Pour choices lead to career
Ken Jones learned about brewing beer from watching his father in the early 1970s. But when he was old enough to buy beer he sort of lost interest in the brewing process.”I figured if I could buy it why bother with brewing it,” Jones said.That all changed around 1990 when a friend of his “rekindled” his passion for the art of brewing.Jones is part owner and head brewer at the Glenwood Canyon Brewing Company brew pub in the Hotel Denver in downtown Glenwood Springs. Last spring, it won two gold medals at the international World Beer Cup, for its Scottish and Strong style ales.”It’s surprising,” Jones said of winning the medals. “Being in an international competition, not knowing who is going to show up and taking home some medals is a prestigious thing. Winning these medals was an extremely great experience, It meant a lot.”Jones and his brewing partner – Chip Holland – are currently at the big one – The Great American Beer Festival held annually in Denver at the Colorado Convention Center. It runs through Sept. 30.”Being that the GABF is held in Denver, the local brew pub would be foolish not to attend,” Jones said. “It’s about visibility. To remind people from the front range that we are still here, and that the town has a lot to offer.”
For brewers, this is the festival to be a part of.”This is the more prestigious of the two events among brewers,” Jones said. “It’s been around longer and has more openings and entries than the world beer cup.”The GABF is for American brewers only and is in its 25th year of competition. There are 69 categories.”It’s very difficult to win year after year,” Jones said. “A lot of it has to do with luck, and you have to remember that a lot of great brewers didn’t get medals, even though they still make a great beer.”Winning medals is prestigious for brewers but there is something more important to Jones.”The ultimate test is, would the customer want another glass?” Jones asked. “We can brew accordingto a certain style, but we want to give the people what they want.”There is a pride among brewers that comes through customer approval, so it’s important to give the customers the beers that they appreciate.
“We are constantly tweaking our brews,” Jones said. “It’s kind of like going into a local bakery. Our brews may be different from batch to batch.”For that reason, Jones said, he admires the technical aspect of the larger breweries like Coors and Budweiser, who can produce the same product in large quantities, with the same results every time.Glenwood Canyon opened in 1996 and since then it has been a competitor at these two events. It has earned four medals at the GABF, five at the World Beer Cup and two others from other local events.For Jones, being a brewer has a lot of responsibility and is a coveted position that he feels he is “very fortunate” to be able to run a brew pub.”It’s not like you can be a brewer just because you want to,” he said. “But once you are in, it’s like a frat. I’m part of a club.”Jones has been brewing steadily for about 16 years. So, what is his beer of choice?”I don’t really have a favorite beer,” he said. “I’m always looking for the next good beer. So, my favorite one is the one I haven’t had yet.”
Contact John Gardner: 945-8515, ext. email@example.comBreakout Glenwood Canyon Brewery’s medals2006 World Beer Cup – Sopris Strong Ale, Gold Medal/Deep Lake Scotch Ale, Gold Medal.
2005 Great American Beer Festival – Hot Pot Barley Wine, Silver Medal.2004 WBC – Sopris Strong Ale, Silver Medal2003 GABF – Dos Rios Lager, Silver Medal2003 WBC – Sopris Strong Ale, Silver Medal2002 Rocky Mountain Brewers’ Festival – Second place, people’s choice award2002 GABF – Dos Rios Lager, Silver Medal2001 GABF – Cardiff Double Brown Ale, Bronze Medal1997 Alpine Living Magazine Microbrewery Taste Test – Grizzly Creek Raspberry Wheat, first place
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