Loveland Aleworks: A Story of Simple, Honest Beer

By Rowland Wasgatt on Friday, February 28, 2014
Loveland Aleworks from Loveland, Colorado

         On July 4th, 2012 the promise of simple, honest beer came to fruition when Loveland Aleworks opened its doors. Nick Callaway, owner and head brewer of Loveland Aleworks, followed an interesting path to craft brewing. Like many Colorado stories, Nick’s begins in the mountains. After a short time as a Colorado ski bum, he decided to return to school at the University of Northern Colorado and earn a degree in Physics (emphasis on Engineering). While at school, Nick started home brewing on his back porch and became a member of the Brewnion Colony, a home-brew club where he developed many of his brewing recipes. In 2006, Nick installed and commissioned Crabtree Brewing Company’s brewing system at their original location in Greeley, Colorado. These experiences filled him with a desire to open his own craft brewery. In 2012, after plenty of hard work and personal effort, Loveland Aleworks burst upon the beer scene in downtown Loveland, Colorado.

         Loveland Aleworks’ location at 118 West 4th Street has its own story, too. According to Nick, nearly 100 years ago the building Loveland Aleworks occupies was first used as a garage for Stanley Steamers. In those days, tourists would ride the train to Loveland, get off at the depot (where the Sports Station American Grill now sits) in downtown Loveland, and pick up their Stanley Steamer to make the drive up to Estes Park. Years later, the Johnson family purchased the building and opened Johnson Printing. The building has been remodeled, but once inside it still has a feeling of its past. Worn-out red bricks give this brewery its classic feel. Looking at the front entrance you can still imagine where the Stanley Steamers would pull out onto the street. The taproom decor also has a very new, clean and open look which completes the overall look of “old meets new.”

         Nick’s background in Physics and Engineering, and his experimentation in home brewing led him to start Loveland Aleworks. He describes his brewing philosophy as a, “simple, honest beer mentality.” Nick explains that mentality as, “We brew what we want and we are about the beer above anything else, so much so that we usually don't even name our beer. We strive for consistent, great craft beer and achieve this by keeping our processes and procedures as consistent and simple as possible. We make our beer on a 26 year old, American-made, 10 Hectoliter, direct-fired, manual brewhouse that we purchased from the Crested Butte Brewing Company. There are no touchscreen control panels or automated valves, we are literally hand-crafting every batch. We use the best malts and freshest hops that we can get. If we add anything other than water, malt, hops or yeast to our beer, such as cherries, raspberries, coconut, chocolate, or spices, then it is just that, never extracts or artificial flavors.

         During years of home brewing experimentation, Nick developed solid recipes that he brought to Loveland Aleworks. True to his home brewing past, Nick continues experimenting and branching out into other recipes. This is evident in beers such as “For the Love of Pale” (a recent collaboration between Loveland Aleworks and Loveland’s new Crow Hop Brewing Company) and the “Cross-eyed Wookie”, a coffee-infused Belgian brown ale. Both beers and others as well, are great examples of what Loveland Aleworks can do with their craft. Loveland Aleworks’ pale ales are crisp and refreshing and not overly hoppy. Their greatest creation of all time, in this writer’s humblest opinion, is the "Sorachi Ace IPA", which is made with Sorachi hops from Japan and garnished with a cucumber slice. This beer has a very unique and interesting melon and dill aroma and flavor, and will be on tap this spring. Look for it! You won’t regret it if you’re truly the adventurous type. Even the less adventurous won’t regret trying it!

         Nick has a simple motto at Loveland Aleworks, “We brew what we want.” The inspiration behind Nick’s recipes is not only about keeping it simple, but also about variety, brewing to the season and his day-to-day creative whims. This has led to a lot of single-hop pale ales, which are worth trying and are a staple at Loveland Aleworks. There are plans to begin bottling Loveland Aleworks beer, beginning with putting Aleworks Grand Cru into 750 mL, cork-finished champagne bottles. Currently, you can find their beer on tap around Fort Collins at places like Choice City Butcher & Deli, William Oliver’s Public House, Matador Grill and The Moot House. In Loveland, look in places like Generations Wine and Martini Bar, Henry's, Next Door food and drink, The Sports Station, Mo Betta Gumbo, and at the Budweiser Event Center during Colorado Eagles games. Loveland Aleworks also plans to expand further to cities like Boulder, Longmont and Denver.

         Looking toward their second anniversary in July, Loveland Aleworks not only has a promising future, but also has simple, straight-forward beers that everyone from enthusiasts and novices can enjoy. Stop in on most Wednesday nights around 6pm, and you’ll find Nick and his assistant-brewer Paul tending the Aleworks bar, pouring pints and discussing their craft. Nick Callaway and his creation of Loveland Aleworks have had quite the past, but will certainly have a bright future as they stick to that philosophy of simple, honest beer.