Like many craft breweries, Left Hand Brewing Co. in Longmont, Col., started with just a small homebrewing kit.
Co-founder Dick Doore got the kit from his brother for Christmas and “it was all downhill from there,” as the Left Hand story goes. Doore soon teamed up with his former college buddy Eric Wallace, and the two co-founded Left Hand in 1993.
I had a chance to visit this laid-back brewery this week while visiting the Denver area for the Great American Beer Festival.
Left Hand hasn’t left the site where it opened for business on January 22, 1994, in a former meat-packing plant next to the St. Vrain River.
These giant fermenters hold 480 barrels of beer each. It takes a whole day of nonstop brewing to fill one.
This is a grain silo that holds Left Hand’s basic two-row malts. The blue devices at the base are actually scales that measure how much grain is inside.
Left Hand’s flagship beer is its Milk Stout, followed by the Sawtooth Ale.
Left Hand brews on a 60-barrel system, with brewing taking place 4-5 days a week.
Left Hand, which made the Brewers Association’s annual list of Top 50 Craft Brewing Companies for 2o11, is seeing huge growth. Left Hand produced 36,830 barrels total in 2011, and is on track to make 60,000 barrels this year.
In 19 years, Left Hand has racked up 16 medals and 1 honorable mention at the Great American Beer Festival, as well as 8 medals at the World Beer Cup.
Left Hand’s tasting room is open 7 days a week.
The head on Left Hand’s delicious Milk Stout Nitro is almost like whip cream! In 2011, Left Hand became the first U.S. craft brewer to bottle a nitro beer.