I was invited to visit the Bhakti Chai brewery in Longmont last week and jumped at the chance!
I discovered Bhakti Chai a little over a year ago when my bro forced me to have a sip at Cranknstein when I was visiting from California. I instantly fell in the love with the intensely spicy, gingery cup of warm deliciousness.
Ever since then, I’ve been touting my love for the local company and their wonderful drink. I even moved back to Colorado just so I could have more access to it! Well, not really, but it’s been an added bonus.
Since my bro is the one who initiated me into the Bhakti love club, I had to bring him and my sis-in-law along! Ignore the pained looks on our faces – we were actually thrilled to be there, but dang, that sun was bright!
We arrived at the brewery in the morning and were greeted by the warm scents of mulled spices before we even entered the building. This adorable, colorful table was laid out with a handful of the Bhakti products, most of which I’ve never had the chance to try before!
Our tour guide/marketing genius Allison gave us each one of the bottles to sip while we chatted about the history of the company.
See that coffee blend? That is going to be the very first thing that I run to after Lent is over. Coffee and chai? I can’t wait!
I grabbed the new almond blend. I love that they’re using almond milk now – I’ve never been a huge fan of soy, so this one called to me.
Brook Eddy is the mastermind behind Bhakti Chai. She began making her own blend of spicy chai in her kitchen years ago, and stored it in mason jars to keep in her fridge.
Brook’s creation became incredibly popular with her friends who started snagging these jars from her fridge and leaving a few bucks in their place. Soon, a local cafe caught on and ordered three gallons of the blend to sell in-house, and Brook’s company was officially open!
Bhakti means devotion through social action, and this company is committed to the empowerment of women and girls.
Their walls are lined with examples of all the different organizations that they support. I love how deeply involved and committed they are with these causes. Allison was thrilled to share all of the work they’ve done.
Then, it was time for the tour! We grabbed our bottles, put on some sexy hairnets and entered the brewery.
This baby is basically a giant Vitamix. They grind all of their ginger into a pulp to feed into the vice.
Nate hard at work. Grindin’ ginger. Sportin’ a beard-net.
All of the pressed ginger is scooped into this vice which squeezes all of the spicy goodness into large buckets for brewing.
Allison informed us that this number has more than doubled. They actually press around 3,500 pounds of fresh, organic ginger every week.
The chai brewery is similar to a beer brewery.
In fact, these tanks used to be the brew system for the now-defunct Oasis Brewing out of Boulder!
Gallons and gallons of ginger juice and organic sugar being prepped to hop into the boil kettle!
I also love their use of organic EVERYTHING!
I forced brewer Jared to take a break and pose for me.
Yes. Yes, they do.
Up until six months ago, Bhakti was hand filling all of their bottles.
Considering how far spread out Bhakti is, this handy bottling line was quite necessary to keep up with demand.
They’re spread out across the states with more accounts being gained every month.
Just a sample of the amount of ginger juice stored up in the walk-in!
They receive their soy and almond milk in these gigantic vats so they can make their ready-to-drink bottles.
And fresh ginger. So. Much. Ginger!
Bhakti Chai is also a certified B Corp – one of about only 1,000 businesses around the world who meet the standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency.
Happy magnets! I was able to get one of these to go on my new fridge!
They recently introduced a new, dry Bhakti Chai! Now you can take Bhakti with you when you travel! Since the ginger pulp still has plenty of flavor left in it after going through the press, they decided to dry and pelletize the pulp to put into the new dry tea bags, reducing waste of perfectly good ingredients.
I still have to find some of this ice cream to try! If they start making some almond milk ice cream, I will be their most devoted customer – even more so than I am now!
It was one of the most wonderful smelling and interesting brew tours I’ve been on. A huge thanks to Allison and the entire Bhakti crew for inviting us in!
Since I walked home with some special presents that they spoiled us with, I felt inspired to create a recipe. In the food blogger world, almond milk is in, Bhakti Chai is in, and chia seeds are IN.
Combine the seeds, almond milk and Bhakti Chai…
And WHISK your heart out!
Refrigerate overnight and ta-da!
(Note: If you haven’t had chia pudding, the texture takes some getting used to, but it is deeeee-lish!)
Aaaaaaand now for yet another giveaway!!! Bhakti Chai has kindly offered up two quarts of their amazing drink for one winner! All you need to do is leave a comment below telling me what your beverage of choice is. It’s that easy! I’ll pick a winner on April 14th! Open to U.S. residents only.
Note: Bhakti Chai provided me with product samples for tasting and a brewery tour, and is also furnishing two quarts of chai to the contest winner, but I received no other compensation for this review, nor was I pressured to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.
Category Archives: brewery tours
I was invited to visit the Bhakti Chai brewery in Longmont last week and jumped at the chance!
Fridays are always a half day for me at work. They also normally consist of some sort of beer consumption. Last Friday we had a field trip day and were introduced to the good people at Angel City Brewery in downtown LA.
Angel City Brewery is located in the Arts District and covered with random and sometimes awkward works of art.
We escaped the balmy heat and filed into the breezy brewery and tasting room to watch a quick little slideshow and hear about the history.
Then it was tasting time!
They started us off with their two flagship beers.
Angelino IPA and Eureka! Wit, respectively. After these little samples, they gave us drink tickets and sent us to the tasting room.
I got mini pours of almost all the beers. Their Berliner Weisse was one of my favorites – dry and tart without being overly sour, and extremely sessionable at 3.3%ABV.
The Schwarzbier is also incredibly solid – nice and roasty with a clean finish.
Dieter Foerstner is the head brewer and kindly poured us tastes and discussed the different processes he goes through with every beer. White Nite is one of the more interesting ones – a “golden stout” which is gold in color with the roasty flavors of a stout due to the addition of coffee beans and cacao nibs in secondary. That beer was the favorite amongst the group.
Unfortunately we got too busy to attend a brewery tour. I’ll just have to go back AGAIN and try more beer AGAIN and get the official tour. Ugh.
Saturday consisted of my new tradition – archery! I’m actually going to be buying my bow next week! Pictures and declarations of adoration to come.
It was also the first birthday of little Avery! I can’t believe how big she’s gotten!!! And that hair!
I’m off to enjoy the last few hours of freedom before going back into a long work week. Happy Sunday!
I finally got a chance to check out the actual BREWERY instead of just the pub!
Of course, beforehand I had to fuel up in said pub. I can’t go on a brewery tour without fuel. I’m not completely insane.
There was a big group of us and they assigned ordering to me. I closed my eyes and pointed. Roasted potatoes with soy chorizo and vegan ricotta. Surprisingly pleasant, even for someone who lives for bacon!
Vegan wild mushroom fritters with vegan pimento – for someone who hates mushrooms and loves pig, also surprisingly pleasant. One might even say delicious!
Pretzel with non-vegan cheese. Two vegan options are more than enough in my opinion, no offense to all my vegan/vegetarian readers out there!
We topped it off with the charcuterie plate full of cheese, grapes, spicy peanuts and cured meats. Okey, fueled up. Tour time.
We made our way through Chloe’s – the exclusive club for all those who love beer.
As you can see, I hadn’t quite gotten my lens repaired/been able to remove the lens yet…
We made our way into the gigantic offices/cold room. Don’t worry, these are separated. They don’t actually cryogenically freeze the employees. Yet.
This be a pretty big walk-in. I be pretty jealous. I become pretty chilled…
That ought to satisfy the LA consumers for a few days…
Once we got back into the warmth, we were greeted with all these empty cans, waiting to be filled with Wolf Among Weeds.
And finally, into the brewery!
They had to remove the roof of this building in order to lower these fermentors in by crane.
They’re kinda big…
And finally, a glance at the 50bbl brew system. Fifty. Barrel. Brew. System.
They run their wort through the hop dosing system before sending it to the boil kettle.
Instead of filtration, they have a separation tank. This spins the chilled wort around and all of the solids are brought to the center and removed – basically a second whirlpool tank, but faster and cooler looking.
The canning machine! We didn’t get to see this in action, but that makes for easier pictures anyway. These are spun around, sanitized, purged with CO2, filled and capped/clamped.
The quality assurance room/lab. If anyone for some reason calls in about their beer having an issue, the Golden Road team is able to come in here and taste that exact same batch to see if it’s a problem based on brewing or by handling. I think I’d be good at this part of the job.
I’m checking out how good I am at quality assurance right now.
In other news – I took my camera in to the repair shop and after a lot of hammering from the backroom and me cringing as I listened to each bone-shattering crack, the shattered cover was removed and my camera is at the ready to take some more awesome pictures!
I’d like to preface this post with a photo.
I haven’t been able to get the UV lens to come off of the camera yet, so unfortunately the pictures I got are quite sad. I was able to go down to Anaheim and got a (blurry) tour of The Bruery by the Sr. Director of Brewing Operations/Everything Else, Tyler King.
The Bruery has three separate buildings – offices and barrel aging space, the actual brewery and a distribution center/warehouse which also hosts more barrels.
