It takes time before it’s time to drink |

It takes time before it’s time to drink

Post Independent/Kara K. Pearson

Many beer connoisseurs appreciate the great taste and full body of the local brew pub’s concoctions. Brewing beer is definitely a growing fascination across the country of beer enthusiasts. And according to Ken Jones, head brewer and part owner at the Glenwood Canyon Brewing Company, he likes brewing beer more than drinking it.”A beer isn’t necessarily just a beer,” Jones said. “You have to take it on a case to case basis.”The slightest variation of ingredients can make a significant change in the outcome of taste and aroma, Jones said.Malt and WaterThe process starts with water, which is the main ingredient in beer, and also one of the most important in determining the taste. Certain beers from around the world have unique flavors due to the minerals and flavor of the water in a particular region, according to Jones. Water chemistry is a very complex and very important process. Glenwood Canyon does water treatments to adjust the PH balance to make the taste more pleasing.”You need water that tastes good,” Jones said. “For instance, water from the hot springs, because of the high sulfur content, would not make for a good tasting beer.”

However, Jones added that untreated water (but not from the hot springs) would be good for making a dark lager.Barley malt is the first ingredient added to the water in the process. Barley malt gives the beer its color, sweet flavor and aroma, and adds the sugars needed for fermentation when the yeast is added later. Several different types of barley malts can be used, depending on what kind of beer is being made.The MashMashing is the process of adding hot water to the crushed malt in order to flush out the sugars from the malt. After the mashing is complete, the solids are separated from the “wort.” Wort is the hot, unfermented liquid, transferred to the brew kettle where the hops are added.Adding hops to the wort strikes a balance between the sweet flavors of the malt sugars and the bitterness of the hops.”Time is important when adding hops,” Jones said.Adding hops at the beginning of the boiling stage will give more bitterness to the beer, while adding them toward the end of the stage, will give a less bitter taste and a stronger aroma. Hops also contribute to the head of a beer, Jones said.

FermentingThe wort is cooled through a heat exchanger during the transfer to the fermenting tank. Adding yeast to the wort at this time converts the sugars into alcohol through fermentation. Fermentation can take up to seven days depending on the type of beer being brewed.”The alcohol content doesn’t specifically relate to the color of the beer,” Jones said. “The darker the beer doesn’t mean that it has a high alcohol content.”The liquid is temperature controlled during the this process to achieve the desired outcome of the finished product.Aging and FinishingAfter fermentation, the beer is transferred through stainless steel lines into “maturation tanks” in the tank farm, Jones said. The tank farm is a cooled area that holds all of the maturation tanks, as well as the serving tanks that serve the customers.During the aging and finishing stage, the beer is carbonated and may remain in the aging tanks for several weeks depending on the style of beer.Finally, the beer is transferred to the serving tanks where the public can taste the fresh product.

“Why bother with a born-on date when you can be in the delivery room,” Jones commented about the freshness of the beer at a brew pub.Contact John Gardner: 945-8515, ext. 535jgardner@postindependent.comBreakout- The Glenwood Canyon Brew Pub brews 2-3 times a week- roughly 260 gallons of beer is brewed in one batch- annually producing a little more than 1000 barrels per year

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