Think you’ve tried every new brew under the sun? On the hunt for very unique flavors like, for instance, a macadamia nut and white chocolate cookie sip? Trying to bring your cocktail-only friends over to the dark side?
Beer connoisseurs, rebels and newbies: Strange Craft Beer Co.’s One Barrel Wednesday is back with something for everyone. Started in 2012 and re-launched this April, Denver’s first nanobrewery is creating “experimental” beer one barrel at a time, using unexpected ingredients like rhubarb and Thai basil—and collaborating with other local breweries such as Black Sky Brewery , and putting it on tap every Wednesday .
We talked with head brewer Tim Myers about the re-launched project and how he creates such surprising sips.
“We’re not going to change the world with our next lemongrass and coconut beer, a brew I would like to make, but hopefully we’ll change somebody’s idea of what beer can be,” Myers says.
What is One Barrel Wednesday?
“One Barrel Wednesday is our opportunity to break out of brewing our everyday core beers and try something new, whether that’s using a new spice, hop, grain or style. One Barrel Wednesdays lets us experiment without the concerns of ruining a 10-barrel batch of beer.”
Can One Barrel Wednesday beers be added into your core beers if they prove to be popular?
“Our number one seller, the Breakfast Grapefruit IPA, started out as a One Barrel Wednesday.”
What kinds of brews can people expect?
“We have a tropical pale ale brewed with pineapple and a Belgian Saison hopped with American hops coming up. And we’ve done everything from trying to make a macadamia and white chocolate cookie beer to a rhubarb pie beer served with graham crackers. We like to mix it up; we never know when we’re going to find that next big hit.”
How do you decide what ingredients to try out?
“It can be any sort of inspiration, such as from a meal that I had the week before that had interesting ingredients or a pairing event I was at. We’ve done quite a few One Barrel Wednesdays with chefs on their day off: They come in and bring an ingredient. Rachel Kelsey from Watercourse used to come in with just a handful of something like lemongrass or Thai basil and we had to brew with it.”
What’s your favorite One Barrel Wednesday beer?
“That’s a tough question because it kind of depends on the mood of the day. But I would have to say one of my original favorites, which is also a regular on tap now, was a Belgian chocolate raspberry love stout that we brewed for Valentine’s Day five years ago. We brewed that with John and Stacy Turk from Walters303. Now we re-brew it every year for Valentine’s Day … I love the combination of flavors.”
Congratulations on your seven-year anniversary! Have long have you been brewing?
“I was home brewing since 1997, and when we first opened we opened on my homebrew setup. We had to brew three times on Monday and two times on Tuesday just to keep the taps full. That’s kind of where the experimentation started. We did that for about a year and a half until we could afford to buy a 10-barrel system. Then we disappointed a lot of breweries that were getting ready to open who wanted to buy our one-barrel system from us, but we held on to it so we could experiment and do One Barrel Wednesdays.”
Besides Strange Craft Beer, where do you go for a good beer?
“That depends on the mood, too. If I want an awesome English cask-conditioned beer, then my first stop is Hogshead Brewery. If I want a traditional German lager, something light my friends and I can go out for a few of and still be able to safely drive the rest of the evening, I go to Bierstadt Lagerhaus for a seven-minute Pilsner. If I want something crazy and off the wall, it’s got to be either Winston Creek Tavern or Chain Reaction Brewing Company.”