As we said in the previous post, it was necessary for us to split Boulder Beer into two trips, because of the brewery tour schedule that only is convenient for hobos and babies.
However, we’re glad that we took the time for this inconvenient tour, because it was the best one we’ve done so far! It was informational, we actually cared and were entertained, and…the tour ends in a room with 6 or 7 pitchers of free beer!
As usual, we were running a little bit late, thanks to me, so we got there about five minutes late. However, what we’ve learned after several instances of rushing places for tours (usually my fault), is that the Boulder breweries are pretty laid back about their tours, unlike New Belgium in Fort Collins, where it’s harder to get in than an elite nightclub.
Our tour guide immediately greeted us, and suggested we get beer before the tour began, and that he’d wait for us. (We also enjoy the tours where you are encouraged to start drinking before it even begins).
We started off in the room with the mash tanks, and got to actually see the guy working on it (This is the first time that’s happened. All the other breweries seem to work similar to the Wonka factory and have secret brewery oompa loompas that brew the beer when no one is looking).
We manged to escape this room with only two close encounters of ruining 50 barrels of beer.
Note: Don’t sneeze into the mashton tanks and try not to trip right in front of them sending yourself into 1,750 gallons of beer sludge.
During the rest of this hour-long tour we were taken through the entire process of beer making- from making the yeast to the actual brewing, to the bottling. Then we ended in the tasting room, where Boulder Beer supplied the tour with the pitchers of all of the beers.
At the end of the tour we also got to see some of the first ever canned version of Hazed and Infused as well as the miniature brew system that is available to any Boulder Beer employee that wants to try out and experiment in a small quantity of their own batch of beer which is where some of the most liked beers from Boulder Beer have started out.
Because we usually only half pay attention when people talk, even when it’s interesting, here are the highlights from the tour.
- Boulder Beer is a 50 barrel brewhouse
- They put their grist hopper in the wrong spot and have to use a giant tube to get it into the mash tanks. This could have been easily avoided if the original design of the brewery had been done BEFORE they were testing the beers.
- Beer actually comes in barrels as a unit of measurement, but that term isn’t usually used because it would be a pain in the as to have to carry around a barrel, which is equivalent to 2 kegs. That’s why we have handy things like kegs and pony kegs. And Firkins.
- There are two types of yeast used in their beers. Wheat beers have a special yeast.
- Secret pictures aren’t so secret when you stick a camera up to someone’s neck, because someone else keeps pointing at their lanyard.
- Air is bad for beer, really bad.
- We have no idea where this door goes. Speculation is that it would be a great trick to play on someone you don’t like.
- It takes the yeast and beer 2-7 days to ferment
- As the yeast gets cold, it sinks. That’s why the beer tanks are cone shaped.
- Beer is pumped into aging tanks and sits there for weeks.
- The same yeast can be used for 10 generations safely, and still give beer a great flavor.
- There are several different types of hopping, including wet hopping and dry hopping.
- You can only imagine how many times we snickered, and how many innuendos we made when our guide was talking about “dry hopping”
- Men can’t be trusted to do anything right, including taking decent pictures. But check out the home-grown hops in the background! We were told none of this hops is actually used in the beers because someone planted it years ago, no one wrote down what kind it is; surprise, surprise.
- Malt is actually pretty good. It tastes like burnt toast.
- Caramel malt is crunchy and kind of sweet.
- Hops are weird. They look like rabbit pellets and have a very citrusy, floral smell- just like hoppy beers do.
- Bad things happen when you stick your hand into a machine.
- Lisa hates everyone. (I was the only one that had to return to work after this tour was over and therefore didn’t get to enjoy the beers for as long as everyone else did, hence the angry face. - Lisa)