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Coloradans know beer. We know when it’s hoppy, when it’s malty, when it’s sour, and above all, we know when it’s good. But most of us don’t know a whole lot about how the craft beer industry—which had a $1.7 billion(!) economic impact on the state in 2015—actually works. A new local project hopes to change that. This weekend the SOWN Beer Project, a collaboration among seven breweries and a Fort Collins malthouse, will launch. The unique undertaking asks beer-drinkers, brewers, and anyone along the craft-beer supply chain to take a closer look at the local ingredients and relationships that go into creating each and every pint.
The idea came from Zach Coleman of TRVE Brewing and Troubadour Maltings‘ owner Chris Schooley (craft-malthouse Troubadour supplies its product to TRVE, which they use in most of their creations). There is a lot of misunderstanding about how the supply chain within the craft beer industry works, and even when consumers know they’re sipping on a brew made with local ingredients, they don’t know what or from where. Starting Saturday, May 6, TRVE< will commence the SOWN Beer Project by tapping of a dry-hopped saison (more on that below), and throughout the month of May, six other local brewhouses will offer their own SOWN beers. Each recipe was created specifically to start conversations among people throughout the supply chain—from growers of malt and barley to yeast producers to the brewers themselves—in the hopes of cultivating relationships and strengthening the end product (read: more great beer). Along the way, beer lovers can also learn a little more about how the good stuff is really made.
SOWN started “like a punk show in a basement,” according to Schooley, gathering area-brewers who shared an interest in making unique beer and growers who wanted to be more involved in the end product. It wasn’t hard to find brewers willing to take on this challenge. “This community is huge in terms of learning and pushing quality, pushing expectations of quality, and pushing the expectations of innovation and how you can continue to create real, meaningful experiences with a craft product,” says Schooley.
Each of the SOWN creations exemplify a unique blend of local ingredients from across the state. “These relationships open the door for a wider range of options. It allows everyone to be directly involved and, even as small breweries and brewers, to have agency and a voice as we grow,” says Zach Coleman. “I want SOWN beers to be more than ‘made with local ingredients.’ It’s the start of a conversation about how we get those ingredients and how they are grown and how we are able to have a positive impact on that supply chain.”
The program hopes to release new beers quarterly, if not more frequently, using Colorado brewers and growers. Maybe in the future, all the beers will be tapped in one location, where brewers, growers, and consumers can talk about the future of the industry. We’ll cheers to that.
Try the following beers (and ask your bartender why it’s unique) starting May 6th:
TRVE Brewing: A dry-hopped saison fermented in puncheons. Brewed with Troubadour Maltings Pevec and White Wheat, High Wire Hops CTZ, Cascade (dry hop), and Crystal (dry hop), and Inland Island Saison yeast Blend. 227 Broadway
Our Mutual Friend: A Colorado cedar porter with Troubadour Maltings Serenade and Encore, Colorado Malting Company White Wheat, Belgian Chocolate, and Crystal 60, Root Shoot Malting OMF Roasted Raw Barley and OMF Roasted Brown Malt. Hopped with Colorado Nugget. Fermented with 001 from Inland Island. Colorado Cedar Wood Chips were added to the beer during the mash and after fermentation. 2810 Larimer St.
Comrade Brewing Co.: A single-hop cascade with Metcalfe Pale from Root Shoot Malting in Loveland, Cascade hops from High Wire Hops in Paonia and yeast from Brewing Science Institute in Woodland Park. 7667 E. Iliff Ave.
Cerebral Brewing: An open-fermented saison with Troubadour Pevec, Antero White Wheat, Raw Wheat, and Ballad. Hopped with Crystal from High Wire Hops and Inland Island Saison strain. 1477 Monroe St.
Call to Arms Brewing: SMuSH (single malt und single hop) beer brewed with Troubadour Serenade, High Wire Cascade for the hops, and Inland Island 006 for yeast. 4526 Tennyson St.
Berthoud Brewing Co.: A cherry wheat ale brewed with Troubadour Pevec, Antero White Winter Wheat, and Chorus malt. Eccentric Ale yeast from Inland Island, Crystal hops from High Wire (Paonia), and Balaton cherries procured from Scofield Farms (Loveland). 450 8th St., Berthoud
Horse & Dragon/Soul Squared Brewing: Purple ale brewed with Troubadour Serenade, Purple Egyptian Barley malted by Troubadour and sourced from McKay Seed Co in Rosalia, WA, and a raw Purple barley addition. Crystal, Chinook, Cascade, and Willamette hops from Colorado Hop Co. Horse & Dragon house ale yeast strain. Available at Horse & Dragon, 124 Racquette Dr., Fort Collins