Technically speaking, Wild Blue Yonder Brewing Company is the youngest of our five Castle Rock craft breweries. But while they’ve been open for business only 4 months, the story behind this brewery is at least 5 years old. And while it’s taken years for the family behind Wild Blue Yonder to convert their dream of a brewery to reality, it only goes to proves the adage that good things come to those who wait.
Into the Wild Blue Yonder
Wild Blue Yonder Brewing Company is owned and operated by brothers Andrew and Dean Wasson, along with Andrew’s wife Rachel. Together the trio
Finding the Perfect Location
While the trio had ideas for their brewery years ago, finding just the right location proved to be one of their biggest challenges. Fortunately, Andrew Wasson has a background in real estate, which certainly helped as they outlined exactly what they needed to bring their dream business to life. Their ideal location would need to be large enough to house both a brewery and kitchen. It would have an outdoor patio space for patrons to enjoy during beautiful Colorado days. Also important, they wanted a location they could buy outright and not lease, affording them the freedom, flexibility, and security they wanted for their business long-term. As Andrew Wasson puts it, they didn’t just want to open a brewery, they wanted to leave a legacy.
The Wasson’s found their dream location when the owners of the Augustine Grill in Castle Rock decided to sell their business after 20 years. The 1/3 acre spot in historic downtown Castle Rock featured a 1902 Victorian house converted to a restaurant, an 1875 Carriage House, as well as a large outdoor garden. Although Augustine Grill was a town favorite, the owners were ready for their own next adventure, which involved spending more time with their family by saying goodbye to their restaurant business.
The Augustine Grill opportunity was just what the Wasson’s had been waiting for to create their brewpub. The lot is on a prominent downtown corner in the Town of Castle Rock and the size of the space seemed just right. After creating a design for the business in coordination with the Town’s Design Review Board, the final plans for Wild Blue Yonder were unanimously approved. The final design would maintain the charm of the original Victorian House and Carriage House while adding a modern community brewpub space. The Augustine Grill gardens would remain, acting as a backyard beer garden. A new patio space was added in the front, where customers could enjoy views of downtown and of “the Rock” at Rock Park.
Read more about the 1902 Victorian House and the 1875 Carriage House on the Wild Blue Yonder Brewing Co website: Click Here
While reception of Wild Blue Yonder’s initial plans was mostly well received, that’s not to say they didn’t have their critics. When renderings were first shared online a few locals spoke out against having such a modern structure built in historic downtown Castle Rock. However once construction began, and certainly since Wild Blue Yonder has opened, the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. By combining the old buildings with the new brewpub, Wild Blue Yonder has successfully managed to showcase our town’s heritage while also bringing us into the modern age. Similar to the revitalization we’ve seen happen with Festival Park and Riverwalk downtown, the Wild Blue Yonder design shows that Castle Rock can pay homage to our history while still moving forward towards an exciting and vibrant future.
Inside Wild Blue Yonder Brewing
Inside the Wild Blue Yonder brewpub, you’ll find a space unlike anything else in Castle Rock. The decor is modern farmhouse meets industrial, mixed with a good dose of aviation and adventure. From the soaringly high ceilings to the large windows, many of which can roll up on warmer days, the interior feels spacious even when the brewpub is busy. The brewing equipment is front and center, so arrive at the right time and you can watch the brewing process from your taproom seat.
A large bar runs nearly the length of the room, offering lots of seating. The bar countertop depicts flight paths across the sky, with Castle Rock located in the center. You can find other aviation-inspired elements if you look closely around the brewpub. In fact, the decor is the perfect inspiration if you’re looking for a spot to enjoy a beer while you plan your next adventure. As they like to say at Wild Blue Yonder, Get Out There!
Perhaps the real beauty of the Wild Blue Yonder Brewing space is that it’s so large and varied, you can have an entirely new experience each time you visit. Inside you can choose to sit on the at the bar, at one of the brewpub tables or one of the couches up front. Weather permitting you can sit on the patio that overlooks downtown, or choose one of the many spots outside in the beer garden. Wild Blue Yonder has even started to open the Carriage House to provide overflow space for larger groups. If you’re looking for a place to host your next party or special event, you can reserve the Carriage House for a small fee.
On the Menu at Wild Blue Yonder
Obviously the Wild Blue Yonder brewpub is beautiful, but in the end, it’s the beer and the food that will make them successful. That’s where Dean Wasson’s special skills come into play. Dean studied culinary arts at Johnson & Wales and completed the Masters Brewers Course at the University of California-Davis. He’s now responsible for managing the food and beverage operation at Wild Blue Yonder.
Wild Blue Yonder: Drinks
Although both Andrew and Dean Wasson are avid homebrewers, for Wild Blue Yonder’s beer menu, they’ve decided to leave things in the capable hands of Head Brewer Robert Connelly.
