The Six Best Beers Inspired by Colorado Bands

Collaborations between breweries and bands are nothing new. But with the explosion of craft breweries in the Denver area, this year has brought an unprecedented number of band-themed beers. With the Great American Beer Festival in town, we thought this would be the perfect time to explore six of those recent collaborative brews.

6. Black Sky Brewery – Doperunner – Doppelbock 

Beer Info: This brew is being released on October 10. 

About the Band: Doperunner is an internationally renowned grindcore/power violence band that has played more countries than most Denver bands ever will and is criminally underrated in its home town.
5. Black Shirt BreweryIn the Whale – Whales Suck

Beer Info (from a recent Westword article): Black Shirt usually makes strong, heavy, unique beers. But [In the Whale's Nate] Valdez told them he isn’t a hops guy, and the duo wanted a light beer that fans could drink while jumping around at their shows. The result is Whales Suck. It’s malty, crisp, and goes down as smoothly as water. “If we’re talking about replacing PBR at a rock show, this is much more flavorful than that, but it doesn’t sit any heavier,” says head brewer Brandon Miller. “It’s not a big, hoppy beer that’s in your face.”

About the Band: In the Whale makes a strange but effective combination of sludge rock, garage rock and heavy blues.

4. Black Shirt BreweryGlowing House – Glowing House Red

Beer Info: Here's how Black Shirt Brewing describes the beer on its website. "After much brainstorming, research, and tasting trials, we settled on a Whiskey Barrel Aged Red Ale that we blended with vintage Merlot and Cab Franc that we had made six and seven years ago, respectively, while we still had dreams of opening a winery." 

About the Band: Glowing House makes “hauntingly hopeful” folk rock that sidesteps the clichés of folk and Americana with truly emotionally stirring performances and warm melodies.

3. Breckenridge BreweryLeftover Salmon – Silver Salmon India

Beer Info: According to brewer Brian Reinecke: “We used American hops that give the beer flavor and aroma, but not too much bitterness. To give Silver Salmon some depth, we used Vienna malt and added in some flaked oats. The oats increase the body and give the beer a visual dimension, an opalescence.”

About the Band: Leftover Salmon is the legendary eclectic jam band from Boulder whose blend of bluegrass, country, rock, folk and Cajun/zydeco has earned it a sizable worldwide audience.

2. Coda BrewingDragondeer – Dragondeer Beer

Beer Info: Per a January article in Westword: "'We had a couple of ideas,' says Eric Halborg, frontman of Dragondeer, about the collaboration. 'We were thinking a sour beer and a Mexican-style lager, but a little bit punchier.' Both of those were out of the question, as sour beers and lagers have a long, complicated process to them. So they settled on a sour saison. 'It's a saison, but then it has a sourness to it that mimics a traditional sour beer,' Halborg says. 'It's a good spring/summer beer.'”

About the Band: Dragondeer and its impassioned performances masterfully bridge the gap between Chicago blues, psychedelic rock and a Southwestern musical flavor.

1. Ratio Beerworks – The Knew – Schmew

Beer Info: The Knew Schmew is "a kettle sour gose with coriander, red gold Hawaiian sea salt and lime zest."

About the Band: The Knew is a power-pop/rock band that just released its latest, and arguably best, album, also called Schmew

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Tom Murphy is a writer, visual artist and musician from Aurora, Colorado. He was a prolific music writer for Westword and a documenter of the Denver music scene.