Yampa Valley Brewing Co. helps put Hayden on the map | CraigDailyPress.com

Yampa Valley Brewing Co. helps put Hayden on the map

Matt Stensland
Steamboat Today

HAYDEN — The beer brewing business has not always been good to Hayden resident Jared Aylor, but recent recognition from a Colorado beer festival has helped fill his pub with optimism.

“Literally, I got goosebumps and chills when I saw the email,” said Aylor, who opened Yampa Valley Brewing Co. in Hayden in October 2015.

The email said Yampa Valley Brewing Co. beat out 53 other breweries by taking second place overall honors at the Bacon and Beer Classic held May 12 at Mile High Stadium in Denver. Their Bewitchment beer was chosen by judges as the best saison in the competition.

“Just blown away,” Aylor said. “Surprised. Honored. Felt proud for the community.”

Aylor said the number one question they got from people tasting their beer at the event was: “Where is Hayden, Colorado?”

Now they know.

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“It was a cool feeling that one beer puts a little town on the map,” Aylor said. “The opportunity was we did something for the community.”

Aylor needed the good news because his first three years in the brewery business have not been easy.

For months at a time, his stomach hurt from the stress.

“That’s what it takes to be a business owner,” Aylor said. “A lot of people don’t really truly understand.”

Aylor had invested heavily in the business with help from some family.

“There were definitely times that I was ready to throw in the towel, but I just refused to quit,” Aylor said.

Then in August, Aylor tapped Erica Tieppo and Christian Dufresne to take over brewing operations and earn equity in the business.

The couple has experience at both large and small breweries and most recently came from Ska Brewing in Durango.

“At the time we started, there were only two beers on the board,” Tieppo said.

Today, they keep eight beers on tap and distribute it to 25 different bars and restaurants.

“It’s been really great,” said Tieppo, who made the Bewitchment saison with 150 pounds of organic cherries.

Yampa Valley Brewing Co. has come back to life and was filling up quickly on a Sunday during Hayden High School graduation weekend.

Hayden Town Manager Mathew Mendisco sat at an outside table with his wife and two young children.

Mendisco, who came to Hayden in late 2016, said a brewery was one of the items on his checklist when he was deciding what small town to move to.

“The community needs to be able to have a place to go that is not just an indoor bar and more of a community area,” Tieppo said.

The brewery has a busy summer ahead as they travel to six more beer festivals and competitions.

Tieppo said they are still deciding what four beers to enter into the coveted Great American Beer Festival competition in September.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland.