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September 9, 2009

Helping to Brew Ten FIDY at Oskar Blues

Man, I wish I had an opportunity like this. It was definitely fun to spend my day with Chelsea, but a brewday with Oskar Blues? That's a whole new level. Our good friend Adam over at the Denver Beer Blog recently won this opportunity by merely being the first person to respond to an Oskar Blues' Tweet. Sweet. Here's his story.
This past Tuesday, Oskar Blues Brewery in Lyons, CO announced a simple contest via their twitter account (@oskarblues). The first person to email them responding to their tweet would win the right to “sit in” on the brewing of their famous Ten FIDY imperial stout. Being the huge nerd that I am, I was obviously in front of my computer at the time and quickly fired off the winning email.

Oskar Blues opened in Lyons as a restaurant in 1997, developed into a brewpub in 1999, and started canning their beers in 2002. That’s right, canning! They are one of the only craft breweries I know of that can all their beer, and the cans definitely do not hurt the flavor one bit. The brewery recently expanded in 2007 to a new 35,000 square foot facility in Longmont, CO and can now produced up to 150,000 barrels of beer per year! This is where I met up with Tim Matthews to watch him brew Ten FIDY, their highly acclaimed winter seasonal.

At least I expected to just watch him, but Tim put me to work right away allowing me to dump bag after heavy bag of oatmeal into the mash tun as we started the process. Quite the workout at 9:30 in the morning! After that I basically just followed him around while he explained each step in the process and I offered my assistance where I could while trying to annoy him as little as possible. This assistance included carrying bags of malt here, measuring out hop pellets there, and even being allowed to dump in a few buckets of the pellets into the boil kettle myself!

Six hours later the brew was just about done and I was completely exhausted. Who knew brewing is such hard work?! Somehow though I managed to find my second wind and worked up enough energy to sample some of their special taproom only beers including barrel aged versions of their Mama’s Little Yella pilsner and Old Chub Scottish ale. Both were really tasty and great way to cap off a very interesting day and where I learned a great deal about brewing and the craft beer industry.

Oh and be sure to look out for the batch of Ten FIDY I “helped” brew. It’ll be in stores in October.

Pretty awesome story. I'm definitely jealous of Adam's experience. Make sure you remember to check out the Denver Beer Blog. Many thanks to Adam for the photos and the writeup.

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