‘Gold’ is just the beginning
By Steve Graham
When three former Great Divide brewers launched their own business, they knew they could make award-winning beer. They just didn’t expect the accolades to roll in so quickly.
“We knew we’d get there eventually, but not within months of opening our doors,” said Darren Boyd, who opened Spangalang Brewery in April in Five Points, alongside fellow brewers Austin Wiley and Taylor Rees. Five months later, Spangalang’s Table Beer won the gold medal for Belgian-style ales at the 2015 Great American Beer Fest.
“We’re likely one of the only breweries ever to have been opened by three brewers, and that experience comes through in the beer,” Boyd said. “We have the knowledge to make exceptional beer and the pride to never serve anything that isn’t outstanding.”
Boyd is a former New York banker who spent four years working up from packaging to brewing at Great Divide. Ohio native Rees spent 10 years at the downtown brewery, including his last four as head brewer. Wiley spent seven years as lead brewer and researcher at Great Divide, and has also worked at Bristol and the Denver Beer Company.
They all worked together on beer recipes at Great Divide. They now put their heads together for every part of the Spangalang business, eschewing titles and strictly defined roles. “At Spangalang, we remain very collaborative,” Wiley said.
Of course, all three brewers were excited about the GABF medal, but they are even more excited about some other Spangalang creations, including the 8-percent ABV Hop Colossus, that lands “just on that IPA/Double IPA line,” Boyd said. “It’s a favorite with the hopheads, but also one of the first offerings to the neophytes due to its tropical, fruity qualities.”
Rees is partial to the bourbon barrel-aged Night Walker imperial stout and a fruity Colorado-centric creation.
“We recently made a 100-percent brettanomyces-fermented beer that had fresh Palisade peaches and freshly harvested Chinook hops grown in Paonia added to it,” Rees said. “It’s slightly tart, funky, and has a ton of peach character in both the flavor
He also said he was pleasantly surprised by the results of a collaboration with the Real Dill pickle company — the Cucumber Gose. “It’s a slightly tart, gently salted and spiced wheat beer, that we added cucumber water to,” he said. In the future, Rees is excited about developing a new barrel-aged sour beer program, and working more with the brettanomyces yeast.
Steve Graham is a Fort Collins writer who enjoys the outdoors and great beer.