Back in 1979, the art of home brewing was just a bit of foam with possibilities, relegated to the garages and basements of plebeian beer tinkerers in such forward-thinking towns as San Francisco, Seattle and Boulder, where fermenting experiments bubbled forth from primitive barrels and jugs. Most of the stuff was pretty bad, but there were a few heady concoctions that rose above the rest. Entrepreneurial brewers took the best recipes and built businesses around them, and before long, brewpubs -- a phenomenon we now take for granted -- began to sprout like rampant hops vines all across the nation. That's pretty much how it went for David Hummer and Randolph "Stick" Ware, a couple of professorial types at the University of Colorado at Boulder, who one day decided to take their mutual hobby to the next step, encouraged by friends who gave their projects a hearty thumbs-up. After all, any lab scientist will tell you that when your experiments yield a proven outcome, you're ready for the bigtime. And scientists they were: "I really believe that beer-making is an art, but one overlaid by science," says Hummer, who took up home brewing after pining for beer as good as what he'd tasted in Europe. "In the early days, I took notes every step of the way, just like we do in the lab, and then I also took very careful tasting notes."
The notes paid off, but when Hummer and Ware set out to create larger quantities than their tasty five-gallon batches, they discovered that it was illegal to do so in the basement. And that's when they found the goatshed: a little shanty west of Longmont and north of Hygiene, where bleating goats foraged and the DEA didn't snoop. Though they actually only brewed about six batches in the goatshed, it was that experiment that spawned Boulder's Rockies Brewing Company, now located at 2880 Wilderness Place, Boulder, and still going strong after 25 years.
"It was the most irresponsible thing I've ever done," Hummer says -- but we're glad he did it. Hummer and Ware, neither of whom brew beer anymore (or have any connection with the brewery), will both be celebrating today when Rockies throws a Goatshed Revival anniversary party from 1 to 8 p.m. at its current, much fancier, facility.
A $1 donation for Flatirons Habitat for Humanity is requested at the door; for information, call 303-444-8448 or log on to www.boulderbeer.com. -- Susan Froyd
You could leave this Salon with something mah-velous
Avid collectors and newer enthusiasts can expand their art acquisitions at Salon d'Arts, a fine-art exhibit and sale opening today at the Colorado History Museum. "Artistically, this is considered the top show in the country in the representational genre," says Natalie Rekstad-Lynn, founder of the Salon. "A lot of artists hold back their best work of the year so that it can hang here next to other amazing artists." The third annual show benefits the Colorado Ballet and the Webb-Waring Institute for Cancer, Aging and Antioxidant Research. It features over 45 artists from around the country -- including favorites Richard Schmid, Daniel Sprick and Quang Ho -- and comprises more than 120 pieces, some priced at over $75,000. Art lovers with deeper pockets can attend a Gala Exhibition & Sale party on Saturday, June 26; tickets go for $135.
But art enthusiasts on a budget can shop here as well: At Le Jeune Salon on Wednesday, June 16, patrons will be able to purchase works by emerging artists for under $1,000; tickets to that event are $35.
"It's no secret that Colorado has a strong and talented art community," says Rekstad-Lynn. "This show really attracts some big names."
The public can peruse the work of those big names for free from now through the end of the month. The Salon and all related events are at the Colorado History Museum, 1300 Broadway; for more information, call 303-494-0180 or visit www.salon-d-arts.org. -- Julie Dunn
Junior League Cooks Up a Kitchen Tour
The Junior League of Denver may have evolved from "an exclusive group of Denver's most elite women to an open-membership organization," according to its website, but JLD ladies still work the elitist angle for charity. Take today's first annual Kitchens That Cook! fundraiser, where ticket-holders who pay an extra fee will brunch from 9 to 11 a.m. at the Wellshire Inn, then take advantage of their "preferential early access" to the self-guided open-kitchen tour of places in Cherry Hills Village and Denver. At 11 a.m., the less-well-heeled will get their chance to drool over granite countertops and stainless-steel appliances. The kitchens' designers, who also know that money talks, pay a fee to get their creations on the bill; they'll be on hand during the event to answer questions. The official tour runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For tickets, $13 to $15, log on to www.jld.org. -- Caitlin Smith
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Local air guitarists go for the gold
Once upon a time, there was arena rock, which drew thousands upon thousands of true believers to congregate in mysterious caverns around big-haired musicians wearing spandex. The monstrous size of these gatherings begat overwrought gesticulations, which were required to keep the attention of those sequestered in the nosebleed section; this, in turn, begat air guitar. That's right, air guitar: the specialty of pimply, fourteen-year-old wannabe rock stars everywhere. In those days, recalls hi-dive proprietor Matt LaBarge, kids in the Chicago suburb where he grew up got together to form neighborhood air bands. Inspired by the antics of Kiss and Cheap Trick, they flailed away on tennis rackets or nothing at all, competing for, well, for the hell of it.
But times change. Today, air band competitions are an officially sanctioned activity. Witness the U.S. Air Guitar Championship, now in its second year, which takes place in Los Angeles later this month. Before that, though, there's a round of regional competitions, including the inaugural Rocky Mountain Regional Air Guitar Championship, tonight at 8 p.m. at the hi-dive, 7 South Broadway. Whoever wins could eventually land in Finland (Finland?) to compete for the world title in August. Jammin', dudes.
For details, go to www.airguitarusa.com or call 720-570-4500. -- Susan Froyd