Beer Man

Blue Moon cooks up chocolate bacon porter and two more beers at the Sandlot

If you smelled bacon last week in LoDo, you weren't dreaming. The Blue Moon Brewing Company @ the Sandlot was adding it to a new beer.

"We put thirty pounds of bacon in the kettle along with dark chocolate, cocoa nibs and hickory smoked bacon. The savory bacon helps balance the sweet chocolate," says Keith Villa, the founder and brewmaster for MillerCoors's Blue Moon subsidiary. Villa had spent five hours on Wednesday night frying the bacon on his stove at home.

The beer, dark chocolate bacon porter, is one of three new experimental beers that Blue Moon is brewing this month in small batches at the Sandlot. The company will try them out in 35 markets across the country and then have fans vote on their favorite. The winner will be included in Blue Moon's mystery packs beginning August 31 -- the same day of the next blue moon (which is when there are two full moons in the same month).

The other two beers are blackberry tart ale and caramel apple spiced ale, which will be made with 100 percent apple juice, cinnamon, nutmeg and specific malts that should give the beer a spiced, caramel-y taste, Villa says.

The ideas for the three beers came from Blue Moon's Facebook fans; Villa created the recipes with help from John Legnard, Tom Hail, and rest of the brewing staff at the Sandlot. "The brewing skills we have at the Sandlot really turn into great beers. I don't think anyone has done a bacon chocolate beer," Villa adds.

The Sandlot is located inside Coors Field, and although baseball season doesn't start for another two months, the brewery operates year-round, producing Blue Moon, Barman, and specialty house beers for ski resorts like Vail, Winter Park and Mary Jane.

They will make forty barrels of each one of these beers and test them from February 20 through March 30. The winning beer will be brewed in either Golden or at the MillerCoors plant in Eden, North Carolina.

All three beers will be featured at a special beer dinner at Salt Bistro in Boulder on March 14, according to regional Blue Moon representative Ethan Stienstra. "They'll get one keg of each, and they'll match their dishes to the beers. After that, they will keep them on tap until they run out."

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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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