Westword Beer Calendar

At 4 p.m., Black Project, at 1290 South Broadway, will release the latest variant in its Shadow Factory super-fruited sour-beer series made with with 100 percent wild-caught microbes. "We start with a special all-wheat base designed for high levels of fruiting," Black Project explains. "The beer is then fermented in a solera using a mix of coolship-caught microbes and house-foraged wild strains. After the beer finishes fermentation, we add pounds of boysenberry and blood orange into our stainless-steel tank to re-ferment." All of the Shadow Factory beers are made with more than three pounds of fruit per gallon of beer, which adds tartness as well as additional alcohol.

SHADOW FACTORY: Boysenberry | Blood Orange - Draft Release

Denver Carpediem

SHADOW FACTORY | Boysenberry & Blood Orange

We are releasing a new variant in our superfruited sour beer series with 100% wild caught microbes. We start with a special all-wheat base designed for high levels of fruiting. The beer is then fermented in a solera using a mix of unisolated coolship-caught microbes and house foraged wild strains. After the beer finishes fermentation, we add pounds of boysenberry and blood orange into our stainless steel tank to referment. Each variant uses more than 3 lbs of fruit per gallon of beer. 

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SHADOW FACTORY is Black Project Spontaneous & Wild Ales superfruited wheat sour. It is extremely fruit forward and derives most its tartness from the fruit itself. The base beer was custom designed for this «super» level of fruiting. It is low alcohol, since the fruit adds nearly 50% more when refermented, and comprised of 100% malted white wheat, to lend body and softness to the final beer while allowing the fruit flavor and tartness to shine through. SHADOW FACTORY features a wide and rotating variety of fruits, often singular, but occasionally in combination with one or more other fruit types.

Denver Rare Beer Tasting

DENVER, CO – More than 60 of America’s leading craft breweries have agreed to take part in the ninth annual Denver Rare Beer Tasting to raise funds for the Pints for Prostates campaign.

The prostate cancer awareness event will be held on Oct. 6 in Colorado during the same weekend as the Great American Beer Festival. The Denver Rare Beer Tasting IX features the chance to sample rare, exotic and vintage beers from 68 craft breweries and the opportunity to meet the men and women who made them.

“An amazing collection of American craft breweries are generously helping us to reach men through the universal language of beer by donating prized brews to pour at the Denver Rare Beer Tasting IX,” said Rick Lyke, founder of Pints for Prostates. “These brewers have joined the fight against prostate cancer for what has become an annual celebration of beer passion and brewing craftsmanship.”

Brewers who have committed to attend the event include:

· Against the Grain Brewery, Louisville, Kentucky*
· Alaskan Brewing, Juneau, Alaska
· The Alchemist, Waterbury, Vt.*
· AleSmith Brewing, San Diego, Calif.
· Avery Brewing, Boulder, Colo.
· Bells Brewing, Kalamazoo, Mich.
· Big Sky Brewing, Missoula, Mont.
· Black Project Spontaneous & Wild Ales, Denver, Colo.*
· The Brooklyn Brewery, Brooklyn, N.Y.
· The Bruery, Placentia, Calif.
· Cascade Brewing, Portland, Ore.
· Cerebral Brewing, Denver, Colo.*
· Coronado Brewing, Coronado, Calif.
· Crank Arm Brewery, Raleigh, N.C.*
· Crux Fermentation Project, Bend, Ore.
· Destihl Brewery, Normal, Ill.*
· Dry Dock Brewing, Aurora, Colo.*
· Firestone Walker Brewing, Paso Robles, Calif.
· Forager Brewing, Rochester, Minn.*
· Fremont Brewing, Seattle, Wash.
· Full Sail Brewing, Hood River, Ore.
· Fullsteam Brewery, Durham, N.C.
· Funky Buddha Brewing, Oakland Park, Fla.
· Grand Basin Brewery, Sparks, Nev.*
· Grand Teton Brewing, Victor, Idaho
· Great Divide Brewing Co., Denver, Colo.
· Grimm Brothers Brewing, Loveland, Colo.
· Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, Richmond, Va.
· Haw River Farmhouse Ales, Saxapahaw, N.C.
· Intrepid Sojourner Beer Project, Denver, Colo.*
· Jester King Craft Brewery, Austin, Texas
· Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales, Dexter, Mich.
· Joyride Brewing, Edgewater, Colo.*
· Kane Brewing, Ocean, N.J.*
· Lakewood Brewing, Garland, Texas*
· Libertine Brewing, San Luis Obispo, Calif.*
· The Lost Abbey, San Marcos, Calif.
· The Lost Borough, Rochester, N.Y*
· Matt Brewing, Utica, N.Y.
· Maui Brewing, Lahaina, Hawaii
· Mikkeller Brewing SD, San Diego, Calif.*
· New Belgium Brewing, Fort Collins, Colo.
· New Holland Brewing, Holland, Mich.
· NoDa Brewing, Charlotte, N.C.
· Ozark Beer Co., Rogers, Arkansas*
· Pappy Slokum Brewing, Abilene, Texas*
· Perennial Artisan Ales, St. Louis, Mo.
· Perry Street Brewing, Spokane, Wash.*
· Prison City Pub & Brewery, Auburn, N.Y.*
· Rhinegeist Brewery, Cincinnati, Ohio*
· River North Brewery, Denver, Colo.
· Rogue Ales, Newport, Ore.
· Rowley Farmhouse Ales, Santa Fe, N.M.*
· Samuel Adams Brewery, Boston, Mass.
· Scratch Brewing, Ava, Ill.*
· Side Project Cellar, Maplewood, Mo.*
· Sierra Nevada Brewing, Chico, Calif.
· Spangalang Brewing, Denver, Colo.
· Stone Brewing, Escondido, Calif.
· Sun King Brewing, Indianapolis, Ind.
· Thirsty Dog Brewing, Akron, Ohio
· Three Floyds Brewing, Munster, Ind.
· Uberbrew, Billings, Mont.*
· Uinta Brewing, Salt Lake City, Utah
· Unknown Brewing, Charlotte, N.C.*
· Verboten Brewing and Barrel Project, Loveland, Colo.
· WeldWerks Brewing, Greeley, Colo.
· Yazoo Brewing, Nashville, Tenn.

(* Indicates first appearance at Denver Rare Beer Tasting.)

Breweries bring some of their rarest brews to the annual tasting. The beer list for the Denver Rare Beer Tasting IX will be released prior to the event. Twenty-six breweries will be pouring beer at the event for the first time, while eight breweries have participated in all eight previous Denver Rare Beer Tastings. Breweries representing 28 states are on the list.

In addition to the beer and silent auction donations made by participating breweries, the Denver Rare Beer Tasting IX is being sponsored in part by Cargill Craft Malt and DRAFT Magazine, with logistical support from MicroStar. Additional sponsorship packages are available for companies that wish to take part in this boutique tasting.

Tickets for the event go on sale on June 18 at 10 a.m. (MT) via ETIX.com. VIP tickets are $165 and include early admission starting at Noon. General Admission tickets are $115 for the 1-4 p.m. tasting. Each attendee receives a commemorative tasting glass, t-shirt, program and pen. A special beer centric lunch created by Jensen Cummings of Brewed Food is included in the ticket price and guests will have the chance to bid in an exciting silent auction that includes a variety of unique beer experiences and collectibles. During the event, attendees can also participate in the Brewers Health Initiative, a free men’s health screening.

The first eight Denver Rare Beer Tastings sold out several weeks in advance. The event will be held this year on two floors of the McNichols Civic Center Building at 144 W. Colfax Ave.

All Denver Rare Beer Tasting ticket holders will be entered into a drawing for a five night Carolinas on My Mind Beer Adventure for two to Charlotte and Asheville, N.C., and Greenville, S.C. VIP ticket holders will receive three raffle tickets and general admission ticket holders will receive one ticket. Anyone wearing a Pints for Prostates t-shirt or hat to the event will receive another free entry for the drawing. Additional tickets will be available for a donation. The winner will be drawn during the event from tickets collected exclusively at the Denver Rare Beer Tasting. The winner and a guest will travel to North and South Carolina in October 2018 on a trip that includes roundtrip airfare from the continental U.S., 5 nights hotel, ground transportation, brewery tours, pub crawls, beer lunches and beer dinners.

“The Denver Rare Beer Tasting is a celebration of beer passion with a serious mission: raising awareness about prostate cancer. Beer fans get to taste a collection of beers that few people have the opportunity to enjoy, while rubbing elbows with some of the world’s most talented brewers,” said Lyke. “It is a fun afternoon and a great atmosphere. And 100 percent of the proceeds go to help men’s health.”

Pints for Prostates is a 501(c)3 non-profit charity and all net proceeds from Denver Rare Beer Tasting go towards the group’s awareness mission and help to fund the education and support programs of the Us TOO International Prostate Cancer Education and Support Network, and free prostates cancer screening programs provided by the Prostate Conditions Education Council.

About Pints for Prostates

Pints for Prostates reaches men through the universal language of beer to encourage them to take charge of their health. The group was founded by prostate cancer survivor and beer writer Rick Lyke in 2008. The grassroots effort raises awareness among men about the importance of regular men’s health screenings by making appearances at beer festivals, social networking and pro bono advertising. According to the National Cancer Institute, approximately 161,000 new prostate cancer cases will be diagnosed in 2017 in the U.S. More information is available at www.pintsforprostates.org. Pints for Prostates also has a presence on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@pints4prostates).

Hop Take: Dogfish Head & Others Want Off RateBeer and Other Beer News

Anheuser-Busch InBev, the largest brewer in the world, is building itself a media empire. RateBeer, one of the largest user-generated beer rating websites, announced that it was purchased in part by ZX Ventures, AB InBev’s investment company. The partial sale actually happened nine months ago, but it wasn’t made clear to the public until June 1. Many beer writers were outraged, as expected, but so were craft beer brewers. So outraged were some brewers that they asked straight-up to be taken off RateBeer.

It started with Sam Calagione, the founder of Dogfish Head. On the brewery website, Calagione wrote that he was troubled by the news of the RateBeer buyout. He called it a “blatant conflict of interest” and a “direct violation of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) Code of Ethics.” He even went so far as to cite the “Act Independently” section, which includes refusing gifts and favors, not paying for access to news, denying favor to advertisers and owners, and, most importantly in this case, making sure to “prominently label sponsored content.”

AB InBev’s part-ownership of RateBeer (as well as its ownership of publications like October and The Beer Necessities), is therefore unethical, says Calagione, and thus, Dogfish Head wants no part of it. As of Wednesday, Black Project Ale, Harpoon, and Cantillon also asked to be removed from RateBeer.

There are a couple of problems with this, though. Calagione isn’t exactly an angel of ethics. As he notes in the same blog post, he was the executive editor of a craft beer print magazine called Pallet. He maintains that neither he nor Dogfish Head held a stake in the company. But that’s like if the executive editor of a small town newspaper also just happened to be the mayor. The mayor might not profit directly from his position, but he sure does profit by ensuring positive coverage that brings people to his town and makes people think his town is a great place to live. I’m in no way suggesting that Calagione was acting unethically, but context is necessary if someone is going to level charges against a company.

His qualms with RateBeer, however, are in a different vein entirely. The website uses community- generated reviews, and journalism ethics don’t apply to user-generated reviews, because users aren’t journalists. Yelp reviews, for comparison’s sake, aren’t guided by the SPJ ethics. But the comparison is useful in figuring out exactly what the ethical problem is. It’s not a journalistic one — but it’s not great business ethics, either. If Yelp was owned by McDonalds, and every search pointed a person first and foremost to the nearest McDonalds, then that would be shady business.

AB InBev is the McDonalds of beer, and the company’s track record of abusing power and using its seemingly limitless budget to silence competition is concerning. So while it’s hard to get behind every part of Calagione’s blog post on why he wants to be taken off RateBeer, the general premise makes sense. It’s hard to trust a ratings website that’s owned by the same company that comes off as the Darth Sidious of the beer Empire.

RateBeer, for its part, said it’s not taking down any reviews.

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From Dregs to Richness: Rob Rutledge on Spontaneous Fermentation and the Rise of Sour Beer

Spontaneous brewing has been around for centuries, but it has realized a recent resurgence. Utah-based competitive brewers Pat Winslow and Rob Rutledge have arisen with their own takes on this classic style. Spontaneous brewing involves the cultivation of wild microbes—a microbe that makes the brew acidic is required to achieve the tart pucker of a sour beer. You might have sampled these multifaceted and delicious draughts when savoring Red Rock’s PaardebloemSquatters’ 529 or Epic’s Tart ’n Juicy Sour IPA. Winslow and Rutledge discuss brewing, sour beers and where the culture is headed.

SLUG: How and why did you start home-brewing? Did you have any past experience with microbiology before you began?

Rob Rutledge: I wasn’t really good about taking notes when I first started home brewing, so I’m not sure exactly when it was, but it was sometime in 2001 or 2002. A few years before that, my wife bought my father-in-law a home brew kit for Father’s Day. That was the first time I’d ever really heard of people home-brewing, and it was also the first time I stepped into a home brew shop. I’ve always been a DIY kind of guy, whether it’s fixing our cars, doing home improvement projects, whatever, so the idea of brewing my own beer seemed like it could be a lot of fun. My father-in-law never ended up using his kit (I think he liked the idea of drinking beer a lot more than the idea of brewing beer), but that kind of sparked my initial interest in home brewing.

I have to admit, when I first started brewing, my experience with beer was more or less limited to Mexican lagers and an occasional wheat beer. I wish I could say I started home-brewing because I couldn’t get Black Tuesday, Pliny the Elder or Arrogant Bastard here in Utah, but when I first started brewing, I didn’t really know what I was missing.

I think what really did it for me was when my friend Cody and I attended Beer School at Desert Edge Brewing. I’m not sure if they still do it the same way, but Beer School is part education and part four-course dinner. Back then, Chris Haas was the brewmaster, and he would take you down to the brewhouse and explain the brewing process, how all the different equipment was used, and show you some of the ingredients. Next was the dinner, paired with several of their beers. That experience really opened my eyes to the aromas, flavors and overall character associated with different beer styles. After that, I told my wife I wanted to give homebrewing a try, and she was cautiously supportive. I say “cautiously supportive” because she knows firsthand how I have a tendency to dive in headfirst with hobbies. A few weeks later, she surprised me with a starter kit from The Beer Nut, and a couple days later, Cody and I brewed our first home brew, a Mexican Cerveza kit. Like many first-time batches of home brew, the beer wasn’t great, but we made it ourselves, so we enjoyed it.

As a lot of home brewers do when they’re first starting out, I was extract brewing using dry and liquid malt extract. Not long after that, I started steeping specialty grains along with the extract. Next was partial mash batches. I was really enjoying the hobby, so I started making plans to jump to all-grain brewing. I think it was about a year or so after switching to all-grain that I designed and built my mostly-automated HERMS system using a BCS-460 process controller. This was before the “discovery” of the Brew In A Bag (BIAB) method, so I designed a four vessel system consisting of a Hot Liquor Tun, Mash/Lauter Tun, standalone Heat Exchanger and Boil Kettle. My system works great, but if I were to do it all over again, I’d probably go the BIAB route, as there’s a lot less equipment involved.

Regarding a microbiology background, I ended up getting my degree in Business Information Systems, but at different points in time, I had planned on careers in either Sports Medicine/Physical Therapy or Pharmacy. So I would not say I have a background in microbiology, but I took a fair amount of science courses in college, including chemistry, biology, zoology and human anatomy and physiology. A good science background can definitely help understanding some of the finer points of brewing beer, but the lack of it is no reason not to give home-brewing a try.

SLUG: Tell us a little bit about your collaboration with Uinta for the Great American Beer Festival and how these experiences fit into your all-around brewing practices?

Rutledge: I am doing a Pro-Am collaboration with Uinta based on some Flanders red ales I’ve brewed. That came about because I won a gold medal for my Flanders Red in The Beer Nut’s Annual Beehive Brew-off competition. Basically, if you are a member of the American Homebrewers Association (AHA) and you medal with an entry in an AHA/BJCP-sanctioned competition, there’s a chance you could be selected to team up with a brewery and participate in the Pro-Am competition at GABF. So long story short, the home brewer and brewery team up to brew the home brewer’s recipe on the brewery’s commercial system. The beer then has to be commercially available, and it gets served in the Pro-Am booth at GABF

Uinta had plans to expand their barrel-aged beer program and were looking for someone to team up with right around the time I won my second gold medal in a row for my Flanders Red. Isaac Winter at Uinta reached out to me about doing the Pro-Am, and I was shocked to say the least. I met with Isaac, and we sampled a couple of my home-brewed versions. I came back a couple weeks later for our brew session, and we brewed a 60-barrel batch on their commercial system.

We did do a couple things differently on the commercial batch compared to my home-brewed versions. First, I tend to use aged hops in most of my sour beers. For those who aren’t familiar with the brewing process, hops are typically added at three points during the boil for bittering, flavor and aroma. The bittering hop addition is usually added at the beginning of the boil. Alpha acids in the hops are isomerized in the boiling wort, resulting in bitterness that balances with the sweetness from the malt. The second addition is usually added with 20 to 30 minutes left in the boil. The major contribution from the second addition is hop flavor, but it can contribute additional bitterness, as some of the alpha acids will isomerize. The last addition is usually added with five or fewer minutes left in the boil. The third addition is where a lot of the hop aroma comes from, and depending on how fast you’re able to chill your wort post-boil, it may not contribute much, if any, bitterness. Besides contributing bitterness, flavor and aroma, hops have natural antiseptic abilities that help keep flavor-spoiling bacteria at bay. This is great when you’re brewing clean beers, but when you’re making sour beers, you don’t want to inhibit souring bacteria. For example, Lactobacillus tends to have a very low hop tolerance, so it has a hard time souring when the beer has much more than about sixish IBUs. Even if you eliminate earlier hop additions and only add late hops for aroma, the Lactobacillus bacteria will tend to struggle because the hop oils coat their cell walls, preventing them from metabolizing the sugars in the wort into lactic acid. Generally speaking, lactic acid is what we’re after with sour beers. Alpha acids tend to degrade over time, so aged hops don’t have the same antiseptic properties and therefore, they work well for sour beer production. Using very low hopping rates accomplishes the same goal, which is what we did with our collaboration beer.

The other main difference is that a lot of the time, I will pitch my souring cultures into the wort on day one. I’ve found that this, along with a low hopping rate (or using aged hops), almost guarantees a low-pH sour beer that I love. That said, we didn’t want to go quite as sour with this beer because not everyone enjoys a super sour beer. Another reason for doing a clean primary is that Brett cultures have the ability to convert certain byproducts from a clean primary fermentation into the classic “barnyard funk” associated with world-class sour beers. These include characters such as hay, leather, tobacco, horse blanket, goat sweat, etc. Some of those elements may not sound very appealing, but they really do work in a sour beer. So pitching a blended souring culture on day one tends to result in a more sour beer with slightly less funk whereas pitching a clean yeast culture in primary followed by a blended souring culture in secondary tends to result in more funk and a less sour beer.

After the clean primary fermentation, we transferred the beer to port barrels that had been previously used for Uinta’s Port O’ Call Belgian-style dark ale. The beer was inoculated in the barrels using Roeselare, which is a blend of a Belgian Ale yeast strain, a sherry yeast strain, two Brettanomyces yeast strains, Lactobacillus and Pediococcus. We also added the dregs from one of my homebrewed Flanders Reds to one of the barrels, so if everything works as desired, there will be some of the same cultures from my home brew in the release from Uinta. We’re planning on blending the barrels the second week of May, so it should be released in the not too distant future.

My Flanders Red entries have taken gold for European Sours at each of the past three Beehive Brew-offs, so I’m hoping we can repeat that at the GABF Pro-Am this year.

SLUG: What is spontaneous yeast brewing? How does it specifically create a low-pH beer?

Rutledge: Usually, we’re talking about two primary styles in relation to spontaneous fermentation. Wild Ales typically include beer fermented with Brett or a blend of Brett and Sach, whereas Sour Ales are fermented with lactic acid bacteria (LAB), Sach and/or Brett.

I think that when a lot of people think of spontaneous fermentation, they’re thinking along the lines of the Belgian breweries of old, where they’d brew their wort and transfer it to coolships (large shallow vessels) to cool overnight. To help cool the wort as quickly as possible, they’d open the shutters, which would carry in whatever wild yeast and microbes that happened to be blowing on the evening breeze. So usually, spontaneous fermentation involves making use of local yeast and microbial cultures. Grain is also covered with a mix of cultures, which can be used for spontaneous fermentation.

When it works, the results can be great, but when it doesn’t work, it can be disastrous. The problem with this approach is that the brewer doesn’t have much control over what is blowing in through their windows on the night air, so there’s always the risk of dumping a batch of the wrong kinds of bacteria and/or yeast in to the wort. There are things you can do to mitigate the risks, such as collecting cultures by swabbing plants and fruit in your yard or setting out small containers of growth medium in your yard. Then you can grow up those cultures and use them to ferment small starter batches in hopes of finding some that produce desirable results. When one is found, you simply grow it up into a pitchable-sized starter and use it to ferment your entire batch. The benefit with this type of approach is if things don’t work out, you only risk losing a small starter batch rather than an entire batch of beer. Because of these risks, most commercial wild and sour ale breweries don’t rely entirely on what’s blowing in the wind. They’ll usually do some experimentation until they find a culture or blend of cultures that work, and then they’ll propagate those cultures into pitching sized starters. That said, there are a few craft breweries that have been experimenting with true spontaneous fermentation (without lab propagated cultures). Some that I know of include Jester KingBlack Project Spontaneous and Wild AlesCrooked StaveAllagash Brewing Company and Russian River Brewing Company. However, even these breweries usually only employ true spontaneous fermentation on a small portion of their portfolios.

