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Traditional recipes and innovative recruits

It’s snug, warm and smells of malt. Every now and then, one of the brewers hurries by, says a few friendly words, and then continues his fascinating work routine with impressive speed.

That’s how I made the acquaintance a few weeks ago of the Tivoli Brewing Co. in Denver, Colorado: a small, bustling brewery with its own brewpub on the campus of Denver’s universities. Hard at work: the two brewers Nate and Kyle and a brewhouse from Krones’ Sprinkman subsidiary. With natural courtesy, both Nate and Kyle, in the middle of their work marathon, find the time to tell me something about the brewery and themselves.

From college to the brew-kettle

Nate Nicklas is the “Director of Brewing Operations” and the most experienced among the three brewers at Tivoli. He joined the firm in 2016 after qualifying as a brewer at one of the universities in Denver – thanks not least to the close ties still maintained between the brewery and the university. At that time, the 35-hectolitre brewhouse from Sprinkman had just started operation, so Nate and the kit are old friends, so to speak. And he still finds it “super nice to use, not least in comparison to other systems.” Nate remains loyal to his roots at the university, by the way: in addition to his day job, he’s meanwhile employed as a lecturer, helping to educate tomorrow’s brewers.

Those attending his lectures include Kyle Warren, who in addition to his studies has for a bit more than a year now been one of Nate’s colleagues at Tivoli Brewing – and on his way from one piece of kit to the next has already darted past me quite a few times. Kyle explains to me why on a brewing day he gets through a lot of kilometres to and fro in the brewery: “The Sprinkman brewhouse is about 50 per cent automated, which means pumps, temperatures, etc. are controlled electronically. Everything else – like the valves, for example – we control manually, this requires authentic craft skills, and ensures that we get a lot of exercise. This is essential if I’m to stay on top of all brews and processes, and can say with certainty that the right valves are open.” I myself, by the way, don’t actually keep him company throughout the entire day of brewing. This, you see, lasts almost 22 hours, so it’s no wonder the three brewers share the workload between them. “Today we’re brewing three batches of our Munich-style ‘Helles Lager’. Our paramount priority is consistent quality – and here the Sprinkman equipment is really a huge help.”


Tradition and innovation as the recipe for success

Tivoli is committed to consistent quality and an unfailingly excellent taste not only during a brewing day, but over a very much longer period – over the past one and a half centuries, in fact. Founded in 1859, the brewery is keen to stay in touch with its roots – in terms of both the premises and the recipes for the beers. And so today, following some setbacks in the meantime, the brewpub is back on the premises that housed the brewery in long-ago 1860 – and has reconnected with the recipes handed down by the brewers of the past. “We try to keep the history in the beer as much as possible,” relates Kyle, though at the same time he stands for the brewery’s different innovative approach: cooperation with the university. So new ideas, technologies and highly motivated young rookie brewers (like Kyle) continually find their way to Tivoli Brewing. This is also reflected in the beer menu, to which during my visit, of course, I also devoted duly intensive attention. Here you will find not only the classic favourites, but also some authentically avant-garde beers, such as a Brut-iful IPA and a strawberry-mint-flavoured Berliner Weisse. And at the bar with a view of the brewhouse and the busily bustling brewers, each of the beers immediately tastes even better.

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