Brewery Spotlight: Yak & Yeti Restaurant and Brewery, Arvada, CO
A few weeks ago, I found myself in the corner “Stammtisch” (aka the Regulars) table over at Prost Brewing, sharing a few beers with some brewers and beer lovers from around town.
Among them was Adam Draeger, the head brewer over at Yak & Yeti Restaurant and Brewery. After meeting Adam and talking about his brewery, I knew it was time to get over there and try his beers.
So, after swapping a few e-mails, I finally made the trip over to visit Adam at Yak & Yeti Restaurant & Brewpub in Arvada. My first line of business was to get my monkeys fed. The kids had just gotten out of school and were “starving”. Yak & Yeti specializes in cuisine from Nepal, India and Tibet. They’ve got a full menu, but we couldn’t decide on just one thing, so we went with the lunch buffet.
For just under $10, the all you can eat lunch buffet, offers pretty much everything, from soup and salad, to entrees and desert. I took full advantage of the buffet by creating my own sampler. I gotta say, it was good. Damn good. My wife, who hasn’t had the opportunity to enjoy good, quality Indian food in nearly 10 years, could be heard whispering sweet nothings to herself. I remember the term “Heavenly” coming up over and over again.
The food’s delish and kid approved. During the lunch buffet, kids 6 and under eat free with a paying adult, which is tough to beat. There’s a scan of their To-Go Menu at the bottom of this post.
I like a good meal as much as the next guy, but I arrived at the Yak & Yeti primarily in search of good beer. I ordered a pint of the Himalayan IPA, which took a Gold Medal in the 2010 Great American Beer Festival. Hoppy, bitter and highly drinkable. Just how I like my IPA’s. It was the perfect complement to my spicy plate of Curry Chicken and Tandoori Chicken. Patti headed for the opposite end of the spectrum, by ordering a Watermelon Wheat. The mouth-watering aroma and refreshing fruit flavor made for a tasty combination. We were off to a great start.
After wrapping up our lunch, I caught up with Adam to get the full tour of the restaurant and brewery. The original Yak & Yeti Restaurant opened in Westminster back in 2001. In 2007, a second location in Arvada was added, in what was previously the “Cheshire Cat Brewpub”. The Arvada location is housed in a Victorian home that was built way back in 1864. It’s a beautiful place that features a large bar area and surrounding rooms that have been converted into dining areas for guests.
So many old buildings have a story to tell and the Yak & Yeti is no exception. The building has a warm and inviting feel about it, despite the fact that employees believe it to be haunted. Cora Van Voorhis, a former resident, fell down a flight of stairs to her death and it’s believed that her spirit still remains in the house. Many of the employees at Yak & Yeti have had experiences with Cora, from getting pushed to hearing footsteps when all else in the restaurant is quiet.
I love a good ghost story, spooks, goblins and all that, but who’s thirsty? On to the beer! Adam walked us through his brew system, which is a 7 BBL setup that was pieced together from former dairy equipment.
The wort is pumped into a series of 14 BBL fermentation tanks located in the basement. As we headed down the stairs towards the fermentation tanks, the sunlight faded away and suddenly I found myself in a cool, damp, almost cave-like environment. I can take the ghost stories and I don’t mind hanging out in the basement during the day time, but I’m not so sure how I’d feel down there, by myself at night. Still, I’m strangely pulled in and could see myself enjoying a beer or two down there, completely oblivious to the outside world.
Adam has an office in the chilly, stone basement that looks like it could belong to a mad scientist. His desk is covered with unique ingredients he’s chosen for upcoming brew days, along with tools and replacement parts for pieces of the brewery. On the wall hangs his diploma from the well-respected, Siebel Institute of Technology, a Brewing University in Illinois.
Behind his office lies a wall of grains and other common brewing ingredients. Further down the hall is a chilled room, lined with serving tanks and kegs, with tap lines heading upstairs to the bar above.
Adam’s also got a storage room with a full line of hand-made tap handles, brew supplies, a beer fridge and a Leopold Bros. Rye Whiskey Barrel that is currently filled with Himalayan IPA.
Eventually, we left the basement and headed back up two flights of stairs to the upper dining room area. The upstairs is a series of rooms with extra seating for guests on busy nights. The old house continued to grow on me as I noticed each room had a very different feel to it. One room is a library, while another has an intimate theater set up inside.
After the tour, Adam led me back to the bar and walked me through his complete lineup of beers.
We began with the Victorian Sunrise Wheat. It’s a 4.5% ABV German Wheat beer that gets used quite a bit for Adam’s experiments. He’s had an ongoing project this summer called “Wheat Wednesday”, where he infused different ingredients into his base wheat beer. My wife had the Watermelon, which was the most recent offering. He’s also infused it with Hatch Chili’s, Cherries, Colorado Peaches and a variety of other fun ingredients.
Here’s the full beer menu from our visit:
Victorian Sunrise Wheat – Hefeweizen
Watermelon Wheat – part of Adam’s ongoing “Wheat Wednesday” series
Namaste Pilsner – Pilsner
AbominAle Mild – English Mild
Gluten Free Apple Ale – Fruit Beer
LoonyToon Tripel – Belgian Tripel, brewed with yeast from Canada’s Unibroue Brewery
Jalapeno Lena – Chili Beer
Chai Milk Stout – spicy, complex Milk Stout
Fenugreek Belgian – fenugreek is an ingredient used in Indian food. Adam made a small batch of this Belgian-style ale as part of his rotating “Haunted Series”.
Himalayan IPA – India Pale Ale
West Coast Glutton DIPA – Big, west coast Double IPA
There was also a soda tap that he reserves for his Lemon Honey Ginger soda. It was really good too!
I was thoroughly impressed with Adam’s lineup of beers. He’s got a passion for the craft that really shines through his expansive lineup of styles. I really appreciate Adam’s playfulness and willingness to experiment with ingredients and recipes.
The solid beer lineup, combined with the tasty menu and one of a kind atmosphere make Yak & Yeti a must-visit for beer geeks. But, it’s also a place you’ll feel comfortable bringing the whole family for a nice night out and a filling meal. Stop by and say “Hi” to Adam and the rest of the friendly Yak & Yeti team. Oh, and keep your eye out for the spirit of Cora while you’re there.
The actual brewery is located in Arvada, but you can dine and enjoy their lineup of beers at either location: 7803 Ralston Rd, Arvada, CO 80002 and 8665 N Sheridan Blvd, Westminster, CO 80003.