If You Go
What: The Post Brewing Co.
Where: 105 W. Emma St., Lafayette
When: Opens at 4 p.m. daily. Open for weekend brunch service beginning Saturday
Info: 303-593-2066 or postbrewing.com
LAFAYETTE — Bryan Selders began work on his new brew house at The Post Brewing Co. last February.
He spent many months planning and sourcing equipment to outfit his dream 15-barrel brewery, developing processes and procedures to run the place with maximum efficiency and dreaming up beer recipes to complement the chicken-and-sides-focused fare at the new venture by the Big Red F Restaurant Group.
Selders is brewmaster and a partner in The Post, along with head chef Brett Smith, Big Red F owner Dave Query and culinary director and investor Jamey Fader.
When The Post opened earlier this month to consistently large crowds, however, the restaurant's signature beers were a bit delayed. The partial government shutdown last fall significantly impacted the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau's ability to license new breweries and their products, and The Post was caught up in the backlog.
"You can't even begin to brew before you have all of the licensing in place," Selders said. Yet, despite the setback, "with all the brewery start-ups that I've done in the past, this one has been extremely smooth and stress-free," he said.
The Post's license was approved on Christmas Eve, and the restaurant tapped and served its first house-brewed beer, Lil' Buddy American Style Bitter, last week.
Selders was lead brewer for Dogfish Head Craft Brewery in Delaware for nine years, where he created some of the innovative brewery's signature beers and also co-starred in the short-lived Discovery Channel reality show "Brew Masters," along with Dogfish Head founder Sam Calagione.
After a short stint working in web design, Selders realized that brewing was his passion.
And when the opportunity arose to design and build a brewery from scratch and help build The Post from the ground up, he went all in.
"I was looking for a great fit for me professionally, as well as for my family, in a great area where we all could thrive," Selders said. "And this turned out to be it."
Selders moved his family from Delaware to Colorado and worked closely with chef Smith to develop beers that would not only complement the restaurant's cuisine but also stand on their own.
An IPA and a Mexican-style lager will round out The Post's core beers, along with Meathooks, a Mild Dark Ale that Selders co-brewed with owner Ryan Scott and brewer Jake Duensing at Lafayette's Odd13 Brewing.
The lineup also will feature a rotating dark beer. The first of which, set to release this week, is a porter with "tremendous hop aroma and complex coffee and chocolate flavors," Selders said.
The brewery is capable of producing as many as 1,600 barrels of beer annually in its current configuration. Once the beer lines at The Post are in steady supply, Selders said, the brewery will allocate beer to other restaurants in the Big Red F group, whose roster also includes Zolo Grill, four Jax Fish Houses, Centro Latin Kitchen, West End Tavern, The Bitter Bar and Lola Mexican Fish House.
Selders designed the brewery with the aim of reducing variables while maximizing consistency, efficiency and quality. A batch controller regulates the milling and feeding of grain into the grist case, and a chain-and-disc conveyer system gently delivers the fragile grain to the mash tun. Flow meters and other checks measure and regulate nearly everything in the process; from the brew kettle to the fermentation tanks and packaging.
"A lot of the stuff that you see here are things that we put into use at Dogfish Head," he said. "I couldn't ignore the lessons that I've learned in the past."
Selders also engineered the workflow so that one person can operate everything.
"Not just to enjoy some labor savings but also so that I could establish and document good procedures that are proven in this facility," he said. "Standard operating procedures are the key to consistency — if you can control it, you should."
Just six brews in as of press time, Selders has already identified a few areas for improvement and is well on his way to realizing the full potential of his new brewery.
"I just want to make interesting and tasty beers in a consistent and smart way," he said.
Contact Tom Wilmes at firstname.lastname@example.org.