Custom beers: Great Divide rolls with Chipotle while the Wynkoop rides with Elitch's
Local breweries have been teaming up for years with Colorado restaurants on custom-made beers, but other kinds of businesses and organizations have been raising a pint to the collaborative spirit as well, from Denver Comic Con, which joined forces with Breckenridge Brewery, to Oskar Blues, which worked with Icelantic Skis, to the Fort Collins Coloradoan, which celebrated its 140th anniversary with an Odell beer.
That trend continued on Wednesday as Great Divide Brewing and Colorado-based Chipotle announced that the brewery would make a special Farmhouse-style saison for the the fast-casual chain's second annual Cultivate Festival, which will take place in Denver this August. And the Wynkoop Brewing Company also revealed that it will once again brew three custom beers for Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park.
Like some other fast-casual chains, Chipotle has taken a keen interest in craft beer over the past two years, inviting upwards of fifteen breweries in 2012 to the Cultivate Food, Ideas & Music Festival in City Park. Designed to celebrate fresh and sustainable food, the free festival included demonstrations by celebrity chefs, live music and exhibits.
This year, Chipotle took things a step further, commissioning three breweries in the three cities where Cultivate will take place to each make a custom beer for the fest. In addition to Great Divide, Five Rabbit Cerveceria in Chicago will make a beer for the festival there, while Speakeasy Ales & Lagers will brew one in San Francisco.
"They approached us and asked us to make a farmhouse-style beer, some sort of saison," says Great Divide spokesman Doug Christie. "They said they were big fans of Collette [another Great Divide beer] and they knew we could nail it."
The brewery will make fourteen barrels of the saison, which will be brewed with sweet orange peel and black peppercorn; it was designed to pair well with Mexican food.
Cultivate is slated to take place in Denver this year on August 17, meaning festival attendees probably won't have to face the freezing temperatures that they dealt with at last year's event, which was in October.
The Wynkoop is also rolling out some custom beers, brewing up three specialties for Elitch's: Elitch Gardens Orchard Wheat, Elitch Gardens Fire Roasted Amber, and Thrills and Spills Summer Ale, a hoppy, low-alcohol English-style ale. The brewery made the first two beers for the amusement park last year, as well.
Wynkoop spokesman Marty Jones says the partnership worked well in 2012, as Elitch's sold much more of the Wynkoop-brewed beer than it expected. In fact, the park was the Wynkoop's biggest draft customer last summer. "Best of all, the project gave us vivid proof that even in a mainstream-minded, broad-demographic destination like a theme park, there's a large audience of people thirsty for out-of-the-mainstream, artisan-style, goosebumping beer," Jones says in a statement. "That was not a surprise to us."
All three beers will go on tap tonight from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Wynkoop (they are already on tap at Elitch's); the party will include drawings for various prizes from the park.
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