When asked what got him and his fellow brewer Chris Asher into the beer business, Asher Brewing Company’s Steven Turner can actually name a person.
“Like a lot of brewers today, it’s Charlie’s fault,” Turner says. Charlie, in this case, refers to Charlie Papazian, the man who founded the American Home Brewers Association in 1978 and in 1984 wrote the “home brewer’s bible,” The Complete Joy of Home Brewing.
“We both started out as home brewers,” Turner says. Now these two former home brewers are trying to establish a legacy of their own.
Asher Brewing Company, the first certified organic brewery in Boulder, is celebrating its first year in business and is throwing a party to celebrate. The brewery will be holding its one-year celebration on Dec. 4 at the brewery in the Gunbarrel area of Boulder. The celebration will feature food from StrEat Chefs, acoustic sets from The 18 Switchbacks and, of course, plenty of beer, with the brewery’s signature line of organic ales on tap.
The brainchild of co-founders Asher and Turner, Asher Brewing Company first opened its doors on Nov. 20, 2009, and became the first fully organic brewery in Boulder when all of its beers were certified as organic in February.
While working as a brewer at the former Red Fish Brewery (now the Boulder Draft House), Asher noticed that one of the most popular beers at the brewery was an organic selection.
“He thought he was onto something,” Turner says.
“I think it showed that Colorado and Boulder were ready for an organic brewery.”
A mutual friend then introduced Asher and Turner. Both were award-winning brewers, and together they had more than 20 years of brewing experience around Colorado.
“Our friend said, ‘You two should meet, I think you have a complementary skill set,’” Turner says.
In addition to brewing, Turner, a Colorado State University graduate, has worked extensively in sales, while Asher has a master’s in business administration from the Leeds School of Business at CU. After a year of planning, they came out with their first brew, Greenade Organic Double IPA.
Since then, they have added six more brews to their lineup: Treehugger Organic Amber, Green Lantern Organic Kolsch, Hippie Nectar Organic Wheat, Funbarrel Kriek, Green Bullet Organic IPA and Green Monstah Strong Ale. Their beers are now on tap in more than 20 locations in Colorado, including The Kitchen and the Chautauqua Dining Hall in Boulder. They also offer tours and tastings at the brewery and rent out their recently expanded tap room for parties and events.
While its brewery and list of clients have expanded, the company has largely stayed within the family. Turner’s wife is an accountant and keeps the company’s books, and the only other full-time employee is Alyson Duffey, the “admin and fun coordinator.”
As far as the popularity of organic beer, Turner says it’s really a three-part equation.
“It’s better for the consumer, it’s better for the environment, and it’s better for the beer,” says Turner.
In addition to making organic beers (several of which are also vegan-friendly), the brewery is also completely run on wind power.
With one year under their belt, Turner said that it has been an interesting experience, but one he has enjoyed.
“It’s almost taken a specific kind of pride,” says Turner. “It’s been exciting, but there were a lot of sleepless nights, wondering if this was going to work. This first year has just gone by so fast.
“We’re lucky. We’ve gotten a great reception in the area. We’re doing better than we anticipated, and we’ll keep doing this as long as we can.”
The one-year celebration will take place from 3 to 10 p.m. at the brewery, at 4699 Nautilus Court., Suite 104, Boulder. StrEat Chefs will be serving food from 4 to 8 p.m. 21 and over only, and IDs are required.