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Another Field Trip Post By Mike:

After several days of drinking at the amazing GABF we thought we might be done with beer for a while. By the time we had eaten breakfast we had all rallied and decided to hit up not just one brewery, but TWO. We were glad we had a room in town by that point.

The first brewery we HAD to visit was New Belgium Brewing, now distributed in 37 states! Their growth has been phenomenal over the last several years… which had me a bit worried if I’m honest. When a brewery enters into the mass distribution arena the brewery has the possibility to lose their craft feel. Once all the tanks are shiny and identical and they have a management team watching all dollars being spent, you never know if the beer will be the same.

I was incredibly happy to hear that though the brewery is large and the distribution is massive, it sounds as if they have really looked after their staff while growing. After listening to our awesome tour guide talk about all of the great things they do for their employees and how great the benefits are, I even found myself wishing I could find a place amongst the ranks there in FoCo at an this amazing brewery.

Mike, back again for another post on our visits to breweries during out trip to Colorado for the Great American Beer Festival:

In Colorado, within an hour or two of Denver, there are tens, if not hundreds, of breweries to choose from… This made the choice quite tough for Jeff and I on where to visit/tour during our trip. We made sure to leave a few blocks of time open to check out opportunities as they came. In talking to folks, our hotel hostess, two beertenders at Left Hand Brewing, and even another GABF attendee at Left Hand all talked highly of Avery as a brewery, and as a tour! The trip to visit Avery seemed like a no brainer by the time we set off towards Boulder.

Avery Brewing is currently operating out of several industrial strip mall bays in a row, a charming fact that can become an issue when finding the brewery and when parking. We happened to be there during an outdoor event which didn’t help either… though par for the course during the weekend of the biggest Beer Fest around! After securing a space and stepping inside we were greeted with a giant row of taps with everything from small batch specialties to the flagship Avery beer we’d had before, Ellie’s Brown. We sampled many brews in 4 oz glasses while waiting for the tour. Interestingly Jeff and I were the only ones on the tour, something that probably doesn’t happen that often… pretty cool.

The tour is interesting as you have to walk outside by offices and other garages on your way to the Fermentation tanks. Employees recently off work were walking around with 6 packs of the beer that they probably had just bottled.  We saw the “pro” brewhouse with original equipment made from plywood, the wastewater tanks for adjusting PH before dumping, the fermentation and bright tanks, and even the yeast propagation unit by jumping from garage to garage.

We ended in the bottling room and had the chance to talk for a good long while on what Avery’s next steps will be. The near future holds a new building that Avery is building from the ground up, and the moving of much of their equipment completing some time next year. We hope that this helps push an already successful brewery further and into the Omaha market.

Avery Brewing makes great beer, and we can see why, people like Matt (our Tour guide and a head brewer/important guy pictured next to us at the end of the tour) are dedicated to their craft. They are putting out amazing variety and volume for where they are now, we can’t wait to see what the future holds!