Posted in Breweries

BBD “sits down” with bearded brewer

The beer scene in Colorado Springs is on fire! My friend and I went to Pikes Peak for a quick visit back in early June and decided to stop by a brewery afterward. We looked online and found a slew of craft breweries. We finally decided on Goat Patch Brewing and we did not regret it! What a cool spot!

Given the current restrictions it’s a bit difficult to meet with the brewers/owners in person, but Darren Baze, head brewer and owner of Goat Patch, was happy to answer my questions. I’ll let him introduce the team and his awesome brewery…

Tell us about the team. How did you guys get involved in craft beer? 

Goat Patch Brewing
Darren Baze and Johannah Murphy -photo courtesy of Goat Patch Brewing

I have been brewing for a little over 17 years and started out just sitting bottles on a conveyer belt at a local brewery. I worked my way up through the ranks there and learned how to brew with consistency. After 5 years, I left and ran the brewing operations at a couple of small local pubs, where I had the opportunity to learn recipe development.

Johannah Murphy, general manager and founder, developed a passion for craft beer from a young age while homebrewing with her father. She has worked in the food & beverage industry for 20+ years and has been an active part of Colorado’s craft beer network for nearly a decade. Cate and I have known Johannah for a long time and we sought her out immediately once we knew we were going forward with starting the brewery.

Cate Baze, founder and co-owner, is my wife and has a background in social work. She works at a home healthcare agency (with Justin) and that’s how he and I were connected. Cate handles much of our online presence and is kind of the voice of the company.

Goat Patch Brewing
The taproom at Goat Patch Brewing (during Covid-19)

Justin Grant, founder and co-owner, is a US Army Ranger veteran who has a multitude of experience in growing start-up businesses.  He and his wife fell in love with the Colorado Springs local craft beer scene and the tight-knit community it serves, which made it easy for them to take the leap in the Goat Patch journey.

Jennifer Grant, founder and co-owner, is Justin’s wife and has an eye for beauty. She is responsible for the decor and making the taproom feel like home.

Peter King, founder and co-owner, is our semi-silent partner and lives with his family in Boston. He and Justin are old friends. Pete is an all-around nice guy and has great business experience and instinct.

When and how did Goat Patch Brewing get started?

Goat Patch Brewing
The taproom at Goat Patch Brewing (during Covid-19)

I guess it all started with a text that Justin and Pete sent Cate around Thanksgiving time in 2015. I gave a smartass response, but apparently it was something like what they were looking for. Pete then asked me to send him some beers that I had brewed where I was working at the time, which he shared with a friend who runs a distributor out east. His friend was impressed and so Pete was in. Cate and I then celebrated New Year’s Eve at Justin and Jens’ house where we filed for incorporation, signed up for the Brewer’s Association, and began hashing out a business plan. About a year and a half of hard work later, we opened the doors!

How do you go about creating recipes? 

Our slogan is “Home of Balanced Brews,” and we try to keep a balanced selection as well so we can have something for all tastes. We keep a Red Ale, Blonde Ale, Hazy IPA, West Coast IPA, Stout, and a new American Wheat on fulltime as flagships and usually have 6 rotating specialty brews on at a time.

Goat Patch Brewing
My beer flight from left to right: 1. Purploid Sour 2. It Takes A Tribe Red Ale 3. Pistachio Nut Brown 4. Hazy IPA

We named the Red “It Takes a Tribe” because it is our community beer and we donate 25 cents from every pint sold to non-profit organizations. The Blonde is an ale that I designed to drink like a light lager for people who like Bud, Coors, etc. The Hazy IPA is our #1 seller and the first batch I ever brewed here. I really just made it to test out the brewing equipment, but everyone liked it so much that we had to keep making it, and I haven’t altered the recipe at all since that first batch. The Wheat is an ale that I just started brewing this summer and is spiced with coriander and orange peel like a Belgian Wit, but it has a higher ABV and is fermented with our house ale yeast so it has cleaner aroma and flavor. The IPA and Stout are beers that I feel we just have to have as an option. They are both really good (I like to think); I just don’t have a great story for either of them.

As for recipes, I usually err on the side of simplicity for most beers. Things get muddled easily when trying to do too much.

Any plans for the future at Goat Patch?

Like most breweries, we want to blow this shit up! We were headed that direction when Covid-19 hit. It has slowed us down slightly, but it won’t stop us.

What do you think of the craft beer scene in the area and its expansion over the past few years?

We think the expansion and de-homogenization of the industry is great. The market keeps growing as more people get exposed to craft beer, so more breweries is a good thing. Locally, we are all friends as well, and work together to grow the industry rather than trying to compete.

Why Goat Patch?

photo courtesy of Goat Patch Brewing
Goat Patch Punch -photo courtesy of Goat Patch Brewing

So I have a beard that is longer than my arm. It’s technically a goat patch and not a goatee because I don’t have an accompanying mustache. After tossing a bunch of different names around, we all thought Goat Patch had a nice ring to it, and we also like the animal goats, because they live in a community with one another and are known to have great balance throughout the mountainous terrain.

How have you been coping with Covid-19? 

We slowed production, but never stopped completely. We were basically brewing just to keep our yeast alive. We went to to-go only sales for a couple of months and were fortunate to have just received a full pallet of crowlers before the shutdown happened. We are currently open again at 50% capacity, but have added some additional outdoor seating.

Anything we’ve missed? 

Goat Patch Brewing
Jake from Goat Patch Brewing -photo courtesy of Goat Patch Brewing

Bleating Heart night would be the only addition. One of our core values for the brewery is community engagement, which has been a huge part of the foundation since we opened our doors in 2017. Our Bleating Heart initiative has allowed us to serve and support over 100 local non-profit organizations during our start-up years.