At the end of October ’09 I received a press release proclaiming that a new brewery was opening in Woodland Park. It said: “Brewers Jeff Aragon and Brian Horton are currently setting up equipment with the hopes of brewing by the end of December and serving beer by the end of January 2010.”
Ah yes… “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men.”
January came and went. No brewery. And thus, the thought dropped off my radar. Sometime at the end of March I was asked by a fellow beer geek here in Colorado Springs if I had heard any news about the brewery in Woodland Park. I hadn’t heard a peep, but being the ever vigilant Colorado Springs Craft Beer Examiner… I set out to find out.
After speaking with Jeff I was able to uncover plans for what seemed like a legitimate brewery, owned and operated by legitimate people. They had received their Federal permit on April 1st (yes, the irony is not lost on anyone) and had grand plans to be pouring beer by Memorial Day. For those keeping track, Memorial Day was way back on May 31st.
Well, April turned into May, which quickly turned into June, July and… here we are in the middle of August and the as-yet-to-open brewery known as BierWerks has officially become an urban legend. Elusive and mysterious as a Bigfoot sighting. And just like the hairy bipedal beast reported to live in uninhabited forests throughout the United States, BierWerks beer is equally impossible to find. It’s interesting that the BW mascot also happens to be a hairy bipedal beer drinking beast. Coincidence or conspiracy?
I checked Snopes to see if someone had debunked the myth of this brewery, but no entry for BierWerks – or slackers – appeared. I even drove by the building reported to be the brewery’s home, but a hastily scribbled note on the door said something about missing screws, red tape and numbskulls. It was rambling and made little sense (much like this story). With my investigations repeatedly hitting a dead end, my patience growing thin, and my thirst unquenched… I gave up.
Fast forward to last weekend’s Craft Lager Festival in Manitou Springs (now officially the second largest festival in the state behind the mammoth GABF). While approaching the entrance to the event frantic beer geeks could be heard muttering that the elusive BierWerks had actually been seen! Curious, I grabbed a nearby festival goer who wanted to remain anonymous for fear of being hunted down by the creature. Before I could utter a word he covered my mouth and said: “Don’t speak its name! It only appears mysteriously in people’s backyards or festivals.” He then scampered away cackling manically, clutching his tasting glass as if his life depended on it.
Cautiously, I entered the beast’s lair and stalked through the festival’s record crowd – senses alive and on edge. Finally, after months of searching, it was within my reach!
Off in the distance amidst a tumultuous throng of thirsty beer lovers, I caught a brief glimpse of the BierWerks. A bead of sweat formed and slowly dripped down the edge of my nose. It dangled precariously before plunging through the air, narrowly missing my tasting glass. A shiver went up my spine, and just as quickly as it had appeared… it was gone!
As I scrambled through the masses trying to require my target a large man with an even larger beard holding a baby bulldog suddenly moved and the black and gold BierWerks banner sprang before my eyes.
“IT’S ALIVE! IT’S ALIVE!” I shouted.
I broke into a run, mowing over any and all stupid enough to get in my way. With a ragged voice parched dry by the summer heat – and lack of liquid gold – I asked for samples. Jeff and Brian stood there looking at me like I’d lost my mind. “Dude, there you are!” And the rest as the say is history.
Oh… you want to know about the beer? There were three on tap; two on the deck (Helles and Dunkel) and one behind the scenes in a secret stash cryptically referred to by some pseudo-German word that supposedly meant “Double Alt.” Frankly, I think the name was made up. But, all three were traditional German brews and absolutely taste buds watering in flavor. The Helles was sweet, but not too sweet. The Dunkel was a great mixture of beery goodness, and the Double Alt… well, this reporter’s lips sink no ships, but I will say that it was the best of the bunch. And that’s saying something.
As you can tell this is a completely tongue-n-cheek “exposé” on BierWerks in Woodland Park. Yes, they are opening. Exactly when is anyone’s guess. But they do exist, and their beers are spectacular. A “soft opening” is rumored to be in the works any day now, so stay tuned to this Examiner channel for more details.