This is their 3bbl pilot system. As you can see, it’s very fuzzy and soft-looking so some of the brewers use it as sleeping quarters… Out, damned crack! Out, I say!
Their old (also unfortunately fuzzy and blurry) fermentors are about to get swapped out for shiny new ones.
They propagate their own yeast on site instead of working through other labs. Their new fancy schmancy lab and lab technician are in full swing!
And here’s where I finally got (some of) the focus under control.
The Bruery is currently distributed in 21 states AND in Europe! After seeing the 15bbl system they work and finding out they have a staff of about 50, my mind was boggled. And impressed. Massively.
Brand new 60bbl fermentors!
Many, many kegs waiting to be filled with golden, amber and ruby deliciousness! And then some more!
One small section of their barrel aging program.
One bigger section of their barrel aging program. The scent of spirits, vanilla and oak swirling around the giant warehouse is intoxicating!
All of their bottle-conditioned beers, packed up and ready to be sent out!
And now these await me in my cellar (read: cardboard box in a dark cupboard) while they age out. Luckily I got two (or more) of each, so I should probably try them fresh as well, yes?
Last weekend the craft division of my company was flown up to Chico by the awesome crew of Sierra Nevada!
We were flown via Southwest – lucky for me, I got to score some extra points from this trip for all my future Colorado trips!
Random airport artwork in Sacramento.
After a ridiculously speedy flight, we all hopped into a huge shuttle van and drove 90 minutes up to Chico.
After a quick unpacking session, cans of Old Chico (not available in SoCal) were grabbed from the hotel lobby and consumed, followed by a trek to downtown Chico for dinner and some more brews.
We somehow ended up at this dance club/billiard hall/restaurant that was obviously hoppin’. At this point, I hailed a cab for myself and headed back to the safety of the hotel.
Many of my coworkers had a rough start the next morning, but thanks to my quick escape at the early hour of midnight, I felt somewhat alive. Our first stop was the brewery gift shop where we were given gift cards and set loose. I’m now the proud owner of a few shirts and an awesome lip balm that has hop oil in it.
We perused the grounds and found these awesome bike racks…
And a bike pump! Every brewery should have one of these!
Lunch was up next. We sat on the patio enjoying the beautiful warm weather and scanned the extensive beer list.
French Saison for me! Hair of the dog for everyone else!
I ordered the Sierra Nevada salad – fresh greens picked from the garden out behind the brewery, goat cheese and candied walnuts.
We were given some amazing samples of experimentals and beers that haven’t been or will not be released to the public. Barrel-Aged Narwhal Imperial Stout. Out of this world.
The brewery tour was next!
Sierra Nevada uses only whole leaf hops in their brews. The floor and tanks were littered with beautiful cones.
Hop room! Freezing cold and smelling of joy. Oh, how I love the hops.
Wonderful artwork for Life and Limb that for some reason didn’t make the cut??? Gotta love the fig leaf action.
The bases of the huge fermentors that stick out atop the brewery.
Everyone jumped aboard the awesome pub-bike and we pedaled out to the hop fields.
They’re a little more barren than the last time I was here…
The remains of the garden from where my lunch was cultivated.
HotRot – this composting machine is loaded with all the remains from meals in the pub and takes twelve days to turn all of that into what looks like sawdust. The smell is horrendous, the outcome is awesome.
After biking back, we toured the nanobrewery and got to sample some of the Beer Camp brew that Roger from The LAB participated in – milk stout with almonds. Divine.
The tour ended with a sample of Ovila with mandarin oranges straight from the conditioning tank.
Up next – dinner!
Cheese plate appetizer.
Filet mignon with lobster butter. Yes, please.
This rocked my world. I’m drooling as I recall…
The next morning we were up bright and early and back to Sacramento for our flight. This may be the best airport fare I’ve ever had – it’s a toss-up when it comes to burritos. I got lucky.
We had an even faster flight back.
Descending through the thick marine layer.
It was a wonderful, fast-paced and delicious trip. With all these brewery trips, I’m seriously loving my job!
It is so incredibly hard to get back into the swing of real life after a glorious 11 days being spoiled and pampered by my parental unit.
Savory Christmas Bread Pudding aka Eggs Portugal. We have this every Christmas, Easter and birthday morning. Drool.
It snowed on Christmas Eve! I set a beer outside to let it chill and when I came back out, it was covered in a good half inch of this beautiful white stuff!
Bare feet in the snow on Christmas morning. I don’t recommend it.
Delicate crystals atop the table.
