When the owners of the soon-to-open Prost Brewing bought a 72.25-barrel brewhouse in Germany late last year, craft beer-industry watchers wondered what they'd do with that much capacity. After all, most recent start-up breweries have opened with just a fraction of that kind of beer-making brawn, anywhere from one to fifteen barrels.
Now we know the answer. Prost plans to contract brew beers for other breweries that can't keep up with the demand for their liquid assets; two of its early clients will be Silverton Brewing and Dad & Dude's Breweria, which opened in Centennial in 2010.
And Dad & Dude's isn't stopping there. Not only does Mason Hembree, the younger half of the father-and-son owners, plan to brew 2,000 barrels of his Dank IPA at Prost, but he intends to start kegging and canning there as well and selling the beer at local liquor stores and in bars and taprooms.
"We were originally just looking for another brewery that had some excess capacity to help us fill demand," Hembree says. "We have a half-barrel system and we are brewing two or three times a day. But by Sunday or Monday, we are cleared out of beers."
But that opportunity led to a discussion of canning, which is something Hembree says he has always wanted to do. To start, Hembree wants to hire Longmont's Mobile Canning, which travels to small breweries to can their beers for them. But he would like to invest with a couple of others brewers down the road in a co-op canning line.
And Hembree is also benefiting from the association with Prost, which hired award-hoarding brewer Bill Eye away from Dry Dock in November.
"We have a new and improved recipe for Dank IPA that we've been working on for about three months or so," says Embree, whose favorite Colorado IPA is Ska Brewing's Modus Hoperendi. "I'm a hophead. I personally like a resiny, piney, dank IPA. Everyone is going citrusy or malty now, but I like the hops on the nose, with that resiny and tacky taste...Bill Eye has been helping us out with this to really nail it down."
The Breweria will also unveil a smart-phone app with Dank that will allow users to share information on social media platforms, like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, about where Dank is being tapped around town and where people are drinking it.
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Prost plans to open in late June or early July pending some final infrastructure work, says co-owner Troy Johnston. When it does, the brewery will only serve German-style lagers, including a helles, a hefeweizen and a bock.
Prost bought its brewhouse last year from a now-closed brewery in the world-famous German brewing region of Bamberg. Built in 1963, the equipment was disassembled and then shipped by boat to Houston, where it was trucked to Denver and reassembled at Prost.