Westword Beer Calendar

Black Project Wild & Spontaneous Ales will release bottles of two beers today at noon. The first is Jumpseat, a golden sour ale aged for eight to twelve months and then hopped with Citra, Mosaic and Equinox. Each 750mL bottle is $24 (limit of two per person). The other is Ejector, which is similar to Jumpseat except that it has been hopped again with Citra, Mosaic, Equinox and Lemon Drop. Bottles are $26 (limit of two per person). For more details on the beer and the release, go to Black Project's Facebook page.

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Former Snooze Executive Chef Readies New Breakfast Eatery on South Broadway

Joseph Strelnik was the baron of breakfast for nearly six years as the executive chef at Snooze, Colorado's favorite stop for a morning meal. But now he has teamed up with John "JD" Daniel to start his own breakfast revolution and is nearly ready to open Morning Collective at 2160 South Broadway, in the Rosedale neighborhood.

Strelnik and Daniel took over a space, located between Taste of Thailand to the north and the Post Chicken & Beer to the south, that had been slated to become a Philly cheesesteak and barbecue joint before that deal fell through. Instead, April will see the two unveil a breakfast eatery that will be open daily from 6:30 a.m to 2:30 p.m. The specialty of the house will be stuffed French toast and pancakes with molten centers that Strelnik calls "Daily Breads," with combinations like stuffed s'mores, pistachio tres leches, banana hazelnut and strawberry cheesecake, as well as rotating seasonal specials. "Breakfast is the only meal where it's acceptable to have something dessert-like as a meal," the chef notes, but he also adds that he uses the natural acidity of fruits to lighten dishes so guests don't feel bogged down for the rest of the day.

There will be far more than just the sweet stuff, though, as Strelnik's menu will cater to many different tastes and needs, from the traditional bacon-and-eggs crowd to those who want smaller, more frequent meals. And many of the big dishes will be available in half orders or single servings, including the pancakes, French toast and Benedicts. "It's your breakfast, so you should get what you want," says Daniel, a front-of-house specialist with years of experience at Snooze (most recently opening new Snooze locations in Arizona and California) and Govnr's Park Restaurant & Bar before that.

As far as those Benedicts go, there will be classics as well as unusual elements like a green-pea fritter subbing in for bread on the base of one version and another stacked high with tater tots and bacon. But there will also be breakfast bowls for those looking for something healthy and easy to grab on the run. Those folks will also be attracted to the "Crave and Behave" and "Second Breakfast" sections of the menu; the first comprises lighter dishes that weigh in at about 300 calories each, while the second is perfect for those who want to stop in for a bite and then take something to go for a little later in the day. Morning Collective will also serve several lunchtime sandwiches and salads.

A breakfast joint in Colorado wouldn't be complete without a bar to serve weekend brunchers (even if your weekend is on a Tuesday or Wednesday). Guests will be able to start their day with "Sunrise Elixirs" made with local spirits (booze-free elixirs are also part of the program) or choose from Denver beers and wines like Black Project and Infinite Monkey Theorem. To keep drinks from getting watery, a variety of flavored ice cubes, including horchata, wildflower, beet, strawberry, coffee and even bacon will be available. "Drinks are like fifteen bucks nowadays," Strelnik explains, "so it's nice if your drink can evolve a little instead of devolve."

Morning Collective encompasses 2,500 square feet decked out by Xan Creative, with mid-century wallpaper (that was actually printed in the 1950s), avocado-green booths and other retro and rustic touches. "This used to be a 7-11, and it's kind of cool to keep some of those elements," Strelnik points out.

Outside, a patio in the front will serve as a waiting area during pleasant weather where guests can sip cocktails or coffee, while a second patio on the side will provide additional seating.

Investors Rod Hurlbut and Zach Stock are providing financial backing to make sure Morning Collective gets off to a good start. Hurlbut says they're planning to open a total of three of the breakfast restaurants in the metro area in the next 24 months. "What really convinced me is that Joe is such a creative cook, but he also understands the financial side of running restaurants," he adds.

Strelnik's creative side comes from years of working in fine dining in Europe and New York City when he was younger, often working for nothing more than meals and drinks to master a specific station or learn a new skill. That creativity is evident on a menu overflowing with flavored froths whipped up in Isi canisters to give cold drinks the same texture and aroma as a latte; those flavor-packed ice cubes; and flourishes on the plate like a strawberry-graham-cracker dust atop French toast. But he also wants to respect his humble roots, when his parents cooked meals for the family every day and going out to dinner was a rare treat. He explains that he wants his restaurant to be a place where his parents would feel comfortable.

The name Morning Collective comes from the team's concept that guests, employees and neighbors are all part of the same group with the same goals. "We're all together — we're here and can enjoy food together, enjoy working together, enjoy being neighbors," Strelnik notes. "And we put a lot of effort into training and education and mentoring, because when you sit down for breakfast, you want someone who's genuinely happy to help you."

Morning Collective is awaiting final liquor-license approval but expects to open the first week of April, bringing a creative new eatery to South Broadway and the nearby Rosedale and Overland neighborhoods.

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Westword Beer Calendar

Black Project Wild & Spontaneous Ales will tap a fresh version of Hypersonic, which has been "the most popular and juicy version of our wild-yeast NE IPA series," the brewery says. "That is why we decided to make a year-round beer... Hypersonic is not sour. It is made with wild yeast foraged from our neighbor's apple tree in the Baker neighborhood." The tapping will begin at 2 p.m.

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Westword Beer Calendar

The owners of Black Project Spontaneous & Wild Ales will celebrate their third year of owning a brewery today and tomorrow with a series of new beer releases, paired food tastings, and an on-site public cellar release that begins at 2 p.m., when the brewery will pop bottles of previous releases. The pairings will begin at 6 p.m., when Brewed Food will be in the house with a special menu ($25 per person; thirty tickets available). The first pairing is Oxcart with a kimchi pancake, pickled cucumber and blueberry barbecue sauce.

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Westword Beer Calendar

Black Project Wild & Spontaneous Ales will host a release for the extremely limited Cygnus Montmorency Cherry today at noon. The beer began as Oxcart, a spontaneously fermented beer made using malted barley, unmalted wheat, and oats, then hopped with a blend of young and aged hops. The beer was then aged in oak barrels for one to three years and re-fermented for two months on 2.5 pounds per gallon of Montmorency tart cherries. "The initial aroma is sweet cherry pie with a light effervescence and a tingling sour finish," Black Project says. "The body and mouthfeel is complex, with layers of funk, hay, and acidity. Fruit character dominates the aroma and flavor but may diminish over time, so enjoy please enjoy fresh." Only one hundred 750ml bottles, at $34 each, will be available.

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Westword Beer Calendar

Black Project Spontaneous & Wild Ales will release two special beers today. The first is Oxcart: "Three years in the making, Oxcart is our first 100 percent spontaneous/coolshipped blend of 1-, 2-, and 3-year old barrel-aged beer," the brewery says. "Similar in method and in the style of the great, traditional gueuze of Belgium. Notes of hay and stonefruit, with complex layers of funk. Some sweetness carries through each sip along with pleasant yet assertive acidity, ending with a dryness on the back of the palate. This beer is expected to age for many years, but is ready to drink now. Complexity will only continue to develop with time in the bottle." Bottles are $30, with a limit of three. The second beer is Peach Rye Whiskey Dreamland, which was recently named one of the best beers in American by Draft magazine. "This time, using 100 percent whole fruit from Palisade — fifty pounds per barrel of perfectly ripe Cresthaven peaches from our family-owned orchard were added directly to the beer, allowing a secondary fermentation inside of a wet Laws Whiskey House Secale Rye Barrel. Intense peach on the nose with a soft, round mouthfeel and beautiful acidity." Bottles are $26, with a limit of one per person. Adelitas Cocina y Cantina will be on site serving breakfast tacos, and there will be Corvus Coffee to keep you warm.

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Westword Beer Calendar

Fermentologists home-brewing and fermentation-science club will celebrate its three-year anniversary with a party from 2 to 6 p.m. at the Crafty Fox that features tap takeovers from TRVE Brewing and Black Project Spontaneous & Wild Ales There are a limited number of tickets, and they include unlimited pizza, two craft beers from a select menu, and access to exclusive craft beers from Black Project and TRVE. Two of the exclusive beers are Black Project MICROB, a Fermentologists wild-culture saison collaboration fermented in a syrah wine barrel with 100 percent native Colorado microbes; and TRVE Solid Hex, a watermelon mixed-culture saison fermented in French foeders. The other beers will be selected and announced by the Crafty Fox.

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Westword Beer Calendar

Black Project Spontaneous & Wild Ales will tap Fresh Hop Hypersonic (AKA: Hyperfresh) today. The beer was made with Chinook hops, "as well as a few other varieties to round out that piney hop flavor and create something magical," the brewery says. "This Wild American IPA is brewed with a strain of wild yeast that we isolated from our neighbors' apple tree in the Baker neighborhood... This beer is NOT sour, however the fruity characteristics of this yeast play well with these hops to create a beer that is fragrant and bursting with hop aroma, without all the bitterness. We used more pounds per barrel than we've used in any beer, and still (and always) dry-hopped eight times." One batch only. Oh, and on the secret tap, you'll find Starsailor, a lime and citrus table sour with volcanic sea salt. 

Password is: Desert Island

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Westword Beer Calendar

Black Project Spontaneous & Wild Ales (formerly Former Future) will tap STARFIGHTER double citrus table sour today at 6 p.m. It differs from last week's STARFIRE: A low-gravity sour wheat ale with lemon and lime zest, plus blood orange zest, this beer has nearly double the amount of lemons and limes as the last one. 

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Great American Beer Festival Week 2016: Calendar of Amazing Events

Freshcraft is bringing the house this GABF season. Today, the beer-centered restaurant will host Trinity Brewing, New Belgium Brewing, Black Project Spontaneous & Wild Ales, Cascade Brewing, Wicked Weed Brewing, Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project, Avery Brewing Company.

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Westword Beer Calendar

Black Project Spontaneous & Wild Ales (formerly Former Future) will tap STARFIGHTER double citrus table sour today at 6 p.m. (it is slightly different than last week's STARFIRE). A low-gravity sour wheat ale with lemon and lime zest, plus blood orange zest, this beer has nearly double the amount of lemons and limes as the last one.

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Former Future Changes Name to Black Project Spontaneous & Wild Ales

Former Future Brewing is a thing of the past. The present lies with Black Project Spontaneous & Wild Ales .

James and Sarah Howat, who founded Former Future on South Broadway in 2014, have decided to refocus and rebrand their brewery — changing the name, the decor and, most important, the beer menu — after the popularity of their side effort, Black Project, took off in the past year. They have been hinting at the change on social media over the past few weeks and will reveal the new look today at 2 p.m.

“If I could, I would run both breweries, but we can’t open another tap room, so we had to make a choice, financially and legally,” explains James Howat. “It’s a little sad to leave Former Future behind, but it made sense for us to just put all of our energy and our focus behind one brand.”

As part of the change, Black Project will take over some space from an antique shop next door, where it will be able to store one hundred oak wine barrels for aging beer, along with other, larger wooden containers, possibly some puncheons or a foeder (both are large wooden barrels). The brewery has also ordered a ten-barrel custom-made copper coolship — an open-topped fermentation vessel — which will replace the two large stock pots that Howat now uses.

Former Future opened in early 2014 with a Steampunk theme and a lineup of beers that ranged from saisons to pale ales to the standout Salted Caramel Porter. But soon after opening, the Howats began experimenting with beers fermented with naturally occurring yeast that was captured from the air around the brewery — a longtime interest for the couple.

Those experiments resulted in the creation of the the Black Project, a secondary brand dedicated to wild and sour ales fermented primarily with the naturally occurring yeast and other microbes. One of the beers immediately won a medal at the 2014 Great American Beer Festival and began attracting attention from sour- and wild-ale lovers (Black Project won a second GABF medal last year). Westword profiled the Howats and Black Project in a cover story last fall, just before the festival.

Capturing yeast this way was common in Europe — Belgium in particular — for centuries, and the technique relies mostly on happenstance: The yeast that ferments the beer is whatever happens to land in an open vat of beer, rather than a cultivated strain consciously selected by a brewmaster. Brewers today are able to isolate certain wild strains, however, in order to create the flavor profiles they are looking for. Belgium’s Cantillon is the most well-known brewery making spontaneously-fermented beers, but several U.S. craft brewers do, too.

The Howats have been capturing the yeast by putting their coolship on the roof of their building, after which they propagate the yeast, brew the beer and ferment it in wooden barrels inside. The new coolship will be located inside, in a room with open windows (which is similar to traditional spontaneous-fermentation breweries). They could only make a limited amount, however, and bottles typically sold out within hours of going on sale at the brewery.

