Pat Weakland, co-owner of High Hops Brewery, will tell you he’s been drinking beer all his life, but it was roughly 8-10 years ago when the seed of High Hops Brewery was planted. Like many craft brewers, Pat began as a home brewer, learning how to make what he loved to drink. However, a shortage of hops in 2007 convinced Pat to start growing his own hops on the acreage he co-owns with his wife Amanda, out by the Windsor Gardener (a gardening store his wife runs to this day). The hops farm, on the east-side of the gardening center and High Hops tasting room, is about selling their own home-grown hops plants. High Hops Brewery does use the hops they grow in their own beer, but will also buy and use hops from other providers because they don’t grow enough for their own beer. However, they do grow enough hop plants to sell to anybody all over the country (available online as well) from spring, summer and into fall. The movement in Colorado is a lot of hop farms are buying hop plants (from places like High Hops) to start their own hop farms to eventually sell to other micro-breweries or corporate breweries. “Coors Brewing Company, in Golden, Colorado is a classic example of this, which has gone really well for them.” Pat explained. “Coors buys a lot of their hops from local farmers all around Colorado.”
Pat and his son Zach, head brewer at High Hops, started home brewing every Sunday in the back of the Windsor Gardener with their own hops. As Pat aptly put it, “This would be an awesome mix with our home brewing experience,” and began the process of “tweaking” their already established home brewing recipes. “If we ran out of a specific hop for a recipe, we would mix it up by using a different hop, thus creating a whole different beer.” Later, the Weaklands started a home brewing shop within the gardening store, selling all the equipment (and their own hops, of course) necessary to brew beer. All this happened before High Hops Brewery was even an idea. Whether they knew or not, out of all this experience a great local brewery in Northern Colorado would be born.
The High Hops Brewery philosophy is, “All types of beer for all types of people.” Pat and Zach didn’t want to be stuck on one style of beer like many breweries tend to be. Why limit themselves to just Belgian styles or Lagers? Why not use everything available to them and brew for all the diverse tastes that people have? At High Hops Brewery, every flagship beer they make has the moniker “One” at the end of the name: “The Honeyed One”, “The Dark One”, and “The Golden One.” “Have you found your one?” Pat would ask. He asks this confident in the knowledge that, when you’re enjoying a flight of their beer, you’ll find at least one beer you’ll love. Overall, what drives the Weaklands to brew the beer they make comes from years of drinking beers from abroad and trying to replicate them. Their customers are also their inspiration, openly giving them ideas on what to brew.
In December of 2013, High Hops Brewery began bottling eight of their beers in 22-ounce bomber bottles, which they intend to sell in various liquor stores, restaurants and bars. They also sell these bombers in their tasting room, where you can try a sample before you decide which one you want to buy. On April 11th, 2014 High Hops installed a new canning system which they purchased from the Cask Brewing Company. This new system allows High Hops to can 800 six-packs of their beer a day. Six-packs of “Power of Zeus” and “The Golden One,” will be canned and available by mid-May 2014.
Since the beginning, the plan has always been to sell High Hops beer at establishments beyond the breweries doors, but the on-site sales have far exceeded and surpassed their expectations. Pat believes that this is because of the uniqueness of the hops field, one of the greatest views of the Rocky Mountains around, and the gardening and home brewing shop. Just last summer, High Hops built a huge deck between their hops farm and the High Hops tap room, an engaging place where one can enjoy the view on a nice day, listen to a local musician and try to find that “one beer” that will keep people coming back for more. If you haven’t yet been to High Hops Brewery in Windsor, Colorado, “hop” on over there so you can find “your one” beer you like. If you have been to High Hops brewery, have you found your one yet?