About this time last year, brewvana readers were treated to an inside look at what it’s like to go to brewing school. My homebrew friend Adam Draeger posted weekly dispatches from Chicago and Munich in a series called Adam’s Adventures.
Last summer, our fresh, young brewer took a position at the Yak and Yeti in Arvada, Colorado. With Kyle and my childhood friend Stephanie in tow, I made it my business to visit my beery friend and correspondent. Adam gave us the grand tour of the brewpub, which serves Indian, Nepali and Tibetan cuisine and is housed in a beautiful Queen Anne Victorian house.
Adam works his magic from a cobbled together brewing system, which includes a mash tun converted from dairy equipment. It’s like a giant (meaning 7 bbl) homebrew system, but it proves that good beer can be found anywhere.
I should throw out a specific disclaimer before I talk about the beers: I’ve known Adam for a few years now and consider him a friend. That said, I swear the beers were good. Yak and Yeti took a GABF gold medal for its IPA in 2010 (before Adam’s time). The recipe is unchanged and this beer was better than most of the IPAs I had in Portland last summer.
To mix it up a bit, Adam had a version pouring that utilized Brewers Clarex, which in addition to having fining properties, is said to produce an if not “gluten-free” beer then at least a “gluten-reduced” beer. Adam bills his as the latter, since no testing has been done. The two versions have only the slightest difference in flavor profile and if this product were researched further and approved for use in this capacity, it would open up a whole new world for those dealing with gluten intolerance issues. In addition to this beer, Adam usually pours another gluten-free offering comprised of 49 percent cider, 51 percent sorghum and 1/4 of one hop pellet (so, you know, it’s technically a beer). I suppose I go on about this because Wonderful Beer Wife was diagnosed with gluten intolerance just a week or two ago and her beer life just got lame.
We tried a total of 10 beers, ranging from Pilsner to Stout, Bock to Mild. Homebrew roots shown through with experimental beers like the jalepeno pils and the chai milk stout (using the kitchen’s house chai blend). They were good, all.
My expectation for this place is that it goes from an Indian restaurant that happens to serve good beer, to a beer destination that happens to serve good Indian food.
While Adam has taken a successful leap into the realm of professional brewing, he hasn’t forgotten his roots. At the time of our visit, he was brewing a 10-gallon batch with a local homebrewer, who had cut the mustard in a recent contest that Adam initiated to network with homebrewers and bring their beers to the taplines.
The beers were good, the atmosphere was inviting and the food smelled incredible. I look forward to another visit with Wonderful Beer Wife and a little more time, so that we can enjoy the food as well as a relaxing pint or two (and the kids will love the house ginger ale, which was excellent, I should add).