I recently visited New Belgium Brewing in Fort Collins, Colorado, one of the top breweries to tour in the US and most impressive craft brewing operations I have seen. One of the highlights was the recently unveiled 10-hectoliter pilot brewery. Sitting in a hall adjacent to their impressive lineup of foeders and climbing rock wall(!) the new brewery is a shiny nicely tricked out brewery that a successful brewpub would be happy to have. The new system is comprised of a two-vessel brewhouse with one mash/lauter vessel and one brew kettle/whirlpool. Four fermenters and two bright beer tanks for conditioning complete the facility, which will primarily be used for research and new product development.
“This size system really frees us up to experiment and play around,” said New Belgium Brewing Assistant Brewmaster, Grady Hull. “There are so many new hop varietals in development and flavors to explore that this allows us to do so with minimal waste and maximum creative freedom.”
In addition to research, there will be opportunities throughout the year to collaborate with other breweries, bars and restaurants to develop small batch beers. So far in the first month of production, New Belgium has brewed five batches of beer with a goal of producing 100 batches throughout the year. Each batch is eight barrels or around 250 gallons of beer. Many of the beers will pour only at the brewery’s tasting facility.