Beer Man

Epic, Strange breweries collaborate on a blend of Big Bad Baptist and Cherry Kriek

When Strange Brewing opened in 2010, one of its first big hits was Cherry Kriek, a Belgian-style wheat beer with gobs of Wisconsin cherries added to it. Named for Denver's signature waterway, the beer was sweet rather than tart, like other krieks.

As the brewery grew, the demand for Cherry Kriek did the same, and it was one of the first beers that Strange sold to other bars in kegs after the brewery upgraded its system in 2011 from a one-barrel brewhouse and a seven-barrel operation.

And now Cherry Kriek is getting religion.

See also: A six-pack of dark new Colorado beers for your cold weather blues

A couple of weeks ago, the brewers at Strange brought their recipe and a 55-gallon vat of cherry puree over the Epic Brewing's new Denver taproom where they made 22 barrels of Strange's signature beer on Epic's large brewing system.

After that, they blended it with ten barrels of Big Bad Baptist, a bourbon-barrel aged imperial stout brewed with coffee and chocolate.

"We've been talking about doing a collaboration for a long time," says Epic brewer Kyle Rossman. The two companies started up around the same time in 2010, and although Epic is based in Salt Lake City, they've always had a connection.

The resulting beer, which will go on tap only at Epic either today or tomorrow, is called Epically Strange. The brewers hope to get together sometime in the next few months to brew the same collaboration over at Strange (which just settled a major trademark dispute with a Massachusetts homebrew show). That one will be called Strangely Epic.

Strange Brewing co-owner Tim Myers says he's looking forward to trying the beer, especially since this year was a bumper crop for Wisconsin cherries.

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