The primary component that contributes to sourness in sour beers is lactic acid. In brewing, the main source of lactic acid is from Lactobacillus and Pediococcus. Brett can produce small amounts of acid, but generally speaking, if you want a sour beer, you have to include a LAB strain. Lactobacillus tends to produce lactic acid early on, while Pediococcus is more of a marathon runner. So Lactobacillus is essentially the hare, and Pediococcus is the tortoise. Like yeast, LAB consume sugar in the wort, and lactic acid is one of the byproducts that they produce.

The other acid found in some sours is acetic acid. Acetic acid is essentially vinegar and can be harsh in comparison to lactic acid which tends to be more lemon-like. Acetic acid can add complexity to sour beers, but if the levels get too high it can give the beer a character reminiscent of salad dressing. Brett can produce acetic acid when exposed to excessive amounts of oxygen. Usually, we try to avoid too much oxygen with beer anyway because once you get past the early stages of fermentation, it can result in oxidized beer—not something you really want in a clean beer or a wild/sour beer. Lactobacillus tends to fall into two main groups: homofermentative and heterofermentative. Homofermentative strains primarily produce lactic acid during fermentation whereas heterofermentative strains primarily produce lactic acid and ethanol. Strain selection can be important when employing certain souring techniques. For example, you usually wouldn’t want to use a heterofermentative strain for pre-boil/kettle souring because you’ll be boiling off the ethanol during the boil. Certain strains of Lactobacillus are capable of both aerobic and anaerobic fermentation and can produce acetic acid during aerobic fermentation. I haven’t read anything indicating Pediococcus produces acetic acid, but it definitely produces diacetyl along with lactic acid. Diacetyl is often described as having a butterscotch or buttery flavor and aroma and is in fact used to flavor microwave butter popcorn. Fortunately, Brett can convert diacetyl into much more desirable compounds, so Brett must be used in conjunction with Pediococcus.

SLUG: What do you think is the appeal of this kind of flavor in a beer?

Rutledge: That’s a really good question. I think there is a generation of beer drinkers now that grew up with sour candies like Atomic Warheads, Sweet Tarts, etc. If you liked those kinds of candies as a kid, you’ll probably enjoy sour beers as an adult. In my opinion, sour beers tend to be some of the most complex beers out there. I love a good IPA, bourbon barrel-aged stout, smoked porter, but if there’s a sour beer on the menu, I will always start there. It’s kind of hard to describe, but the combination of tart cherry character, stone fruit, chocolate, hints of smoke, leather and so on are just so amazing. These flavor profiles can be quite shocking to someone who has never tried a sour beer before. My rule to the uninitiated is that you have to try three sips of any sour beer before you decide whether or not you like it. They’re usually shocked on the first sip. On the second sip, their palate is starting to adjust to the acidity. By the third sip, they should be able to decide whether or not they’re a sour beer head. Whenever someone tells me they don’t like beer, I almost always steer them towards a Lindemans Framboise. I actually prefer less sweet and more traditional lambics, but Lindeman’s fruit lambics are my go-to gateway beers for people who think they don’t like beer.

SLUG: Can you give some insight into the difference between fermenting with Lactobacillus vs. Brettanomyces? Do you use any other organisms for your souring process?

Rutledge: I think I covered this a bit [earlier]. I’ve never tried fermenting with only Lactobacillus. I’ve read about people that have, and they indicated that the finished beer was a little boring and not nearly as complex compared to mixed fermentations. Lactobacillusalone usually can’t ferment to completion, meaning it tends to go dormant before reaching the desired final gravity. I have done several 100-percent Brett fermentations, and I really like the results. Brett doesn’t really result in a low-pH beer as it doesn’t produce a significant amount of acid (unless it’s exposed to excessive amounts of oxygen), so it really can’t produce a sour beer on its own. However, 100-percent Brett fermentations can result in tropical fruit flavors and aromas, so they tend to work really well in hop-focused beers like IPAs when paired with hops that exhibit tropical fruit and citrus notes. 100-percent Brett fermentations are usually pretty clean and don’t have the typical barnyard character that you get from mixed Sach/Brett fermentations.

SLUG: What about your specific brewing process makes you unique?

Rutledge: I don’t know that I do much that’s completely unique. It’s kind of a matter of standing on the shoulders of giants. The folks that brew sour beer are a great group and are very willing to share info in regards to tips, tricks and process specifics. For example, Vinnie Cilurzo of Russian River has freely shared tons of process information in regards to sour beer production. Chad Yakobson ofCrooked Stave has made his Brett research available to all via the Brettanomyces Project (brettanomycesproject.com). Jay Goodwinof The Rare Barrel hosts a podcast for The Brewing Network called The Sour Hour that focuses exclusively on sour and wild ale production, including a lot of process detail. I’ve even had Jason Yester of Trinity Brewing reach out to me directly to help me with a sour IPA recipe. Generally speaking, you either sour your beer pre-boil or post-boil. Pre-boil techniques include sour mashing or kettle souring. Post-boil souring is the more traditional method that involves adding souring cultures in the fermenter.

I generally employ three different methods for sours. For my Berliner Weisse, I sour post-boil by pitching Lactobacillus about five days before pitching Sach and Brett. This results in a somewhat aggressively sour beer with just a hint of Brett funk. The benefit of this method is that it’s a fairly quick turnaround, so you can be drinking this beer within 6 to 8 weeks, and I think it’s slightly more complex than kettle souring.

For sour beers with lots of hop character, like sour IPAs, I use a kettle souring method. This ensures the Lactobacillus are able to sour without being inhibited by the hops that will make their way into the finished beer. I perform a normal mash and transfer the wort to the boil kettle and raise the temp to 170 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes in order to pasteurize. Then I sour using Lactobacillus until the pH gets down to around 3.4. I then proceed with the boil, adding as many hops as I want without having to worry about their effect on the souring bacteria. After the boil, the pre-soured wort is chilled and fermented using yeast. I’ve also started using this method for brewing other styles, like Gose. The benefit of this method is that it provides for a quick turnaround, and other than blending, it’s the only way to sour highly hopped beers. The drawback is that it’s not as complex as long-term souring.

For my Flanders Reds, Oud Bruins and most other sour beer styles, I tend to sour post-boil with blended cultures. About 50 percent of the time, I’ll pitch the blended cultures on day one, and the other 50 percent of the time, I’ll do a clean primary fermentation followed by a blended culture pitch in secondary. These beers usually involve fairly high mash temperatures, which results in fewer simple sugars and more complex sugars, which means a long-term food supply for the Brett and bugs. The drawback to this process is that it may take a year or more for the beer to mature and sour, so it’s not a quick turnaround. The benefit is that the long process tends to yield a very complex, finished beer.

SLUG: Are you a part of a home-brewing community in Utah/Salt Lake City? If so, how could someone new to home brewing become involved?

Winslow: I’m a member of Zion Zymurgist Homebrew OPerative Society (ZZHOPS). The best way to get in contact with the group is via the contact info on our website, zzhops.org, or through our Facebook page.

We typically meet once per month and hold a club competition focusing on a particular beer style. So we’ll socialize for a bit and sample each other’s project beers, then judge that month’s competition entries, then socialize some more. It’s a great group of brewers, and everyone is welcome regardless of brewing experience.

