Just over a week old, Triple S Brewing is the seventh brew pub to open in the region, and the 24th brewery in the area overall. But there’s a lot to make the new spot on Colorado Avenue stand out.
First, owner and brewer Steve Stowell, a retired member of Special Forces, is paying attention to the minutia of brewing on his seven-barrel system. A full wall of beer-specific glasses sit behind the bar, and join sourcing approaches that see German beers get all-German ingredients, and the same with American styles, English styles and the like.
“Another thing I do is I pay attention to my water,” Sowell, 43, says in his taproom in an interview with the Report. “Yes, we have awesome water [in Colorado Springs], but it basically has nothing in it. You need magnesium for yeast health; you need calcium for a good conversion to grains, and our water is low in both of those. It’s almost like pure distilled water. As-is, it will brew a light beer really well — it will not brew a dark beer at all.
“The reason Guinness tastes like Guinness is because of the water in Dublin: It’s high in bicarbonates which you gotta have to make a dark beer taste good. So I treat my water, and it’s with simple things like chalk, epsom salts, calcium chloride. It’s nothing crazy: Simple household stuff. You can make good beer without doing your water. You can make great beer when you treat your water.”
The brewer also makes sure his beer is never exposed to air or outside contamination before it hits your glass. “I’ve got it set up probably the most optimal way,” he says. “It goes from the boil kettle to the fermenter, straight into the bright tank to your mouth.”
Sowell is weeks away from finding out if he passed his level two Cicerone certification, and expects his full staff will be level-one certified within the next 90 days. This fits with his passion for pairing beer with food. Triple S — which stands for “sip, savor and stay” — offers a full menu six days a week, with options like Sriracha chicken sausage, sharp cheddar and pale-ale soup, and michelada shrimp. You can also find coffee from Urban Steam delivered via porcelain immersion dripper.
“I want to pair the beer and the food,” the owner says. “And if I relied on a food truck, and the Flaming Kimchi Tabasco Taco Truck shows up, what am I going to pair with that? So, I needed to control the food to make the pairing.”
Of the 12 taps, two are devoted to craft sodas made in-house — like a cherry szechuan — two are for house kombucha, and the other eight are for beer. Of those, Sowell will keep three for rotating beers and five for his mainstays: an IPA, a wheat, a pale ale, an amber and a porter. These help him with his other goal: to educate the non-craft-beer drinkers among us.
“I can’t teach people about beer with a peach-pumpkin saison with some brett on top of it,” he says. “That’s too much. So I’ve got the five standards A. because if people like it they want to have it every time but B. because, again, I can’t teach people about beer with some crazy one-off beers.”
In the future, some options include a Berliner Weisse, an Imperial rauchbier and possibly a trippel. Triple S also will schedule deliveries of its $13 growler within a 10-minute driving radius, treating it just like the milk man: Every Wednesday, for example, you get two growlers of IPA at six o’clock. Show ID at the door, hand off your empties and you’re good to go.
[Images: Bryce Crawford]