Former Future Launches Black Project Spontaneous Ales

New breweries sometimes need special funding and a bit of extra time to get new projects off the ground. Former Future Brewing Company is launching a new project that will bring wild fermented beers to Denver-area craft beer drinkers. Check out the details for the "Black Project Spontaneous Ales", 100% wild-fermented beer.

[PRESS RELEASE] Former Future Brewing Company, a notable and popular new brewery on South Broadway in Denver, Colorado is launching Black Project Spontaneous Ales, a side-project that creates beers using only “spontaneous fermentation.” James Howat, owner and head brewer for both ventures describes spontaneous ales as “a beer that is fermented only with microbes from the air instead of using a pure or mixed culture of microbes from a lab.” This process is typically accomplished by allowing all or part of a batch of beer to be cooled overnight in a shallow vessel known as a “coolship”. As the beer cools, it is exposed to microbes (wild yeast and bacteria) that create a complex beer with flavors ranging from funky to bracingly tart. This process is the traditional way that Belgian sours are created, including Flanders Reds and Lambic / Gueze. 

Prior to opening their doors, Former Future ran an unsuccessful Kickstarter in part to purchase a large, custom coolship for their roof. However, shortly after opening, James and Sarah Howat, the owners of the brewery, were able to fund a coolship, which was used to produce this beer. The equipment and project was Black Project batch was run through it in early March.

James describes the failed Kickstarter as a positive: “We were initially bummed that we weren't able to begin making spontaneous ales immediately using a very expensive, custom-welded coolship. However, we were determined to make spontaneous ales and being using and modifying pieces of equipment that we could find inexpensively to create a coolship system capable of inoculating between 5 gallons and 75 gallons. It ended up giving us insight into some new and innovative techniques, including what we call the ‘selective coolship.’ Of course we want to install a full size coolship soon that matches our brewhouse size (140 gallons) so that we can brew full batches and fill more than one barrel at a time – Black Project #1 will help fund that and other equipment for future Black Project releases”

Black Project #1 will be called “Flyby”. It is a golden/amber ale that features at least 4 wild strains of Brettanomyces (based on lab assessment of the spontaneous fermentation), as well as an assertive but pleasing lactic acid sourness. Despite a simple grain bill and light hopping, the beer has a complex range of flavors and aromas: peach, citrus, ripe tropical fruit, slight nut, mint, herb, and of course a mild complimentary Brett. “funk” that can be described as horse blanket or barn yard. 

This first edition will only be available on draught at a special release party at the brewery’s taproom. The release party will be a ticketed event on August 25th, 2014 from 6pm-9pm. Ticket sales for the general public begin on Monday, August 4th at 12 noon, Mountain Time. 

Entrance for the event is $40 and includes a glass of “Flyby” the first release from Black Project Spontaneous Ales, a glass of any Former Future Beer that is on tap, as well as a limited edition t-shirt (available only through this event) that is hand-screened in the brewery by the brewers of Black Project. The event is expected to have high demand, and the limited number of tickets will likely sell out quickly. Tickets will be sold through Brown Paper Tickets at:

Former Future is located at 1290 S. Broadway in south Denver. Opening in early February, the brewery focuses on using a heavy science focus (owner/brewer James Howat has a background in microbiology) to put a modern twist on traditional styles and techniques. Their taproom features old items given a future life: a bar top made from a Cessna airplane wing, factory-floor joist tables, barrel hoop lamps, and more. 

Hours: T-Th – 4p-10p, F – 2p-11p, Sa – 12p-11p, Su – 12p-8p. 

Black Project Spontaneous Ales is a side venture that focuses on making only spontaneous ales in small batches and fermented in oak. We strive to make beers that are both extremely complex and yet drinkable. We embrace, study, and live by the uncertainty of spontaneous fermentation. Every beer will be different and there will be no set “seasonal” or release dates – beers will be released only once nature has determined that they are ready. The name ‘Black Project’ refers to the scrappy and secret origins of the side project at Former Future as a comparison to top-secret government/military development programs; i.e.: SR-71 Blackbird, F-117 Stealth Fighter, etc. Black project will be ramping up production over the next several months and eventually intends to distribute cork and caged bottles to premium bottle shops, bars, and restaurants.