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Recap of the inaugural Fermentation Fest

One can never have too many beer festivals, but why stop there?  Let’s celebrate all things fermented! This is what the inaugural Fermentation Festival and Market set out to do this past weekend in Denver. The event was organized by the same organization that created the South Denver Beer Festival a few months back. Represented at the Fermentation Festival were a handful of breweries and vendors who specialize in fermented food such as pickles and kimchi, as well as other fermented beverages.
This festival was small, but it really gave an opportunity to chat with the brewers and food artisans about their products casually and at some greater length than one would have at a more bustling festival. I am sure that this festival will expand in coming years and will be a real treat to attend again.There were additional seminars available throughout the day on topics ranging from kombucha, kefir and kimchi making, as well as beer and wine making. The most entertaining draw of the day was the pickle toss competition, which had two rounds and a championship, based on skillful pickle chip tossing.

Pickle Toss!
Back to focusing on the beer, as that’s something we like to do here. Some newer breweries were in attendance, which was a pleasant surprise: Rickoli (Wheat Ridge), Verboten (Loveland), Großen Bart (Frederick), City Star Brewing (Berthoud), and Twelve Degree Brewing (Louisville). All five had some fun ales on tap and nearly all of the breweries are less than a year old! I suddenly feel the need for a field trip North of Denver!
Verboten Brewing really caught me by surprise and I think they are one brewery you’ll want to watch closely. Discussing with some of their brewers/owners, Joshua Grenz and his wife, they have a lot of interesting and unusual beers in the works and currently available in their taproom. They have been around for only 8 months and plan to expand their capacity very soon. 
Verboten Brewing pouring beers
You’ll be able to find Verboten Brewing at the Great American Beer Festival this year. Their offerings at the Fermentation Festival included a Kentucky Common Ale (a quite uncommon American style beer that historically had an inverted bourbon grain bill with a sour mash, and was aged warmer for shorter periods of time) that they also make as an imperial version that is aged in rum barrels. They were pretty proud of the beer, for a good reason too. They are also aging some of their ‘Not the Irish’ Red ale, which they were pouring on nitro for the fest, in a Bushmills Whiskey barrel. That one will be available in the tap room next month.

All in all the classes were informative and I thought they were interesting since it wasn’t exclusively beer-centric. Personally, it was a great event for me to learn about new breweries I had not previously been exposed to in an intimate setting. I look forward to seeing this fest grow into a larger educational and entertaining draw in years to come.

– Written by guest writer Josh Howard

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