Dreams of Dumbtown began as a proof of concept baby step.
The 75 posts that follow began as nothing more than a list of potential beer names. I was simply trying to come up with 64 different beer styles and names that in some way conveyed a portion of my Evans School Dream.
I had a very modest objective. I wanted to come up with 64 beer names I could scribble onto a twelve month calendar so that I could begin to put the goal of one tapping every week, plus a major tapping event once a month (52+12=64) onto paper.
I was not far into my beer list before the exercise morphed into something else and I started jokingly referring to my beer list as my Epic beer poem. Well Dreams of Dumbtown isn’t the Beer List* anymore and it clearly isn’t an epic poem.
Dreams of Dumbtown is just a mash up of:
- My Evans School Notions;
- A brewery-restaurant concept and business plan;
- An homage to some of my favorite brewers, beers, movies, etc.;
- A litany of puns and overworked religious, academic and war metaphors;
- A civic rant;
- And, something I probably shouldn’t have put online because…
Why Dumbtown Brewing Company?
The question obtrudes, why Dumbtown?
The answer is myriad reasons and here are a few:
- First, the Dumbtown name is self-deprecating.
- Second, the brewery will be in a school and the name is intended to be ironic because I envision that brewery making the dissemination of knowledge one of its particular civic missions.
- Third, Dumbtown’s labor economics are stupid. The idiotic brew house is a third the size it should be and it has three times as many fermenters as it should. I did not intend for that to read like a Bilbo farewell but it does.
- Fourth, the concept is excessively complicated. It’s like I’ve sought to maximize the opportunities for failure.
- Fifth, I’m just getting starting with the dumb reasons.
A few bits of background
- The Evans School is named after John Evans. John Evans was the 2nd Governor of the Colorado Territory, he help found Northwestern University and also helped found Denver Seminary which became the University of Denver. John Evans was without doubt a great man but like all of us he had flaws and he made mistakes.
- I’m not a brewer but I do work in the beer industry. Consequently, I get to attend industry events where I can interrupt Jim Koch with stupid questions and watch Tony McGee drop a beat poem on unsuspecting business seminar attendees or quote Quentin Tarantino while sitting next to MillerCoors’ CEO Tom Long.
Please Use the Comments Section to
- Ask Il Dorke questions
- Give Il Dorke free ignorance reductions
- Tell Il Dorke you’d like to apply to brew a Dumbtown beer. If so please:
1) Describe the beer
2) Provide some details of your brewing experience
3) estimate the grain bill for 5 bbls
4) Approximate fermentation & conditioning time
5) Suggest a tapping date
6) Suggest food pairings
7) If isn’t inherent in the beer name, or if you’ve got a killer show, suggest a tapping night theme.
8) And to talk amongst yourselves.
Among my dysfunctions is a propensity to start with disclosures and end with tangential explanations. Seriously, I can’t even articulate my idea, let alone brew a beer. There is a litany of reasons why I am so not the guy to do this thing. I’m not a chef, an architect, a restaurateur, a theater manager, a painter, an interior designer, a sculptor, or a musician. I was born sans aesthetic and with anti-rhythm. The good news is I have a weak palate and a poor sense of smell. So I’ve got that going for me.
- Style: Confessional Sour
- Liner note: The beers are ordered for the purpose of my story. I am virtually certain the order in which the beers will need to be brewed is substantially different. And for God’s saké, there is absolutely no way Dumbtown’s going to try and lead off with a sour. Damn, that would be idiotic.
- Beer tangent: Soooooo… who does one put in charge of a perpetuity?
I joke with bar owners and managers that if they so desire I can de-optimize their tap revenue. That’s what trying to brew 64 different styles in equal proportion would do. As a practical numbers person, I do understand that you have to give the people what they want.
A top-notch amber would be a huge part of making Dumbtown work as a business.
I know the Dumbtown ask is no small thing. I get that. A home brewer isn’t just giving up a substantial amount of time. Brewers are also (to a limited extent) giving up their beers.
