For our monthly series “Meet The Kitchen Purveyor,” we sat down with Eli Kolodny from Odell Brewing Company to get to know him a bit better. Here’s what he had to say:
Where are you from?
I’m from a small town called Ridgefield, Connecticut. I’ve been here for fourteen years with my family. I went to junior high, high school, and college here. Then I got a job in Ft. Collins. So, I never really left, I guess.
What did you study in College?
From biochemistry to beer making?
I think it was a very fortunate step. I’ve been here for just a little over five years now. I’m a huge lab rat. I love lab stuff, I love tinkering, I love being a microbial detective. Beer has a little bit of art to it, and it has a lot more science behind it than I think most people realize. It’s a blend of the two that keeps me motivated. In the end you get this great product, as a byproduct of all this hard work. You get this great beverage that people enjoy and that I firmly believe makes life better.
Can you expand on that?
When I went to college, I remember wanting to work here at Odell specifically because it’s where people went on their day off. I thought that was the coolest thing. There’s a nice family feel here. It’s very warm and comforting.
What goes into making an Odell beer exceptional?
We design our beers to be balanced. Even our double IPA, our Myrcenary. It’s a style that is aggressive and it still has a good balance to it. Our Friek, which is a sour beer, has quite a bit of acidic nature to it but It’s not a warhead. It’s still drinkable at the end of the day. I remember Doug saying that the true test of a beer is how many pints. Do you want another one? With a really good beer, you should want another one.
How large is Odell Brewing Company?
We’re very much a regional craft brewery. We’re in eleven states and we distribute to the UK. We’ll probably hit at, or just under, a hundred thousand barrels this year.
What does your title “QC/QA” mean?
Quality Control and Quality Assurance. I manage our lab team, and help oversee process improvements throughout the brewery. I’m not really doing too much day to day lab work, except for when I’m on shift coverage. We don’t wear them, but we have personalized lab coats, with our names on them.
How have you seen the city of Ft. Collins change over the past few years?
I think we’re definitely moving in the right direction. In this area we get so much sunshine, and we have so much access to outdoor activities. The level of education that we put into our schools is coming up, and the quality of life here is high. Ft. Collins is developing because of that. Beer is a big part of the industry here. It’s been humbling to see this brewery that I’ve become a part of grow as the city grows.
How is The Kitchen fitting into this growth?
I think we need young people to move into this town, who are into creating food or creating art. The Kitchen came in, and they were instantly one of the top five restaurants in town. We also do charitable work with The Kitchen Community. We’ve been really fortunate to go over there and show support for new business in town.
Is beer your favorite beverage?
Right after water, yeah.
What’s the third?
Probably whiskey or Spanish red wine. My girlfriend turned me on to it. I like some of the sweeter reds, nothing to dry or tannic.
I can see that. Beer is for the most part, is a ready to drink now kind of beverage?
There are very few beers that are earnestly intended for aging. Our beers are live products, and who knows what they’re going to taste like in five years. I always say drink it fresh, it’s made to be drunk.