Colorado is an angler’s paradise, and not just because the state boasts 6,000 miles of streams and more than 2,000 lakes and reservoirs. There are also roughly 35 species of fish to be found in Centennial state waters. Some—such as the rainbow trout—are well known and widespread. Others, however, are more rare. Running Rivers, a Denver-based non-profit conservation organization whose mission is to connect and educate people about freshwater ecosystems, is teaming up with local breweries to bring awareness to some of the Centennial State’s rarest types of fish.
The “Rare Fish / Rare Beer Project” was inspired by Running Rivers successful Flyathalon fundraisers, which combine fly fishing, running, and, of course, craft beer. Most of that beer came in the form of donations from the fishing enthusiasts behind Del Norte’s Three Barrel Brewing Company. That relationship eventually inspired the brewery to collaborate with Running Rivers on the “Rare Fish / Rare Beer” project.
In August, Three Barrel released the project’s first collaboration beer, the Trucha Grande (which translates to big trout). This limited-release strong ale—a blend of the brewery’s coconut brown lager and chocolate-vanilla porter aged in Laws Whiskey House barrels—touts important information about the Rio Grande cutthrout trout on its label. It’s available at select liquor stores throughout Colorado, and a portion of its proceeds will benefit Running Rivers’ Rio Grande cutthroat trout conservation projects.
The project’s second collaboration beer was released earlier this month. Bring the Greenback—a Berliner-Weisse brewed by Denver-based Baere Brewing Company—aims to bring attention to the greenback cutthroat trout. Despite being Colorado’s state fish, the greenback cutthroat trout is currently listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The only known genetically pure population is located in the Bear Creek Watershed near Colorado Springs, and the brew is made with spruce tips harvested from along the creek bed. The limited-run beer is being sold at liquor stores around the state and in Baere’s taproom. As with the Trucha Grande, the beer’s label highlights conservation information about the fish and encourages drinkers to tip a glass to the state’s diverse—and sometimes compromised— freshwater ecosystems.