Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Ouray Brewery, established 2010

Ouray, the tiny town of 937 hearty mountain souls in Southwest Colorado, now has two breweries. Following on the heels of Ourayle House, brewmaster Jeff Lockhart and others opened Ouray Brewery on Saturday.

I happened upon it recently while walking downtown. Lockhart was busy preparing to open, but he took a minute to chat with me.

Ouray Brewery has an IPA and a Kolsch on tap now. Lockhart plans to tap a rye pale ale by this weekend, and a brown ale soon after. (Lockhart said he is interested in Belgian-style brewing, adding that the brewery is capable of handling wild yeasts).

The IPA (6 percent ABV, 65 IBUs) uses Magnum, Centennial, Simcoe and Cascade hops. Lockhart plans to substitute Citra hops for the Cascades once the Cascades are used up.

A relatively new hop, Citras are quickly gaining favor for their citrus taste. Lockhart pronounced it his "new favorite hop," and applauded its "mango character."

Lockhart said the IPA is "definitely American, but its got kind of that English balance."

The Kolsch is brewed closely to style. Lockhart said it is "very clean" with a "malty nose." It was hopped with Perles.

The brewery will be open year-round, producing up to 14 barrels per week, Lockhart said. Half-pints cost $2, pints $4 and 20-ounce glasses $5. Ouray Brewery will offer growlers to go; an order of 300 of the vessels is on its way.

"I brew what I like, how I like it," Lockhart said in a follow-up interview. "I try to come in close to style, but I like playing around with things."

Lockhart started as a homebrewer then worked at Sweetwater Brewing in Atlanta for five years in various capacities while also working as a Delta Airlines mechanic. He later opened McLellan's Grill and Brewing Co. in Canon City, Colo., and brewed there for three years.

The new brewery, owned by Ouray transplant Dennis McKee, has a full kitchen, and the Louisiana-influenced food menu is already visible in a window. Erin Eddy is assistant manager.

Ouray Brewery is located at 607 Main Street. I look forward to a return trip to try Lockhart's beers.

The same day, I finally stopped in Ourayle House Brewery, a long-overdue visit for me. Ourayle House is the creation of brewer, bartender and one-man show James Paul Hutchison.

The atmosphere is idiosyncratic: Hutchison's pub has an overhead bell that you ring like on a bus for service. Board and card games abound. The walls are decorated with local memorabilia.

During my visit, he had four beers on tap. I opted for a pale ale amusingly dubbed "See Dot Pave," a reference to the Colorado Department of Transportation's summer construction.

Many times, very small brewpubs will pour substandard beer. Not this one. See Dot Pave (pictured) was an accomplished pale ale, biting with Simcoe hops. It's worth seeking out.

I should mention that Hutchison pours 19- and 23-ounce drafts, so you are assured of an Honest Pint. Honesty has its price, though. If I recall correctly, the drafts cost $4.75 and $5.75.

Ourayle House, 215 Seventh Ave., is open when Hutchison feels like it, so it might make sense to call ahead at (970) 903-1824.

1 comment:

  1. I attempted to visit Ouray Brewery yesterday, and it should be noted that they are only open from 4-9 pm...Tough to do for lunch! looked like a great place from the outside though!