Reality TV fans know him as the quirky but loveable co-star of the Discovery Channel's short-loved series Brew Masters. Beer geeks know him as the guy who helped create and produce odd, boundary-busting beers for Delaware's famed Dogfish Head Brewing for nearly a decade. And now Colorado will get to know Bryan Selders, too.
The Big Red F Restaurant Group, which runs three Jax Fish Houses, Lola, Zolo Grill, Centro Latin Kitchen, the West End Tavern and Bitter Bar, scored a major coup last week by hiring Selders to build and run The Post Brewing Company, the brewpub and chicken joint it plans to open in a former VFW post in Lafayette this November.
See also: - Dave Query and Big Red F opening a brewery and chicken joint in Lafayette - Zolo Grill's Brett Smith raps on pig, chile and a second Zolo Grill - Top Rope Mexican lager begins pouring at Lola, Zolo and Centro
"Everybody who has passion about something starts in their garage," says Dave Query, who founded Big Red F in Boulder in 1994. "We are passionate about selling beer and about drinking it, but we haven't made it before. So this was like Jon Bon Jovi showing up to audition for your garage band."
Selders, who has a fine-arts degree, left Dogfish Head in early 2011 to pursue a career as a web designer in Delaware, but the brewing bug got a hold of him again and he decided to answer an ad that Big Red F posted a few months ago seeking a head brewer.
"I wasn't think about going back to brewing, but I've missed it quite a bit, it turns out.... I looked at a number of opportunities, and when I saw this, it was almost too perfect," says Selders, who was already familiar with the Boulder County town since his sister-in-law and her family live in Lafayette. "It is pretty tremendous in terms of what I want to do."
And what he wants to do is build a new brand from the ground up -- one that gives him more time to create and experiment with beer and fewer responsibilities as a manager and coordinator, something that was beginning to burn him out at Dogfish Head.
The Post will start by brewing a few core beers on a fifteen-barrel system, including Top Rope, a Mexican-style lager that it developed three years ago as a house beer in conjunction with Upslope Brewing (it's now being made by Oskar Blues).
Once those beers are dialed in, Selders plans to experiment with other styles to pair with the food served at Big Red F restaurants, primarily seafood and Mexican-style cuisine. "I think beers should be accessible, inviting and food-minded, but should be challenging enough to keep drinkers interested and engaged," Selders says.
Eventually, The Post will make enough to supply all the restaurants in the group's portfolio, which by then will include another Jax in Glendale.
And at some point, the company may look to build a second, larger production facility outside of Lafayette, says Big Red F operations director John Bachman. "With Bryan's talent and reputation, there is certainly the potential for this to go supernova."
As the head brewer at Dogfish Head, Selders was involved in the creation of many of the brewery's strangest and most well-known beers, including those with odd ingredients like Palo Santo Marron and Noble Rot, and the line of beers based on ancient recipes, such as Theobrama, an ancient chocolate beer; Sah'tea, a modern take on a ninth-century Finnish beer; and Chateau Jiahu, based on a 9,000-year-old Chinese drink.
Read more about Selders and watch his rap video on the next page.
But Selders also made rap videos with Dogfish founder Sam Calagione, as the Pain Relievaz, and co-starred in Brew Masters, the short-lived but well-received Discovery Channel show that aired in 2011 and focused on the brewery and Calagione.
When Selders left that same year, Calagione wrote that he was sad to see him go:
"Bryan has brought so much passion, talent, and creativity to dogfish in the nine years he has been part of our company," he wrote. "It was nearly a decade ago but I distinctly remember negotiating with my friends at Nodding Head (the fine Philly Brewpub we poached Bryan from). They drove a hard-bargain and forced me to throw a case of World Wide Stout into the deal but I saw a burgeoning talent brewing in Bryan Selders and just knew he would fit really well in our off-centered community and contribute greatly towards our growth and distinction..He has earned the respect of so many of my compatriots throughout the craft brewing community and hell be missed."
Selders, who will move to Lafayette in July, says he has nothing but love for Dogfish Head and is looking forward to brewing again. "I miss the physicality of the job, the collaboration and the social aspects of what we produced."
Big Red F first revealed its plans for a Lafayette brewery to Westword in December; at the time, it was the the only brewery slated for the town. Since then, two other small brewery groups, Odd13 and Front Range Brewing, have announced plans to go into business there, and both will likely get their doors open before The Post.
Brett Smith, currently the head chef at Zolo, will become the chef and a partner at The Post when it opens.
Westword's Beer Man on Twitter at @ColoBeerMan and on Facebook at Colo BeerMan
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