Connelly was formerly a brewer at Left Hand Brewing Company as well as a Beer and Wort Expert at MillerCoors. He tells us that the 5-barrel system at Wild Blue Yonder took a bit of getting used to at first, and made for some really long brew days. However, four months in and he seems to have everything running like clockwork. Best of all, he’s creating some inspired and delicious beers.
Wild Blue Yonder Brewing Co offers a full spectrum of beer styles, many of which rotate seasonally. Even within the style categories, Wild Blue Yonder offer regularly changing variations to ensure you always have something new to tempt you.
You know we love our hops, so of course two of our favorite Wild Blue Yonder beers are IPAs. The Gnar Shredder Double IPA is a juicy, citrusy favorite. We also love the West Coast style Bluebird Day IPA. For something less hoppy, you cannot go wrong with Wild Blue Yonder’s Amber or Kolsch beers; these styles have been some of the most popular at the brewery so far. If you like Belgian styles, try the Heidelberg Hefeweizen or one of Wild Blue Yonder’s rotating saisons. The Gose Down Easy gose was just added to the menu and is a totally wonderful beer if you’re looking for something a bit tart. Finally, you can’t go wrong with any of the Wild Blue Yonder stouts. Right now they have an incredible Peanut Butter Patty & Cream Oatmeal Stout that is as decadent and delicious as it sounds!
Despite being fairly new, you can also find Wild Blue Yonder Brewing participating in two collaboration beers at this year’s Collaboration Fest. They participated in brewing the all-Castle Rock brewery collaboration steinbier. They also hosted Left Hand Brewing at their brewery to brew a 100% Brettanomyces fermented dry-hopped pale ale. Look for both collab beers at the 2019 Collaboration Fest, which takes place in Denver on March 16.
Finally, Wild Blue Yonder offers a drink menu beyond beer, if you want to imbibe on a totally different beverage. They have 2 ciders on tap from Stem Cider, 4 varieties of wine from Infinite Monkey Theorem, and local spirits from Bear Creek Distillery. Craft sodas are also available for the kids and designated
Wild Blue Yonder: Food
If you visited Wild Blue Yonder when they first opened their doors it’s possible that you didn’t get to enjoy their food. During their grand opening, their kitchen was slammed with more than double the food orders than they had anticipated, causing them to run out of just about everything. However, now that they know how hungry us Castle Rock beer drinkers are, they’ve made some adjustments, so you shouldn’t run into those types of issues now.
Wild Blue Yonder Brewing Company offers a full menu of seasonally inspired dishes along with rotating chalkboard specials. We’ve only sampled off the appetizer menu, but for what it’s worth, everything has been delicious. We have not yet had the burgers but have heard great things from friends. We’ve also heard rave reviews about their new smoked chicken wings and their other house-smoked meats. Clearly, we need to get busy exploring more of the Wild Blue Yonder menu!
Based on what we have tried, we can tell you that the Fried Cheese Curds are absolutely delicious! We’re also suckers for a pretzel and Wild Blue Yonder serves up a big one, nice and toasty warm, with a side of spicy brown mustard and cheese sauce. We’ve also enjoyed their Belgian-style Frites, as well as their Poutine and their Calamari, which is not currently on the menu, but was totes delicious while it was available. With fresh food that changes with the seasons, you’re sure to find something delicious to pair with your Wild Blue Yonder beers.
Given the success of the brewery and the food sales, Wild Blue Yonder will be expanding their kitchen in the coming year. They have plans for an outdoor kitchen to serve the patio and beer garden, so when the weather brings all of you beer-lovers to the yard, Wild Blue Yonder will be ready to feed you.
Looking Towards the Future
It’s been a wild ride for Wild Blue Yonder Brewing Co these first few months. Their success has exceeded their expectations, and they’ve increased staffing and have plans to increase their brewery capacity and kitchen space to keep up with the demand. All the while they’ve gotten rave reviews from customers for their exceptional space, their delicious food, and their fantastic beer.
We can’t wait to visit the Wild Blue Yonder beer garden this summer. They’re planning to add a temporary stage outside once the weather warms up, so we expect this to be a popular spot for live music and outdoor fun. Maybe we’ll see you there!
Learn more about Wild Blue Yonder Brewing Co in this video from MidWestOne Bank, who provided the funding for the brewpub:
Visit Wild Blue Yonder Brewing Co
Wild Blue Yonder Brewing Company opens at 11:00 AM daily. They serve lunch from 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM, and host Happy Hour from 3:00 PM – 6:00 PM. Reservations are accepted for large groups of 8 or more. Before you visit you can c
Visit Wild Blue Yonder During Castle Rock Craft Beer Week
Castle Rock Craft Beer Week is winding down, but you still have a few more days to come and enjoy the excitement until it ends on March 3, 2019. Come down tomorrow afternoon and enjoy complimentary trolley rides between all 5 Castle Rock breweries!
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.
Cheers to Castle Rock craft beers!