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Good Beer Hunting

Jul 14, 2018

Today’s podcast is with the folks from Colorado’s WeldWerks Brewing Company—and it’s a fun one. In fact I might go as far as to say that this is one of my favorite conversations I’ve had, since I started contributing to this podcast a couple years ago. You’ll hear a number of WeldWerks voices over the next hour or so, including owners Colin Jones and Neil Fisher, Ops Director Kristin Popcheff, brewer Arne Garlick and Sales Director Jake Goodman. It’s been quite the journey for WeldWerks since they set up in the town of Greeley, some 30 miles east of Fort Collins and Loveland, along the Front Range in Northern Colorado just three years ago. They exploded onto the scene thanks to beers like their New England IPA, Juicy Bits—a beer that impressed me so much I was compelled to visit, and eventually write about this fascinating brewery for GBH. In its short existence, WeldWerks has already experienced critical acclaim for beers like Juicy Bits and its pastry stouts such as Medianoche. In fact the barrel aged version of the latter picked up a coveted gold medal in the barrel-aged stout category at last years Great American Beer Festival. But this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to their repertoire. WeldWerks released 100 different beers over the past year. And amongst zeitgeisty NEIPAs and Pastry Stouts, there were also tart Gose, crispy Pilsners and much more. This brewery is far from being a one, or two, trick pony. The brewery’s rapid growth and increase in popularity hasn’t been without its challenges, however. They’ve had to deal with long lines on beer release days, and in some cases, disappointed customers—some of whom, made their feelings towards the brewery pretty explicit in these instances. Learning to balance these reactions from consumers has been as important as it has building their relationships with industry partners, as they manage strong own-premise sales with increasing demand from retailers. What’s perhaps most impressive is that—along with fellow Greeley brewery Wiley Roots and local bars like Patrick’s Irish Pub—WeldWerks has helped to put its hometown on the American beer map. It would have perhaps been easier (but far more expensive) to set up their brewery in say, Downtown Fort Collins or Denver’s exploding River North district. But no, Greeley is where this Colorado brewery’s heart is—and their efforts are helping to develop the image of a town that locally is typically associated with industrial scale agriculture.