Nock-in’ Back Beers & Chatting with SWB’s Head Brewer
If you’ve been creeping on us on social media, you’ve probably heard we just celebrated the big 024 last month. We’ve brewed some badass beers over the years, and some… well, perhaps less than badass.
And while we’ve been figuring it out as we go, we’ve also seen craft beer evolve over the last couple decades.
“Craft beer was an area that allowed for a lot of creativity and excitement,” from Head Brewer Nick Nock (yes, that’s his real name). “It still does, but back in the 90’s there was excitement in the unknown. It was relatively tough to find craft beer back then.”
He should know. Back in ’96, Nick Nock was here for the Olympics to see those golden shoes fly and as one of Freddy’s first employees, he’s seen the craft beer world crush all types of brews, variants, and all those weirdos in-between. (And for those of you who don’t know Nick, here’s a clip to show you what level he’s on.)
“30 years ago, there were mostly brown ales and darker brews on the craft scene,” Nick Nock vaguely remembers. “I like to think SweetWater brought the hops to town.”
As more beer drinkers hit up the danker beers, we at SweetWater were happy to oblige. By the late 90’s the Great American Beer Fest only handed out 3 awards for the entire IPA category (no participation trophies). Fast forward over 20 years later: 18 different categories for IPAs.
We’ve gone through all the stages of puberty and finally hit legal drinking age a few years ago. We’ve upgraded the home base a couple times and had to finally grow up (just a little). We added our quality lab to make sure that 420 hits the spot everywhere, revamped the taproom to include some bomb ass eats, and of course kept the party going with 420 Fest in centennial park in the heart of the A.
“When I started out, I was the fourth person here,” said Nick Nock. “We’d walk around with our shirts off. I’d have a beer at 7 in the morning. Now we’re a little more organized.” Nick now has beer at 8 in the morning instead.
We all wear shirts now but the one constant Nick Nock says has stuck? “We were having a ton of fun and we’ve made sure to keep the good times rolling.”
With 24 years – and an unnamed number of beers – under his belt, Nock offered his prediction on what’s going to happen next in craft beer: “I’ve no idea.” Tick tock, Nick Nock.
But, just like in ’96, that’s our thing. And whatever happens, SweetWater is always going to pump out some of the best damn beer out there or go down swingin’. Cheers to another heady 24 years.
So come on by the brewery some time and have beer with us. The taproom is open and socially distant. Oh, and if you’re lucky, maybe you’ll get some stories from our Head Brewer while you’re here.