Crystal Springs Brewing Special Edition #2
It’s another beautiful day today – and it’s supposed be nice again tomorrow. And – we’re open at 3:00. Our Blueberry Belgian is back on tap, along with our special spring releases, Czech Dark Lager and Classic American Pilsner and many others. Plus, we have logoed t-shirts back in.
If you read my 13th Anniversary Special Edition #1, you’ll know that we’ll be celebrating our 13th Anniversary May 8-13, 2023. We’re very excited. This edition continues with reminiscing about the last 13 years. Here we go:
The summer of 2010 was something else. We had achieved our goal of getting accounts at four liquor stores and two restaurants, but we were totally unprepared for what happened next. We started getting calls from liquor stores and restaurants. We were already struggling to keep up with The Kitchen and Pizzeria Locale with our keg production; we sadly turned down the restaurant requests, but did begin adding more liquor stores. To supply the liquor stores, we were bottling as fast as we could, all in 22 oz bombers. Kristy would put the labels on the bottles and the twins and I would bottle the beer. Both Kristy and I delivered. It was exciting, but exhausting. Thank goodness it was summer as, with our little 2/3 bbl system, I could be brewing up to 10 times a week. We added more fermenters to keep up and that fall placed an order for a 2 bbl system from Stout Tanks & Kettles. We still brew on it in our garage in Sunshine Canyon. While we don’t have exact numbers, we’re quite sure we’ve brewed at least 1200 batches of beer on it. And, while it has received lots of changes, the basic system is still serving us well.
That fall, on Labor Day, I was brewing a batch of Summertime Ale, when Kristy came out that morning and told me to come outside and look at the sky. It was quite dark. We knew it was a fire, but didn’t know any more than that. Little did we know it was to be one of the biggest fires ever reported in Colorado – The Four Mile Fire, which started at 10 am on September 6, 2010. Not long after I had pitched the yeast, we got notified we were being evacuated and only had an hour or so to pack things up. We had about 20 cases of Black Saddle which we loaded into our van, along with anything else we could think of we’d need, and with the girls and our chocolate Labrador, Sunny (so named for her “sunny” disposition), we all left without knowing if we’d have a house or a brewery to come back to. We left the batch of Summertime Ale that hadn’t even started fermenting yet. We weren’t able to find anywhere to stay that could accommodate all of us so Jacey went to stay with Dion and Kelsey stayed with a friend. Kristy and I stayed the first night with her mom and then we stayed the next few days with Kristy’s sister, Cynthia and her husband, Bill. They were kind enough to store the Black Saddle in their basement for the duration. It wasn’t until the last two nights that Dion found us a small apartment that where we could all be together, including Sunny. The wind was blowing hard from the west and we realized we may not have a home to return to. Kelsey and I stayed up most of the night trying to get as much information as we could. I was still teaching. Eventually we were told we could drive up Sunshine Canyon just to check on our house but were not allowed to stay. We were only given about an hour. Thanks to my colleagues at Boulder High, who covered my class, Kristy and I were able to go. Our house was still standing! That Saturday we were finally allowed to move back in. Once we were settled, I went out to the brewery to see how the Summertime Ale was doing. It had finished out and was tasting fine. After talking with Ray who managed the beer at The Kitchen, we decided we would put it on tap and donate all the proceeds to the men and women firefighters who had lost their homes in the fire. At that time we didn’t know there would be more such experiences in the future.
That fall, Ray and the owners of The Kitchen came to us and asked if we would make a special beer for them. Of course, we said yes and after several discussions we decided it would be a style that had come out recently, a black IPA. We ended up naming it Stage House 1899 in honor of the previous owner of the building and bookstore that had been in the building when they purchased it. We’ve brought it back a couple times since then and will probably have it available during our thirteenth anniversary celebration.
We also released a Belgian Wit that year, Tic Wit. Why Tic Wit? Well, that a story for Kristy to tell. Perhaps I can get her to write it down, but feel free to ask her about it next time you see her. We do have plans to have it available during our anniversary celebrations if possible.
If you’re interested, here are some links to some articles on Crystal Springs from 2010:
I hope you have a great week and enjoy some great Colorado beers brewed by Independent Brewers. Until next time…..