Beer Man

Denver, Indianapolis Breweries Create Oatmaha Beer to Honor Peyton Manning

Peyton Manning got good news last week when Denver Broncos coach Gary Kubiak named him the starter for the playoff game coming up on January 17. But there's even better news coming: On Monday, Denver's Factotum Brewing and Tow Yard Brewing, from Indianapolis, got together in the Mile High City to brew a collaborative beer called Oatmaha.

The pale ale was conceived to honor Manning, who played for fourteen years in Indy before joining the Broncos in 2012 – although the breweries have been cheekily careful not to mention either team by name, or “the professional quarterback significant to both cities,” as they call him, in order to avoid any possible legal threats from them or from the National Football League.

Oatmaha is made with corn, which represents Indiana, and sage, for Colorado. But it will also be brewed with oats, which recognizes that both the Broncos and the Colts are horse-themed monikers. The name itself, of course, comes from “Omaha!” or “Omaha, Omaha!”, which Manning (and more recently, Brock Osweiler) calls out before many plays.

“It's pretty light and easy drinking,” says Factotum brewer and co-owner Chris Bruns – a feeling that was inspired by a January 2014 press conference in which Manning said, “What's weighing on my mind is how soon I can get a Bud Light in my mouth.”

“My parents like it, and if my parents like it, I figure that the quarterback would like it, too,” Bruns says with a laugh. “We have Columbus hops in there, and Falconer's Flight, so it touches on the citrusy, piney American hops that a lot of beer drinkers are used to. But it's not too strong. The sage is kept in check. We wanted it to be approachable.”

Factotum and Tow Yard brewed their first batch in Indianapolis back in November, before the Broncos played the Colts; that version is sold out of cans from the Tow Yard taphouse.The second version was brewed in Denver on Monday. Bruns says he'd like to have it on tap before the Super Bowl – and then to serve it at Collaboration Fest, which takes place March 19 at, yes, Sports Authority Field at Mile High, the home of the Broncos. The breweries say that "the quarterback of note is also entitled to a free six-pack of Oatmaha in the Factotum taproom should he wish to taste the beer brewed in his tribute."

The collaboration came together after Factotum contacted several breweries in Indianapolis with the idea. Tow Yard, which happens to be the closest craft brewery to Lucas Oil Stadium, where the Colts play, was the only one that responded.

So, does Factotum have a “backup” beer in case Manning is pulled for Brock Osweiler? No, says Bruns. The brewery will let someone else create Os-weis-ler.
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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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