When we met BURLY Brewing Company founder George Goodman in late 2017, he shared with us his dream for the brewery he planned to open in Castle Rock. His brewery would feature a large, comfortable gathering space, filled with natural woods and custom-made decor. There would be a stage for live music inside, a patio for enjoying the scenery outside, and a private room where small groups could gather. His brewhouse would be large enough to fill 24 tap handles of craft beer, including flagships and many rotating seasonal brews. That alone is an aggressive goal for any brewery, much less a start-up. As an award-winning homebrewer he planned on being hands-on in creating the beer recipes, but he was wise enough to know he’d need someone with professional brewing experience to help scale up the recipes and keep the taps full. Oh, and he was going to do all of this without giving up his day job as an optometrist.
Nobody should ever accuse Goodman of not dreaming big. The ink was barely dry on the lease to his future brewery space when he filled us in
As we have come to learn, that’s not how George Goodman rolls. He stuck to his guns, and in May 2018 BURLY Brewing Company celebrated their grand opening in Castle Rock. And wouldn’t you know it, the BURLY brewery and taproom are pretty much exactly as Goodman had described it to us at that first meeting.
Nothing Worth Having Comes Easy
Goodman would be the first to admit that BURLY Brewing Company may have turned out mostly as he imagined, but none of it came easy. There were unforeseen delays, unexpected costs, and more than a few sleepless nights. There were times we’d run into Goodman and ask how things were going and he couldn’t even answer, he just gave us a look that said volumes about how hard it is to open a new brewery. Those stresses didn’t just disappear on opening day either. After you work incredibly hard to open a business, you’re rewarded with more work as you learn to run the business. That alone offers a whole new set of challenges.
Now, as BURLY Brewing Company nears the end of their first full year, Goodman has to be proud. The taproom is beautiful, the beer taps are full and flowing, and the BURLY
It’s hard to believe BURLY Brewing Company hasn’t even celebrated their first anniversary yet. In many ways, BURLY Brewing Company already feels like it’s been part of the Castle Rock community for much longer. Maybe that’s the best compliment you can pay to a start-up brewery. It feels like they’ve got everything under control, the beers are good, and the customers all seem to be happy.
Inside the BURLY Brewhouse
We recently visited the BURLY brewhouse during the brew day for the Castle Rock collaboration beer. Believe it or not, that’s when we first met Jim Stinson, BURLY’s Head Brewer. As we’ve mentioned in previous posts this week, Castle Rock is basically a well-populated small town. That’s why it should come as no surprise that Stinson was previously the Brew Master at Rockyard (Castle Rock’s original brewery) where he worked with Kjell Wygant (Head Brewer at 105 West Brewing Company). If the brewing scene in Castle Rock seems pretty intertwined up to this point, Stinson may be the thread that ties it all together.
Working in the BURLY brewery with Stinson is Brewer Reno Wilson. Together with Goodman, these three BURLY guys create the recipes to keep all 24 taps filled. As Wilson tells us, the greatest thing about BURLY having 24 tap handles is that they can experiment and innovate on beer styles while still supplying the traditional beers that many drinkers love. The BURLY beer menu reflects a balance of modern styles and classics, ensuring the geekiest of beer geeks and the more conservative beer lovers can each find something to enjoy. They keep their individual batches small to ensure they can satisfy the need for variety without keeping beers on tap past their prime.
Our Favorite BURLY Beers
Some of the BURLY beers we’ve most enjoyed include the American IPA, the Old School IPA, and the Hazy IPA… what can we say, we have a type. If you like your beer less bitter then you can’t go wrong with the Blonde Beer’d or the Luchador Mexican Lager, both of which are crisp and delicious. For something totally different, there’s the Lemongrass Rye Pale Ale, which packs a lot of lemongrass flavor into your glass. As for bigger, bolder beers, we admittedly haven’t been as daring in our menu choices at BURLY as we should be. We really should fix that… you know, for research. However, though we’ve not tried them yet we’ve heard positive things about the BA Rye Old Fashioned Porter and the Warning Sign Eisbock if you’re looking for something bold to or to make you feel extra BURLY.
Getting BURLY With It
Maybe one of the reasons it feels like BURLY Brewing Company has been around much longer than the calendar would indicate is because BURLY is everywhere. One thing Goodman has done very well from the very beginning was branding, marketing, and hyping BURLY Brewing Company. Even before construction began at the brewhouse, Goodman was rolling around town in his BURLY truck. The BURLY logo, featuring a hop-like beard and sunglasses is definitely cool and memorable. There’s lots of BURLY merchandise available at the taproom if you want to sport the logo, and there’s even a GURLY version available on stickers if you feel more girly than BURLY. If you’re more into the beer than the logo you can also grab beers to go, available in growlers or crowlers for you to enjoy at home.
Beyond the logo, BURLY Brewing as a brand is very engaged online, particularly on Facebook and Instagram. Goodman often personally answers questions. As BURLY’s
Visit BURLY Brewing Company
Next time you’re in Castle Rock, stop by BURLY Brewing Company. They have food trucks serving up meals every night, and often have live music on the weekends. For a full listing of what’s currently on tap at BURLY visit burlybrewing.com/on-tap-at-burly/.
Visit BURLY During Castle Rock Craft Beer Week
Castle Rock Craft Beer Week runs from February 25 through March 3, 2019.
Come down this week and grab a Castle Rock Craft Beer Week passport at one of the 5 Castle Rock craft breweries (while supplies last) and earn yourself a glass or free beer by sampling all the great Castle Rock beer.
For more information on Castle Rock Craft Beer Week visit the official event page at facebook.com/events/Drinks/castle-rock-craft-beer-week/372650170218468.
TIP: If you enjoy Castle Rock craft beer, look for the Castle Rock brewery collaboration beer at the 2019 Collaboration Fest. The festival takes place in Denver on March 16.
Cheers to Castle Rock craft beers!