Roswell, N.M., may be hiding aliens, but Denver’s Roswell is all about native species — of fruit and microbes.
Black Project Spontaneous and Wild Ales on S. Broadway always packs their beers with locally captured microbes, but it also packed its latest beers with fruit. By incorporating as much fruit as possible and still call it beer, they developed a new concept they call “super-fruiting.” The brewery will showcase this technique this weekend with the latest annual release of the Lambic-inspired Roswell beer series.
Black Project bills itself Colorado’s only 100 percent spontaneous and wild brewery. The project began in late 2016, when James and Sarah Howat decided to shift their attention from clean ales to solely spontaneous and wild ales, including sours, mixed-culture saisons and Lambic or Gueuze-inspired beers. Black Project evolved from Former Future’s Brewing Company, expanding their barrel cellar by adding over 140 oak barrels, four puncheons and a custom-built copper coolship.
Using this new cellar, the beers in the Roswell series were spontaneously fermented, barrel-aged and then re-fermented with extreme levels of one of six different fruits: apricot, blackberry, cranberry, guava, raspberry and blueberry. The batch was then cooled in the coolship overnight to allow the unfermented beer to collect wild yeast and bacteria from the air. The result is a series of naturally sour but fruit-forward beers, each with a distinct fruit flavor.
Made once per year during the late spring from a Lambic-inspired wort brewed the previous year, the Roswell beers have a deep flavor but lower acidity than if they had spent all summer in a barrel. Expect a rich and spontaneous flavor accompanied by a distinct funk and complexity that dissolves into a vibrant fruit flavor and aroma..
James Howat is the Black Project brewer, blender and co-owner. A former microbiologist and high school science teacher, he uses his background to experiment with the brewing process on a cellular level. By capturing microbes from the environment and purposefully allowing them to evolve from batch to batch, he creates truly unique beers.
The Roswell event starts at 2 p.m. Saturday, July 22, at the brewery, 1290 S. Broadway. Five of the Roswell variants will be released alongside a special BrewedFood pairing. Food is first-come, first-served, so get there early if you want a Tender Belly Bratwurst with pain de mie bun, kimchi and gochujang mayo and a side of Hop Ash potato chips. Bottles are also sold to go with a limit of 3 per person.
The party continues at 2 p.m. Sunday, July 23, with an exclusive, onsite-only release of the blueberry Roswell variety, and a limited preview of their upcoming Biere Brut / Biere de Champagne made with Red Fox Cellars Barbera grapes. Bottles are available for on-site consumption only.