Originally Published: August 13, 2013 6 a.m.
PRESCOTT - The Prescott Brewing Co. was "hopping" with patrons Monday evening as owners John and Roxane Nielsen unveiled their "Heroes 19" beer honoring the Granite Mountain Hotshot firefighters who perished June 30.
Servers at the downtown restaurant began pouring pints steadily at 5 p.m., John Nielsen said. The restaurant is donating all proceeds of the beer, which sold for $5 on tap, to Prescott Firefighters Charities.
The brewery produced a total of 113 kegs, and shipped 40 of them a week ago and 50 Monday, Nielsen said.
"We have a portion of it, but a majority went to the member breweries of the Arizona Craft Brewers Association," Nielsen said. He supplied kegs to about 28 of the 34 member breweries.
"We will keep it on tap here until it sells out," Nielsen said. "Some beers last two weeks. Some beers last five weeks. But this beer will go pretty quickly."
Customer appreciation appeared to bolster his prediction. Customers lauded the flavor of hops and malt.
"I love it. It's got a lot of flavor. I love hoppy beers," said Julie Lessard, who is friends with the Nielsens and accompanied her husband, Richard, Monday night.
Lessard, a retired social worker who lives in Prescott, was drinking her second pint as of 5:15 p.m. Her husband, a retired psychologist, concurred with her.
"It has a little hop to it, but it is not over the top," said Richard, who enjoys Indian pale ales.
The beer is "malty and has a variety of hop tones," said Doug Grant, a computer consultant who lives in Prescott.
The beer is "extremely drinkable," said Eric Frank, a Prescott resident who owns a cleaning business and sat at the bar.
"It is the perfect mixture of hops and malt," he continued. "Anybody who loves beer is going to love this beer."
The challenge of the beer was to brew it to be drinkable without having a high alcohol content, explained lead brewer Jan Brown, an employee of the Nielsens for 14 years. He said the alcohol content is about 5 percent, while typical craft beers range in alcohol content from 3.5 to 10 percent.
Brewing began July 18, with fermentation starting a day later, Nielsen said.
Nielsen, who will mark the 20 anniversary of his business next March, said he plans to release the recipe to every craft brewery in the United States, possibly 3,000.
"I'll probably get that done by the end of the week at the latest," he said. He added his goal is to sway the Sierra Nevada, Boston Beer and New Belgium brewing companies to brew Heroes 19 and package it.
Nielsen called for a moment of silent at 5:30 p.m. to honor the firefighters, who died while battling the Yarnell Hill fire. The kitchen help produced the only noise during that moment.