Patrick McEvoy, our Bottle Editor, recently got to interview the good folks at renowned Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project out of Denver, Colorado. Their beer is heading our way and this is great news for Bellingham. Look for it soon at Elizabeth Station!
Here’s the full interview:
The only people I know who have been to the Crooked Stave taproom went during GABF, so the impression is the same: insane, packed, and overwhelming. Is this pretty standard?
GABF is certainly one of our biggest weeks of the year. Our taproom has become a must-visit destination for people traveling to Denver, which is apparent at GABF and around other events. On a normal day, we are busy but not packed. Weekends are much busier than weekdays, but we have a pretty steady crowd throughout the day. After moving our brew system out of the taproom location on Brighton Blvd, we have been able to add additional seating with large community tables, which has increased capacity to a comfortable level.
We are all very excited about the possibility of getting your beer here. Any update on that? What can and should we be getting excited to see?
We are planning to have distribution in NW Washington, very soon. When we open new distribution territories we like to send out a variety of beers including our quarterly released brands: Vieille Artisanal Saison, Surette Provision Saison, and St. Bretta Citrus Wildbier. These are great introductions to the beers we produce as they are tart, very citrusy, and put Brettanomyces yeast on full display. We also plan to include a few seasonal beers and some of our longer barrel-aged beers like Origins and Nightmare on Brett. We are ramping up production so distribution will largely depend on what is coming out of the barrels throughout the year.
I understand there is a local connection between CS and Bellingham. What’s the story on that?
My better half and partner in Crooked Stave, Yetta is from Bow Edison so we have family there and visit often. We love the area and love spending as much time with family in the Pacific Northwest but North West Washington the most!
For those who don’t know about you guys, what should we know? How big is CS and what are your specialties?
Crooked Stave is the culmination of Founder and Brettanomyces Guru Chad Yakobson’s open source Master’s research,The Brettanomyces Project. After studying a Masters in Brewing Science in Scotland, Chad moved back to Colorado in order to pursue his passion in all things fermented. Crooked Stave’s progressive approach to brewing, blends science and art through creativity and passion. The artistic creations, all of which use Brettanomyces yeast and mature in oak, result in beers of extraordinary complexity. We specialize in Brettanomyces wild and sour ales last year we produced just shy of 1,500 bbls of beer. With our new brewery coming online soon we will have capacity to brew 4,500 bbl of wild and funky beers!
We brought in your collab with Evil Twin last year. What was that like working with Jeppe? I just had a fascinating conversation with a Mexican brewer out of Mexico City who made a coffee IPA with Jeppe back in fall and loved the experience of brewing with him, very laid back but very interesting and knowledgeable. Did he come out to Colorado, or how did that all happen?
Jeppe is always fun! We always have a good time when we get together whether it’s brewing or he is crashing at our house in Denver after beer festivals! The brewing process for us both is pretty simple so we had fun thinking up the recipe and ingredients and then going shopping at Whole Foods in South Carolina for all the citrus we used when we brewed together at Westbrook Brewing.
Have you done many other collaborations?
We have done a handful of collaborations. In addition to Evil Twin, we have collaborated with Trois Dames (St-Croix, Switzerland) and Jester King (Austin, TX), Epic Brewing (Salt Lake, UT), and Hill Farmstead (Vermont). We have also done several local collaborations, including Mr. B’s Wine & Spirits and Mile High Wine & Spirits. Most recently, we brewed with Comrade Brewing in Denver to produce an Imperial Sour Wit with grape must. we also just released a collab we did with Crux in Bend, OR.
Why are you bringing beer to Bellingham? What have we done to win such good fortune?
I need an excuse to ski Mt. Baker every year and Bellingham is well situated for this lofty goal. Having family in Skagit county helps too! But really, Bellingham is my kind of city with a great scene and we look forward to having our beers available in Northern Washington.
Can you tell us a little about the beer scene in Denver? For those who haven’t been, how is it unique or different?
Denver’s beer scene is awesome! Personal opinion. Denver’s beer community is steadily growing, with at least one new taproom opening seemingly every week. Beer drinkers in Denver are loyal but tough. They demand quality and expect to receive information about what is in their glass. What is unique about Denver’s beer scene is that it is truly part of the culture, with people trying new breweries as soon as they open, attending beer festivals, and generally just being awesome supporters of our local breweries.