In recent weeks, though, Former Future experimented with putting only Black Project beers on tap in the tap room to see how they would do. “They always outsell the other beers,” Howat says. “The people who are already coming in here are buying these beers already.” In addition, people from other states and other parts of Colorado have been seeking out the brewery because of its focus on spontaneous ales. “We have a chance to be the only brewery in the state doing 100 percent” spontaneous fermentation, he adds.

Black Project will likely have six to eight of these beers on tap at all times, and although most will have sour, wild or funky notes, some will use wild yeast to make beers that taste “clean,” Howat says. He will do this by isolating certain strains of yeast that have different flavor profiles. One, for instance, will be an IPA.

The new look, new beers and the new name will all make their grand entrance today at the brewery. There will still be some Salted Caramel Porter on tap for a few weeks as well, for those who love it.

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Westword Beer Calendar

Former Future Brewing will turn over the taps to the sour and wild ales made by its side project, Black Project Spontaneous & Wild Ales, today at 2 p.m. Beers will include at least one year-old keg from the cellar; a fresh batch of Hypersonic, an "Octuple Dry-Hopped Wild-Yeast IPA" featuring Citra; Bantam and Stiletto; the last keg of Elsewhere Wild Amber; Voodoo, a new dry-hopped version of Elsewhere; Reheat, a sour ale aged in tempranillo must-soaked barrels; Lunex, a 100 percent spontaneous sour with Corvus Coffee added; and others. 

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Westword Beer Calendar

Black Project Spontaneous & Wild Ales is a side project of Former Future Brewing, but Black Project's beers are made in such a limited quantity that they are rarely on tap at the brewery and are primarily sold at monthly bottle releases. But Black Project is hijacking the taps at Former Future today for "a night of 100 percent wild, spontaneous and isolated yeast beers," the brewery says. The tap list should include Peach Rye Whiskey Dreamland, Kalmar 100-Percent Spontaneous Gose, Kalmar with Fruit, a not-yet-released Black Project Saison, a not-yet-released Black Project Saison with Oats and Wheat, and more. Former Future will also launch a new monthly event today called the Brewer's Table. Held on the first Friday of every month, it will include a tour, tasting from the barrel, one bottle of a Black Project beer, two ten-ounce pours of any beer on tap, and charcuterie from the Truffle Cheese Shop. Tickets are $75 per person, with a limit of six people per session. "Please expect to share a table with others if your party does not include six people," the brewery says. Tickets for the Brewer's Table are available at blackprojectbee.com/brewers-table

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Westword Beer Calendar

Black Project Spontaneous & Wild Ales is a side project of Former Future Brewing, but Black Project's beers are made in such a limited quantity that they are rarely on tap at the brewery, being primarily sold at monthly bottle releases. But Black Project is hijacking the taps at Former Future today for "a night of 100 percent wild, spontaneous, and isolated yeast beers," the brewery says. The tap list should include Peach Rye Whiskey Dreamland, Kalmar 100-Percent Spontaneous Gose, Kalmar with Fruit, a not-yet-released Black Project Saison, a not-yet-released Black Project Saison with Oats and Wheat, and more. Former Future will also launch a new monthly event today called the Brewer's Table. Held on the first Friday of every month, it will include a tour, tasting from the barrel, one bottle of a Black Project beer, two ten-ounce pours of any beer on tap, and charcuterie from the Truffle Cheese Shop. Tickets are $75 per person with a limit of six people per session. "Please expect to share a table with others if your party does not include six people," the brewery says. Tickets for the Brewer's Table are available at blackprojectbee.com/brewers-table

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Westword Beer Calendar

Black Project Spontaneous & Wild Ales releases two beers today at noon at Former Future Brewing in conjunction with a Kickstarter fundraising event for Discovering Colorado Breweries, a coffee-table book from the Brewtography Project's Dustin Hall. The beers are Starfire, a citrus zest table sour with lemon and lime, which will be sold in 750-ml cork-and-cage bottles for $20 each, and Gambit, a grapefruit wild ale, which will be sold in similar bottles for $65. Gambit will be used for the Kickstarter, and the purchase includes two signed, limited edition bottles, a Black Project bottle tote, signed Brewtography Project print of the brewery, and a sticker pack. Go to Facebook for details.

