You wouldn’t think there would be a lot to blog about at a seven-barrel brewhouse in the northwest suburbs of Denver, Colo., then again if you’ve tasted the craft beer coming out of Yak and Yeti Restaurant & Brewpub (YYRB), you just might! Adam Draeger, head brewer at YYRB, regularly blogs about his brewing experiences at the beautiful, period-style house-turned-brewery near Old Towne, Arvada.
Once the Cheshire Cat Brewpub, YYRB’s owners have retained the brewing operation, but transformed the neighborhood pub into a destination for delicious Nepalese, Indian and Tibetian cuisine. YYRB has a diverse line-up of craft beers to pair with their amazing food, like their Chai Stout, made with classic chai spices.
Recently, Draeger has been focusing on the origins of the beers they serve. One beer in particular is an insanely hot beer called Jalapeño Lena. Draeger describes the creation of this beer as a “bet and dare.” His original pepper wheat beer was brewed to have flavor, not heat, but when his patrons teased that the beer wasn’t up to par with what they looked for in a pepper beer, he set out to make a statement.
Draeger said he intended to shut people up by releasing a beer that was “barely drinkable” due to the heat. He soon realized his plan had backfired, when his patrons loved it! The customers said it was just enough heat to make it good.
The YYRB brewer failed to make a beer that sent the local heat heads running, but rather he crafted a new hit beer for the brewpub. “I didn’t plan on making more [Jalapeño Lena], but since the first keg blew in three days, I made another keg and thought that would be that,” said Draeger. “After the second keg blew just as fast (maybe faster), I decided to keep making the beer as long as people kept drinking it. When we had to turn people away that wanted growlers because I didn’t have enough to go around, I knew we were on to something, I started making about a half-barrel a week, and opened it up for growler sales…demand hasn’t stopped growing since.”
Andy Sparhawk, the Brewers Association’s Craft Beer Program Coordinator, is a Certified Cicerone® and BJCP Beer Judge. He lives in Arvada, Colorado where he is a homebrewer and avid craft beer enthusiast. On occasion, Andy is inspired to write on his experiences with craft beer, and if they are not too ridiculous, you might see the results here on CraftBeer.com.