New brewers bring expertise to Hayden pub
HAYDEN — A couple who are new to the Yampa Valley plan to keep a local brewery small, but they want to make it great.
Erica Tieppo and Christian Dufresne moved to the area in August to take over brewing operations for Yampa Valley Brewing Co. in Hayden.
They came here after working at Ska Brewing in Durango, and they are competitive when it comes to beer, brewing and their recipes.
“They fight each other to make the better beer,” said Yampa Valley Brewing owner Jared Aylor, who opened the business in October 2015.
Tieppo previously brewed in North Carolina and Michigan and received formal training at the Siebel Institute in Chicago.
“Colorado was the ultimate beer mecca, and I had a resume that allowed me to come here,” Tieppo said.
At one point, she was on track to do actuarial work for insurance companies.
“I couldn’t ever see myself sitting at a desk job,” she said.
Dufresne started brewing in Houston, Texas, as a distraction from the 110-degree weather.
“I wanted a hobby that would help relieve that,” Dufresne said. “I’m from the school of hard-brewing knocks.”
He was just a thesis away from getting his master’s degree in history when he landed a job at Saint Arnold Brewing Company, which made him decide to devote his time to brewing.
“I never left,” Dufresne said.
The couple, who started dating in Durango, know what it is like to work in both large and small breweries.
They also are familiar with the challenges that small startups face when they go from brewing at home to an actual business.
It is not just as simple as scaling up your recipe to make bigger batches.
“That’s exactly the problems that we’ve gone through the past couple of years,” Aylor said.
He is excited to have the expertise at his business located at 106 E. Jefferson Avenue.
“What these guys know is the true science,” Aylor said.
The brewery will focus on selling beers in the tasting room, but their beer is also available at Yampa Valley Regional Airport with the hopes of attracting visitors to town.
“We’re one of their first impressions, and we think it will bring people to Hayden,” Tieppo said.
They also do a lot of business with Carelli’s Pizzeria in Craig.
Tieppo and Dufresne balance each other out with their tastes and expertise in different styles of beers, and they have other passions as well.
The Space Dog IPA is named after the lead dog on Tieppo’s dog-sledding team.
To celebrate the new brewers and their beers, Yampa Valley Brewing is hosting a release event from 4 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday at T Bar at Steamboat at the base of the Steamboat Ski Area.