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Westword Beer Calendar

Black Project Spontaneous & Wild Ales will host a dual bottle release today from noon to 2 p.m. at its home at Former Future Brewing. The first is the dry-hopped wild ale Jumpseat Batch 2, which has Citra, Mosaic, Equinox and Mandarina Bavaria hops. It boasts "increased complexity, same delicious citrus fruit hops playing with our house wild-yeast derived peach/apricot character," the brewery says. Each 750-ml bottle costs $24, and supply is very limited, so bottle limits will be in effect. The second beer is Ejector, a double dry-hopped wild ale (and Jumpseat's big brother). "This beer receives a second dry hopping just a couple of days prior to packaging. The second charge contains more Citra along with New Zealand Kohatu," the brewery notes. "In case you aren't familiar, Kohatu is an interesting new hop out of New Zealand that is known for creating dry hop flavors ranging from funky pineapple to 'Hawaiian Punch.'" The 750-ml bottles of this beer will be $28 and are also very limited.

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Westword Beer Calendar

Black Project Spontaneous & Wild Ales will host a dual bottle release today from noon to 2 p.m. at its home at Former Future Brewing. The first is the dry-hopped wild ale Jumpseat Batch 2, which has Citra, Mosaic, Equinox and Mandarina Bavaria hops. It boasts "increased complexity, same delicious citrus fruit hops playing with our house wild-yeast derived peach/apricot character," the brewery says. Each 750-ml bottle costs $24, and supply is very limited, so bottle limits will be in effect. The second beer is Ejector, a double dry-hopped wild ale (and Jumpseat's big brother). "This beer receives a second dry hopping just a couple of days prior to packaging. The second charge contains more Citra along with New Zealand Kohatu," the brewery notes. "In case you aren't familiar, Kohatu is an interesting new hop out of New Zealand that is known for creating dry hop flavors ranging from funky pineapple to 'Hawaiian Punch.'" The 750-ml bottles of this beer will be $28 and are also very limited.

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Westword Beer Calendar

Black Project Spontaneous & Wild Ales, a part of Former Future Brewing, will host a dual bottle release today from noon to 2 p.m. featuring Dreamland Sour Golden Ale (Blend 2) in 750-ml cork-and-cage bottles ($18) and Supercruise Tempranillo (barrel one of three) in 750-ml bottles ($22). "I'm super-excited to debut the second blend of Dreamland. Due to solera aging, the majority of this blend has more age on it than the first one — more funk, more complexity, but overall pretty close. Seeing as blend 1 is now close to a year in the bottle, it is a fun comparison side by side if you still have a blend 1 bottle around. The beers were pretty similar going into the bottle but now you can see what happens to beers that are allowed to develop in the bottle with the presence of real, environmental wild microbes," says Black Project's James Howat in a Facebook post. "Supercruise is our traditional fruit level line of beers (compared to Mach-Limit, where we add as much as we legally can). It debuts with the Tempranillo variant done in collaboration with Red Fox Cellars. I have 3 barrels of this beer, all with slightly different base beer blends, barrels, and also slightly different parts of the pressed Tempranillo grapes (some were from earlier in the pressing vs later and it makes a noticeable difference). This month we will sell Barrel 1, which was done in a second use AD Laws Rye barrel."

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Westword Beer Calendar

Black Project Spontaneous & Wild Ales , a part of Former Future Brewing, will host a dual bottle release today from noon to 2 p.m. featuring Dreamland Sour Golden Ale (Blend 2) in 750-ml cork-and-cage bottles ($18) and Supercruise Tempranillo (barrel one of three) in 750-ml bottles ($22). "I'm super excited to debut the second blend of Dreamland. Due to solera aging, the majority of this blend has more age on it than the first one — more funk, more complexity, but overall pretty close. Seeing as blend 1 is now close to a year in the bottle, it is a fun comparison side by side if you still have a blend 1 bottle around. The beers were pretty similar going into the bottle but now you can see what happens to beers that are allowed to develop in the bottle with the presence of real, environmental wild microbes," says Black Project's James Howat in a Facebook post. "Supercruise is our traditional fruit level line of beers (compared to Mach-Limit where we add as much as we legally can). It debuts with the Tempranillo variant done in collaboration with Red Fox Cellars. I have 3 barrels of this beer, all with slightly different base beer blends, barrels, and also slightly different parts of the pressed Tempranillo grapes (some were from earlier in the pressing vs later and it makes a noticeable difference). This month we will sell Barrel 1 which was done in a second use AD Laws Rye barrel."

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