It’s American Craft Beer Week; a “big week for small breweries,” the week all true Americans face their favorite brew pub and pledge allegiance to the beer.
Beer-drinking true believers can even sign the American Craft Beer Week Manifesto, pledging their support to craft beer and the artisans who brew it. It’s not as binding as the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag, but it’s tough to hold up a craft beer while you’re standing at attention with your hand over your heart.
“This isn’t one of those fake holidays. No, this is officially sanctioned by congress, as of 2006. Which in my book makes it the equal to the separation of church and state,” said comedian Steven Colbert.
The Vail Valley has three brewpubs: Crazy Mountain Brewery and the Gore Range Brewery in Edwards, and the Bonfire Brewery in Eagle.
Bonfire’s Andy Jessen and Matt Wirtz were roommates when they started brewing brew. Their other roommate moved out, but kept paying her rent, so they used her space to make some home brew.
They started cranking out beer in their garage and got pretty good at it. Andy asked Matt if he could make $500 worth of beer every month they could sell, so they wouldn’t have to have another roommate.
“Since then we’ve basically moved into a series of bigger garages,” Jessen said.
They’re on Second Street in Eagle, where the Viking garage used to be. Last November, they got their production facility cranked up on Chambers Avenue in Eagle.
They keep making more beer because beer lovers keep drinking it.
“From all the evidence, the pie keeps getting bigger,” Jessen said.
During Colorado Craft Beer Week in March they introduced a new beer every day.
“We’ve never had a real dud. Every beer is someone’s favorite beer,” Jessen said. “There are as many types of tastes as there are people out there.”
Good beer, good life
Over at the Crazy Mountain Brewery, the Selvys are spending the week reminding beer lovers that life is good and beer is too.
“It’s a week to celebrate American beer,” CEO Kevin Selvy said.
And you might learn something.
“This is America and we have the freedom to try new stuff,” co-owner Marisa Selvy said.
Through the summer they celebrate Muthafirkin Fridays, when they take one of their popular beers and basically plunk some fruit in the keg and leave it alone for a few days. It’s called a firkin for reasons we didn’t quite understand, but don’t really need to. All you need to know is that the beer is amazing and you should drink some.
At 5 p.m. Fridays – Muthafirkin Fridays – they pour that week’s beer and everyone is happy.
Jeremy Pluck is the Gore Range Brewery brewmaster. He and owner Pascal Coudouy have three new brews pretty much ready to go. They love to try new things, but understand that you still have to dance with the one that brung you, as they say.
Among the favorites is their Lupulus Maximus, a double IPA.