About two decades ago, two longtime friends began an odyssey of homebrewing beer together.
Today, Chris Hill and Josh Van Riper’s journey has brought them to Arvada to open their own brewery — Odyssey Beerwerks, 5535 W. 56th Ave., Suite 107.
“Josh and I both like to travel and we both love the idea that it’s not necessarily about the destination, but it’s the experience, the journey,” Hill said.
“We’ve had a lot of life experience and Odyssey just embodied that journey and experience. There’s ups and downs, but it’s all part of the journey.”
Odyssey Beerwerks opened May 25 in Arvada and is now part of a new craft beer triangle in Arvada, which also includes Arvada Beer Company, 5600 Olde Wadsworth Blvd., and Yak and Yeti, 7803 Ralston Rd.
“Now that there’s a triangle, hopefully more people will be coming out and trying the three different places,” Hill said. “Now you can do your own little mini beer tour in Arvada.”
And Odyssey Beerwerks offers a sort of international beer tour for craft beer fans with everything from the Helios Hefeweizen to the Nebula Belgian Black Double IPA.
“We’ve been brewing and drinking for so long that we just like a lot of different things,” Hill said. “On the one end of the spectrum we have the hefeweizen, a German-style wheat beer, and it’s not made to German standards and purity laws — it’s our spin on it.”
On the other end of the spectrum is the Nebula.
“If you’re looking for something very different we have the Nebula, which is a Belgian black double IPA,” he said. “For everybody familiars with IPAs, it’s not the traditional double IPA. It’s made with Belgian yeast and roasted malts. It’s a double IPA because it's over 74 IBUs (international bittering units) and it’s 8.3 percent alcohol, but the other things going on really mellow it out. It’s a very complex beer.”
With seven offerings so far, Odyssey has something for everyone, Hill said.
Odyssey’s “beertenders” have even been trained to help beer novices figure out what tap they might like based on favorite foods and flavors, Hill said.
“If there’s a theme it’s beers from around the world with a Colorado take on it,” he said.
Craft beer fans can also expect to see their menu expand and change with the addition of seasonal brews in the future, including a pumpkin ale and Russian imperial stout.
Most of the recipes are developed by Van Riper and “the Brew Crew” and have been tweaked through trial and error over the past two decades until they’ve reached the final product — which is now served at Odyssey Beerwerks.
Hill and Van Riper have kept their focus on what they know best — beer — Hill said, so food is not on the menu. However, customers can bring in any food they like or have food delivered to the taproom.
While Hill and Van Riper spent most of their lives in Fort Collins and are both alumni of Colorado State University, their brewery is what brought them to Arvada.
“We looked everywhere from north Denver to Fort Collins and Arvada had a great space and great demographics,” Hill said. “It seems like an up-and-coming community. You’re close to everything. We love that the bike trail runs across the street from us, and the Gold Line is going in a block or two away. It just felt right.”
All of the brewing operations are done in house through the brewery’s 15-barrel system with the system designed to reduce and reuse resources when possible, such as reducing the amount of hot water used and giving the used grain and barley to a local farmer to feed his livestock.
Odyssey Beerwerks also tries to use as many recyclable products as possible and much of the seating and decorations are upcycled.
Even the décor of the taproom will change each month as the brewery features artwork from different featured local artists.
Residents can begin their own international journey with Odyssey Beerwerks brews on tap at the brewery. The beer will soon be available on tap at locations around Arvada and Wheat Ridge and in cans at area liquor stores in the coming weeks.
The taproom is open 3-9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 2-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 12-7 p.m. Sunday. There is live music on Wednesdays and Saturdays, trivia at 6 p.m. Mondays and food trucks on Fridays and Saturdays.
On Sundays, any customers who ride his bicycle to the brewery will get a free four-ounce taster with the purchase of a pint.
For more information about Odyssey Beerwerks, visit www.odysseybeerwerks.com.