This spring, Andy from Hideaway Brewery brewed up a special custom IPA on the BioLite BaseCamp. We sat down with Andy to learn more about his history as a microbrewer and how it became the perfect complement to his life outdoors.
Special thanks to Greg Mionske for the killer photographs of the brewing process.
Bring us up to speed – what’s your one minute bio?
I spent eight years of traveling for work and finally decided it was time to get back out west. I landed in Denver and a buddy of mine and I started throwing around the idea of a brewery. We both felt like Winter Park could use a brewery and I was ready to get out of the city and into a smaller town. That’s how Hideaway got started.
How did you get into micro brewing?
I started brewing back in college and then took a break for a couple of years while I was traveling. I got back into it when I moved to Denver and that’s when we decided to try and do it on a slightly larger, but still local, scale.
I first started going to small breweries when I was out in Bozeman, Montana. It was a blast: there were bluegrass bands, popcorn machines… it was a place you could go by yourself and you’d always run into someone you knew. A great little crowd of locals who just really wanted to spend time outside having fun but then enjoy a couple of beers at the end of the day.
What’s your connection to the outdoors? How does beer factor in?
I’m big into biking and skiing and I try to get out camping and take bike trips. I live in a ski town so I have great access to resorts and backcountry. This job really allows for getting outside – you gotta work when it needs to get done, but I can also squeeze out for a couple of runs or a bike ride and make it back in time to brew or serve beer. It’s the best of both worlds right now.
Everybody loves hanging out on a nice sunny day and when you get to do that and make beer it’s really enjoyable. There’s a lot of ‘hurry up and wait’ so when you get to brew outside – like with the BaseCamp – it’s a really unique experience. If I could move my commercial brewery outside and make it sunny every single day, I’d do it. If you figure out how to do that, let me know.
Do you have a certain approach or philosophy when it comes to making beer?
The Craft beer scene has really exploded – lot of places are specialty niche or a certain style of beer or extremely unique. I've always tried to take a classic approach, Classic American Style Ales. I try to stick with those classic styles and make as good of a beer as possible and being able to have a small tasting room allows me to do some different things- so we can take a classic style and then add a little twist to it here and there – it’s always fun to try something a little different.
What was it like making beer on the BaseCamp?
Well, I’ve never made beer with wood before, so that was a first.
Cooking on the BaseCamp was like returning to my homebrew side, away from my commercial brewing side. You try to forget those behaviors and now here I am going back to it, trying to remember how to do it all on smaller scale and without all the fancy equipment.
It was a totally different experience, but a lot of fun. There’s no little knob to adjust the heat so you have to watch the fire and see how everything is reacting. It was really fun to set out all the ingredients, chop a bunch of logs and keep the fire going. It was a lot of work, but I got to do it on the porch at my house with my brother Sam and take a step back and relax a little bit – didn’t feel like work at all.
We did a few trials to make sure it would all work and we landed on taking a variation of our flagship beer recipe and making a few changes that would work better on a homebrew scale.
Okay, million dollar question – how do you think the BaseCamp brew turned out?
Well, we saved a little bit of the remnants for ourselves and after tasting it… it turned out pretty good!
The beer itself is an India Pale Ale and considered almost like a west coast style IPA – it has a dry finish and a lot less of malt backbone to the beer. We try to make the hops front and center and really get those to stand out. It has a good bitterness and a strong hop profile and you could sit down and have a couple of them.
Overall I’m really happy with how the beer turned out and it was really cool to have a chance to be outside and brew up a small batch with a method I had never used. Now we just need to cook up some food on the BaseCamp to go along with the beer.
Energy Everywhere: is series from BioLite that highlights and celebrates members of the BioLite Community doing great things in the outdoors. Share your story and you could be featured in our next post!