Are you one of those readers who only reads odious news about the awfulness of the world? We apologize. There’s been an annoyingly amount of good news already in 2015, but I’m sure something awful will happen in your state soon. Ok, back to another story of obscenely good growth in the craft brewing industry. Dad & Dude’s Breweria, one of Colorado’s smallest brewpubs, enjoyed an impressive amount of annual growth and brewing progress in 2014.
The company’s total beer production for 2014 was 1,016 barrels (bbls), a 116 percent increase over its 2013 production of 470 bbls. That production included more than 300 bbls of an expanded list of extra-small-batch, draft-only beer handcrafted on the brewpub’s 1.5-bbl “nano” system. Despite this tiny system and heavy on-site demand from its customers, the brewpub made 10 year-round beers, 14 seasonals and one-off beers and eight barrel-aged beers.
Dad & Dude’s 2014 production also included about 700 bbls of the company’s canned flagship beer — Dank IPA — and two new canned beers, Leaves of Lemongrass Wit and Ryeot Red Ale. The three canned beers were sold in four-packs of 16-ounce cans in more than 300 retail accounts along the Front Range are and across the state. The brewery’s dramatic increase in production and beer variety was led by Brian Connery, Dad & Dude’s director of brewing operations. A former brewer for Dogfish Head Craft Brewery who also worked at New Belgium Brewing Co. and Boulder Beer, Connery joined Dad & Dude’s at the beginning of 2014.
“Last year we produced a large number of beer styles,” Connery said, “and a much larger amount of beer. But we also achieved our goals of improving our quality and our procedures, and hitting those goals made everything else possible. It allowed us the freedom to experiment and branch out more. In 2014, we also introduced a nitro program, a weekly oaked-beer program, and expanded our number of barrel-aged beers from one to eight. Instead of a one seasonal beer for each season, we made four.”
To celebrate its 2014 progress and start 2015 with a bang, Dad & Dude’s is releasing a trio of new, ultra-limited-release, 22-ounce bottled beers at its brewpub. There are only 72 bottles of each of these beers, which were produced in 3-bbl batches.
Lion Heart Barley Wine is a Dad & Dude’s “303 Series” beer made entirely with Colorado ingredients including malt from Colorado Malting Co. and Cascade hops from Rising Sun Hop Farm. It’s a UK/USA hybrid barley wine fermented with an English ale yeast. It is 12 percent ABV and sells for $12/bottle.
Bourbon-Barrel-Aged Lionheart Barley Wine is a special version of Lionheart aged for three months in a Heaven Hill bourbon barrel. It features notes of bourbon and oak to complement Lionheart’s rich malt and hop flavors. It is 13 percent ABV and $18/ bottle.
The third bottle release is Zinful, a beer/wine hybrid made with red zinfandel and cabernet grape juices, blackberry puree and Belgian pale malts. The beer was then aged in a red wine barrel for four months. It is 9 percent ABV and $18/bottle.
In 2014 Dad & Dude’s also solidified an alternating proprietorship with Rockyard Brewing Co. (Castle Rock, Colo.) that enabled the brewery to increase production of canned Dank IPA and add cans of Leaves of Lemongrass Wit and Ryeot Red Ale.
“This was our most successful year for our packaged beers,” said Mason “Dude” Hembree. “We’ve found many more beer lovers who appreciate our artful beers and our zero-pretensions approach to overthrowing the beer status quo. We were also able to get past some hiccups of the past two years, while landing some nice accolades that attest to our emphasis on making world-class beer.”
Dank IPA earned a silver medal (American style IPA category) in the 2014 New York International Beer Competition, and a silver medal in the same category of the 2014 World Beer Championships. Ryeot and Leaves of Lemongrass both won bronze medals in the 2014 World Beer Championsips.
“This year,” said Thomas “Dad” Hembree, “our pub welcomed a lot more people like us, people who crave small-batch beer, gourmet pizza and the community focus of our place. They helped us make our dreams come true and we’re very thankful for them.”
Republic National Distributing Co. distributes Dude’s Brews in Colorado.