The Dumbtown proposition is clearly a huge ask.
- Style: Amber
- Liner note: The intent is 64 styles of beer during the entire calendar year, not all at once. That would be crazy. I’m thinking more like some undefined number between 24 and 25 taps – whatever it takes.
- Beer tangent: Il Dorke wants to break the locks with beer.
I have never been able to effectively articulate my notion of someone dropping a coin in fountain vis-à-vis my Evans School Notions. It has always stymied me. I have always over talked it. So I’ll try to keep it short.
There are many magnificent things about the craft beer movement. A deeply ingrained belief that an enterprise must find ways to give back to the community is perhaps the most magnificent. I want Dumbtown Brewing Company to give back but the coin in the fountain idea extends to the entire school and beyond.
I want to give the people who come to Dumbtown a chance to drop a tiny coin in the public fountain. They’ll do it as customers when they buy Dumbtown’s beers but I dream of taproom where visitors have the ability to do a little something more. I dream of citizens coming to the Evans School specifically because they want to create some social lagniappe while at that old school.
What does that look like? I don’t know.
Perhaps three patrons come up with a hilarious way to teach the Pythagorean Theorem. So they head off to the auditorium or some other space in the school and film it. The workings of this comedic triad gets posted to the Evans School website. Just one child views their effort but it makes a difference.
I want to push in a direction that says that was a magnificent night out. I want nano positives to be properly accounted for.
- Style: Copper
- Liner note: Dumbtown needs a solid stable of broadly appealing and sessionable beers. And like the Altruistic Amber, a spectacular copper fits that bill.
- Beer tangent: It’s a race to see who can coin whose fountain first.
Not a lot of discussion needed here.
Dumbtown needs some killer home brewers.
- Style: Japanese Saké Beer
- Liner note(s): There is, however, an inordinate amount of discussion down here. So get ready for a pathetically long setup:
I love Dennis Miller’s comedy, his politics not so much. Nonetheless, in my biased inadequately informed misestimation Dennis is about the only rightward commentator who can be incisively funny on a consistent basis. He can do it live. More importantly, if he mocks something leftish, it’s generally worthy of a mockdown and he makes it mockalicous.
Anyway, going way back to my pre-kids entry into the beer biz, I travelled a lot [dubbelly pathetically long setup]. Frequently, I needed a Miller joke to sooth me through a sleepless night. As I recall the joke goes like this. “The air conditioner in my room has two speeds; off and The Hound of the Baskervilles”.
You probably now realize that I fibbed and you are in for a trippelly pathetically long setup. Dennis has another simple joke I love. He said, “Tell you what, if I ever move to England, I’m taking two things: a chef and a dentist”. Odds are he was riffing off some other old joke.
Regardless, I wish my Dumbtown dream was as short and simple as two things.
Unfortunately Dumbtown and the Evans School need far more. Dumbtown needs a brew master, a master’s apprentice, and a company of chefs. The Evans School needs those three things to be augmented by a random mix of two dozen creatives and a host of guests. Plus, a philosopher dentist like Herbie for the top floor and attic. I’ve always loved Herbie’s world view.
- Beer tangent: It would be awesome if the Evans School was so cool that in a year or two Dumbtown could get Tony Magee and Quentin Tarantino to come brew a beer called Five Deadly Ven-diagram-NumBeers. …and… It also occurs to me that Dumbtown needs 64 Ronin and I want to build an Unhidden Fortress for everybody; not just R2D and C3PO. Not to mention I had a Rashomon site visit > once.
Are you so good Dumbtown could be one and done? Could you be the one to give Dumbtown’s debt the Miyamoto Musashi treatment. Do you have a beer so good it can roll with Fat Tire? Are you ready to throw down with The Golden Monkey? Can you make Dumbtown’s first tank as legendary as Boulevard’s 7th? Or either Pliny?
