Before Denver was the capitol of Colorado, and before Colorado was a state, the honor of serving as the seat of government for the Colorado Territory belonged to the city of Golden. Denver got the job in 1876, though, and began building the gorgeous Capitol building that now stands at the corner of Colfax Avenue and Lincoln Street.
Does Golden hold a grudge? Maybe, but Golden's Holidaily Brewing definitely doesn't. On Thursday, the gluten-free brewery will host a can release for Beulah Red Ale, a beer that was named in honor of the unusual — unique, even — pinkish stone that decorates the columns, wainscoting and other areas in the interior of the Colorado State Capitol.
The veined, patterned rose onyx, often referred to as Beulah Red Marble, was taken from a single set of quarries near the town of Beulah (just southwest of Pueblo), and the city of Denver's tourism website calls it "one of the rarest stones in the world," because it is found nowhere else. "In fact, the adornment of the Colorado State Capitol’s interior depleted the entire known supply of rose onyx." There is a small reserve supply kept in the basement in case repairs are needed, but they rarely have been.
Holidaily owner Karen Hertz first learned about the story of the red onyx when she was researching names for her brewery. A Colorado native, she was fascinated by the history of the town and the marble. "I thought the story was so cool," she says. "So I had the beer name picked out before we even opened."
In order to make it gluten-free, the beer is brewed with buckwheat and caramel millet from Grouse Malt House in Wellington rather than barley, and it is oddly malt-forward, Hertz says, despite that lack of barley. Although Beulah Red has been a popular beer in the taproom, this is the first time Holidaily has canned the beer.
The name had already made the rounds, however. In fact, geologist and Beulah resident Ken Balleweg, who bought the site of the red marble quarry in 2017, showed up one day in Golden with some small samples of the stone for Holidaily to display. "He saw that we had named the beer after Beulah on social media and he was really excited," Hertz says. Balleweg, who attended the Colorado School on Mines, grew up playing in the quarry, which had ceased operations in 1900; he purchased the property in order to preserve it from development.
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Hertz and some of the staff at Holidaily recently made a trip to Beulah, where they toured the property and saw some of the artifacts and old pieces of machinery that Balleweg has dug up.
The cans themselves tell the story with drawings and words, and they will be available for sale at the brewery and in liquor stores in Colorado. They will also be behind the bar at Beulah's one-and-only restaurant (with a liquor license), the Beulah Inn. The beer will be available on draft at various other bars and restaurants, as well.
The release party runs from 2 to 9 p.m. at Holidaily, at 801 Brickyard Circle in Golden, where you can try the beer on tap or get a four-pack to go. Balleweg will be there, too, to show off samples of the stone and old photos of the quarries. Espy's Street Eats will be serving food.