Beer Man

Photos: Dry Dock Brewing kicks its can into gear at new Aurora production facility

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"I don't think I quite understood the pent-up demand that was waiting for us," says Kevin DeLange, who founded the brewery in 2007 with his wife, Michelle.

Dry Dock's new production facility, which is located across town from its original brewery and tasting room, could theoretically produce forty barrels of beer every four hours, but since the DeLanges only have six eighty-barrel fermenters to store the beer once it is made, they have to stop when those tanks are full.

Kevin is looking into buying more fermenters, but until then, he is trying to handle the requests from liquor stores all over Colorado this week, which are impatiently awaiting six-packs of Apricot Blonde, Hefeweizen, Amber Ale and Hop Abomination; some of the liquor stores that got deliveries last week are already sold out.

Dry Dock has already brewed and shipped five batches of its beers, and it began canning a second run of Hop Abomination today, which will be shipped out tomorrow.

"We need to see if we can catch up, and we're not sure yet," Kevin says.

But it's a good problem to have, he adds.

Dry Dock, which won the Small Brewer of the Year award at the Great American Beer Festival in 2009, revealed last May that it would take over a 30,000-square-foot former distribution warehouse on six acres of land just off I-70. It also bought a canning line from Wild Goose Engineering in Boulder that can handle 38 cans per minute.

Previously, Dry Dock had only packaged a few of its beers in 22-ounce bomber bottles.

The new brewhouse is capable of making 12,000 barrels in 2013, or about 43 percent more beer than it could have made at its old facility. Eventually, Dry Dock will be able to brew 60,000 barrels per year in the warehouse, DeLange says.

Find more photos of the new brewery on the next two pages.
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Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes