May 21, 2012

Recap: 2011 Tasting #1 for Colorado Springs

The cover for the 12 page menu/catalog
I'm very happy to announce that the first tasting for Beers Made By Walking was a big success! The event happened last Saturday, we had about 100 people show up, sampling four different beers that were made as portraits of, and tributes to, the Colorado landscape in which they were made. The beers were conceived by local homebrewers but brewed through Rocky Mountain Brewery so they could be served at our local pub, Brewer's Republic. The beers were really surprising to me, I had not tasted any of them before the event. I'll talk about them a little later on, but I will say here that they were all vastly different from each other in more ways than one. The variety made the event that much more unique. If you didn't make it out, there will be another tasting, stay tuned by reading the blog or liking us on facebook. Here are some photos from the event, all taken by Daniel Flanders.
Each flight came on a serving tray with a full menu
I built serving trays for the event out of local beetle kill pine so that people could walk around and talk to people while sipping any of the four beers at the same time. I also created a 12 page menu that gave a good amount of detail as to who each brewer was, how they decided to make the beer, and information about the beer itself. I also told the story of how the idea of the project unfolded over a two year period, showed pictures from the first hikes, and drawings (which serve as the beer labels) for each plant used in each beer.
Isaac having a seat and sampling the beers.
As you can see in the photo here, the beers look very different from each other. The first, the prickly pear cactus wheat beer, was a bright pink color, tasted of pomegranates and watermelon and candy. Next was the smoked piñon brown, a very dark brown beer sitting at
about 8.5% and tasting nutty and smokey from the malt and piñon nuts in the beer. The next beer was a cloudy organge double Belgian IPA with chokecherry syrup. The bitterness, hoppiness, and yeastiness of the beer was really cut through with a sweet and kinda tart berry flavor from the chokecherry. Finally, the last beer was reddish brown, smelled heavily of juniper and most people said that it taste like the smell of the trails at Palmer Park. The beer was dominated by juniper, but also had subtle pine flavors and I couldn't really taste the sumac berries, but there were sumac berries in there too. Maybe other people could.
Jason, Isaac, and Justin enjoying their creations together.
The trays being prepared at the bar for customers.
A couple stacks of the trays I made for the event
One of my favorite parts of the event was watching people sit down with the beer, open the menu and take ten minutes to read through it while sampling each beer. I heard a lot of people say that they'd never tried beer with such strange ingredients and they were really surprised at how good they tasted. A lot of people tried picking their favorite beer. They were all so different that I couldn't really pick one myself. Everyone was surprised at how well each flavor stood out and that all the ingredients were from trails that are just down the road (technically we bought the ingredients commercially, but they were all as local as possible, and based on what we found on the trails).
Enjoying the beer at the bar.
Isaac, Grant, Justin, Jason, and Myself.
For each beer I created a large wooden sign that had some information about the beer as well as a drawing of the local plants that are found in the beer. These were placed outside Brewer's Republic as a type of visual menu and artwork. I'd like to see these beers bottled so that we could put these images on the bottles.
Kimberly Banzhaf led multiple hikes and here she is comparing beers.
I can't really say that this was the best part, because the whole thing was pretty fantastic, but I was really excited to be able to serve most people their sample trays. I've organized numerous beer events at this point but never before has the event been able to take place at a licensed bar so, even though I usually do serve the beers to guests, it was really special to be able to be a bartender.

I can't fill you in on everything as that would take up too much space. I'd like to be able to tell you all about the homebrewers that created the beers and helped brew them at Rocky Mountain Brewery but all that information was in the catalog where each person was featured as an artist in a space where the 'exhibition is the bar' and 'the gallery wall is the tap handle.' You can however, download the menu here thanks to GOCA, who sponsored the project and has plenty of information about it on their site too. And, if you missed this one, you'll need to make sure to not miss out on October 29th.