Apr 282004
 
Authors: Gabriel Dance

All it takes is mention of an Easy Street Wheat, Fat Tire Amber

or Punjabi Pale to start mouths across all of Fort Collins, the

rest of Colorado and increasingly more states in the country,

watering.

Fort Collins is the home to several fine microbreweries and

brewpubs (restaurant-breweries where beer is consumed on site) and

the main reason is also the main ingredient.

“There are a lot of good reasons to brew in Colorado, namely the

quality of life, but also the water in Colorado is really good,”

said Bryan Simpson, the public relations director for New Belgium

Brewery. “The water is not very hard, which means that it doesn’t

have to be treated as much.”

Eric Smith of Odell Brewing agreed.

“The water is coming right from the source,” he said.

But another very important benefit to brewing in Fort Collins

lies not in the ingredients, but in those who consume them.

“It is nice to have an educated population that can appreciate

the brewing culture,” Simpson said. “Such a dense population means

that there are a lot of people who are receptive to what we

do.”

What microbreweries such as New Belgium, Odell Brewing, Fort

Collins Brewing and CooperSmith’s do is brew craft beer. Craft beer

is generally all-malt domestic beer produced using 100 percent

malted barley, according to beertown.org. In the case of wheat

beers such as Easy Street, the malted barley is replaced with

malted wheat and the same is true for rye beers.

“The people in Fort Collins are highly educated in craft beers,”

Smith said. “Generally it is a younger, outdoor-seeking demographic

that is looking for things like craft beers.”

And those with sensitive taste buds will go seeking for the

variety of craft beers available around town.

“What craft brewing does is offer a wide variety of different

brews and it is beneficial to have this variety,” Simpson said.

“Beer can be so much more than a watery, light lager.”

And craft brewing is not only taking off in Fort Collins, but

also across the country. The total growth of the craft beer

industry in 2003 was 3.4 percent according to beertown.org. In 2003

alone there were over 6.6 million barrels of craft beer produced

and that was the 34th consecutive year that production

increased.

And as any economist will tell you, when sales are booming,

there are always people ready to jump into the industry. But this

increased competition doesn’t scare local breweries; in fact, just

the opposite.

“It is fortunate that we live in an area where there are so many

good breweries to choose from,” Simpson said. “The deeper you get

into beer-tasting, the more you learn about the culture that

surrounds it. It can be quite enlightening to sample the different

brews that we have in this region.”

Odell Brewing holds a similar perspective.

“Competition is always good,” Smith said. “The more

microbreweries there are, the more that people get interested in

this segment of brewing and the general benefits of craft beer over

regular beer.”

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