My roots in craft beer began with homebrewing. For my 21st birthday, my mother gave me a homebrewing kit and I promptly whipped up my first batch. I quickly became hooked, and seven years later found myself owning a homebrew shop, The Brew Hut, in Aurora, CO. I continued to improve my brewing and recipe development skills while helping my customers. In 2004, a small space next to my shop became available, so I decided to open a brewery and sell my beer. In 2005, Dry Dock Brewing Company was born.
The original brewery was a 900-square-foot space with two fermenters and a capacity of about 300 barrels a year. We were able to seat 25 people at the bar; and most of our early supporters were our Brew Hut customers. Although we’re a microbrewer, in Colorado we can sell our beer in our tasting room. To this day, most of our beer is sold directly from the brewery by the glass or growler.
During the first couple of years, word spread that we were making great beer and we steadily became busier. We quickly outgrew our facility and in September 2009, we finally moved into a bigger space next door. Now our capacity is about 1,400 barrels a year and we can seat 100+ people in our tasting room.
From the beginning, our focus at Dry Dock has been to make all types of beer using quality and traditional ingredients for our local customers. We have 14 different varieties of beer on tap representing a wide range of styles. With so many beers, everyone is sure to find one that suites their taste. This also allows us to be creative and experiment as much as we want. We aren’t stuck making the same five beers over and over again.
One of the best parts of working in the craft brewing industry is the support and good will we get from the other brewers. Even in the beginning, when I was just a homebrew shop owner dreaming of opening a brewery, everyone was really supportive. When I started looking for equipment, I grabbed a list of the breweries in Colorado and just started calling them to ask if they had anything used that they were willing to sell. The response was fantastic, and everyone was full of well wishes and encouragement.
The most rewarding part of this business is making great beer and sharing it with our customers. They are always happy to be here and really appreciate the work we put into making the best beer we can. At the end of our day, when customers start filtering in the door, we really enjoy grabbing a pint, sitting down with them, and talking beer.