Well then, you are the home brewer Dumbtown requires. If you are this Hop Savant please write the first verse of Dumbtown’s pub song:
Write your beer down, then come it brew it downtown.
So, Dumbtown only needs 63 more beers for its halls…
Make the first pony in Dumbtown’s stable a pure thoroughbred. Think Eric Young’s leadoff home run at the Rockies first home game. Crush one out of the park, then go pro, inspire others and don’t forget to come back to Dumbtown every once and a while to brew again.
- Style: WIDE OPEN
- Liner note: It appears Crooked Stave pre-emptively stole the phrase Hop Savant from Dumbtown, as is their chronological right, but it was kind of uncool. Yeast Yoda would have been more appropriate. I am virtually certain the phrase “Hop Savant” first entered my head as a Crooked Stave beer was entering my mouth.
- Beer tangent: Clarence would never order such poorly mixed metaphors.
A beer of the people, by the people and for the people.
This is one of many beers that pay tribute to the Evans School’s central location and its historical purpose. This brew also speaks to the idea that Dumbtown will be an active participant in the neighborhood. The Capitol Hill’s People’s Fair is a major annual event. Dumbtown wants to be a part of it.
Each year Dumbtown wants to join in this celebration of community.
- Style: Common
- Liner note: Capitol Hills People’s Fair ≈200,000 attendees.
- Beer tangent: Seriously, these surge capacity issues are helles serious business!
Dumbtown is a problem filled idea. You want to compete in Denver’s craft beer market? Gee, that’s smart. How about quality control? It’s like I’ve constructed Dumbtown to maximize the opportunities for failure.
Hence, I Need a Beeracle.
This will be Dumbtown’s Parade of Lights Beer.
Yes, it is a reference to It’s a Wonderful Life. It’s the first of many. Confessed Capra zealot you got here. What’s the better movie Citizen Kane or It’s a Wonderful life? Personally, I’ll take the later. I’ll take all the George Baileys I can get.
Maybe one day Dumbtown can do spirits and serve the kinds of drinks Clarence tried to order but until then Dumbtown is just looking for a great beer that’s a little nuts.
- Style: Coconut Porter
- Liner note: Dumbtown has to give back (i.e., contribute to society) from day one. Dumbtown has to put its coin in the fountain everyday it’s open. Here, I would like to keep it simple – at least at first. I’d like to know that every time a beer sells Denver Public Schools get a dime. My wife says, “that should rhyme”, AS IF to imply I could do better. At this stage, my reaction is, perhaps, AND debt done dime doubles.
How does that dime or it’s double get delivered? I do not know. I’d like to hear what the 64 Ronin think about this.
- Beer tangent: Bury the business plan backwards
My process of beer names involved grabbing the BA beer styles guidelines and shooting for 64 different names and styles. The ease with which excess beer names flowed out was reassuring. It told me this thing I imagined could indeed exist in perpetuity.
- Style: Herb and Spice
- Liner note: There has been no shortage of randomness and serendipity during my Evans School obsession. This beer could have just have easily been named broken stair knob. That’s what the beer tangents thing is about. In my mind my craft journey, my (X-(beeri)™ -n-senes)™, and my notions of what the Evans School could be, are still very much a tangled mess.
- Beer tangent: Beer is the catalyst that ignites the process. It’s the lever to crack open the doors. But beer is just one piece of Il Dorke’s Evans School puzzle.
I loves me my Belgians. If I put together a list of 64 beers you can bet a Belgian quad is going to be on it. This isn’t a Dreams of Dumbtown thing per se but it does have implications for the executions of Dumbtown.
On the night we tap this one we’re going to have to do two things. First, we are going to have a serious conversation about responsible drinking. And second, we are going to have a silly conversation about whether or not there exists a link between Sesame Street and It’s Wonderful Life.
- Style: Belgian Quadrupel
- Liner note: I often choose very bad words to describe my thoughts and ideas.
- Arch-tangent: Oh look, it’s a little baby Duomo with a Mussolini balcony for Il Dorke.