Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Odell to Produce Limited Edition Oak Beers

Odell Brewing
Found this article today in the Fort Collins - The Coloradoan online newspaper that I thought would be of interest to Colorado craft beer lovers. Coming as early as June of this year we can look forward to buying some limited edition casked ales from the Odell Brewing Company in Fort Collins. Read below for a copy of the article and all the exciting details.

Odell aims to shake up market with one-time ales

When you think of special and reserved labels, an exclusive Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon or Riesling might come to mind.

But Odell Brewing Co. is changing the face of beer and adding designations that aren't just for wine anymore.

The local craft brewer is brewing special recipes of beer and fermenting the brews in oak casks to create a unique and limited selection beer.

Each batch of the ale, which will have more vanilla and caramel tones, will make enough for only roughly 120 cases before the recipe is retired, creating an exclusivity factor not usually associated with beer. Each 750 mL bottle - hand-corked, hand-signed and numbered - will sell for $24.99.

"It's a one-time kind of thing," John Bryant, Odell chief operating officer, said of the process they hope will put them at the forefront of the market.

"It's to keep challenging ourselves to be creative," Bryant said.

Doug Odell got the idea after attending a brewing class in England, prompting him to come home and invest in the $450 oak barrels.

The process takes longer than the typical brewing and fermenting beer process.

For example, the company's signature Easy Street Wheat can go from brew to bottle in three weeks. The brews in the oak casks, however, will sit for roughly eight months. Odell personally taste tests the beer every three to four weeks and expects the first batch to be done in June.

"To me, that's what craft brewing is all about," said Odell, a craft brewer for 33 years. "It's a good way to keep the brewers interested as well."

Customer input could be used in future recipes. Bryant and Odell say brewers often take feedback they get from the tap room into consideration when creating new recipes.

"I think people really get behind a project when you do that because they feel like they're contributing," Odell said.

That is the kind of culture Odell wants to keep at his brewery, one where he knows all of the employees by name and where Odell brews are exclusive to Colorado and seven surrounding states.

"I like the fact of going to different parts of the United States and getting something you can't get anywhere else," he said of Odell's business model that helps the region stand out and creates a smaller, more managed approach to business.

The brewery recently came in 33rd on the Brewers Association top 50 craft brewers in the country.


Odell's has already been experimenting with cask ales for a while. Last month, I wrote about a visit to their Tap Room and I got to try a casked version of their Odell 90 Shilling. Casking an ale definitely changes the character of a beer, sometimes in ways you wouldn't expect. Perhaps it depends on how long the brew stays in the cask and how well the ale mixes with the wood and the bacteria that's naturally found in the wood. I look forward to grabbing one of these limited edition bottles and will report on it once they are released.

Related articles:
- Odell officially taps their Woodcut series
- Odell Woodcut No 2 to tap in June 2009
- Celebrating with Odell Woodcut No 1

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