Beer Man

Boulder Beer celebrates its 35th anniversary with a special beer -- made by mistake

Regrets? We've had a few. And over the past 35 years, so, too, has Boulder Beer, the state's oldest craft brewery. But a mistake made by a brewer in 2011 isn't one of them, and the company will use that fortuitous mishap next month to celebrate its birthday.

Boulder Beer will release its 35th Anniversary Ale at a party on Tuesday, April 8 during the Craft Brewers Conference, a national trade show that's in Denver that week. The beer is 9.5 percent ABV imperial black IPA made with nearly 8,000 pounds of barley malt.

See also: Boulder Beer turns a brewing screw-up into a big, bold double black IPA

"The amount of malt is really impressive," says Boulder Beer spokesman Dan Weitz. "It almost came to the top of the mash tun. It looked like quicksand."

That's how it probably looked in 2011 as well when the brewery first made the beer -- by accident. Here's what I wrote about that incident:

"Late last year, one of Boulder Beer's brewers finished milling nearly 5,000 pounds of grain for use in a batch of Mojo Risin' double IPA. He then filled up a grain storage hopper above the mill with 3,200 pounds of grain needed for the batch of Planet Porter that was next on the brewing schedule. When he knocked off for the day, the brewer left a note for the next guy on duty, explaining what he had done.

"But since Boulder Beer's 28-year-old grain miller usually can't handle all 4,000 pounds of barley needed for Mojo Risin' at once, the brewers usually have to do it in two batches. The next brewer on duty misinterpreted the note and assumed that the grain waiting in the hopper was for the Mojo rather than the Planet Porter.

"So he milled and mixed in a good portion of the Planet Porter grain with the Mojo grain before realizing what was going on."

When they realized the mistake, the brewers decided to keep going, though, and added hops that they thought might work with the hybrid beer. It turned out better than expected, and Boulder Beer released it as Bad Moon Risin' Double Black IPA.

Fast forward to 2014, and Weitz says the beer was so well-received "that we decided to make it on purpose this time."

The beer will be sold in wax-dipped 22-ounce bomber bottles, and will cost more than most Boulder Beer offerings since it uses more ingredients. But the brewery wanted to it to be worthy of a 35th anniversary beer. "It will be worth every penny," Weitz promises.

The tapping party takes place at Marlowe's in Denver, where there will be other Boulder Beer libations on tap as well from 9:30 p.m. until after midnight, along with live music from Gipsy Moon. The event is open to the public, however, all CBC badge holders will receive two free beers from Boulder Beer.

More than 8,000 brewers, brewery suppliers, business owners and other craft-beer industry professionals will attend the CBC -- and the World Beer Cup competition -- which is being held in Denver for the first time. Although the seminars and presentations associated with the trade show aren't open to the public, there will be dozens of associated beer-drinking events all over town that will be.

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