Craft Beer 101

Meet Some Friends, Share Some Flights to Find Your Perfect Taste

Article by Jennifer Starbuck

Photography by Roger Ballard Photography

Originally published in Parker City Lifestyle

Welcome Home Brewery owner Sharon Murphy says she has some advice for those traditionally non-beer drinkers who are interested in learning more about enjoying craft brews: Just have fun. 

“When we started drinking craft brews together,” says Sharon, referring to her husband, Aaron Murphy, “I learned early on there’s a lot of pretentious information out there. But there’s no science to finding what you like best.”

Last August, Sharon and Aaron opened Welcome Home Brewery, the culmination of Aaron’s serious hobby of homebrewing. On a whim about six years ago, Aaron entered a local competition for his Caramel Corn Cream Ale. He won, which earned him a spot at the Great American Beer Festival. He entered again the same year, with the same result.

Last fall, Sharon quit CenturyLink to dedicate herself full-time to opening and running Welcome Home Brewery. Aaron, who is still a full-time Arapahoe County Sheriff’s deputy, works as the head brewer.

Sharon suggests going to a craft brewery with friends and having everyone order flights with different selections so that everyone can have a taste.

“Everyone may taste different things. It’s fun—some of our best friends we’ve made are from tastings,” she says. “Always have an open mind, no matter how gross you think it is. Try it; you may like it.”  

Sharon says just start by reading the beer descriptions and pick one that sounds good to you.

“If you’re afraid of beers, start with the lighter blondes. The first craft beer I ever tried was Blue Moon,” she says.

In February, Sharon’s brainchild was a Chocolate Covered Strawberry Stout that Aaron turned into reality. Welcome Home also has started a seasonal “pie series” with a Lemon Meringue Pie and will follow that up with flavors such as Mixed Berry A La Mode and Cherry. In honor of May’s Derby Day celebration, Sharon dreamed up a Mint Julep Imperial Blonde, made with bourbon-soaked oak chips and mint leaves.

Sharon says Welcome Home has been a dream come true for them, a way to share with the world their love of craft brew and also their love of family and community. They say they are proud supporters of law enforcement and first responders and want their brewery to be a safe place for officers to come relax and be surrounded by family. 

“This is ours. This is incredible,” says Aaron, looking around at the large bar, decorated in a red, white and blue color theme with industrial lighting and tabletops made of old painted doors. 

“It’s more fun than sitting in a cubicle,” Sharon says with a smile.

1. Irish Red Ale

Pairs well with beef or pork and barbecue. Pictured: Fortis et Hospitalis Irish Red Ale, with toffee, caramel and subtle vanilla notes on the nose give way to ready, toasty and sweet flavors on the palate. 

2. Golden Ale

Pairs well with pizza or pasta with red sauce. Pictured: Parker Sunset Golden Ale, named for its appearance—the color of a Parker sunset—this beer is balanced, not too hoppy and finishes with a touch of honey-like sweetness.

3. Cream Ale

Pairs well with chicken, salads or fried foods. Great after mowing the lawn on a hot day. Pictured: Award-winning Caramel Corn Cream Ale, the signature brew of Welcome Home Brewery. A light, easy-drinking cream ale with just a touch of sweetness from the use of flaked corn and cars-malt. 

4. New England IPA

A smoother, often hazier and “juicier” version of an American IPA. Pictured: Trendchaser Juicy IPA, Welcome Home’s take on the fruity, juicy New England IPA. Amarillo and El Dorado hops give this beer a blend of tropical pineapple juiciness and bright citrus character.

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