Three original brews straight from Larry Cook’s playbook recently won gold and silver medals at the Colorado State Fair.
Cook and his wife, Sheri, opened Dodge City Brewing, 701 3rd. Ave., two years ago with the intention to channel Cook’s obsession to make good beer into something productive and delicious for Dodge City drinkers.
There are 115 styles of beer available worldwide, Cook said.
So far his cauldrons have toiled and bubbled with 35 unique concoctions.
A 10.9% alcohol scotch ale, called "the Velvet Hammer that’s real easy to drink and sneaks up on you," and an American brown beer called "Pete’s Brown Ale" won two gold medals this year.
The "1872," a pre-Prohibition lager so named for the kind of bad-boy beverage early Dodge City settlers would have been familiar with, was awarded a silver medal.
"I want Dodge City to have the opportunity to see all of them," Cook said. And with a 3,900-square foot facility, he said, "I’m set up where I can do them all."
The only issue is inventory, he said.
"How much progress can we make towards 113 before we have to pause and drink up the batch before I can start a new one?" Cook said. "It’s a nice problem to have."
Both Cooks are Kansas natives, and Sheri was born and raised in Dodge City.
But since the Kansas State Fair only recently introduced a home-brew category to its competition, the duo "looked at what was on the shelf and submitted them for the contest" in Colorado, he said.
In other words, what he can pour by hand is what customers can expect.
Distribution is not on the horizon, since Cook said "95% of the population has a brewery within 5 miles of their home, so they’d rather go drink at a brewery."
Dodge City Brewing enthusiasts have to sidle up to the bar to get what they want — which often includes a slice of oven-baked pizza — and they can even take home with them the object of their affection in sealed containers called squealers and growlers.
Cook said he plans to bring back the award-winning Velvet Hammer to quench the popular demand of customers when shelf space allows.
"We’re just going to keep it local and focus on selling beer to people in southwest Kansas," he said.
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