The pioneering Wynkoop craft brewery in Denver, Colo., uses Templeton Rye barrels to add flavor to several of its beers.
The pioneering Wynkoop craft brewery in Denver, Colo., uses Templeton Rye barrels to add flavor to several of its beers.
July 26, 2013



Denver

One of the nation's premier craft breweries, a pioneering operation located in the bustling Lower Downtown area of Denver, Colo., is using spent Templeton Rye barrels to age certain beers.

The six TR Spirits barrels are right there in the basement of Wynkoop Brewing Company, working their patient magic on a sour Flemish red beer developed by head brewer Andy Brown.

Brown, who obtained the barrels about two years ago from an Omaha, Neb., colleague familiar with Templeton Rye, has employed the rye-cured white oak to age a Wynkoop stout and Russian imperial stout.

"I would get more of them if I could," Brown said. "If someone wants to drive some out, I'll pay them."

Brown said he appreciates the smooth flavor of Templeton Rye whiskey.

"I liked it," he said. "I first had it a couple of years ago."

His next rye-cured beer likely will involve native Colorado cherries, which when in season, are brimming with flavor.

Right now, though, the beer of choice is the Flemish red.

"It's a pretty sour red ale, not hoppy," Brown said. "They are kind of sweet and sour."

The Wynkoop, named after Ned Wynkoop, the first sheriff of the Kansas territory that is now Denver, was co-founded in 1988 by now-Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, who was part of a collection of young entrepreneurs to lead the revitalization of Lower Downtown Denver, an area that today hosts Coors Fields and other major venues, as well as scores of shops and restaurants.

Keith Kerkhoff, the executive vice president of Tempeton Rye Spirits, said many brewers are using the empty rye barrels for beer production. Two high-profile examples: Boulevard Brewing Company in Kansas City, Mo., and Goose Island Brewery in Chicago.

Boulevard will buy up to 500 barrels at a time, and last August, Goose Island hauled a truck of 288 barrels to its facilities.

More locally. Rock Bottom Brewery in West Des Moines and Court Avenue Brewing Company in Des Moines have used rye barrels, Kerkhoff said.