In May of 2016, Durango-based Ska Brewing Company released the Hop Ivy All Colorado Ale—a craft beer made entirely with ingredients grown and sourced in the Centennial State. The easy-drinking ale is comprised of malts from the Colorado Malting Company in Alamosa; Chinook and Nugget hops from Simply Grown Hops based in Palisade; yeast from the Brewing Institute in Woodland Park; and fresh snow melt from the nearby San Juan Mountains. Even the 12-ounce cans the beer is packaged and sold in come from the Ball Beverage Package plant in Golden. Weighing in a just over six percent ABV, Hop Ivy’s beautiful amber color and hop-forward characteristics are the result of much research and hard work.
“We try to pay more attention to local because we want to do something that benefits our neighbors,” says Ska’s longtime head brewer, Thomas Larsen. “We get a lot of support from our community and we wanted to give that back.”
Initially created as a seasonally brewed, fresh-hop beer, Larsen and his team struggled to find a way to make Hop Ivy a year-round offering. Colorado’s hop farms (which are few in number to begin with) don’t tend to offer hops in a form other than freshly-picked cones, and those are only available during the short harvest window every fall. But all of that changed when Simply Grown Hops began to pelletize its hops—a process of converting the freshly picked whole hops into dried pellet form. Pelletized hops can be stored for longer periods of time, allowing Ska to add bitterness and flavor to the brew year round.
With Colorado-grown hop pellets in play, Ska added Hop Ivy to its year-round line-up of beers. Upon its release, Hop Ivy earned the platinum certification status from the Real Colorado Beer Project, an organization dedicated to helping highlight Colorado breweries that go above and beyond to support local businesses and ingredients.
Craft beer aficionados can grab a pint of Hop Ivy on tap or in six-pack form at the Durango tasting room and at Ska accounts throughout Colorado.
225 Girard St., Durango, 970-247-5792
Read more: Interested in the future of Colorado craft beer? Don’t miss this story from our September issue.