Chris Marchio has a plan. The Knotted Root Brewing Company
founder wants to see Home, a lager from his new Circular Beer Company
, become a regional beer, distributed selectively throughout the country. Before the beer can become a regional power player, however, it has to prove itself on the local level — a challenge that started last month with the inaugural release of Home.
Home is an American lager, unfiltered and cold-lagered for twelve weeks. The inspiration for this beer came from Marchio trying regional lagers around the world while traveling. "The branding for these styles of beers are all similar," he notes, "but they are also unique to that beer or that region, which I love. We wanted to design and make a beer with the same spirit in mind."
To go from something that was just an idea abroad to making it a reality back home, a great deal of research (aka "drinking," Marchio says) was required. He started to notice that many regional beers had signature traits. "Mexican lagers typically had a distinct corn profile and lighter body," explains Marchio. "Asian lagers, primarily from Japan, Vietnam and South Korea, were more dry and likely to feature rice. Indian beers tended to be more sweet, with a caramel malt presence."
Marchio began to think about how he could create his own lager that represented Colorado. "We decided to feature a simple, almost all-American malt bill," he explains. From there, a blend of noble hops, traditional lager yeast and a long, cold fermentation and conditioning phase completed the picture.
A fresh pour of Home.
Knotted Root Brewing Instagram
He decided to create a separate company for the brand, called Circular Beer Company, where his title is founder and visionary. The ownership is the same as at Knotted Root, and the beer will initially be brewed out of the Knotted Root facility in Nederland. "I wanted this to be a separate company because the philosophy and approach to Circular Beer is the exact opposite of Knotted Root," Marchio notes. "Where Knotted Root focuses on pushing the boundaries of experimental, rotational and artistic beers, I wanted Home and Circular Beer to be about consistency, simplicity and approachability. It represents coming full circle, which also continues and evolves, similar to us and the world at large."
The name Home is intended to create a familiar feeling, a sense of place. "I want folks to pick up a can or a bottle, take a sip and think to themselves, 'feels like home,'" says Marchio. He adds that he believes the name has staying power and an elegant simplicity.
As for the competition in this market, Marchio doesn't see the macro adjunct lagers like Coors Banquet or Budweiser as competitors, an opinion that will be confirmed by anyone who tries Home for themselves. The beer is clean, crisp and balanced, with a well integrated but soft bitterness. There is a little extra mouthfeel (the beer is all-grain, meaning it doesn't contain adjuncts like corn or rice) compared to a macro lager. There is also an intense carbonation that accentuates the dry finish and results in a high level of drinkability. Marchio sees the Home as being more in line with beers like Presidente, Pacífico and Asahi — high-quality beers of that nature, as he puts it.
Home will be produced out of Knotted Root Brewing in Nederland for the foreseeable future.
Knotted Root Brewing Instagram
Despite being only $12 per four-pack of 16-ounce cans, or about 30 percent cheaper than most of the IPAs that sister company Knotted Root is known for, Home actually has far better profit margins than those hop-laden IPAs. "We are trying to be extremely competitive, price-wise," says Marchio. The beer is currently being brewed in ten-barrel batches, which is a little more than 300 gallons of beer at a time.
Marchio says that he's never been good at sticking to plans, because unforeseen things always come up and force him to alter his original ideas. He's comfortable adjusting and adapting to whatever comes his way, but the plan is to develop the brand, continue to dial in the recipe, and work toward investing in more equipment solely dedicated to the production of Home.
When asked where he sees this brand in five years, Marchio isn't short on visions. "I see dive bars and comfort food," he says. "I see pedal steel guitars. I see a production facility. I see people going into their local beer store and getting some "homies" to share with friends. I see people having fun and sharing great conversation. I see the Buffalo Bills winning their second, maybe even third Super Bowl. I see world peace, cold beer and happy dogs. Welcome Home."