In the Denver, Colorado brewery Amalgam Brewing, the duo owning and running the brewery has a passion to brew good beers without compromising their quality, despite being a small setup, and they prefer running their brewery on a low scale at present. The fans of their beers don’t mind the long wait to get a sip of their favorite barrel-aged complex brews from Amalgam.
The Journey So Far
Currently operating out of a 5,000 square feet industrial warehouse in what is known as The Cultural Center, Amalgam did not always have the privilege of working out of such a big space. They shared resources and brewing space with Niwot’s Powder Keg Brewing. Rather than making Amalgam their primary focus, its founders, Eric Schmidt and Philip Joyce, opted to run it on a part-time basis while continuing to be head brewers for Powder Keg. Joyce worked as one of their full-time brewers, and Schmidt also took on the responsibilities of a salesman, designer, and beer buyer.
Despite being employees of Powder Keg, they were given a free rein to explore their brand of brewing, which leaned towards mixed, cultured beers in specialized oak barrels, like the ones used to age bourbon. While they had a working knowledge of making sour brews, which is what Powder Keg specialized in, the duo were more keen on experimenting with flavors in Saisons and fruits using the mixed fermentation techniques. They preferred creating drinks that they themselves would enjoy and chose to offer them on a select basis to bottle beer retailers once a month.
The arrangement was such that they would continue to use Powder Keg, which was also their legally registered brewing place, along with using their equipment and working for them at the same time. Operating under your own brand name while concocting drinks in the premises of another is not your everyday situation. However, it got to the point where the cost wasn’t as feasible for Powder Keg and Amalgam to pay and keep their business operational at the same time. Eventually, as Powder Keg wound up their business, things looked uncertain for Amalgam, as they were still eager to continue making their brews and experimenting with more flavors.
In March 2018, Amalgam moved their business to their current address at The Culture Center. Although they started solo, they quickly joined hands with another company that wanted to rent a part of the space and share equipment with them. So today, at the same address, you can get brews from both Amalgam and ‘Westbound & Down. As Joyce had once said in an interview, they believe that each brew place is unique to the drinks it offers and not to its location or who they share space and equipment with. Today, they are more than happy to main low overheads and concentrate on launching new beers once or twice every month.
The Amalgam Experience
Amalgam uses their co-tenant Idaho Springs’ facilities to brew the base wort, after which they get it moved to their Beach Street location. As both owners still treat this venture as an artistic passion, which is still a work-in-progress, they have once again opted to supplement their income by working as special projects managers. Until recently, Amalgam used to only sell their beer to retail craft beer sellers, but they have now allocated a small part of their premises for a taproom where customers can sit and enjoy their drafts or take them to-go in growlers. Interested customers can also get a tour of the place where the barrels are stored and mixing takes place.
Their taproom is open just once a month but so far has garnered good reviews from customers who have been appreciative of the drinks, as well as their staff. Despite not having their own retail chain or a brewery exclusive to their business, Amalgam has successfully been operational for more than three years now, the whole of the first year with Powder Keg. The warm atmosphere in their current taproom perfectly complements their sour and wild stouts aged for a considerable period of time in barrels. The owners are more than happy to let their yeasts, hops, and fruits blend really well for a long time because ensuring customer satisfaction is the most important aspect of their business.
For those eager to catch their exclusive drinks before they get sold out, watch out for their special events posted on their website. These events can either take place at their own premises or in other locations based on invitations and collaborations organized by other breweries and beer organizers. In addition to these options, one can also try their luck to become an exclusive member of Amalgam by submitting a request on the website. If accepted as a member, you will get dibs on tasting their new brews and access to the more exclusive, niche blends from Amalgam.
Despite moving away from norms, Amalgam has become a well-loved, top-rated brewery simply based on their experimental drinks, bucking all brewery traditions. They don’t have a fixed projected growth rate or specific blends decided on for the future. They prefer involving themselves in ingredients and brewing techniques that interest them so their brews are made with passion, rather than on an industrial, mass-production basis.
They currently have eight to nine types of beers available on tap and in retail, apart from the more exclusive varieties that they offer only to their members. Whether it is ales or stouts, you can’t go wrong with any of your choices when it comes to Amalgam, as is evident from their online reviews. Customers have loved every type of drink that they’ve had at Amalgam, which proves that their focus is only quality. The game of profits and producing larger quantities is not their priority at the moment.
You can visit Amalgam Brewing at 6381 Beach St. Unit A, Denver, Colorado 80221. For queries and information, you can visit their website. If you are looking for refreshing and unique brews in Colorado, Amalgam Brewing is certainly a must-visit.