Interview with the Brewer: Jack Diebolt and Diebolt Brewing Co

I LOVE the craft community and I love getting folks out into their neighborhoods to truly fully enjoy the amenities their ‘hoods have for them.  I’m also a Realtor, so check out the link I have at the bottom with live listings in the Sunnyside area.  I’m here to answer any of your Real Estate questions!

The month of September this year is a biggie in the Colorado craft beer community. This month, This One’s On the House is so thrilled to bring you an interview with Jack Diebolt, co-owner and head brewer at Diebolt Brewing Co. who is being featured as our  brewery of the month!  I’ve been following these guys for a few years and am endlessly impressed by the subtleties in the flavor profiles of their craft.  They have tap lines in Denver and are featured at Highland Tap and Burger and Sloan’s Tap and Burger, having created the House Pale Ale for the Tap and Burger restaurants which, in my humble opinion, rivals any of the incredible brews on these establishment’s impressive beer lists.  

I wasn’t surprised when Jack told me this about their flavor philosopy:

“I think something that’s really served us well and served me really well, for never having brewed professionally anywhere else,  is the way that I approach adding ingredients and adding flavors to things is less is always more, because you can always add more but you can’t add less…. Once it’s in there you can’t take it back out….  But I think that philosophy has really served us well because if the beer turns out and you can’t taste the ingredients, the beer is still gonna be drinkable and taste amazing. If you add too much, it’s over the top and I think it’s just gonna destroy people’s palates and their perception of your creativity and your brewery.  I think that there’s a lot of really really wild beers going on out there right now and you’re not going to see those styles of beer rolling out from us. But you will see subtle and balanced beers coming out from us as they always have”.  

 

I was so amazed to learn that Jack is usually the only person doing the brewing in their incredibly creative manner.  He and his dad, Dan, opened Diebolt Brewery together in 2013, after finding the right home in Denver’s Sunnyside neighborhood.  The Diebolt origin story began in Oklahoma where Jack spent most of his formative years and his dad took to homebrewing – kind of out of necessity. Jack told me “[my dad] and his buddies kind of started brewing because there wasn’t good craft beer in Oklahoma…. I was always around [brewing] growing up and … I know people always used to kind of joke around… or our friends would say, ‘Oh you guys should start a brewery together’.  I wasn’t brewing at the time, at all… When he was down in Houston and I was living out [in Denver], I was kind of starting to get the brewing bug.” It was perfect timing. Jack was ready to move toward a new career and his dad was getting ready to retire.  After having home-brewed for 30 or so years, Dan and Jack’s mom moved up to Colorado and made moves toward creating what we now know as Sunnyside’s OG brewery, Diebolt Brewing Co.  

And so it begins…

Their space —  if you haven’t been —  is a nice sized warehouse on the corner of 39th and Mariposa, right in the heart of  in one of my favorite Denver communities, Sunnyside. The front door opens to a very welcoming taproom with knowledgeable beertenders who make it clear that they  have a blast working at Diebolt, and when you are there you should too.  Patrons can, and should, grab some of their limited release bombers out of the taproom cooler in the taproom for cellaring… or sharing… or drinking alone… they don’t judge. The back room hosts some truly awesome events, like Silent Discos, to be raged with the brewery innards as ambiance.  I’ve been to a few non-profit educational events there, which really gives you a sense of what the company is all about and how they serve their community. Jack shared a real appreciation for the Sunnyside vibe during our conversation. “I like the history of the area. I think it’s gone through quite a bit of changes, and still currently is.  You know there was a very thriving Italian culture here up until the 60s. There’s a very old and thriving Hispanic culture here as well. I think out of a lot of the other neighborhoods in Denver, there’s quite a bit of diversity over here”. I, for one, loved hearing how much he digs this aspect of his neighborhood.

I had the opportunity to taste the newest Barreled Lightning Release, Vladislav Baby Don’t Hurt Me, which DID “hurt me”, but only because it’s so crazy delicious.  It came as no shock that they won a gold medal with this Four Roses barrel aged cherry Imperial Stout at the World Beer Cup. This big, full bodied stout has solid hints of cherry and bourbon.  Jack likes his “bourbon barrel aged beers to be very well blended, not very heavy on the spirit”… we’d say its “spirited, but not heavy on the spirit”. This particular brew aged for a year with 75lbs of cherry puree for the last 6 months.  They tap a new one-off for the Barreled Lightning Series once a month, so if you’re still reading this you should make your way over on a monthly basis. These barreled babies may be Brett or what have you, but I found this giant bourbon stout to be a refreshing summer release as — I’ve had a heck of a time finding those this season.

Another popular release at Deibolt is the The Wiggy Wiggy Hibiscus Saison, which was fermented 100% with Brettanomyces instead of saison yeast.  Half way through the 1 year aging process, they topped it off with strawberries to create a tasty strawberry brett Wiggy Wiggy (, which will be entered into the Great American Beer Festival… so keep your fingers crossed for a medal!)

After hearing about these delicious barrel aged beers, I asked Jack about the planning process for the 30 or so wine, brandy, and bourbon barrel aged beers they have on rotation.  He humbly said, “The program just kind of created itself. I wish I could spend more time tasting them on a more regular basis… sometimes it’s just an accident that you get to it in a year and it ends up tasting really good.  And then, sometimes when we put it in there, I might have the idea that at some point I want to add something specific to it. With other ones, though, you might taste it and think, ‘hey some strawberries would be good in here’. Or maybe 6 months into the project, it occurs to me that that beer exists again, it was tucked away in our barrel stash and I’m like ‘well maybe we should add something to it just to give it a little interest or some complexity’… Or tasting somebody else’s beers sometimes kind of spurs you to think ‘Oh, shit.  That would be a really interesting thing to do to ours’. It’s so difficult to do anything unique anymore, almost in any industry, so I think it’s good to recognize that you can be influenced by other people.”

