Beer Man

Denver Beer Co. Head Brewer Jason Buehler Dies in Climbing Accident

Jason Buehler.
Jason Buehler. Denver Beer Co.
Jason Buehler — a father to three, a husband, a son and a friend with a quick smile — died on November 6 after he fell near the top of Maroon Peak, one of three dozen 14,000-footers he’d summited in an effort to climb all 58 in Colorado.

The head brewer at Denver Beer Co. since 2015, Buehler was a well-regarded, award-winning beer maker and the driving force behind Cerveceria Colorado, a DBC offshoot that specializes in beers with Latin American ingredients and in collaborating with craft breweries in Mexico, where Buehler traveled extensively.

"There is nothing we can say that can possibly convey the way we are feeling right now. He was our glue. He was our inspiration. He was our energy," brewery owners Patrick Crawford and Charlie Berger wrote in a Facebook message posted November 9. "We know that there are so many more people that he has connected with than we can even possibly imagine. It was one of his truest traits. Jason was magnetic. If you were lucky enough to have a beer with him, you were damn lucky. From Ohio to Mexico, Brazil, Platte St. and beyond, he leaves friends wishing for just one more. He shared his knowledge with other brewers and spent his time learning about unique local ingredients and brewing culture. Jason could walk into a brewery anywhere, and instantly be friends with everyone, regardless of whether they spoke the same language."

click to enlarge The Denver Beer Co. team after their GABF medal win in 2015. - DENVER BEER CO.
The Denver Beer Co. team after their GABF medal win in 2015.
Denver Beer Co.
Friends of Buehler have created a GoFundMe page to help raise money for his wife, Leanne, and their three children. It will go toward monthly bills and an educational fund.

Raised in Millersburg, Ohio, Buehler graduated from Miami University and later moved to Colorado. In 2007, he earned his brewing degree from the famed Siebel Institute of Technology in Chicago and began his brewing career at Rockyard Brewing in Castle Rock. From there, he moved on to Shamrock Brewing in Pueblo and then to the original Oskar Blues in Lyons.

One of the beers he co-created at Oskar Blues was a collaboration with Shamrock called Death by Coconut. A standout at the very first Collaboration Fest in 2014, the beer became an in-state phenomenon and went on to win a silver medal at the Great American Beer Festival that same year. It is now a mainstay in the Oskar Blues seasonal rotation, and has inspired a series of other beers.

click to enlarge Jason Beuhler behind the bar at Cerveceria Colorado. - CERVECERIA COLORADO
Jason Beuhler behind the bar at Cerveceria Colorado.
Cerveceria Colorado
After taking the head brewer's job at DBC in 2015, Buehler helped owners Crawford and Berger expand and build the brewery’s portfolio. DBC and Cerveceria Colorado have won a combined ten GABF medals since Buehler came on board, including three this past October.

But Buehler, who was 43 and lived in Niwot, also fit in with the brewery’s outdoorsy brand and love of the mountains. He had climbed 36 out of the 58 mountains over 14,000 feet here, and had hoped to finish the rest by 2022. But he also enjoyed running, biking with his family, raising chickens, attending concerts and baking.

"As a brewer, Jason was one of the greatest talents in the industry. The GABF and World Beer Cup hardware he amassed in his career is only the beginning of that story. The rest of it is in our pint glasses. And will continue to be for a long, long time as we brew his recipes in his honor," Crawford and Berger wrote. "We love you JB. You will remain forever in our hearts."
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Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes