Put down your Avalanche Ale and Coors Light for a minute. Odell Brewing Company has made a more official beer for the Avs. After a couple of events for a beer tasting featuring "3PA Session IPA" and "Free Throw Session IPA" showed up on Facebook, I got in touch with Odell to get some more details about the beer itself. Brent Cordle, production brewer for Odell, and Brian Bjork, a Denver Sales Rep for the brewery, were nice enough to answer a few questions.
Tell us about yourself and your role at Odell Brewing Co.
Brent: I began with the company in 2001 (like many veterans in the craft beer industry) in the dregs of packaging as well as some wholesale action delivering beer to accounts in Fort Collins. After a couple years of that I grew a large interest getting involved with the actual brewing side of things. In 2006, I was promoted to full time production brewer on our main 50 bbl brew system. In 2009, I was offered the opportunity to organize and manage a consistent production from our pilot system as well as our barrel aging and special beer offerings project, aka Cellar Series beers. I've been growing that side of things ever since. Our barrel inventory has grown tremendously the past few years and we continue to stay on the cutting edge with unique small pilot beer offerings. This system helps us R&D for new offerings on a large scale as well as innovate and create fun new beers to be offered only in our taproom and select accounts of our current markets.
Brian: I have been with the brewery for 2.5 years. I started delivering beer in Fort Collins with our wholesale team and have been one of our Denver Sales Representative for 2 years now.
What's the story behind the collaboration between Odell and the Pepsi Center teams?
Brian: In the past few years, the team at the Pepsi Center has made a huge effort to really highlight a great selection of Craft Beer. Being in Denver, there is plenty of great beer and they realized that their fan base started asking for more variety. Also, over the past couple of years we have been able to team up for tastings before games and help out with their needs among other great breweries in the area. We came up with the idea because they had done special dinners/events before games but never highlighted around a beer dinner, we soon realized that it might have never been done before a professional sporting event; and thus the beer dinner idea was put in action.
Brent: We have had great success with our recent partnership in the Pepsi Center and the idea came from Brian Bjork. It was a unique opportunity for us to show off our pilot system to the folks at Pepsi Center. It's always important to us that people who sell our beer, understand where it comes from, our culture and passion as a company as well as see the process from start to finish.
How did you decide on the recipe for the beer? What makes it unique?
Brent: When I was approached about the idea my immediate response was to brew a single hop light American Pale Ale using a hop variety known as "Nugget". This hop can emit great stone fruit, subtle tropical fruit, and slight spice flavors. Being as the Pepsi Center is the home of the Denver Nuggets I had to do it. Unfortunately, there isn't an "Avalanche" hop variety to use as well but the flavors from Nugget made sense to me for both dinners. Most craft beers contain many different combinations of hops. This beer is unique by using only one hop variety giving the ability to depict all the different flavors that are derived from one hop variety as you enjoy.
Tell us about the name "3PA".
Brian: We felt it would be fun to use a hockey reference without breaking the copyright infringement of using the actual team's name. 3PA is short for 3 Period Ale. Since it is a session, it is a beer that you are able to drink all game long.
What made you decide to give the beer a different name for each team? Why not brew two different beers?
Brent: We thought it'd be fun to relate to both teams for each dinner. Honestly, our pilot schedule is very busy and the one brew was all we could fit in our schedule. If this project goes well I'm sure we can look into making more or the possibility of two different brews for something similar in the future.
Will the beer be on tap during games at Pepsi Center? Where else will it be available?
Brent: The beer will only be available at the Pepsi Center during the dinners and for a limited time outside of the beer dinner. Once it's gone, it's gone. Until next time...
There you have it! Some exclusive beer that you can only get at the tasting dinners and at games until it's gone. The indication seems to be that this is the first of multiple beer collaborations between Odell and the Pepsi Center, so hopefully we'll soon see an Avs-specific recipe. The Avalanche tasting dinner happens before the game against the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday, February 18th. Tickets can be purchased here and include a club level seat for the game.