New Brewery Series: Elevation Beer Co.

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This week we are showcasing some new breweries that are set to open soon in the area. We are very happy to welcome three new breweries to Colorado Springs and one in Poncha Springs, just outside of Salida. We'll post one or two a day for the first couple days of February. This post will be dedicated to Elevation Beer Co...See the whole New Brewery Series here.

We just heard about Elevation Beer Co.'s plans this week and decided we needed to add them to our New Brewery Series. They will be located in Poncho Springs, just five minutes from Salida, they've got a big warehouse space (as you can see in these photos), got their TTB license, and plan to brew up their first batch in the next few weeks. The people behind Elevation have some good experience in the industry and have some nice plans to really focus in on barrel aging beers. Read what they're up to and stay tuned for more information from these folks. This interview was conducted via email with Xandy Bustamante, the sales and distribution manager.Who are the people of Elevation, and where will you be located?

Our company was started and is owned by four friends two of which are Chaffee County Natives:
Christian Koch our Head Brewer (Hershey, PA) and former brewer at Tommyknocker, Carlin Walsh is our General Manager (Buena Vista Native), Sheila Bustamante is our Marketing Manager (Buena Vista Native, and my wife!) and my name is Xandy Bustamante, National Sales and Distribution Manager (Sonoma County, CA). The brewery is located in Poncha Springs, Colorado just outside of Salida (like 5 min from downtown). We have an industrial space and will have our taproom opening in May.
How did you decide you wanted to open a brewery?
We started the brewery (or at least planning it!) at a typical cool Colorado summer night BBQ. We all wanted to live in Chaffee County (one of the best areas of the state for outdoor recreation if I don't say so myself!) and we are all huge beer geeks. Christian and myself had been working in the industry already (I had a craft beer sales consulting company before this) and Carlin and Sheila had great business experience in marketing and management so it clicked pretty easily. We decided to focus on the type of beers we like to drink and now here we are many month's later ready to start our adventure.

Elevation I imagine has something to do with the mountains?We named our brewery after seeing signs fly by for years in the high country of Colorado touting every tiny mountain town's elevation on those green highway signs. We thought it would be fun to let people know that we are a real mountain town brewery (Chaffee County has fifteen 14,000 ft peaks!). Also the name references the fact that we want to elevate the perception of beer in Colorado. Beer in the U.S. should be considered an equal beverage in quality to the finest wines and Scotches, and we will try to do our part in elevating people's perception of it.

Christian Koch, Sheila Bustamante, Carlin Walsh, Xandy Bustamante.

What are some of the breweries you look to for inspiration and ideas?

We are inspired by a ton of breweries. Russian River, Sierra Nevada, Crooked Stave, Funkwerks, Odell, Jolly Pumpkin, Cigar City, the Bruery just to name a few. Let alone all the great Belgium breweries like Rochefort, Cantillon, and Fantome.

Do you have a general idea of what kind of beers you will focus on? What will your main line up be, what kind of special beers do you imagine making? In our emails you mentioned three different series of beers - Blue Square, Black Diamond, and Double Black Diamond...these seem to be referencing runs on the slopes? Can you tell us more about these series of beers and what you have lined up?Our focus will be on seasonal speciality and barrel-aged beers. We will have two year round beers available only on draft in the High Country of CO (Mount Blanca and First Cast IPA) a collection of Brewer's Playground beers (what ever our wild minds come up with) available at our tap room, and then our Black Diamond and Double Black Diamond Series with our Black Diamond focusing on specialty beers (think Double IPA's, Belgians and other fun styles) and our Double Black Diamond which will be all 100% barrel aged.

Yes we did reference the ski slope's rating system (we are all skiers or boarders) we wanted it to be easy for people to find the style, skill level, etc. of the type of beers they like. If you are new to craft beer, drink a green circle (only available at the tap room in the Brewer's Playground Series), if you are looking for a flavor centric session beer, drink the draft only Blue Square Series, if you enjoy slightly edgier beers, drink our Black Diamond Series, and if you are a certified beer geek, drink the Double Black Series. Also in our Black and Double Black Diamond Series we won't repeat the same beer in consecutive years, so it might be 2+ years before you can have the same one again. This will make for some great vertical tasting possibilities in the future, and provide some fantastic variety.
At this point we consider our Black Diamond and Double Black Diamond Series of barrel aged-beers to be our 'flagship' series and these will be the main focus of our brewery. We are huge beer geeks and will be making everything you can dream of: Barrel aged sours, Stouts, historical styles, and create beers out-of-style. What ever we can think up! For example our first release in our Double Black Diamond Series will be a Brett Farmhouse Ale aged in Napa Valley Chardonnay Barrels. Christian has some pretty great beers planned for 2012. All bottles from these two series will be cork-and-caged champagne style bottles and bottle conditioned. Everything else will be draft only.We will have our Blue Square Series available come March in our area and then our taproom's grand opening and the release of our bottles across CO will take place May 19th (more details on that are being finalized).

Can we find you at Monarch, or do you ski somewhere else?YES! Monarch is awesome, Carlin Teli's, Christian and I both Ski and Snowboard, and Sheila is learning to Ski. Monarch is a hidden gem with one of the best ski bars in the state. We love it there.Location and Opening Date? 115 Pahlone Parkway, Poncha Springs, CO 81242Grand opening of taproom sometime in May. Some beer will be available around Chafee County starting in March though. Stay tuned!Staying in touch with Elevation Beer Co.:Elevation Beer Co websiteElevation on Facebook

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New BreweryEric Steen