Two and a half. That’s how many new craft breweries pop up each WEEK in Colorado. Given the huge growth and interest in this home grown industry, it’s no surprise that there was a capacity crowd of 20 people convened in the brew house of Renegade Brewing Company on Thursday evening. The group came to learn about Colorado’s craft brew industry and to learn how to make their own home-brewed beer. The most recent TEDxMileHigh Adventure brought veterans of TEDxMileHigh events – Katie and Brian Payer – together with diverse group of Coloradans, many who were experiencing TEDxMileHigh for the first time. Over the course of two hours, the heretofore strangers bonded over beer samples and brewing equipment to become a part of the TEDxMileHigh community. Brian Payer, who has been home brewing beer for eight years, kicked off the evening with his wife, Katie, who helps him run a small business called Just Brew It. Together they teach aspiring brewers how to combine water, grains, hops, and yeast into a delicious beer – right in their own kitchens. Brian introduced the basic ingredients of beer, offering Adventurers the chance to smell, touch, and taste a variety of hops and grains. The Adventure quickly turned hands-on as Brian invited attendees to help stir the steeping grains, mix in the hops, and create the “wort,” or sugary liquid that will be fermented into beer.

As the wort boiled, the group got an intimate look at the scaled-up brewing process at Renegade Brewing, courtesy of Renegade’s own Morgan Churchill. She discussed how the craft beer industry in Colorado has exploded over the past few years, and how Renegade is expanding their operation to a larger brew house to meet the massive demand for their products. Despite the growing number of breweries, Morgan emphasized that the craft brew scene in Colorado is very collegial – experienced brewery owners and brew masters will often help new folks join the industry with tips on equipment, brewing, and the business in general. Morgan happily shared her knowledge as she answered the Adventurers’ questions about the brewing process, the industry, and of course, the delicious samplers of Renegade beers. The evening wrapped up by shifting focus back to the small batch of home brew. The group practiced capping beer bottles, received a short primer on the history of beer, helped to “crash” the beer and bring it down to room temperature, and finally “pitched” the yeast. After the Adventure officially wrapped up, some Adventurers headed out to other engagements, but many bellied up to the bar and continued the conversation as they sampled beers with a new perspective on brewing and a few new friends. Four. That’s the number of weeks it will take for this newly brewed batch to be ready to drink. Who wants to come back for Part 2 of this Adventure to taste it!?