub was leaving (he is the new head brewer for Jamil Zainasheff at Heretic Brewing)…I smothered Chris with confidence and convinced him that he only needed to show me how to brew once, transfer beer once, answer a few questions like how to fill out the alcohol tax form and I’d be good to go…I got the job.Meet the new head brewer for the Yak and Yeti in Arvada, CO.

A little info about the Yak:  The Yak and Yeti is an Indian and Nepalese restaurant that has been around since 2001 in Westminster.  Their food is apparently the best around (I can confirm this after having eaten there now).  They became sucessful enough after six years to open a second restaurant.  Dol (the Yak’s founder) purchased the old English-style “Cheshire Cat Brewpub” which is located in a 1864 old house in old-town Arvada.  Chris has been brewing on this 7-barrel system, made from mostly old dairy equipment, for almost three years supplying beer for both restaurants (Coincidentally, the CC Brewpub was also in operation since 2001 before ownership changed).
Currently this is only a part-time head brewer position due to the low volume of beer sales, but I’m optimistically going to put some hard work into increasing sales.   I’ve already brewed a batch with Chrs and transfered cellared beer several times by myself.  The other exciting opportunity from this job is the GABF this fall.  Since Chris won a gold medal for the Himalayan IPA last year, the owner wants to me submit beers again.  So my first time attending the GABF and I’ll be pouring my hand-crafted beer at the nation’s largest beer festival.  Who would have imagined?!
The first question that most of the locals ask me is “what do you like to brew?” or “what can we expect for beers?”  I can say for the first round, I’ll probably just brew Chris’s four main recipes (IPA, Chai Stout, Pils and Red ale) once and then add a 5th rotating seasonal, most likely a wheat bier.   Since this was an English brewpub, there are still four hand pulls in place for cask beer and room for eight other beers on tap, so plentyof room to grow.  Although, I will have some new friendly competition because just a few blocks away the Arvada Beer Company will be opening its doors in about a month, I’m hoping we can plug each others’ beersand both come out ahead as now Denverites have a beer reason to come to our suburb.
If you want more info on the Yak, you’ll have to google it yourself, or start with these  (excuse the primitive website, I’m not the webguy, but here you can find a news video clip about the brewpub being haunted!)
or you can read a little more about the house’s history here:
I’ll be using “turtleweiss at gmail dot com”  as my professional brewing email address in case anybody asks.
Well, enough yakking from me.  If you ever make it out to Denver or plan to attend the GABF, stop by and try my beers sometime…
Adam Draeger

3 Responses to Adam turns pro

  1. Congratulations, Adam! It’s been fun to have a front-row seat to your transition. It’s an inspiring story about following your dreams. I can’t wait to hear about how your enthusiasm and talent bring new tastes to the Yak and Yeti. In the meantime, drink a chai stout for me, would you?

  2. Stephen says:

    Very cool. If I ever find myself in Arvada I’m coming there for some Indian food and ale. Best!

  3. Onkl Bruce says:

    Congrats to you and the family.

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