Former Durango resident and Fort Lewis College graduate Ryan Evans has brought Denver-made Belgian-style beers from his brewery Bruz Beers to Southwest Colorado with the help of Ska Distribution.
The only place to get Bruz Beer outside Denver is in Durango, addressing what Evans said is a void of Belgian-style beers in the Southwest Colorado beer scene.
“There aren't a lot of Belgian-style beers being made or even distributed down in that area,” Evans said. “This was an opportunity to fill a void and work with some friends.”
Bruz now has beers available for purchase in cans and bottles at a handful of restaurants and most liquor stores around Durango. Ska Brewing Co. had a couple of Bruz Beers on tap last weekend to celebrate the Belgian-style beer coming to Durango, but quickly ran out.
“Ska Distributing was in need of more Belgian-style beers in our portfolio, so when we had the chance to bring in fantastic Belgian-inspired beers made in Colorado,” said Ska Director of Operations Justin Crump. “It was a natural fit between the two companies.”
Evans graduated from FLC in 2003 with a degree in business and a minor in economics. During his time at FLC, he participated in the college’s business exchange program in Northern France. While in Europe, he traveled through Belgium and fell in love with Belgian-style beers.
“I was on my way up to Amsterdam like any good college student, and I had a train change in Brussels,” Evans said. “I had about two hours to kill in Brussels, so I went to a pub. ... The second I tasted that beer it changed my life.”
When he came home from Europe, Evans said he had a difficult time finding Belgian-style beers.
“They weren’t imported and just weren't available,” he said.
Evans said before distribution in Durango last week, Bruz beer was self-distributed by his brewery in the Denver area.
Evans said Ska Distributing will eventually send Bruz beers throughout its region, which includes Telluride, Ouray and Cortez.
“My partnership with Ska stems from a mutual respect for what they’ve done,” Evans said. “I grew up down in the Durango area drinking their beers through college. I wanted to bring some beers back home to where I started down in Durango.”
Dane Blanche is a witbier that Evans said is a good entry-level Bruz beer for beer drinkers who may be familiar only with Blue Moon when it comes to Belgian-style beers.
One beer that Evans said his brewery is proud of that’s now available in Durango is the Diablo Colorado, a Belgian Golden Strong Beer.
“It’s made with all Colorado ingredients, and it’s going to be a big hit. It’s 9% alcohol by volume, but it drinks really smooth,” he said. “You’ll start to see Diablo Colorado in a lot of places in Durango.”
Durango residents will also be able to find an Abbey series four-pack from Bruz locally, which has come with a traditional monastery single, dubbel, tripel and quadrupel Belgian-style beer. The names are relative to the amount of malt used in each beer.