Jack’s inspiration comes from just about everything in life.  Cooking, for one, “going to a grocery store and walking around and seeing unique fruits and vegetables.  Trying other beers. Going to orchards, farmer’s markets… I’m not gonna say I drink beer all the time, I don’t, I really love cocktails and sometimes I’ll be having a cocktail somewhere and think ‘wow, that’s a really interesting combination of ingredients. Maybe that would be something to pursue'”.  Sort of like being a sculptor seeing a painting that informs your next work of art (FYI at this point I’m really drooling over the Diebolt inspo process. If you listen to the playback you can see how bad I’m fangirling). Pulling from all parts of life seems to be a big part of the whole lineup at Diebolt.  He told me a story about the original Wiggy Wiggy, whose inspiration came from being in Kauai and enjoying local honey and hibiscus. Pulling from the experience, he created this Honey Hibiscus Saison. They’d just watched Blue Hawaii, the Elvis flick, “and [Elvis is] like ‘Oh I’m gonna go down to the beach and get Wiggy Wiggy’, and I’m like ‘I don’t know what the hell that is, but that sounds awesome’.  So that’s why we called our beer Wiggy Wiggy after that… So it’s interesting where we get inspiration, but I think, if you open your mind up, you can be inspired from the most unusual or unexpected places”. I’m feeling so giddy about this still.

Even after all this, I still had some burning questions.  

THIS ONE’S ON THE HOUSE: What’s your favorite style to brew?

JACK DIEBOLT: Saison

TOOTH: Why?

JD: It’s a style that’s gaining popularity again, that almost completely went away… A Belgian and French style that American brewers actually revived and a lot of Belgian brewers are thankful to the Americans for doing that.  The style guidelines, well a lot of people argue with me on this and I have argued with people about it quite a bit, they’re probably one of the most broad style guidelines of any style. Because they were just brewed on thousands and thousands of very small farms over a period of hundreds of years with a variety of yeasts, before they knew what yeast was, with a variety of equipment, most of the time very dirty… with whatever ingredients were on the farm. So some of them were generally thought to be low alcohol.  My thought is some of them were probably a lot higher than people remember them being… but if you owned an orchard and were making beer there you had a different type of yeast that existed on those fruits, you probably incorporated those fruits into it. If you grew a specific type of grain, you were using that. It was kind of like an original kitchen sink type of beer… The yeast is very expressive and they can be very, very refreshing, and I love that about them.

Saison and other light, expressive styles are typically some of his favorites to drink, barring a bout into styles of the season.  Of course, as a brewer, he enjoys a good, clean pilsner. As I’m told, it’s a hard style to brew because there’s not much to hide behind, but after brewing with a borage of multiple flavors all day, it’s “very refreshing and after a long of work, to lighten your palate a little bit, and not make something complex that you have to just, like, sniff it for hours and pontificate over”.

My favorite question to ask, as a new beer blogger, is “Do you have a brewery that you’re really looking forward to collaborating with””.  The answers are always surprising to me, and I learn something new every time. Jack quickly responded with Zach Nichols of Cellar West Artisanal Ales, and not just because they both have mustaches.  He recalled being in the taproom and “looking up at his beerlist and marveling at all the styles being exactly what I love… I love the flavors of his beers and his style.”

Jack will be at the Meet The Brewer booth at Great American Beer Festival, so you should come check out what they’ve got and, of course, give me a shout out.  I, as a former craft brewery employee, still get a little twitchy when GABF comes around. Ever encouraged, Jack continues to enjoy absorbing creativity from these events and interact with folks. “Usually, I don’t want a beer for like a month afterwards… I left the last one and almost immediately went to a liquor store and bought a bunch of different unique stuff and I was inspired to brew and be more creative when I left the last one, which I thought was really cool… I’m kinda hoping for that again””.

I am really looking forward to more from their Expat Series.  For example, “Exploring… a day in the life of a French expat across the globe with unique and indigenous ingredients from those areas and french style beers… We’ll have more of those on the large system going out.  We’ve got one called Bora Bora coming out for our Anniversary Party which is a French-Polynesian Biere de Garde with cocoa nibs and vanilla beans. You’ll probably see more of that coming through in the coming years.”

The Diebolt Anniversary party is rapidly approaching, coming up from September 14-16.  Because “there’s always so much going on in Denver”, Diebolt fans, craft beer enthusiasts, neighbors, and passersby have the whole weekend to enjoy this insanely fun event.  Here’s what you can expect:

Friday, 9/14:

Saturday, 9/15:

  • Barrel Aged Beer Garden – vertical tastings, tons of bottles
  • Corn Hole and Beer Pong Tournaments
  • DunkelHeist 6 pack seasonal release
  • Barreled Lightning Release – 21 month barrel aged Black Current Brett Saison
  • Live Music, Variety Show, Magic, Comedy…
  • SERIOUSLY, check out their facebook page… too many amazing things to mention here. https://www.facebook.com/events/293249561227490/

Sunday, 9/16:

  • Shrimp boil and oyster bar
  • Live music by The Drunken Frenchmen
  • Beer cocktails all day!

Again, check out their facebook event page for all these details: https://www.facebook.com/events/293249561227490/

 

As always, if you’re interested in living near Diebolt, check out this link to some live listings in Sunnyside.  I’m here to help out with all of your Real Estate questions!

Sunnyside Area Listings

Check out the area calendar I made for things to do in Sunnyside in September!

September edit

Here’s a link to the PDF:

September

Thanks for reading!  Please let me know if I can help you find the right neighborhood for your next home!

Shan Stanford

shan@theshangroup.com

http://www.theshangroup.com

214-952-1010

 

 

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