Dry Dock Brewing tips the bottle on three of its beers

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Dry Dock Brewing, which began distributing one of its beers to a handful of local liquor stores last fall, is rolling out an expanded lineup this month. And the Aurora beer began pouring three brews -- Seven Seas Double IPA, Vanilla Porter and its award-winning U-Boat Hefeweizen -- into 22-ounce bottles on Friday. (Dry Dock isn't making six-packs, although that may change next year.)

"We have thirty stores now, from Boulder to Castle Rock, but that number is growing fast. We'll be at a hundred or so before too long," says brewery owner Kevin DeLange.

Although DeLange wanted to bottle Dry Dock's ESB rather than the Vanilla Porter, "the liquor stores were telling us everyone was asking for it," he adds. The beer uses more than two pounds of vanilla beans in each seven-barrel batch. "Whole beans and no extract," he explains. "It's expensive using all the beans, but people love it."

Seven Seas is a spectacularly hoppy beer, made with seven kinds of hops, all starting with the letter "C." The Hefeweizen (which no longer uses the U-Boat moniker) is a wheat beer with a banana flavor that comes from the yeast. "The Hef is pretty spectacular," DeLange says. "There aren't a lot of really good domestic hefeweizens out there."

Dry Dock has been expanding by leaps and bounds since winning the Best Small Brewing Company of the Year award at the Great American Beer Festival in 2009, and the bottling effort is just part of a much larger growth plan.

By February 15, Dry Dock will have blown out its small tasting room to handle the crowds that gather there daily, and taken over more space in the strip mall where it is located for its homebrewing shop, the Brew Hut.

The brewery is also adding two twenty-barrel fermenters. In March, DeLange will begin looking for a production facility to do the majority of Dry Dock's brewing. That will leave its current location for smaller, seasonal and experimental beers.

And some of those are on the way this year, including an ale aged in Stranahan's Colorado Whiskey barrels, an apricot blond and a sour beer.

Follow Westword's Beer Man on Twitter at @ColoBeerMan.

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