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As Anheuser-Busch / RateBeer Fray Intensifies, Local Breweries Wade In

After years of snapping up select craft breweries across the country, the world's largest beer company has executed its first web purchase. And not surprisingly, the craft community is up in arms.

Good Beer Hunting broke the story last week (at the hands of local writer Dave Eisenberg) that Anheuser-Busch InBev has acquired a minority stake in popular beer rating site RateBeer, a deal that's actually been cemented since October but was kept under wraps so each side could quietly put “points on the board” and prove the partnership's merits without making it public.

“What was attractive about [AB InBev subsidiary] ZX [Ventures] for us was you had people in beer, people enthusiastic about beer,” RateBeer Executive Director Joe Tucker said. “There was a tech savvy part to ZX that I really liked. There’s stability. And I think that made the choice.”

Immediately, the deal caused concern. At the heart of the matter: Is RateBeer, a user-generated rating site, a journalistic entity? And if it is, how can it retain its editorial integrity now that a massive beer corporation is part of ownership?

Dogfish Head Brewery's Sam Calagione was the first brewery owner to come out in strong opposition.

"We were troubled by the announcement last week that ZX Ventures, which is fully owned by the global conglomerate Anheuser-Busch InBev, has purchased a portion of RateBeer," he wrote. "We believe this is a direct violation of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) Code of Ethics and a blatant conflict of interest."

Calagione did more than talk the talk, too -- he formally requested Anheuser-Busch InBev and RateBeer "remove all Dogfish Head beer reviews and mentions on the RateBeer website immediately."

That move was met with some criticism of its own, with some cheering Calagione for taking a stand while others saw it as more self-serving. Regardless, it drew a deep line in the sand. And other craft breweries have started picking sides.

One such brewery is Harpoon; CEO Dan Kenary responded to Calagione's tweet with one of his own.

We @harpoonbrewery agree. have sent email to Ratebeer asking to remove Harpoon and UFO ratings from the site. Cheers to true independence

— dan_kenary (@dan_kenary) June 6, 2017

"We believe in authenticity and respect for consumers. That's why we chose employee ownership to make very clear who owns Harpoon and UFO and what motivates us as truly independent craft brewers," Kenary told me of the tweet. "We have seen ABI make the argument that 'who brews your beer doesn't matter,' and we clearly believe otherwise. We are now seeing that attempt at obfuscation escalate to a clandestine attempt to control a formerly independent beer rating organization."

Local hard cider company Downeast Cider confirmed to me that they're following suit. Denver's Black Project Spontaneous & Wild Ales has requested its products be entirely scrubbed from RateBeer as well. Others are almost certain to do the same.

Rating sites like RateBeer and BeerAdvocate play a critical role in consumer decision. Oftentimes, they're the first point of education for someone choosing a beer at a bar or a bottle shop. Never heard of that juicy IPA enticing you from the tap handle? Google it, read a couple RateBeer reviews, and you'll be better equipped to make a decision. So while there's politics and money involved on both sides here, it's not insignificant for a brewery to asked to be removed from one of the most prolific rating sites based on principle.

"We think consumers deserve to know who owns their beer, and who owns the outlets that promote that beer," Kenary continued. "The conflict of interest inherent in ABI owning a site purported to reflect consumer beliefs is glaring enough, but the failure to disclose the relationship for such a long period of time is worse – and, like many of our industry friends, we just don’t feel comfortable being a part of it."

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Beer Calendar: New Kids, New Cans and A Night to Remember

Black Project Wild & Spontaneous Ales will tap Gambit, a beer that was named to support the Brewtography Project's successful Kickstarter last year, at 2 p.m. "We loved the beer so much that we decided to re-brew it and re-launch it," Black Project says. "The base is almost Flanders-red style, but without acetic acid, and with a moderate amount of ruby red grapefruit zest added. The result is incredible. The flavors are complex, the acidity of the beer balances well with the grapefruit flavors, and the aroma is positively candy-like, with the base of this beer giving it a bit more complexity due to the darker malts and higher gravity."

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Colorado craft brewers want off of beer website RateBeer after AB InBev invests

Craft breweries in Colorado want big beer to stay out of their business.

Owners of Joyride Brewing and Black Project are asking that their products be removed from RateBeer.com, a popular online forum where users talk craft beer, consumers rate the products and people discover new beer to try.

Both breweries liked their names on RateBeer until last week, when Good Beer Hunting – an online news site dedicated to craft beer – broke the news that Anheuser-Busch InBev now owns a piece of the site. ZX Ventures, which AB InBev runs, made the purchase last October, but the deal went unpublicized.

Local breweries like Joyride and Black Project, and others across the country, essentially think of this deal like McDonald’s buying Yelp; ratings could be skewed when a big-time company, and competitor, owns the page.

“I thought it was troubling that they would try to control a point of information that people think would be independent, and think would be non-biased,” Dave Bergen, the owner and brewmaster at Joyride, said. “I don’t think any brewery should own a stake in a site that is supposed to be user-driven.”

Joyride is a small brewery by Sloan's Lake, in Edgewater. Bergen decided to join the movement, seemingly started by Dogfish Head Brewing in Delaware, which asks RateBeer to pull down all reviews and mentions of their beers. Bergen says the site is under no legal obligation to do so, but he hopes the site respects the request.

Statement: Black Project 'withdraws permission' for Ratebeer to use its products

“Obviously, the infamous Super Bowl ad where they mocked craft brewers, saying we're all moustache-curling hipsters who only drink pumpkin-peach beers -- I think that they’ve made their intentions known as far as what they really feel about the craft beer consumer,” Bergen says.

He says he would not be bothered by AB InBev ads on the RateBeer. His concern is transparency. He wants to know if page administrators would manipulate ratings, or if RateBeer.com posts an article listing the Top 20 Craft Beers in Colorado, for example, Bergen questions if AB InBev would give preferential treatment to their breweries.

“We definitely don’t expect them to have Budweiser or Bud Light on a top 20 list, but brands such as Goose Island, Elysian, Breckenridge, Wicked Weed – these are all great breweries that make terrific beer, and nobody’s doubting the quality of the beer that they make. It’s just the ownership of it and the practices Anheuser Busch has engaged in the past several years,” Bergen said.

RateBeer says "all ratings and reviews will remain completely independent." They haven’t directly addressed the request to remove beers from the site, but say it's "unprecedented" for companies to ask for user reviews to be taken down.

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Good Acid – Goed Zuur Infiltrates Five Points with Wild and Sour Beers

Five Points’ newest beer bar isn’t something you would expect in the neighborhood— or maybe even in Denver at all. It is the first of its kind — a bold move in one of the few places it has the potential to work. Goed Zuur which means “good acid” is the first taproom anywhere — not just in the state of Colorado— to focus on sour and wild beers only, and we bet this city will fully embrace it.

It would, however, be a disservice to talk about only the beer when it comes to Goed Zuur. The beer might be the headline but the food allows the beer to shine brightly. The charcuterie, the freshly baked bread and — most important of all — the cheese take this unique beer concept to the next level.

To understand how all of this comes together in a beautiful union, it’s important to understand what it means to be a wild or sour beer. When asked how he describes it to a casual, walk-in customer, bar manager Trip Heaverly broke it down like this:

“I give everyone a three-sentence microbiology lesson — what makes the beer sour? On its simplest level, it’s the same bacteria that makes yogurt tart added to the beer.”

