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The Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project: The Sour Beer Entrant Among Denver Breweries

Fans of Belgian-style sour beers will want to take note of the Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project and its taproom at the Source, which is at 3550 Brighton. Crooked Stave distinguishes itself among Denver breweries with its barrel-aged, limited release craft beers. These are not Belgian lambics, which are brewed in specific regions, but are instead a whole new approach to the burgeoning sour beer trend.

Crooked Stave’s brews begin with special yeast strains that impart the desired tartness, followed by aging in first-use red wine, bourbon, and other barrels, depending on the characteristics the brewmaster wants to impart to his beer. Barrels add both color and flavor to the brew, including vanilla, caramel and burnt wood tasting notes. Barrel aging extends the time required to produce a batch of beer. Some barrel-aged sour beers can remain in barrel for up to two years before their release. Sour beers in general are more challenging to produce, but for many people the resulting product is worth the challenge.

Crooked Stave’s beers are made in small, limited run batches. When a batch runs out, a new batch with different taste characteristics will take its place. Crooked Stave reserves some of its more limited release batch’s for members of its cellar reserve club. In 2013, the brewery gave purchasing priority to its cellar reserve club members for its golden, burgundy, and dark sour beers. Many of those beers remain available for sampling in Crooked Stave’s taproom.

Belgian-style sour beers will not appeal to everyone’s tastes, nor will they be an everyday staple beer for most people. The tastes are typically complex and full-bodied, almost demanding that they be relished slowly when a drinker can focus on the craftsmanship that went into brewing them. A recent tasting of Crooked Stave’s IPA-style sour beer, for example, revealed a unique blend of typical IPA hoppiness balanced against its sour overtones.

The Denver Microbrew Tour offers two-hour guided walking tours of breweries in and around downtown Denver. We support and encourage the growing microbrew trend that has made Denver the “Napa Valley of Beer”. Please contact us for information about our walking tours or other aspects of Denver’s beer heritage.


Wynkoop Brewing Company is a political hotspot

There’s a lot happening in Colorado’s capital city: Bills are signed, laws are passed, campaign stops are drawing crowds, and sometimes – if you’re lucky – you find a big time politician sitting at the bar next to you.

Last July, Wynkoop Brewing Company was taken by surprise when President Barack Obama decided to stoop in for a beer and a game of pool with Colorado’s Gov. John Hickenlooper after a fundraising event.

The brewery told the Denver Post they didn’t receive any notice that the POTUS would be in that night.

Hickenlooper is thought to be more of a regular around Wynkoop. He founded it in 1988 before getting into politics in 2003 when he was elected as the City of Denver’s mayor. He held that office until being elected governor in 2011. He’s now in his second term.

The brewery was really at the forefront of the microbrew culture when it opened in LoDo. Hickenlooper left the geology field to venture into microbrews. His brewery is still going strong. Wynkoop offers 40 different styles of beer each year.

The two were drinking Rail Yard. It’s an amber ale and the brewery’s most popular beer.

For locals, mixing beer and politics seems pretty normal now. Hickenlooper chimed in when the White House released the recipes of the home brews Obama most enjoys.

“It’s none of my business and I don’t want to criticize the White House chef, but I think maybe they could use a little less honey,” he told the Atlantic.

Hickenlooper isn’t shy about his experience in the beer world.

The Denver Post even keeps a running list of the governor’s beer references. He hasn’t failed to somehow work in drinking into each of his State of the State speeches.

Wynkoop Brewing Company is one of the stops on our microbrew tours. Contact us for more information on this stop and others.