I finally got to Bristol Brewing Company…

Signage in front of the Bristol Brewing CompanyAfter spotting the company’s mention in Jeff Sparrow’s “Wildbrews“, I’ve been wanting to visit Bristol Brewing Company, particularly since they may be the only such brewery using local yeasts and bacteria that they isolated themselves from their local environment.

Since we’re moving from Southeastern Idaho to Southeastern Texas, I’ve been going back and forth between the two location. It just so happens that along with New Belgium Brewing Company, Bristol Brewing is actually right along a convenient route between the two locations. (Let’s see if I can figure out how to work the Google Maps plugin):

How’s that look? How does it work? (Those of you reading this on the RSS feed: The interactive map only appears on the website, it would seem. Please check it out here.) I made the KML file myself…

Bristol Brewing is a cozy little brewpub, and the people there are encouragingly helpful. They were in the middle of bottling, so there were no tours. Also, there were not currently any of the skull-‘n-bones beers available. However, I did get an educational series of tastes of their current brews on tap (thank you to the employee I spent most of the time talking to whose name I’ve embarrassingly forgotten, but who I believe was Tad Davis judging from the photos on the web site). I also lucked out and their microbiologist, Ken Andrews, happened to be there. I asked about their native Colorado brewing flora. Turns out Bristol Brewing isn’t quite as bold as I originally thought. They’re still doing their primary fermentation with “normal” brewing yeasts. What they’ve done is inoculated some wine barrels with the locally-isolated yeasts and bacteria, and they use the barrels for a secondary fermentation and aging instead. Much safer if you have to worry about having a drinkable product at the end, and of course it makes me feel like more of a crazed rebel for wanting to isolate my own local bugs for the main fermentation. So, a great visit overall.

Incidentally, it seems they’ll be tapping a new Skull-‘n-Bones brew in a couple of weeks, at 5pm on Tuesday, May 27th (2008). It sounds like they’ll probably have some available for a few days before it all disappears, so I’m hoping my return to Texas can be timed such that I can swing by and at least get a taste.

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The Author is (currently) an autodidactic student of Industrial and Environmental microbiology, who is sick of people assuming all microbiology should be medical in nature, and who would really like to be allowed to go to graduate school one of these days now that he's finished his BS in Microbiology (with a bonus AS in Chemistry). He also enjoys exploring the Big Room (the one with the really high blue ceiling and big light that tracks from one side to the other every day) and looking at its contents from unusual mental angles.

2 thoughts on “I finally got to Bristol Brewing Company…”

  1. In return for your incredibly creative comment on my blog post today, let me offer a couple of other suggestions for microbrew highlights as you travel south.

    When approaching Denver on I-25 after hitting New Belgium, take the Auraria Pkwy exit to visit the Wynkoop Brewing Company at 17th & Wynkoop. The first major brewpub in downtown Denver that seeded the revitalization of everything east of there – started by a partnership that included then-unemployed geologist, now Mayor John Hickenlooper. Also home to the Pharmboy lab’s Thursday night billiards social evenings while in Denver.

    While coursing another 90 min or so to Colorado Springs, you’ll want to stop at Phantom Canyon Brewing Company at the Bijou Street exit. I forget the exact address but it is barely two blocks off I-25. There’s some overlap with the ownership of the Wynkoop but the food is better at Phantom Canyon.

    Travel safely!

  2. Odd, “Wynkoop Brewing Company” sounds familiar for some reason…OH! I’ve seen it before – it’s right across the parking lot from Union Station! That explains the existence of their “Railyard Ale“.I spotted them there when our train stopped for a break at Union Station. Didn’t have time to visit, unfortunately. Now I’ll have to see what I can do to get there. Especially considering this: “RailYard Ale is Oktoberfest style made with our house ale yeast“[emphasis added]. Their own in-house yeast strain? Spiff!

    To be honest, my usual route takes me around Denver on the tollway so I don’t have to drive through downtown traffic, then sends me east on I-70 (cutting South at Limon to follow 287). Of course, even if I don’t stop by car, we’ll no doubt be taking Amtrak through there at one point or another. Especially if they really do re-open the “Pioneer” route that goes through Pocatello, ID.

    Unfortunately, Phantom Canyon Brewing Company’s website is a pile of suck, made of a “Macromedia Flash” brochureware thing that doesn’t even seem to have any information about their brews. Still, I’ll try to check them out if I have time next time I go through the area. Thanks for the tips!

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