Most people are likely to buy in at that point, but not everyone. The beer staff – no matter who you speak with — will be able to dive into this beer style with you. Do you want to know the difference between wild (collecting yeast from the air) or kettle sour (harvested bacteria) and how it affects the taste? They walk you through the details and do it with passion.

“There is a beer at Goed Zuur for the Miller Hi-Life drinker,” Heaverly said.” And the spectrum then ranges to the most obsessed sour beer connoisseur – just ask.”

Hiring a knowledgeable staff was non-negotiable for this often-misunderstood beer style. The beer menu will also have a local flare showcasing favorites such as Casey Brewing and Blending, to Black Project Spontaneous & Wild Ales.

Sour lover or sour novice, the full experience comes into view once you sit down at the bar or chef’s table. Sour beers — which can range from light and tart to super pucker-worthy — are not really meant to be enjoyed by themselves over an extended period of time. It’s not something your stomach would likely enjoy long-term, and the same can be said for the food — it’s too rich and complex to be enjoyed in bulk. But together this rich food and sour beer make the ideal pairing.

“There is harmony in the pairing of the two,” said general manager Cody Boll.

C0-owner and executive chef Anthony Lopiccolo added, “There are a lot of great charcuteries places in Denver, but we want to be known for the cheese.”

The cheese, some of which is cave-aged (try it), melts in your mouth with its rich and lush texture. The best way to indulge in such flavors is to pair it with a nice tart beer which cuts right through the fat. Lopiccolo said that the chef’s table is the best place to sit for learning about these things because it’s, “A place of education, learning and is meant to make these otherwise out of reach cheeses, meats and beers accessible to everyone.”

Elegant beer and cheese bring us back to the question of why the group picked a more casual location like Five Points as their home. But there was no other place in Lopiccolo’s eyes. To him, this concept couldn’t happen in anywhere else. 

“I want to be a part of rebuilding Five Points the right way,” he explained.

Originally from Detroit, he’s seen how that city rebuilt and wants the same thing to happen in this historic neighborhood with a checkered past. It’s the reason so much time, money and effort were put into preserving the old building they opened in. Even before the historical society got involved, there was no way they weren’t going to keep the Coke mural on the side of their building. It belongs to the building, and the building belongs to the neighborhood.

Goed Zuur is about the experience, and it’s just the next step in the renewal of Five Points. The food and beer pair perfectly — both are on the higher end, but they are not out of reach. Instead, it’s the first step towards extending this food and beer culture to a new set of people who are migrating to the neighborhood. Cave-aged cheese and butter — bottled sour beers from their birthplace in Belgium are not something you expect to be accessible, but that is exactly the point. Go for the beer, stay for the food. Or go for the food, stay for the beer. Either way, just go, enjoy the vibe and let the atmosphere and experience of Goed Zuur take over all of your senses.

Goed Zuur is located at 2801 Welton St., Denver. It is open Monday through Wednesday 3 p.m. to 12 a.m., Thursday 3 p.m. to 1 a.m., Friday and Saturday 1 p.m. to 1 a.m. and Sunday 1 p.m. to 12 a.m.

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Black Project: RateBeer is not Independent

We feel that a journalistic organization that is partially owned by the largest commercial entity in the industry it covers is not independent, nor trustworthy as a journalistic organization.

That is why, this morning, Black Project sent the following email to RateBeer:

“Please remove “Black Project Spontaneous and Wild Ales” and “Former Future Brewing Company” as well as any mentions, logos, or labels of these breweries from your review database.

We feel that the Ratebeer.com partnership with ABInBev dba ZX constitutes a serious conflict of interest and prevents this site from acting as an independent journalistic organization.

We are withdrawing any and all permission for our names or trademarks to be used by Ratebeer.com or any of it’s affiliates.

Thank you for your help and compliance with this matter. If you wish to verify the sender, as I suspect you will, of this message before acting, please contact topsecret@blackprojectbeer.com. We are expecting a full removal from the site within 7 days unless we hear otherwise from you. Thanks again.

James Howat
Managing Member / CBO
Former Future Brewing Company, LLC dba Black Project Spontaneous and Wild Ales

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Craft Breweries Want Their Beers Off RateBeer After AB-InBev Acquires Minority Stake

EDIT: Since this piece went live, additional breweries have requested their beer removed from RateBeer, including Harpoon, Black Project Ale, Prison City and one of the holy grails of Belgium, Cantillon.

Most interesting was RateBeer’s response to Denver, CO’s Black Project, which the brewery posted on their own website. In short, the answer was “Nope, we’re ignoring this request.” So there you have it. Their brewery’s scores, and the data of users, will remain on the site regardless of how many breweries no longer want to be associated with the company after its partial acquisition by AB-InBev. RateBeer’s response to Black Project is excerpted below.


The beauty and value of RateBeer comes in our users’ ability to add publicly available content to our database. If there is a particular piece of content that you are concerned with, please refer to the processes defined in the Digital Copyright Millennium Copyright Act section of our Terms of Service here:

https://www.ratebeer.com/useragreement.asp

Thank you,
Joseph Tucker
Executive Director


Original News Post

In the last few months, covering the craft beer industry has begun to feel a bit like covering the Trump presidency, in the sense that major, shocking news seems to break each and every day. Every time it feels like some kind of “return to normalcy” is on the horizon, there’s been another blockbuster Big Beer deal, usually with the name AB-InBev involved.

On Friday, another one of those huge stories arrive, as Good Beer Hunting broke a significant acquisition —AB-InBev, via its “global disruptive growth group” ZX Ventures, had acquired an unknown “minority stake” of one of the web’s two largest and most popular beer-rating sites, RateBeer (the other being Beer Advocate). ZX Ventures is the same group that AB-InBev used to buy out popular homebrewing supplier Northern Brewer last year, and it’s also the backer for faux-craft blog October.

The most surprising part of the announcement, though, wasn’t necessarily the acquisition, but when the acquisition happened—October of 2016, almost 8 months ago. The deal had been effectively hidden from beer fans, beer media and the brewing industry for all of that time, while AB-InBev was free to get acquainted with their new acquisitions, which many beer drinkers regard as one of the most objective sources of online beer ratings. Suffice to say, the conflict of interest in this site being owned by AB-InBev, makers of Budweiser and purchasers of former craft breweries, is patently obvious.

The reason given for the partial acquisition not being disclosed back in October? Apparently that the two companies wanted to get “points on the board” to prove the value of their partnership without “the disruption of making it public,” according to GBH. This strikes us as the Top Super Duper Maxi Ultra Secret method of AB-InBev saying “Because we figured it would be easier to get what we wanted from RateBeer if none of the craft beer fans or breweries with an obvious reason to object to the deal were aware of it.”

Brewery reactions have started to hit the web, and it seems like at least a few of them agree. Both Dogfish Head and Brooklyn’s Sixpoint Brewery have put out statements pointing out the obvious conflict of interest, despite the assurances of independence from RateBeer Executive Director Joe Tucker, and both are calling for their brewery/beers to be removed from RateBeer entirely. To quote Sixpoint’s initial statement, which also casts some aspersions upon GBH’s role in breaking the story:

There’s way too much smoke here. How can this deal go down 9 months ago, but a press release about the transaction is first released late on a Friday afternoon in the summer? They know damn well that most people have a foot out the door by noon on Friday in June. And the site that broke the story is one that has a business consulting relationship with AB? AB doesn’t buy companies to be “bros” – there is always a strategic initiative at play. Buying up beer rating sites, the nation’s largest homebrewing site, and acquiring other grassroots companies is definitely part of a larger strategic initiative. At the very least, akin to journalism, this would most definitely violate all ethics rules to not disclose the transaction right away. Beer rating sites like Ratebeer.com or BeerAdvocate would need to disclose whether or not they are owned by a brewer, because there clearly could be a conflict of interest there. Simply put, these sites “report” consumer views on breweries. So if the site itself is owned by a brewery, there is the possibility that the objective nature could be compromised. Especially if said brewer has been on a massive acquisition spree of craft breweries.

