Some might find the competitive landscape intimidating with notable Colorado breweries New Belgium and WeldWerks to the north and Oskar Blues, Left Hand and the Denver and Boulder beer meccas to the south. Berthoud Brewing Company is sandwiched between those craft beer players and says, thank you, we’re doing just fine.
“We don’t feel intimidated or overmatched by the local big guys,” says Jesse Sommers, Berthoud Brewing’s vice president. “They obviously dominate the markets here, but we are fortunate to have a lot of educated craft beer drinkers in the area, and there’s enough market share to support everyone.”
Berthoud Brewing has taprooms in Loveland and neighboring Berthoud, a 35-minute drive south of Fort Collins and a 45-minute drive northeast of Boulder. The brewery does things differently than a lot of nearby breweries, Sommers says.
“We focus on making clean, consistent beer with real products — no adjuncts, no extracts, no BS,” he says. “While we won’t make the newest, trendiest IPA or brew a clone of an ancient beer found by Indiana Jones, our patrons and fans like that they can count on us to replenish their fridge with their favorite styles.”
A good example is Berthoud Brewing’s Devil’s Dunkel, a malty, flavorful lager. The beer was not named after the evil guy with horns but rather a nearby geological formation in Berthoud, a town of about 10,000 residents.
“Spanning the landscape behind our brewery is an iconic rocky ridge, full of awesome mountain bike trails, called the Devil’s Backbone,” Sommers explains. “High-fives and dirt-crusted smiles are common expressions for those who have had the pleasure of riding there. Devil’s Dunkel is our homage to, and liquid representation of, this amazing place, and the incredible experiences it has inspired. It’s a little darker like the dirt on the trails; it’s challenging but not impossible; it’s a joy going down, and it’s something you want to do over and over.”
Devil’s Dunkel mostly consists of Munich malt with a bit of Carafa Special malt.
“The smooth malt profile is balanced with a complementary duo of hops: Mt. Hood for a hint of spice and floral aromas and Magnum for just a touch of bitterness,” Sommers says. “This traditional dunkel pairs the dark chocolate-malty sweetness of a stout or a porter with the smooth drinkability of a lager.”
Berthoud Brewing’s best-selling beer is Fireside Scottish. It’s a 7.4% ABV Scotch ale with notes of caramel and cherry smoke.
Sommers favorite is Lowrider Lime, a low-hopped Vienna-inspired lager.
“I just really love a great lighter-style beer,” Sommers remarks. “The hand-zested limes and salt add a crisp refreshing finish that keeps me coming back to it.”
Similarly, Berthoud Brewing assists in the welfare of local communities and wants locals to feel the brewery is a place to come back to. Last month, the brewery donated more than $5,000 and provided other suport for building Berthoud’s first fully accessible park, a project spearheaded by the nonprofit group Can’d Aid.
“We love to give back to our community and always do our best to accommodate everyone,” Sommers says. “I couldn’t believe that, with all the development and growth in our area, the closest ADA accessible playground was 40 minutes away. That seems like such an oversight. I hate to see any group of people be neglected, especially when it involves kids with special needs.”
Berthoud Brewing, which expects to produce 2,500 barrels this year, “is all about community and family, and our mission has always been to provide a welcoming place that delivers real beer for real people,” Sommers says. “We’re honored and proud that locals and regulars call us their neighborhood spot. We love that people feel comfortable bringing their kids and dogs to sit on the patio and drink some very approachable beers.”
The brewery will not “chase the trends” and won’t make beers “like Gummy Bear Margarita Pomegranate IPA,” he adds. “We want to make the beers you bring to the cookout to share with your family and keep in the fridge to enjoy at the end of every day.”