Our brewhouse is the backbone of the Gilded Goat, and no role is more important than that of the brewers. Charlie Hoxmeier leads the brewing team, often with the help of students from the Fermentation Science program at CSU, as well as interns from other degree programs from around Fort Collins. Born and raised in Fort Collins, Charlie earned a PhD in Microbiology and spent several years in public health studying the world's 'neglected diseases'. After a decade of homebrewing experience, he now runs the brewhouse and quality control lab dedicated to the art and science behind each pint of beer.
It is this coming together of different craft beer regions and cultures that creates a uniquely local twist on styles. In the brewhouse it's about teamwork and problem solving and bringing ideas and experience together, all for the ultimate goal of bringing a recipe from our brewers' heads to a glass of beer. We're independent, local, family owned, and our beer is a reflection of those elements.
Art & Science
Beer was brewed for a thousand years before we understood the science behind it. Now that we have a solid grasp of this science - and at the Gilded Goat we have a devotion to it - it helps refine the brewing process to be sustainable and repeatable yet creative and innovative. This fusion of science and art results in our ability to push the boundaries. We brew according to what we believe in and what appeals to our customers. We have the styles you're accustomed to seeing, but when we add honey to the Kölsch and peppercorns to the Blonde, we create artful beers that are uniquely our own.
There aren't many microbreweries across the country with their own quality control lab. Our lab is crucial to our process. It inspires confidence in the process and confirms the science. We incorporate many local ingredients into our recipes; our quality control assures that the beer you order at the bar is exactly what we've planned for. We use the scientific approach to critically assess and objectively measure the aspects that are most important when you're bringing that pint of beer to your lips.
We actively take advantage of the "taste of Colorado": Colorado malts, Colorado yeast and Colorado water. Two of our local maltsters, Rootshoot and Troubadour, bring in local people who are passionate about the malting process. Although the malt is only one ingredient in a batch of beer, the passion, creativity and experience of these local artisans flows into that one ingredient, and that makes a huge impact on the pint of beer you drink in our taproom.
We're also experimenting with our own in-house yeast collection. Years ago Charlie took sterile swabs to the mountains and swabbed fruits and leaves, then grew the yeast and bacteria for over five years. His reason why: because he knew this could lead to interesting fermentation, and he had the equipment and scientific understanding to do so.
In Colorado nothing is fresher than our water, and water is the foundation for all great beer. Colorado breweries have used our water for over a hundred years, and for good reason. It's cool, clean, fresh, and most importantly soft, which gives us a fresh canvas to create our beers.
When you're sitting down with a pint of our beer, the flavors hit you in a matter of seconds, but when you take that beer apart those flavors are carefully added at different times in the brewing process. The boil is when we bring all of these flavors from the hops – bitter, hoppy, citrus, piney, earthy – together into one package. And during the 60 minute boil, which turns our sweet wort (sugars, starches, and proteins dissolved into Colorado water) into hopped wort, we envision the final beer in the glass during each phase of the boil. Hops added in the beginning lend to bitterness, hops added 45 minutes later lend to flavor, and hops added near the end of the boil lend to aroma.
As Charlie puts it, “The bitterness is deep inside the glass, the flavor is part of the appearance and taste, and the aroma is that top level before you even get to the tasting.”
Brewers make wort, and yeast makes beer. In the brewing business we depend on those microbes for the creation of the beer itself. Everything we do in the brewhouse is significant, but it all relies on the viability and vitality of the yeast.
Says Charlie, “I see fermentation as the culmination of the art and science. If art is the brewing process, science is our care and feeding of the microbes used to transform the idea of the beer into the beer itself – to transform the art of our recipe into the science of our beer."