Odell Outreach Organizes to Uplift

Earlier this year Corkie Odell and Community Outreach Coordinator, Karla Baise participated in a United Way bus tour of four of their affiliate agencies. Touched by their visits and inspired by the altruistic nature of our community allowing the expansion of Northern Catholic Charities Mission, they returned to the brewery motivated to help. With the help of NCC Volunteer Coordinator, Keith Colton, they devised a plan to rejuvenate the older side of the Mission to better match the new construction.

In two days, with their work force cut in half, Team Odell managed to tackle more of the update than expected, putting a fresh coat of paint on almost twice the square footage that was anticipated and preparing the daily afternoon meal for the Mission’s clients.

The positivity over the two days at the Mission was tangible and Ryan King said, “It was fulfilling to know that you made a difference in someone’s life. It definitely made me appreciate what I have more. It’s cool that the brewery promotes our participation in outreach like this.”

Last year the brewery participated in their first brewery-wide community call-to-action, partnering with Wildlands Restoration Volunteers. Again in a two-day stint, the company split in half to conquer the reparation of a Northern section of creek-bed that has been experiencing decades of man-made erosion. “It is so exhilarating to get together as a group outside the brewery walls; it’s even better when we leave something great in our wake. It’s powerful to have our sales team painting a wall with our packaging crew or the owners planting willow-canes next to our tap room associates. It reiterates the culture of family that the Odells have created and continue to nurture, and strengthens our passion translated: ‘We brew, we share, we play!’ We anticipate these team-builds to be an annual event,’ says Odell Community Outreach Coordinator Karla Baise.

Keith Colton, volunteer coordinator for Catholic Charities Larimer Region – The Mission, had this to say about the work day, “Wow, what a crew. I wish I could detail for you, in brief, all of the little things you all did so well. Really it was the teamwork, communication, drive, effort, energy and heart that really was impressive, but it was so much more than that. I suppose if I were to say anything I would say that what really showed, more than any of the logistical teamwork stuff, is that it seems like your staff really gets it, I mean REALLY gets it. The bottom line is that your crew is visibly distinct in working for social change instead of simply engaging in charity work.”

Hop Trippin’!

In early August, I had the pleasure of joining 12 of my brewery co-workers (all from our incredible production team) on our annual “hop trip.” What began, a few years ago, as a weekend investigating the western slope of Colorado and its locally grown hops and fruit, has now become a yearly retreat where we visit our farming friends and bond with each other.

We loaded up our tents and bags (and a whole lot of beer), and headed west through the Rocky Mountains into Palisade, CO. Our first stop was Hippie Chicks Organic Hops. The farm, dubbed a “friend and family supported agriculture project” is now in its 2nd harvest. Run by our friend Julie and her lovely hippie chick friends, the organic hop farm boasts Cascade and Chinook varieties that we will use in our Mountain Standard Double IPA. After greetings and hugs, we immediately went to check out the crops. They were a few weeks away from harvest, and already the hops looked incredible!

This place was awesome! Beautiful landscape, lush hop cones, and cute hippie chick farmers. Seriously, what’s not to love? After a quick beer, the hippie chicks took us all for a “cocktail float” down the Colorado River to cool off before dinner. We rendezvoused at the farm for some barbeque and football before heading to the Peach Street Distillery for a night cap. We ended the night under the stars, sleeping between the bines.

I’m not going to lie. The next morning was a little rough. The rooster had us up bright and early, and we had to clear out for a wedding. So we packed up and did what any brewery crew would do; headed straight to a winery. We checked out a few more wineries and vineyards before making our way to Big B’s / Delicious Orchards in Paonia, CO.

Big B’s boasts a beautiful orchard, storefront, restaurant and camping. Last year, they provided the peaches we used in our Avant Peche, and we used their cherries in our Friek. We took a load off and enjoyed some live music and their local Cider.

While in Paonia, we also visited Rising Sun Hop Farms. The farm has about five acres of hops including Cascade, Chinook, and Nugget hops. Wandering around a hot hop farm had us all thirsty, so it was time for a beer. We decided to check out Revolution Brewing in downtown Paonia. The small brewery, located in an old house, was a real treat. We especially enjoyed their Pale Ale!

After a quick bite (and some Space Station debate), we returned to Big B’s for a campfire, some witty banter, and another night under the stars.

As a company committed to supporting our community, we work to source raw materials from local suppliers like Hippie Chick Hop Farms and Big B’s/Delicious Orchards, both independently owned Colorado businesses like us. The trip provided us a great opportunity to inspect our hops and fruit, and also allowed us to enjoy the great outdoors of Colorado and spend some quality leisure time with our co-workers outside of the brewery.

My 90 Shilling Brew with Caledonian Brewery in Scotland

Last July, I was invited to travel to Edinburgh, Scotland to brew our recipe of 90 Shilling at the classic Scottish brewery, Caledonian. On September 5th and 6th, we brewed 1200 firkins worth of 90 Shilling to be served at many of the JD Wetherspoons pubs in the UK for their fall real ale festival which runs for 3 weeks starting October 5th. I was one of 5 US craft brewers invited to brew in UK breweries for the festival.

Our day started out milling the grain and mashing into one of Caledonian’s two mash tuns. After the mash rest, the wort was transferred by gravity to their 3 brewkettles where hops were added and the brew was boiled. After the boil, we ran the wort by gravity to the hopback where it was then pumped to an open fermentation tank so common in classic UK breweries. We used the same ingredients as we do in Colorado but used the Caledonian house ale yeast for a Scottish twist to an American version of this classic Scotish style.

I had to leave Scotland before the beer was ready but here are some tasting notes sent to me by Shakey Steven, their operations manager:

“In terms of the 90 Shilling, it has just entered my top 10. Aroma – Fruit, raisin, gentle hop. More mellow than alcoholic, very pleasing. Flavour – Spicy , roast, coffee and chocolate. Finish – Malty, rich and smooth with a decent level of bitterness and less caramel than I would have expected. Overall a quite stunningly complex beer and well worth your time being here and I’m sure the drinkers over here are looking forward to next week.

Doug Odell