Tapping into conversation: Roaring Fork Valley brewery owners cheers to community
Carbondale BeerWorks owner Patrice Fuller said on this year’s National Beer Drinking Day that the beverage isn’t just for men – beer is for women, too.
“Because I think a lot of times people think … only men drink double (India pale ales). I’m pretty proud, you know, I’m a female that owns my own brewery, so that I really love. It’s not just a boys’ beer,” Fuller said.
Fuller moved to the valley and purchased the brewery just under five years ago. Her previous job was as a bar manager in Seattle at a place called Tap House that offered 160 beers on tap at a time. Fuller said she tries to bring a bit of home to BeerWorks and incorporate different brews from the Pacific Northwest in their selection of 16 handles.
“Every year you see more and more people who come in to check out the beers, — you know we have a lot of good regulars,” she said. “It’s kind of fun though when I get to buy guest taps because, like I said after having 160 handles it’s kind of cool to bring in a new beer here that no one’s ever had,” Fuller said.
Troy Casey also found his love for crafting beers through a larger brewery, Coors. Since opening his taproom and brewery back in 2014, he said there have probably been hundreds of different variations his team has made with their “old world” brewing technique.
“We are a very, very tiny brewery and just trying to focus on making beers with Colorado ingredients,” Casey said. “So, most of our sour beers are made with 100% Colorado ingredients, and then just really trying to do quality over quantity … we’re really just focused on small-batch, old world style beers with local ingredients,” Casey said.
His brewery primarily uses neutral French Oak wine barrels to store the batches they’re working on. The fermenting process of the sour beers can be anywhere from four months to two years. Beers from Casey’s brewery also come packaged with a cork in a 750mL bottle, similar to how wine is sold, and they bottle age and re-ferment as time goes on.
“By bottle-conditioning you get smaller bubbles and that sort of creamier mouth feel, and the fact that it’s bottle conditioned allows for that beer to mature just like a nice wine would. We use it for aging potential. We still got beers in our cellar from seven years ago that are just drinking great, just kind of get better with age as they go,” Casey said.
The larger bottling method is also because Casey said he believes these beers are meant to be enjoyed with company.
“We think beers like this should be shared. … Drinking it with somebody else I think makes the experience more memorable when you’re with somebody and sharing something like that together,” Casey said.
Fuller said for her, she’ll drink different beers with different people but at the end of the day it is about tapping into conversation and enjoying something with good company.
“It’s like different experiences with different people. … There are some people who I’ll just throw down and drink IPAs with, where (with) Shannon and Laney we’re gonna go get sours. It’s definitely about being open to trying things,” Fuller said.
Being able to show people they may like more than one beer is also a fun part of her job, Fuller said. She has a regular group she’s fond of that comes in each day to enjoy happy hour, but will stick to one type of beer if they can.
“I have a group of guys, every single day and all they drink is the blonde. That’s all they drink. And right now we’re out of it so they have to drink the Pilsner but we’ll bring them a (different one) … and go ‘here try this’ and they’ll taste it and give us that look then go like ‘no we just want the blonde,’” Fuller said.
Fuller also said being a part of the beer community is a lot of fun, whether you own a brewery or just like to pop into taprooms and sample some craft beers now and then, beer enables people to come together and try new things.
“It shouldn’t only happen one day a year,” she said. “Everyday should be National Beer Day. Everybody should come in and try beers and sit around and talk, see what they like and talk about different styles. Even just, you know, over a beer you get to share your experiences and life stories.”
Reporter Jessica Peterson can be reached at 970-279-3462 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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