Four years in business pretty much makes you a grizzled veteran in the craft beer industry in 2018. Roaring Fork Beer Co. is marking its fourth year in business on April 7, and it’s an occasion for celebration and reflection for Carbondale, Colo.’s only production brewery. The birthday bash is a ticketed event that sold out weeks in advance, but the reflections of Chase Engel, RFBC’s director of brewing operations and CEO, are ready now and available for free.
“2017 challenged us and excited us in ways we didn’t expect four years ago,” he said. “We signed on with two new distributors, Tivoli and Ska Brewing, bringing our distribution footprint to encompass all of Colorado. This will be our biggest summer yet, and we have made some changes in the brewery to reflect and prepare for that.”
New head brewer
Engel is referring to his decision to step back as head brewer and appoint his Lead Brewer Dodge Cottle into the head brewer position as of Jan. 1, 2018. Engel will continue to focus on creating new recipes and maintaining the quality of current ones but is looking forward to turning his attention to expanding sales statewide, creating new accounts and building new relationships.
Tasting room move
RFBC’s biggest change came this past June as the brewery moved its tasting room to the heart of Carbondale’s Creative District, downtown on Main Street. Batch, the name for RFBC’s tasting room, occupies one of Carbondale’s oldest and most historic buildings and hosts 23 taps for RFBC craft beer and local elixirs such as tea and coffee, kombucha, craft sodas and more.
Head Brewer Dodge Cottle said: “The opening of Batch, as well as getting statewide distribution would have to be the biggest highlights for me in 2017. Getting a spot on Main Street Carbondale to showcase more of our beers was a dream come true. The brewhouse now has 23 taps to experiment with; it’s an amazing opportunity for a brewer to have. I am looking forward to some exiting beers in 2018 — I want to brew our triple IPA, Triple Flip, more often, and try out new hops with it. Another project I am really looking forward to this year is our North Fork Beer Project, which showcases fresh ingredients from the North Fork Valley when they are at the peak of their season.”
RFBC has remained philanthropic through the last four years as they continue to support, celebrate and unite with local non-profits and organizations that leave a positive impact on the community of Carbondale and the Roaring Fork Valley. Aly Sanguily touches on what that exactly means for the brewery.
“I always say that we make good beer and that the quality of our beer is what has gotten us this far, but our brand would not be the same without our intense involvement in our community. Batch has provided a unique space for non-profits to host events at, for local artists to showcase their work, for local farmers to hold meetings at and for young people trying to build their own brand to be inspired by. My primary goal for Batch will always be to provide an exceptional space to showcase our beer at, but it’s the energy provided by our locals that holds its own in there. We feel especially grateful for that,” Sanguily said.
The official kick off to the Birthday Bash will be tomorrow, April 6, at the tasting room for Carbondale’s monthly event, “First Friday.” The Anniversary beer, Fat Pagan Barley Wine, brewed with floor malted barley and English hops will be tapped, and there will be prize drawings and a live DJ set by DJ Benny.