Homebrewed Vision Quest
Zach Winfield • June 8, 2016 • Lifestyle •
Adam Kandle and Greg Foley are Growing From Their Roots of Boulder Fermentation Supply
According to some Native American tribes, a “vision quest” is a ritual that aims to transcend an individual from adolescence into adulthood. While there are variances from tribe to tribe, the experience typically involves a fast between two and four days, isolation in an unknown territory and the ingestion of sacred plant medicines. This rite of passage is expected to ignite the soul and bring about an understanding to one’s place in the world. 
Before the existence of Vision Quest Brewery, Adam Kandle and Greg Kalfa came together in October 2013 to establish Boulder Fermentation Supply. Both Kandle and Kalfa’s fixation for brewing, coupled with an absence of homebrew shops in their area, became the catalyst for opening a supply shop in Boulder. As with any new business endeavor, the pair was uncertain of the future of Boulder Fermentation Supply and whether or not its existence would endure. During the company’s initial phase, Kandle and Kalfa were working regular day jobs and putting every cent they earned back into the homebrew shop.
“We were not your typical startup in the ‘startup’ culture,” Kandle mentions. “We started with the most paltry small business sales floor that you can imagine. Literally. Like the greasy garage that some customers were turned off by.”
By emphasizing customer satisfaction over the elegance of a storefront, Boulder Fermentation Supply quickly rooted itself as Boulder’s only homebrew shop in one of the nation’s largest brewing hubs. Remaining diligent to their objective and passion, Kandle and Kalfa were able to sustain and eventually expand Boulder Fermentation Supply. The expansion brought about new and exciting undertakings. Most importantly, it birthed Vision Quest Brewery.
Kandle and Kalfa, along with Greg Foley, officially opened Vision Quest in June 2015 in an industrial area just off Foothills Parkway. Brought together by their passion for hand-crafted beer, each contributes an essential expertise facilitating success in a town where craft breweries rival the number of coffee shops.
As one can imagine, it did not take long for these homebrew wizards to produce an exceptionally delicious set of beers. The emergence of Vision Quest Brewery has given Kandle, Kalfa and Foley a centralized avenue to express their craft and, most importantly, share it with the public. The shop has an array of unique ingredients that they can incorporate and experiment into new batches of beer. This is where Vision Quest separates itself from other breweries in the area. They are able to push the envelope of brew-manship and wade the foamy waters of an unsipped craft beer recipe.
As Kandle told me, “We are going to be the first homebrew shop in the country to carry a new craft malt from Finland, called Viking Malt. Greg and I have tried to be a jack of all trades in the brewing scene. We get interested in all the little different ingredients.”
While sampling some of the beers currently on tap such as Sunbath Munich, Galaxy Belgian Blonde, Belgian Dubbel and American ESB, my palette responded with satisfaction by the complexity each beer offered. Sip after sip, subtle nuances would excite different regions of my taste buds. A fantastic beer on tap and my personal recommendation, the Belgian Dubbel. The malty and spicy notes combined with the faint taste of hops will leave you craving more!
Continuing to do things their way, Vision Quest Brewery is not your typical taproom, and it’s absolutely fantastic in this regard. The quirky aesthetics that seep from the room quickly become enchanting. There is a beautiful cottonwood live edge bar that begs you to pull up a chair, a baby grand piano rests in the corner of the room, glowing green hopshaped lights drape from the ceiling and alluring fantasy murals blanket the walls. The hominess and comfort the taproom invokes makes drinking a Vision Quest pint all the more enjoyable.
In addition to the brewery and homebrew shop, various classes are offered, including cheese making, winemaking, and of course, beer brewing. Brewing classes are offered on the weekends and range from beginner to advanced levels. Furthermore, the dual business offers a distinct quality in that it allows customers to peruse the homebrew shop while sipping on one of Vision Quest’s delectable beers.
“I wanted to be able to serve people beer and turn them on to homebrewing,” says Kandle. This rare attribute gives homebrew customers a chance to taste, and potentially replicate, a finished product from ingredients located within arm’s reach. Within these walls you can fumble through books related to all types of brewing, talk to people with a wealth of knowledge about brewing or just grab a pint and get lost in the in the distinct beer you are experiencing.
Through adversity, determination and perseverance, Kandle, Kalfa and Foley have inadvertently orchestrated a modern day account of a “vision quest”. Aware of the many risks involved with starting a business, they jumped into the unknown and allowed an enigmatic path to unravel as they remain loyal to their passion for getting people excited about craft beer. Homebrewing has ignited their souls, and a place which has never existed now fulfills their purpose in the world.
“A bit of advice given to a young Native American at the time of his initiation: As you go the way of life, you will see a great chasm. Jump. It is not as wide as you think.” – Joseph Campbell
1. Crystal Links. “Vision Quest”. http://www.crystalinks.com/visionquest.html