Asked by one of the commenters at r/beer in a follow-up if Sixpoint would also be requesting the removal of its beers from RateBeer, the brewery replied simply with “Yes.”

Dogfish Head, meanwhile, released a longer and somewhat more level-headed reply on their site, straight from the mouth of founder/craft beer icon Sam Calagione. In it, Calagione cites the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) Code of Ethics and explains how the company sees this minority acquisition as a serious threat to the independence of beer rating sites, which consumers use as a bellwether of determining “what is good.” He then calls for other independent breweries to join in requesting the removal of their beers from a system that may no longer objectively represent them, as excerpted below:

It is our strong opinion that ABI’s ownership of RateBeer, and other properties positioned to cover the craft brewing community like October and thebeernecessities.com is in direct conflict with multiple guidelines listed above.

In the past, as executive editor of Pallet, a print magazine project that celebrated global craft beer culture, neither I nor Dogfish Head held any stake in the publication. As a company, Dogfish Head continually shows support for various craft beer publications through paid advertising campaigns.

To that end, we have respectfully asked Anheuser-Busch InBev and RateBeer to remove all Dogfish Head beer reviews and mentions on the RateBeer website immediately. It just doesn’t seem right for a brewer of any kind to be in a position to potentially manipulate what consumers are hearing and saying about beers, how they are rated and which ones are receiving extra publicity on what might appear to be a legitimate, 100 percent user-generated platform. It is our opinion that this initiative and others are ethically dubious and that the lack of transparency is troubling.

To our fellow independently-owned brewers, we encourage you to join us in this effort to ensure consumers continue to get the best and most accurate information about their beers. For everyone else, we encourage you to shift the sharing of your beer opinions and reviews to another platform that remains loyal to the principles of journalistic integrity. America’s Independence Day is just around the corner. Support the indie craft brewing movement!

It will be interesting to see how many craft breweries heed the call, but we commend Dogfish Head and Sixpoint for the conviction to call attention to yet another (“minority”) acquisition by Big Beer. At the very least, the users of RateBeer deserved to know this information all along.

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Gambit Draft Release

In 1966, with Cold War tensions simmering between the United States and USSR, a GAMBIT 1 (KH-7) spy satellite acquired this image of the town. -NASA

GAMBIT was named to support The Brewtography Project's successful Kickstarter last year. We loved the beer so much that we decided to re-brew it and re-launch it.

The base is almost Flanders-red style, but without acetic acid, and with a moderate amount of ruby red grapefruit zest added. The result is incredible. The flavors are complex, the acidity of the beer balances well with the grapefruit flavors, and the aroma is positively candy-like with the base of this beer giving it a bit more complexity, due to the darker malts and higher gravity.

25 Essential Colorado Breweries

Former Future Brewing Company co-founders James and Sarah Howat started Black Project as an outlet for their more outlandish ideas, like brewing sour beer with the gnarly microbes that naturally occur in Denver's air. When the Great American Beer Festival slapped a bronze medal on a fruity golden ale called Black Project #1, the couple decided to devote more time to their diffusion line and eventually reboot the brand from the ground up. Former Future officially became Black Project last summer, making it the Mikkeller of Mile High City. (Much like that cult Danish brewery, Black Project routinely draws hour-long lines for limited batches of Lambics that evoke fine wine, cider and beer in every sip.) blackprojectbeer.com

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The Soul Of The Craft Beer

If you haven’t noticed, craft beer is a big thing in Colorado, and the nation. You may be new to this movement, or you might be a longtime connoisseur of craft beer, or could care less about it all together. What you probably don’t know is that there is battle going on in America right now between the craft beer owner and ABInBev who is the largest owner/operator of big beer in the world (aka Budweiser).

Colorado felt this first hand in 2015 when local brewery Breckenridge Brewery sold to ABInBev. This sent a shockwave into the craft beer industry, locally and nationwide. This was not the first nor the last community craft beer to be gobbled up by the global power ABInBev. It was the first that was close to home for many Colorado craft beer drinkers and owners.

Here we are more than ayear later and ABInBev strikes again! On May 3, the North Carolina brewery Wicked Weed posted to their Facebook page that they would be selling to ABInBev. The social fallout was immediate. The comments that followed on the post were overwhelmingly negative to the decision. Many expressed the disappointment in selling out to the big bad beer monster.

Wicked Weed explained that while the growth of the brewery had been good, to get to the next level and keep (and grow) the staff, the move to go with ABInBev would help them maintain that growth and help the brand become a more nationally distributed beer. This is a topic that is debated many times in every brewery, blog, and podcast that involves beer. (By the way Brewski-Reviewski is a great beer podcast you want to check out!)

One local brewery had been collaborating with Wicked Weed and released a statement following the announcement. James and Sarah Howat of Black Project: Spontaneous & Wild Ales on South Broadway explained in the post saying “For us the choice is clear. At this stage, we don’t feel we are able to have a business relationship with Wicked Weed because that connection, ultimately, is one with ABInbev. Unfortunately, we don’t feel that having any connection with ABInBev is something we can do while still maintaining our mission, values, and core beliefs. We wish the best to everyone at Wicked Weed and we are happy for their success. We know they will continue to make great beers and we hope to remain personal friends in the future.”

That was just one of many in the craft beer scene to voice their disapproval of the move. While I write this and I have made many comments on air about moves like these, I believe this must be one of the toughest decisions a growing craft beer owner would make. To have a company come in and tell you they are offering you millions of dollars to buy your product and still let you be a part of the creative process makes for a difficult decision.

I do not believe this is something that many who comment, voicing their outrage and comments saying “How could you?” and “Never, I would never sell out!” have stopped to think about the magnitude that a choice like this would be. You have worked hard and built your brand but know there isn’t a whole lot you could do to keep the brewery moving forward unless you get the financial backing to do so.

I understand why Wicked Weed made this move and know they felt this was best for them. I do know that if you are in that position at some point in your career, in any field you are involved with, “Congrats you have done something right!” Now, while I understand why Wicked Weed made the choice to go with the big financial backing, I do not believe you can’t have your cake and eat it too. I find it funny that when these moves are made, the shock by the brewery that sold is surprised at the backlash they receive from the craft beer community. Especially when you sell to ABInBev.

Here is where I side with the craft beer community, I cannot and will not support ABInBev. They have done too many business dealings to try and corner the market and affect the distribution of the small beer maker. “See U.S. Justice Department in probing allegations that ABInBev seeking to curb competition in the beer market by buying distributors, making it harder for fast growing craft brewers to get their products on store shelves.” (Reuters Oct 12, 2015) I believe this will be the battle for the soul of the craft beer movement.

