Strange Brewing will celebrate a bittersweet anniversary Saturday, April 23, with a slightly sweet beer, a Belgian trippel that has been waiting for a year.
The brewery actually opened on May 19, 2010, but owners Tim Meyers and John Fletcher brewed their first Strange beer a few weeks earlier, called 151, on April 23.
The date was significant because it had been exactly one year since the two men were laid off by the Denver Newspaper Agency, which ran the Denver Post and the Rocky Mountain News, and decided to pursue their dream of opening a brewery. The day they were fired, April 23, 2009, also would have been the 150th anniversary of the Rocky, which is the paper they both worked for before it was shuttered in February of 2009.
"Real nice, right," says Meyers.
So, 150 plus 1 equals 151: the name of the beer.
But Saturday will be more of a celebration of the future than a glance back at the past, and Meyers and Fletcher have a lot to celebrate.
A few weeks ago, they bought a new piece of equipment, a 300-gallon mashtun, that will allow them to brew seven barrels of beer at once rather than just one. They also bought two seven-barrel fermenters and will soon buy a seven-barrel boil kettle.
"We'll be able to seven barrels in eight to nine hours instead of six barrels over two twelve-hour days," Meyers says -- which will make both their fans and their families happy. The added capacity also means Strange will be able to supply two of its biggest accounts, Hops & Pie and now the Ale House at Amato's, with lots of beer.
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And over the next year, Meyers says Strange should be able to start paying its staff -- who have been volunteers up until now -- expand the tasting room and add a beer garden out back. By the end of 2011, he adds, "hopefully we'll have five to ten employees.
In the meantime, however, there is 151, which will be tapped at 4 p.m. on Saturday, and then another celebration in May during American Craft Beer Week, when Strange will mark the one-year anniversary of its opening with a series of parties, bands and food.