AboutKara Rowland – PorchDrinking.com
As someone based in Denver who makes a hobby out of beer writing, I have what can only be described as an embarrassing confession: I had never tasted New Belgium’s La Folie—or any other of its critically acclaimed sours—before last week.
The gravity of this oversight may be lost on the casual enthusiast, so allow me to explain. For 20 years, the Fort Collins-based brewery has been cranking out some of the country’s most complex wood-aged beers, starting with the first iteration of La Folie, its flagship Flanders-style Sour Brown Ale aged in massive oak barrels called foeders. New Belgium’s is now the largest wood cellar program in the U.S., with 64 French oak foeders and one American white oak foeder all imparting funky flavors to base beers as they mature.
Baere Brewing Company had never done an open fermentation before, nor had the three-year-old Denver brewery made a beer using grapes. In Unknown Parentage, they did both—with a dry, funky and all-around delicious result.
Many breweries begin with a familiar story: a homebrewer who’s tired of a desk job and decides to make a go at scaling up.
Brewability Lab is not one of those stories. Founder Tiffany Fixter had neither brewing experience nor a business background. What the former special education teacher did have, however, was an ambitious—even radical—idea. Why not tap into Denver’s affinity for craft beer to create jobs for adults with special needs?
I’ve learned a few cardinal truths in my years of craft beer fandom. Most fall into the category of brewing basics, such as the fact that Brettanomyces imparts a funky flavor or that fresh-hop season begins in late August. But there are some cultural observations, too—like the industry’s fanatical penchant for Star Wars.
Denver-based Wit’s End Brewing owner Scott Witsoe is no exception to this axiom. Witsoe and his crew unveiled three limited-release beers to coincide with the latest installment of the inter-galactic saga: The Last Jed-IPA, Stay On Target Southern English Brown Ale and Kyber Kristallweizen Pale Kristall Weizenbock.
Chances are most readers of PorchDrinking.com have been to scores of beer festivals, with many—while still awesome—fairly indistinguishable from the other. Left Hand’s Nitro Fest, now in its fourth year, is not one of those.
Imagine some of the world’s smoothest, rarest beers coupled with a psychedelic circus and a legion of hardcore, costumed fans on a warm fall night in Longmont, CO and you’ll get an idea of the experience.