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Some people move to Colorado for the thrill of adventure; others simply for the weed.
Laura Decker, on the other hand, moved to Denver in 2010 with the innocent intention of attending seminary school, which she paid for by working at local beer bars. It wasn’t long before she found a favorite hangout, Renegade Brewing Company, which she frequented with increasing regularity. Eventually, a job opened up, and Decker, sensing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, left seminary school and dedicated herself to the craft beer industry.
Four years later, as Renegade’s vice president of operations, she found herself spearheading “Offensively Delicious,” a collaboration with local comedy outfit Sexpot Comedy that combines Colorado’s craft beer culture and irreverent humor. A renegade indeed.
“It’s not the kind of event you’d invite your grandma to,” Decker says. “Unless you have a really cool grandma. In which case I’d love to meet her.”
The second iteration of this beer-tasting and comedy mashup takes place September 23—smack in the middle of the Great American Beer Festival—at Denver’s Oriental Theater. In an effort to lighten the tone of an industry that can sometimes take itself a little too seriously (“It’s only beer!” Decker says), Offensively Delicious invites beer makers and drinkers to enjoy the region’s finest beverages while brewery representatives perform amateur standup routines, often at the expense of other local brewhouses.
Later in the night, nationally known professionals take the stage. This year, Comedy Central regular Kyle Kinane headlines the show, joined by local funny guys Andy Juett, Sam Tallent, and Adam Clayton-Holland.
While the inaugural event was a success, Sexpot Comedy founder and event co-organizer Kayvan Khalatbari said its unconventional format worried him at first. “I gotta tell you: We were very, very worried about having the first 10 brewers starting off with their comics,” says Khalatbari, who met Decker while drinking at Renegade. “If you don’t start off right, you can’t win back an audience. But every single one of them tore it up.”
Decker’s theory is that drinkers will enjoy a well-made craft beer even more if they knew the people responsible for stocking it in their fridges and bars. Khalatbari adds that the long-term goal of the show is to establish the same kind of symbiosis with the craft beer industry that has existed between the comedy and cannabis scenes for years. The partnership seems almost inevitable: Beer tends to facilitate comedy on both ends; its inhibition-relaxing properties make comics more daring and audiences more willing to laugh.
Decker and Khalatbari hope the night’s comedy will return the favor by serving as a more direct way of introducing consumers to the personalities of their favorite breweries, beyond whatever they might infer from packaging, taste, and advertising. Beer companies’ brands, and especially Renegade’s, Decker says, tend to lend themselves to the straight-talking atmosphere of a comedy show.
“One thing that bothered me about the rules and regulations of the culture I came from and what attracted me to the beer industry was the honesty that came with it,” Decker says. “It loosens people up to say things they wouldn’t normally stay. Sometimes you say a little more than you want to, but I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing.”