I snapped a few pictures before rushing inside to escape the 3 degree weather. The rest of the day was spent roasting in front of the fireplace.
My Christmas gift from my bro and his wife! He made this himself the night before. Quite awesome, if I do say so myself!
It also came with this – unfortunately I didn’t have enough time to brew out there with all of the brewery tours we had lined up, but I’m creating a recipe at this moment for my next visit!
IPA tastings. I am head over heels in love with Myrcenary and Mountain Standard by Odell Brewing. Le sigh. Please distribute to California, already!
My favorite nephew got to spend the day with us. Nothing like having the whole family there for Christmas!
A few days later we picked up Commander Matt from the airport and headed straight down to Boulder for the first brewery tour on our schedule.
Avery Brewing! We found the brewery hidden back in an industrial area – the true sign of a real brewery. Scouting out the locations is half the fun!
A beautiful beer list! I’ve only had one or two of Avery’s brews before, but as much as I wanted to try them all, the altitude was still making me a cheap date (read: tipsy after a taster), so I stuck with a taster of Out of Bounds Stout and…
MEPHISTOPHELES’. 16.2%ABV. I couldn’t NOT try that!
Out of Bounds on the left, Mephistopheles’ on the right. The Mephistopheles’ was full of rich bourbon flavors, thick roasted coffee, spicy dried fruits and bitter dark chocolate powder. We may or may not have taken a 12oz bottle home. And by may or may not, I obviously mean we did.
Jon Cross was kind enough to give us a tour of their 40bbl system. Avery is prepping to move up to a 120bbl system over in Gunbarrel in the upcoming year!
Perhaps they’ll allow diving in the new, gigantic mash tun. We visited two other breweries after, neither with beer worth talking about, and the next day we went to one of my old favorites.
Oh, Funkwerks, how I adore thee. Best small brewery of the year – well deserved! We tried the cask of the week – peppermint saison! Amazingly potent peppermint nose, but a surprising bite of black pepper, hints of light citrus and rounded out with a fresh, clean mouth. The first sip was a little odd, but after the second sip I was ready for a full pint.
Natalie was in the middle of lautering when we arrived, so she was able to give us a grand tour of the place and answer all our questions about sour beers, barrel aging, bottling and a zillion more things that kept coming up.
After an hour exploring the place, we headed over to New Belgium where we were scheduled to tour thanks to my job. Perks!
It was a much longer tour than the last time I took it – over three years ago. They’ve built many expansions since and turned a half hour tour into ninety wonderful minutes!
Not too much heavy lifting going on here except on the brain.
We moved upstairs and drooled over the tanks, checking out each progression from mashing all the way to the rolling boil they had going on. You couldn’t smell anything inside, but the air outside smelled lusciously of hop resin being released from the grips of its pellets.
The barrel aging room was next. Epic. I don’t know how many oak foeders they had in there, but I could’ve wandered for hours and been content.
We got many, MANY samples throughout the tour, but this was my favorite. I hated La Folie the first time I tried it three years ago on the same tour, but now it’s pure adoration. Sours have won me over.
The next part of the tour took us outside past the gigantic bright tanks and into a relatively new building where the bottling and canning line are.
Capturing the deliciousness happens in here!
The brewery is covered in random art. I’d love to see this chandelier lit up at night!
After the tour officially ended, Matt and I saw one of the brewery employees at the bar and asked him some questions about New Belgium’s pilot system and cask program. He happened to be JR, the cellarmaster. He also happened to say, “Wanna see?”
8.5bbl system. They measure everything here in hectoliters. I spent a lot of the tour on my phone doing conversions from hectoliters to barrels. I’m cool like that.
Quite a colorful pilot room.
This system has one of the best views of the brewery. Look at all the pretty foeders!
Poor neglected Sputnik was empty. There were four fermentors that were full of experimentals. I spotted a stout, a dark set for release in fall of 2013, a light set also releasing in 2013 and a collaboration. I can’t get into any more detail than that – don’t want to give away the secrets!
The trip ended with the traditional – shooting range!
Fire! I shot this thing once and said no more. Not a fan of fire in my face and a kick that almost makes me drop the gun on top of my head.
Aaand an assault rifle rental from my bro. Kinda like a BB gun with laser sights.
We celebrated New Years Eve with my parentals and their best friends (who I consider my second parentals) playing five hours of the rousing game HedBandz, sipping champagne and rare beers like the Eclipse Series from Fifty Fifty Brewing, and flipping on the TV to catch the ball drop with three seconds to spare. All of this in a onesie. Again, I’m cool like that.
A belated Happy New Year to you all!