I wish the likes of Breckenridge and Wicked Weed the best moving forward, but since Breckenridge sold I have not, and will not, purchase their or Wicked Weed’s beer again. This is what is great about the business of beer. They have the right to sell the company any way they like, but I as a craft beer drinker will take my hard-earned dollar to other local breweries. See, I work twice a month at Launch Pad Brewing in Aurora serving beer and talking to this great craft beer community. I believe the craft beer community is a throwback to the all-American neighborhood pub where people go to meet, grab a beer and be part of their community. Not an all-night drunkfest that the bar has become today.

The problem of ABInbev is not going away anytime soon; at what point do we recognize the monopoly is already there? The great thing about beer in America is we have a choice on where to drink our beer, and for this beer drinker I will continue to drink at the little guy’s place and take my money there.

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Things to do in Denver this Weekend

Ripping Through Dimensions release. Cerebral Brewing Co., 1477 Monroe St. Noon-10:30 p.m.

Peacemaker bottle release. Part of an experimental series, with flavors of wine, bourbon, and tart acidity. Black Project Spontaneous & Wild Ales, 1290 S. Broadway, A51. Noon-3 p.m. 

Make your own coffee beer. Epic Brewing Co., 3001 Walnut St. 10 a.m.-noon. $65.

Yakima Nectar west coast IPA release. Alpine Dog Brewing Co., 1505 Ogden St. 10 a.m.-midnight.

Maui Express release party luau. The coconut IPA will be released in cans for the first time. Hawaiian dress if you want. Denver Beer Co., 1695 Platte St. 11 a.m.-11 p.m.

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Weekly Beer Buzz

Flavors of wine, bourbon, and tart acidity melt together in one bottle. It starts with a custom blend of two beers, both fermented from coolship-caught microbes. Once fermented, the beer is transferred to oak barrels that first held bourbon before their second life aging cherry wine from Red Fox Cellars, in the Palisade region of Colorado. After being freshly emptied at the winery, the beer was transferred to cherry wine barrels and allowed to rest and soak up all the beautiful cherry wine, rich oak character from the wood, and some of the original bourbon notes.

 PEACEMAKER is part of our experimental series, which uses a blend of two spontaneous solera fermented beers. The blend is a combination of two base …beers, one 100% wheat and the other, a golden ale, made with pilsner malt. Both beers were brewed on our 4 BBL system and then cooled in our coolship, a custom-built copper 12 BBL vessel designed to cool wort overnight while inoculating with wild yeast and other microbes from the air. In November, we expanded into the space next door to add 100 oak barrels and a new coolship, which sits under an open window with fans overhead to circulate the air. This allows the boiling wort to cool for 12 hours, which inoculates the wort with airborne microbes, including brettanomyces, lactobacillus, pediococcus, and saccharomyces. Once it is cooled, the wort is transferred to stainless-steel totes where it aged and fermented for 8-12 months.

This beer was created using a solera method, a process where unfermented wort is added to finished beer, which causes the active microbes in the beer to referment the new wort, creating an almost identical copy of the original spontaneously fermented beer. When the total volume has finished fermentation, a portion of the beer is then transferred to another container and the new, unfermented wort, is topped off to replace and referment on the existing beer. This is a continuous process that we have used for over three years to create one of a kind beers, as each beer changing slightly from the previous batch.

The base beer is funky and tart and pairs perfectly with the sharp flavors of the barrel, while still peeking through with a complex and unique character. This beer is the culmination of years of spontaneous fermentation, barrel aging, and a unique partnership with Red Fox Cellars. Bottles are extremely limited and will be sold on a first come, first served basis. This beer will continue and develop with age so drink fresh or save for later.

PEACEMAKER was named after the production of the Convair B-36 “Peacemaker”, originally created for the United States Air Force by Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corporation in 1946 as a piston-engine bomber capable of delivering nuclear weapons intercontinentally without refueling, with a range of 10,000 miles and a maximum payload of 87,200 lbs.

The B-36 set the standard for range and payload for subsequent U.S. intercontinental bombers.
___________________________________________________

PEACEMAKER
 750mL bottle, cork and cage
LIMITS AND PRICING TO BE ANNOUNCED*

*All limits are subject to change, at anytime, without advanced warning.

Black Project is located at: 1290 S Broadway, Denver, CO.

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PorchDrinking’s Weekly Denver Beer Beat

Flavors of wine, bourbon, and tart acidity melt together in one bottle. It starts with a custom blend of two beers, both fermented from coolship-caught microbes. Once fermented, the beer is transferred to oak barrels that first held bourbon before their second life aging cherry wine from Red Fox Cellars, in the Palisade region of Colorado. After being freshly emptied at the winery, the beer was transferred to cherry wine barrels and allowed to rest and soak up all the beautiful cherry wine, rich oak character from the wood, and some of the original bourbon notes.

PEACEMAKER is part of our experimental series, which uses a blend of two spontaneous solera fermented beers. The blend is a combination of two base beers, one 100% wheat and the other, a golden ale, made with pilsner malt. Both beers were brewed on our 4 BBL system and then cooled in our coolship, a custom-built copper 12 BBL vessel designed to cool wort overnight while inoculating with wild yeast and other microbes from the air. In November, we expanded into the space next door to add 100 oak barrels and a new coolship, which sits under an open window with fans overhead to circulate the air. This allows the boiling wort to cool for 12 hours, which inoculates the wort with airborne microbes, including brettanomyces, lactobacillus, pediococcus, and saccharomyces. Once it is cooled, the wort is transferred to stainless-steel totes where it aged and fermented for 8-12 months.

This beer was created using a solera method, a process where unfermented wort is added to finished beer, which causes the active microbes in the beer to referment the new wort, creating an almost identical copy of the original spontaneously fermented beer. When the total volume has finished fermentation, a portion of the beer is then transferred to another container and the new, unfermented wort, is topped off to replace and referment on the existing beer. This is a continuous process that we have used for over three years to create one of a kind beers, as each beer changing slightly from the previous batch.

The base beer is funky and tart and pairs perfectly with the sharp flavors of the barrel, while still peeking through with a complex and unique character. This beer is the culmination of years of spontaneous fermentation, barrel aging, and a unique partnership with Red Fox Cellars. Bottles are extremely limited and will be sold on a first come, first served basis. This beer will continue and develop with age so drink fresh or save for later.

PEACEMAKER was named after the production of the Convair B-36 “Peacemaker”, originally created for the United States Air Force by Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corporation in 1946 as a piston-engine bomber capable of delivering nuclear weapons intercontinentally without refueling, with a range of 10,000 miles and a maximum payload of 87,200 lbs.

The B-36 set the standard for range and payload for subsequent U.S. intercontinental bombers.
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PEACEMAKER
750mL bottle, cork and cage
LIMITS AND PRICING TO BE ANNOUNCED*

*All limits are subject to change, at anytime, without advanced warning.

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Westword Beer Calendar

Black Project Spontaneous & Wild Ales is releasing Peacemaker, a new spontaneous "solera" blend at noon. Part of the brewery's experimental series, the beer is a blend of two base beers: a 100 percent wheat brew and a golden ale made with pilsner malt. "Both beers were brewed on Black Project’s four-barrel system and then cooled in the brewery’s coolship, a custom-built, twelve-barrel copper vessel designed to cool wort overnight while inoculating with wild yeast and other microbes from the air," the brewery says. "Once cooled, the wort was transferred to stainless-steel totes, where it aged and fermented for eight to twelve months." For much, much more information on the beer and recent changes at Black Project, go to the brewery's Facebook page.

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