Rocky Ford—a region of southeast Colorado known for its long history of producing succulent melons—had a rough start to this year’s growing season. In the spring, harsh hail storms destroyed early plantings. But the farmers rebounded from the early losses and are currently experiencing what might be their sweetest crops of melons ever.
Denver brewers are taking full advantage of the harvest: CO-Brew, a brewery and home-brewing supply store with for-rent professional equipment, teamed up with MC Communications, a PR firm that represents Rocky Ford’s Hirakata Farms, to create a light, refreshing cantaloupe gose.
Gose-style brews are generally wheat beers with a bright, briny quality to them thanks to added salt (don’t knock it ‘til you try it, they’re a favorite summer sipper). And as anyone who has indulged in prosciutto-wrapped melon hors d’oeuvres can attest, salty and sweet pair quite nicely.
The (very) limited release beer was created using CO-Brew’s Meyer lemon gose recipe (hold the lemon) and a purée of Hirakata’s third crop of organic Rocky Ford cantaloupes. The concoction bottle-conditioned for two weeks and the resulting 22-ounce bombers embody a Zen-like balance of salt, sugar, sour, hops, and musky cantaloupe. Its light body and faint carbonation make it a sublime late-summer refreshment.
Be forewarned: You’ll have a hard time getting your hands on a bottle. Precious few of the bombers have been loaded into a handful of gift baskets which include the Preservery’s Rocky Ford cantaloupe butter and a few other choice items, and the baskets can only be obtained via lottery. The drawing is September 17, and you can enter to win at CO-Brew, the Preservery, or Cheese & Provisions. Cantaloupe enthusiasts can also partake in Cheese & Provisions’ September 8 Rocky Ford melon pairing class, which will include pairings of artisanal cheese, Rocky Ford melons, and CO-Brew’s cantaloupe gose.
Bonus: Due to a high level of interest in the beer, CO-Brew has decided to brew a second batch. It’s currently fermenting and will be available at the CO-Brew taps during the last week of September. Score!
The Preservery, 3040 Blake St., 303-298-6821; Cheese & Provisions, 2432 W. 44th Ave., 303-445-2221; CO-Brew, 1113 Broadway, 720-485-4959