I knew very little about Dearfield when I took my first sip of an ale brewed in the historic town’s honor by Greeley’s Crabtree Brewing Company. OK, fine. I didn’t know anything about Dearfield. So, naturally, I took another sip of the blonde ale, brewed with strawberries, and looked to the Internet to find out more.
Located about 30 miles east of Greeley, Dearfield was founded by Oliver Toussaint “O.T.” Jackson. It’s now a ghost town, but it was once a thriving black farming community with between 300 and 700 residents, who raised crops of strawberries, melons, hay, and alfalfa. Dearfield was wiped out by the Dust Bowl in the 1930s, and by 1940, almost all of the town’s population had relocated. A few deserted buildings—a gas station and a diner—still exist, enough for the town to earn preservation from the National Register of Historic Places.
The idea for the Dearfield brew, which pays tribute to Dearfield’s 100th anniversary, came from Dr. George Junne, professor of Africana Studies at the University of Northern Colorado, who took the idea to brewer Jeff Crabtree. The result is a flavorful light brew that’s the color of Goldilock’s hair, with the strawberry notes balanced, never overpowering. Just the way I like my fruity beers.