When the hip Avanti food court opens in mid-July at West 32nd Avenue and Pecos Street, it will have an odd-for-Colorado beer lineup and, in particular, one beer that came about as a result of an unusual collaboration between the world-renowned Dogfish Head brewery and Denver’s Prost Brewing. Call it Delaware meets Denver meets Deutschland.
The Delaware part came about because Avanti co-developer Rob Hahn has been friends with Dogfish Head founder Sam Calagione since the two met at a wedding in Vail in 1997; when Avanti began to come together, Hahn asked Calagione if the brewery wanted to be a part of it. The answer was yes, so Avanti will feature Dogfish Head beers on half of its twenty taps, giving the Delaware brewery one of its widest draft accounts in Colorado. The rest will be mostly local beers.
To help tie the brewery in with the local craft scene, Dogfish Head also decided to partner with a nearby brewery. “We are very aware of the vibrant brewing community in Denver and in the Highlands in particular, so we thought it would be cool to collaborate with the brewery that is closest to Avanti, and that happened to be Prost,” says Dogfish spokesman Neal Stewart.
Calagione “came into Prost last Oktoberfest unannounced. We didn’t even know he was here,” says Prost co-owner Troy Johnston. “He liked the beer, and as Avanti moved on, he contacted us about doing the collaboration.”
What Calagione didn’t know, though, is that Prost doesn’t normally do collaborations — primarily because of its large brewing system, which doesn’t work well for smaller projects, but also because the brewery prefers to stick to its core and somewhat limited lineup of German-style lagers, Johnston says. “We really want to stick to the German thing. We don't want to chase the light with an IPA or something, but there aren't a lot of German styles out there.”
After some brainstorming, however, the two breweries came up with a traditional German-style beer that also incorporates Dogfish Head’s “off-kilter” brand, he says. The 5.7 percent ABV beer, called CollaboRyeZen, is a roggenbier. Dating back to the Middle Ages, the style features a mixture of barley malt, wheat and rye malt. In this case, the hazy, reddish-brown beer features aromas of banana and clove.
The beer will only be available at Avanti and at Prost to start with, Johnston says. Prost will also have another beer on tap at Avanti. Others breweries slated for Avanti include Ratio Beerworks, River North Brewery, The Post Brewing, Platt Park, Odell, Avery and Great Divide.
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