As Colorado's brewery scene expands, there continue to be changes at the top of the brewhouse ladder. The most recent comes from Dry Dock Brewing, which has hired Alan Simons to run its production facility. For the past seven years, Simons held the top job at Backcountry Brewery in Frisco, where he won two Great American Beer Festival medals – for Saison du Summer and May Bock — and oversaw an increased presence by the brewery along the Front Range, led by the popularity of Backcountry's stellar but rare double IPA as well as its Pilsner and Breakfast Stout.
“I was looking for a change,” Simons says, adding that he wanted to go somewhere that already had an established reputation. “I didn't want to have to rebuild again...Dry Dock is a great brewery and well-regarded.”
At Dry Dock, he'll be in charge of running the forty-barrel system at the North Dock production facility on Tower Road in Aurora, making the brewery's core lineup of canned beer, which includes Hefeweizen, Apricot Blonde, Amber Ale, Vanilla Porter and Hop Abomination, as well as some of its bottled seasonal offerings.
Simons had never brewed professionally before moving to Summit County in 2008 and getting the job as assistant brewer at Backcountry. He had worked in title insurance and had been looking for similar job. Eight months later, he was made head brewer when the other beer maker left. “I kind of got lucky, but I also busted by butt,” he says. "I am proud with what I was able to do with the core beers, I tweaked and updated them quite a bit.”
He replaces Brett Williams, who left Dry Dock earlier this year to start his own brewery in Denver, Little Machine, along with Mike Dunkly and Ben Chenard. Little Machine is expected to open late this year.
With the hiring of Simons, Dry Dock made some other changes as well: Tim Evon, who has his Master Brewer Certification from the World Brewing Academy through Siebel Institute of Technology, is now the head brewer at Dry Dock's original location on Hampden Avenue. Evon began his brewing career in Utah before taking a job at Dry Dock in 2012. Most of Dry Dock's small-batch beers, one-off creations and other specialties are made at the South Dock facility, including LocALE, which Evon designed.
Doug Hyndman will continue to serve as Dry Dock's director of brewing operations, overseeing both facilities.