I visited Crooked Stave for their Grand Opening

Crooked Stave's L'Brett D'Or

Crooked Stave Artisin Beer Project made a great second impression today. My first impression of Crooked Stave was when I decided to join their cellar reserve society. I felt like joining was kind of a roll of the dice since not that many beers had come out when the reserve society was offered. I have been thankful I joined and so excited for every beer they've released I couldn't pass up the opportunity to try two new ones yesterday at their tap room grand opening.

Crooked Stave was in the same building as Funkwerks in Ft. Collins when they started. Since then they have begun the move to being on their own. They recently moved into a warehouse type space in Denver that they've labeled their "Barrel Cellar". They are not brewing on premise. Instead they have stacks upon stacks of barrels with beer maturing away inside them. They have a single foeder and according to their blog, three more foeders on the way. Also in the space sits a conical fermenter, brite tank, and what appeared to be a small bottling machine. Rumor has it that the plan is to stage here until the right brewing space comes along. For now, it appears they will be contract brewing.

The taproom is a small intimate gathering with a slightly industrial feel focused on the bar and the beer behind it. I need to be honest, I get excited when I see one Crooked Stave tap handle somewhere, so seeing five taps made me giddy. The beers on tap were mostly offerings I had tried either from bottles or at a sneak peak that cellar members got a few weeks earlier. On tap was W.W.B.B., W.W.B.I., Surette Reserva, and the two newcomers: Vignole and L'Brett D'Or. They also had a non-alcoholic Kombucha blend on tap.

Tank and Fermenter in the Barrel Room Space

The first beer I tried was Vignole, a sour golden ale aged on Colorado Vignole grapes. I've had a few grape sours/wilds/lambics so it was interesting to compare. It did have a musty dryness in both the aroma and the finish, but less than I was used to. The overwhelming (not in a bad way) flavor was one I can only describe as pineapple and orange juice blended with a crisp sourness. As the beer warmed, a slight acetic Brett funk came through, but still very fruity and wonderful.

The second beer I tried was L'Brett D'Or, I was very excited for this beer. It is another sour golden ale but this time aged in Leopold peach whiskey barrels. The kicker is that these are second use barrels that previously housed New Belgium Love. There are different types of Love, but it is usually a house blend of sours. So the barrel alone gives you two reasons this beer will taste amazing: peach whiskey and New Belgium sours. This beer was taken from the barrels, but some of it was left behind. The remaining beer is currently marinating on peaches which should make the final product even better. This beer smells warm and boozy on the front but then prepares your mouth for the sourness to come. As it hits your mouth it is initially tart finishing with a caramelized toffee bready aftertaste. As the beer warms, the flavors meld. The pleasant boozy warmth makes way for a dry fruit leaving the enjoyable bready biscuit aftertaste. I cannot wait for bottles of this beer.

Chad and his Project impressed me with beers like Persica, Batch 1, W.W.B. series, Blackberry Petite Sour and many others. He did it again with his Barrel Cellar, tap room, and newest two beers. This is an amazing place and is quickly becoming my favorite brewery. Other people are noticing too. For being relatively new to the game, his sours are already ranking with some of the best American sour producers. Well Done.

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BeerEric Steen