Beer

Industry Pros Share Their Favorites From the 2022 WeldWerks Invitational

The 2022 Weldwerks Invitational was attended by 1500 people over two sessions.
The 2022 Weldwerks Invitational was attended by 1500 people over two sessions. Charles Bland
The 2022 WeldWerks Invitational took place Saturday, June 25. In its prior two years (pre-pandemic), the fest packed a heavy list of national and local favorites leading to high expectations for this year's event. But with some of the biggest names in the country in attendance, including Side Project Brewing, 3 Sons Brewing, Toppling Goliath Brewing, Other Half Brewing, Superstition Meadery, Russian River Brewing and many more, those expectations were exceeded.

Colorado brewery invites were tough to come by this year, with only Amalgam Brewing, Casey Brewing and Blending, Cerebral Brewing, New Image Brewing and Primitive Beer joining the festival host, WeldWerks. Still, those six breweries poured over 24 beers at the fest, including some of the most sought-after at the event — and in the state in general.

"A lot of amazing breweries are here from across the country," remarked Denver Nuggets head coach Mike Malone, who was in attendance. "WeldWerks is amazing, not just because of their great beer, but also the people and what they do for the community. They're all about philanthropy; they have a mindset of giving back to Greeley. This is a truly epic event. I'm thankful to be here, and I support it 1,000 percent."

100 percent of the proceeds from the festival went to the WeldWerks Community Foundation, the brewery's charitable arm, which focuses on improving the local Weld County community.

We asked some brewing-industry leaders and other notable attendees what their favorite Colorado beer of the day was, and their responses did not disappoint, with a lot of love for Amalgam Brewing and a few surprising picks:
Amalgam's Table 44 also just won gold in the Wood and Barrel-Aged Stouts category at the 2022 World Beer Cup.
Amalgam Brewing/Instagram

Boysenberry Reduction from Amalgam Brewing

Lisa Boldt, co-owner of Primitive Beer in Longmont, says, "One of the most interesting beers I tried was Amalgam's Boysenberry Reduction, which is a pressed-fruit version of an already incredible Boysenberry. I loved the intense fruit flavors, full mouthfeel and delicate booze on the tongue. Hard to tell if you're drinking a beer, fruit wine or mead. Casey Brewing and Blending also had a cool mixed fermentation beer [Fût De Calvados Et Miel] aged in a Calvados barrel. I like that they play with interesting spirit barrels all the time."

Danny Wang, co-founder and information architect of Fermly, adds, "Holy crap, I'd either drink a whole bottle of [Boysenberry Reduction] or pour it all over my pancakes. Perfect mouthfeel for a freeze-distilled beer, amazing balance in flavor between sweet and tart."

PR Nightmare from Primitive Beer in Longmont
Phillip Joyce, co-founder of Amalgam Brewing, says, "It's really refreshing; the spruce tips added some citrusy flavors that were nice on the palate compared to some of the other heavier beers here," he explains.

Bob Slack, co-head brewer of Pulpit Rock Brewing agrees, adding, "PR Nightmare, the spruce beer from Primitive. The character of the barrel, the beer, and the finish of the spruce tip was absolutely outrageous."

Table 44 from Amalgam Brewing
Stan Hieronymus, a noted beer author and writer of almost three decades, enjoyed comparing Primitive's PR Nightmare to Amalgam's Table 44, which "was one of the first beers I tried because I was delighted when the name was called out at World Beer Cup, and their Table series is a cool project," he notes. "There's a delicate botanical connection between [Table 44 and PR Nightmare] from the gin barrels, and also with untamed yeast (same, not the same). And then they go different directions, allowing you to compare the spruce tips in PR Nightmare with the bright and fresh blast of flavor that you get in a lower-alcohol beer like Table 44. They are both world-class beers. I don't know that I would call one better than the other."

Brandon Capps, owner and head brewer of New Image Brewing, adds of Table 44: "It was aged in some gin barrels. They're working with a local producer that is doing new age-style gin, and it comes through in the beer. You get the gin botanical profile, but it's not overpowering; it's more citrus-focused and less botanically dominated. It's a light beer, easy drinking, low ABV and a very pleasant saison and mixed-culture character. And beyond that, it's not a beer that's getting you fucking shit-hammered, so that's also great."

Kevin Hamori, owner of pop-up Get Sauced Pizza, agrees. "It was a nice change of pace from all the big-hitting stouts. For being a table beer, it presented a ton of flavor with a slight gin presence."

Premier Goat from Amalgam Brewing
Tristan Chan, founder of PorchDrinking, says, "Amalgam Brewing's Premier Goat was undoubtedly one of the best standouts of the festival. It was their batch-one version, which surprisingly doesn't have any adjuncts included, but the way that they worked that recipe, you get really juicy stone fruit flavors with balanced acidity from a wild fermented sour. I think that really speaks to the craftsmanship involved in creating that beer."

Intent Barleywine from New Image in Arvada
Suzanne Kandler, director of operations for Peculier Ales, says, "It was amazing. The flavor profile was fantastic. It had everything you want in a barleywine, all the cozies. As a woman drinking a barleywine, it definitely made me want to go home, sit on the couch and have another."

Fuego Reserva from Cerebral Brewing in Denver

"Such rich chocolate in it. The mezcal barrel came through a little bit — a slight heat, but just really smooth," says Skip Schwartz, head brewer of WeldWerks Brewing.

Double Barrel Here Be Monsters from Cerebral Brewing
Says Brandon Buckner, co-owner of Bottle Logic Brewing in Anaheim, California: "It's deep and complex, and Cerebral is just consistently putting out fantastic beers."
click to enlarge
"If we don't sell it, they can't sue us," has a nice ring to it!
Charles Bland
Pellegreeley from WeldWerks Brewing Co. in Greeley
This pick comes from Jamie Bogner, co-founder and editorial director of Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine. "The beverage I've had the most of at the fest has to be Pellegreeley," he says. "It's made with Greeley's award-winning water, with WeldWerks Citra hops, no alcohol and a bit of sparkling carbonation. It has been a phenomenal palate cleanser, the thing I drink between beers here at the festival. And so just by default, in terms of sheer volume, I have drank more of this in the last two days than any single beer, and it is the one thing I come back to. However, I will say this: Batch one of Pellegreeley, that they made at the last festival, was definitely better than this year's batch."

The Medianoche series from WeldWerks Brewing Co.
Nuggets coach Malone went with the host brewery's series, with a caveat: "I still think the best beer they ever made was Prost Malone, named after a local coach."
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Ryan Pachmayer is a beer writer living in Arvada. He has written for publications such as Craft Beer & Brewing, Zymurgy, Porch Drinking, Homebrewing DIY and Punch. He is also the head brewer at Yak & Yeti Brewpub, marketing director at New Image Brewing and a BJCP Certified Judge.