If you drive three hours west out of Denver passing Breckenridge, Vail, and the White River National Forest, you’ll come to a small town called Glenwood Springs, just north of Carbondale. Nestled on the Roaring Fork River at the south end of town, you’ll find Casey Brewing and Blending. Built by Troy Casey in the latter half of 2013, Casey Brewing focuses primarily on oak barrel fermentations and using only local Colorado ingredients. In short, Troy knows what he is doing and the beer is world class.
Usually in the States, when a beer is considered fantastic you can expect two things: it’s impossible to get and if you are in the area where you can get it, expect a massive line. Luckily for everyone, Casey decided to eliminate the line issue by allowing you to only buy beer if you buy a tour ticket. Tour tickets are limited. So, when you go there, it’s only you and maybe twenty other people. Included in your $20 ticket are three pours and a tour. Afterwards, you can chose from their on site only menu to share a couple bottles with the other tour goers and of course there is take away, typically limited to 1 or 2 bottles per person. What can I say? It works and I had an amazing time. The tour guide John nailed it! If you are ever in Colorado, I highly recommend you take the time and pay a visit.
We had started sampling Casey in the days prior to our visit, but it was definitely something special to see the facility and understand the amount of effort that goes into the beers they make. Fruiting rates vary from 2 lbs. per gallon to 4 lbs. per gallon. Convert that into grams per litre and prepare to have your mind blown. Though not large, the facility was incredibly well designed and easily managed to hold all of their oak and their fruiting tanks easily. The tour gave way to people ordering bottles across the bar, which resulted in a wonderful bottle share with strangers! And of course, we took away as much as we could carry! My standouts include Funky Blenders Preserves – Dry Hopped Peach and Nectarine, Funky Blender Preserves – Apricot and Vanilla, and of course the Jammy (which we had back at our cabin as it wasn’t available whilst we were there on tour).
The Fruiting tanks
I can’t stress this enough - the combination of talent and dedication to the craft make it no surprise that Casey is making some of the best fruited sours out there. This brewery visit was by far the highlight of my trip. I returned to Glen Iris shaking with excitement about what I saw and tasted, and it must have been contagious, as Pat and Dave have given the green light and our oak is on order. I’m happy to say by the end of May, our first sour beer will be going into barrel!