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It’s not beer, but technically, it’s not whiskey, either—Ska Brewing and Peach Street Distillers’ Modus Hoperandi Bier Schnapps sits in a class of its own. The distilled concoction begins its life as Ska’s deliciously bitter Modus Hoperandi IPA. It then takes a road trip from the brewery’s Durango headquarters to the small town of Palisade, where Peach Street Distillers president Bill Graham and his team run it through the still before aging it in the distillery’s bourbon oak barrels for eight months.
While the concept of schnapps in the U.S. is often associated with an overly sweet—often peppermint-flavored—drink, the Modus Hoperandi Bier Schnapps boasts a malty, floral aroma that’s rounded out with subtle caramel, vanilla, and oaky flavors from the oak barrel.
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“Bier Schnapps crafted in the German tradition is simply beer that has been distilled to varying degrees of alcohol content,” Graham says. “In Germany, you say schnapps, and it means a lot of different alcohols.” At 92 proof, “it’s basically whiskey,” Graham says, noting that the use of distiller’s yeast in the brewing process gives the spirit more heat. “There’s some bite there,” he says.
The collaboration experimentation isn’t the first time the two companies have teamed up. Graham and Dave Thibodeau co-founded both Ska and Peach Street; Graham now oversees Peach Street, while Thibodeau heads up all operations at Ska Brewing.
The Modus Hoperandi Bier Schnapps is available in a limited run of 750 ml bottles in select retail stores throughout the state of the Colorado. Denverites looking to pick up a bottle of this delightful spirit can head to Argonaut Liquor or Davidsons Liquors. But don’t worry too much if you’re unable to snag a bottle from one of the 66 cases distributed throughout the state—Ska and Peach Street are already planning another Modus Hoperandi Bier Schnapps bottle release in early 2019.
Ska Brewing Co., 225 Girard St, Durango, 970-247-5792
Peach Street Distillers, 144 South Kluge Avene, 970-464-1128