Colorado locavores looking for a local beer can choose among offerings from a wide variety of fabulous craft breweries. But last month, AC Golden introduced Colorado Native, a truly local lager made almost completely with ingredients from Colorado. By fall, it will be 100% Colorado-grown.
With a home-brewer in the family, we are gradually developing more and more complex and sophisticated (or, as some would say, “snobby”) tastes in beer. We don’t drink a lot of lager; Mr. Cheap loves the new super-hop beers, and we like a lot of Belgian brews. That said, however, I would buy Colorado Native — it has that refreshing lager quality, but it also brings a little broader-spectrum flavor to the table.
And Colorado Native’s exciting local features include:
- Water: From the Colorado mountains (OK, that’s pretty much where all the water in Colorado comes from. But keep reading!)
- Barley: Moravian two-row barley from the San Luis Valley in Southern Colorado
- Hops: Chinook, Centennial and Cascade hops from friends and family (and a fraction from out of state). It is anticipated that by this fall all the brew’s hops will be sourced in-state, allowing us to say that Colorado is made from 100% Colorado ingredients (versus our present 99.9% by weight)
- Yeast: From Golden
- Bottles: Made in Colorado
Is that cool or what?
Personally, I love the aspect of friends and family growing the hops in their backyards. I would love to know how many mini-hops-farmers are twining their way around the state. (We are among them — Mr. Cheap has a few hops plants in the backyard, and he’s hoping he’ll soon be able to harvest his own hops for his locavore-friendly, money-saving homebrew hobby.) However, to be sure they have an ongoing supply, the brewery also has a hops farm in Center, Colo., and is contracting with growers on Colorado’s Western Slope (that’s the west side of the Rocky Mountains for those of you in other parts of the world).
If you want to know how the beer is made, the website has a careful description and a picture of the lovely copper kettles used at the brewery. The company’s trying to do the right thing by local drinkers and will donate 25 cents per case of Colorado Native beer sold to local nonprofit organizations. (And unlike eating fried chicken, drinking beer in moderation ostensibly has some health benefits.)
If you want to try Colorado Native, check around at Colorado liquor stores and restaurants. If you’re not in Colorado — plan a visit, because it’s only sold here. And talk to your local breweries about doing a local beer!