The beer-happy bunch at the Wynkoop Brewing Company has a New Year's Resolution for 2012: put a few sacred cows out to pasture. "The goal," says brewery spokesman Marty Jones, "is to rock the status quo and to shake up the beer list with new offerings."
To that effect, the Wynkoop is messing around with its flagship Rail Yard Ale.
The first new version of the beer is one that has been aged with oak spirals, adding a flavor that will be immediately recognizable. The oak dries out some of the malt, Jones says; the oaked Rail Yard is then re-blended with regular Rail Yard for a tasty mixture.
The second version is tapped from a traditional non-carbonating hand pump, which brings out more biscuity, bready flavor that is less noticeable in regular Rail Yard. Jones says these are the kinds of flavors that you'd find on a tour of good beer in England.
The hand pump version just went on tap at the Wynkoop (although it isn't on the menu yet) and may turn up at a few of the brewery's accounts around town as well.
Wynkoop will also be releasing some specialty beers this spring and summer, including one done in conjunction with the Brown Palace, an hibiscus-flavored cider and a Flemish brown ale that was made in conjunction with New Belgium Brewing in Fort Collins and the Infinite Monkey Theorem winery in Denver. The beer is aging with with wine grapes and wine yeasts that will give it a half wine, half beer flavor.
"We want to take advantage of our ability to make small batches," says Jones, adding that the Wynkoop is still very small compared to other Colorado beer makers; it brewed 3,870 barrels of beer in 2011, up from 3,500 in 2010.
The brewery recently expanded, adding two new twenty-barrel fermentation tanks, however, and will add another two this year.