Beer Man

Blue Moon Brewing @ The Sandlot will take a swing at a sour beer on Opening Day

You're gonna need a scorecard to identify your almost-all-new Colorado Rockies this season, but the team isn't the only entity shaking things up at Coors Field. During the Rockies' April 9 home opener, Blue Moon Brewery @ the Sandlot will debut Farmhouse Red, a sour-style beer that may challenge the typical baseball game drinker. Although Sandlot head brewer John Legnard promises that the Farmhouse Red will be refreshing and drinkable, it will also have a tart quality -- the ones that makes people pucker in a pleasant way -- common in Belgian-style sour and wild ales.

"To some people, the people who love that style of beer, they will say it's not sour enough," Legnard predicts. "But we can't freak out the baseball stadium fans too fast."

As a result, the beer will only be served at the Sandlot (Denver's most unusual brewery) and a few other vendors at Coors Field. "We only made one batch [about eighteen kegs worth]," he says. Still, Farmhouse Red will definitely introduce a wider audience to the unusual beer.

A "Belgian-inspired combination of styles," the "tasty beer" includes five different farmhouse ale-style malts, along with hibiscus, white pepper and coriander, Legnard adds. Tenth and Blake, the MillerCoors subsidiary that runs the Blue Moon Brewing Company, plans to bottle the beer and sell it in test markets later this year.

Surprisingly, the beer doesn't contain either of the ingredients that brewers normally use to sour beers: brettanomyces yeast or bacteria like lactobacillus. Since the brewery is small, Legnard says he couldn't risk accidentally infecting other batches of beer.

So what gives Farmhouse Red its tang? Legnard was uncharacteristically close-lipped, saying the ingredient was a trade secret. Some breweries and home brewers use a kind of malt called acidulated malt, however, to impart a light sourness to their beers.

Perhaps that's how the Sandlot is playing ball.

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Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes

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