Marcus Baskerville has traveled to Denver four times in the past few years, and on the last two trips, he made sure to stop first at Bierstadt Lagerhaus. Although Baskerville specializes in stouts and IPAs as the co-founder and head brewer at Weathered Souls Brewing in San Antonio, Texas, Bierstadt’s lagers were just too good to pass by.
So when prominent national beer writer John Holl named Baskerville and Bierstadt's co-owner, Ashleigh Carter, to the annual Wine Enthusiast list of 40 Tastemakers Under 40, the Texas brewer made a call. “I contacted Ashleigh with my fingers crossed in hopes that she would agree to a collaboration, because I know Bierstadt doesn’t do a lot of those,” he says. “We actually didn’t know each other before that.”
Wine Enthusiast included Baskerville because of the brewer’s response to the aftermath of the George Floyd murder in May; Baskerville had created an imperial stout called Black Is Beautiful and shared it with other breweries so that they could brew and sell the beer, then donate proceeds to Black Lives Matter and other organizations seeking racial justice. The campaign quickly caught fire, and by July, more than 1,000 breweries in all fifty states, including at least thirty in Colorado, and eighteen countries had signed on.
Carter, meanwhile, had made the Tastemakers list for being a “forward-thinking traditionalist” and “a tireless advocate for well-crafted yet unfussy beer,” according to Holl's profile. “It’s made her a go-to source for beer history and a leader for its future.”
So Baskerville was a little nervous when he called Carter, in part because he wanted to find a style that would align with both breweries' ways of doing things. “They are very traditional, and I am a lot more freestyle in my approach,” he says. But Carter quickly agreed to get on board.
The result is a schwarzbier (a dark lager) that both breweries will tap in early December in honor of Weathered Souls' fourth anniversary. It was brewed in San Antonio in October with Bierstadt’s house yeast and some lagering tricks and techniques that Carter and Bierstadt co-owner/brewer Bill Eye brought with them on the road trip, as well as chocolate rye and other ingredients that suited Baskerville’s non-traditional ethos.
“It got her out of her realm, and it was a learning experience for me. I want to implement some of their lagering processes into my own lagers,” he says. “Really, it was one of the highlights of my brewery career so far, because I think very highly of their brewery.”
But working with Baskerville was special for Carter, as well. “Marcus is an excellent human, and a deep-down, true lover of making beer — not everyone is,” she says. “As a collaboration, I believe in using ideas from both places. … There would be no point in making it exactly as I would design it if I were doing it alone; that defeats the purpose of a collaboration,” she adds. “I always have a couple of sticking points, but some of those are different if it’s home or away. [We] had a great time collaborating.”
She also says she was incredibly impressed by Baskerville’s effort to bring people together using Black Is Beautiful, which has raised nearly $50,000 in San Antonio alone.
And Baskerville will have many more opportunities to do that in the future: In early November, he was elected to the board of directors of the Boulder-based Brewers Association, and he’s now working on partnerships with the San Antonio Spurs and Walmart, which Baskerville says is considering selling Black Is Beautiful in its stores nationwide.
As for Weathered Souls' birthday, the brewery will release a four-pack of cans that will include four different collaborative beers, each from a different brewery, including Bierstadt.
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