When a group of self-described “nerds” decided to open a new brewery in the very craft beer-saturated Fort Collins, Colorado, market, they knew they needed to offer something different. When Snowbank Brewing Co. opened in August 2014, the savvy ownership group hit on a wonderful formula. They offer great beer, real community involvement, a love for the Colorado outdoor lifestyle, a commitment to work with other local artisan producers and brewery rescue dogs.
“Snowbank was started by a group of engineers, homebrewers and craft beer enthusiasts/nerds who wanted to take their brewing to the next level,” said Dave Rosso, head brewer. “We are all tech enthusiasts and strive for new, innovative styles of beers to go with any type of outdoor activity, be it hiking, mountain biking or just having a sessionable brew on the patio.”
This is quite a lot to expect from any brewery, but Snowbank does more than pay lip service to their vision. They are a second home for local outdoor groups like Gociety, Overland Mountain Bike Club, Northern Colorado Climbers Coalition Climbers and others. These groups are free to hold their club meetings at Snowbank without any charge. The owners also partner with a local charity monthly to support their good work with a percentage of the tap sales.
Snowbank also makes room for many area food trucks to visit so their customers have access to a wide range of regional offerings. They also partner with local roasters, chocolatiers, spice shops, cheese shops and confectioners to add a bit of personality to their beers.
Snowbank’s owners also love dogs. They took in three rescue dogs — Simcoe, Pliny and Halley — who swirl through the high tables and chairs where customers often play parlor games, working the room with lots of tail wags and smiles.
The 15 BBL brew system is located in a former print shop in the area loosely known as “craft beer row” in northern Fort Collins.
“We made a decision early on to start with a system that we could grow into,” explained Becki Kregoski, sales and social media maven and a Certified Cicerone. “Since we are new we have quite a bit of excess brewing capacity, so we have taken on some contract brewing for a handful of other local breweries.”
The owners decided early that they would be committed to innovative, non-traditional beers. This decision seems a good move in a town that already had at least 15 craft breweries, including being the birthplace of New Belgium Brewing. Their aromatic, flavorful beers include sour IPAs, coffee pale ales, white stouts and hoppy reds.
On a recent visit to Snowbank Brewing, several innovative beers were on tap: Solar Flare, which is the brewery’s Moon Arête wheat with orange tangerine juice added; Solar Flare, a session IPA also with orange tangerine juice; and Chocolate Schwartz Dog, a session black lager infused with Madagascar chocolate. Snowbank’s most popular beer is its Colorado Red.
“When we started we assumed that we would have six flagship brands and a seasonal or specialty offering,” Kregoski said. “But we have since changed our tune to only three flagship brands and a multitude of specialty/seasonal/rotating brands.” She said this is what their customer want.
Snowbank Brewing currently serves about 90 accounts for their kegs in the area and plans to start distributing 22-ounce bombers in the near future.
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