I Heart Crystal Springs Brewing Company

November 7, 2011 § Leave a comment

Tom Horst has what can only be described as a twinkle in his eye when he talks about brewing beer. He is a full time teacher of instrumental music at the local high school but on the weekends he is brew master of some highly sought after beer. As one of the smallest licensed brewers in the country, if not the world, he says he does have trouble keeping up with the demand. I was turned onto his beer through Cured, a special local grocery that also carries wonderful charcuterie and cheeses. I’m pretty sure it was by drinking his beer that my husband won our neighborhood Poker game last week.

Tom got into brewing back in the late 80s when his son, in college at the time, suggested they brew together. He’s been brewing ever since and as of last year officially started the Crystal Springs Brewing Company out of a converted garage on his property. He is already quickly growing out of that space.

He let me stop by this weekend to observe him at work, along with his brother-in-law who helps from time to time. They were in the process of mixing the mash for their upcoming holiday beer.

I asked him what he would say his style was and he replied “weird”. He makes beer that fits within a classic category, like porter or lager, but he also adds his own element to it to make it definitively his own. He said that’s one of the things he likes most about brewing in the US because there are not the same restrictions you find in other countries. You can not only make great beer but add your personality as well. He suggested the US is making some of the best beer out there right now (that’s right, you German readers). You can read more about his beers here. He gave us a taste of the uncut Russian Imperial Stout and it was pretty incredible. That is one to buy and age.

When I started out with this project there were a couple of goals I had in mind. I wanted to see what was happening in my community and I also wanted to learn from people who were fostering a craft of some sort. Crystal Springs is one of those special places you find when you stop being too busy and start looking around your community at the interesting things people are doing around you.

It’s great to see a personal hobby blossom into such a successful venture. Tom shared one of the best moments was when the Kitchen, one of Boulder’s better restaurants, started serving his beer on tap. He also now has calls from all over the country asking how they can get his beer. I have to say I’m happy he’s kept at it because I get to enjoy the fruits of his labor. We’ll see how my own concoction stacks up this week.

One of the things I’ve loved most with this project aside from learning a lot about where I live is getting to meet some talented and fun-loving people. I’ll leave you with some wisdom from the wall in Tom’s brewery: “A good friend will come and bail you out of jail…but a true friend will be sitting next to you saying ‘Damn…that was fun!'”

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