Beer

The Great Mexican Beer Fiesta Returns With New Collaboration Brews on October 8

Lucha libre is featured at the festival.
Lucha libre is featured at the festival. Cervecería Colorado Instagram
On Saturday, October 8, Cervecería Colorado and Denver Beer Co will team up to hold the annual Great Mexican Beer Fiesta. The Fiesta takes place in the 17th Street alleyway off of Platte Street, next to both breweries. It coincides with the final day of the Great American Beer Festival and will feature a number of collaboration beers with various Mexican breweries, as well as a full day of events and entertainment.

Antonio Arellano is the brand manager for Cervecería Colorado. He was instrumental in conceptualizing and facilitating several of the collaborations with Mexican brewers. Cervecería Colorado flew the brewers to Denver in late August to brew different beers for the event, and they'll return for the Fiesta. "The idea of collaboration is built into the DNA and ethos of the Cervecería Colorado brand," explains Arellano. "We really want to continue to learn new processes and work with new ingredients and invite brewers here."

One of the more interesting collaborations coming out of the Fiesta is with Guadalajara's Cervecería Cielito Lindo and Denver's Cultura Chocolate. Both businesses are owned by Mexican or Mexican-American women. Cervecería Colorado reached out to Damaris Ronkanen, the owner of Cultura, because the two collaborating breweries planned to use cacao in a beer. The three businesses eventually settled on a porter inspired by pozol, a Mexican drink made with fermented corn dough and cacao. "We make fresh masa as well, so pozol was a great fit," says Ronkanen. "We've worked with a number of other breweries, but mostly supplying them [ingredients]. This is the first time that we were a part of the process and had influence and the ability to fine-tune the beer," she adds.
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Damaris Ronkanen, Adam Gurtshaw and Laura Peña all collaborated on the Pozol Porter.
Antonio Arellano
Adam Gurtshaw, the head brewer for both Cervecería Colorado and Denver Beer Co's Platte Street location, was instrumental in the collaboration beer. He brewed the Pozol Porter with Cielito Lindo head brewer Laura Peña. Ronkanen was on hand as well, tasting wort samples with the two brewers and finalizing the volume of raw cacao nibs. The beer also uses heirloom white corn, specially prepared by Ronkanen, with a process called nixtamilization that is also used in creating masa. The final ingredients of the porter are cacao husks and lactose. Epazote, a Mexican herb with an earthy, citrus, mint-like taste, is going to be added to a small portion of the final batch — an experiment on top of an experiment, in a way. "Every state in Mexico makes their pozol differently," explains Peña. "In Oaxaca, they use epazote."

Three other collaborations will be poured at the Fiesta, including a saison with Santiago de Querétaro's Compañía Cervecera Hércules that was made with 30 percent heirloom blue corn as well as prickly pear purée. Another with Cerveza Caserío is a pilsner with agave syrup and soursop, a fruit from a flowering evergreen tree that is found in tropical regions of the Caribbean and the Americas. The final collaboration isn't actually a beer, but a hard seltzer. Cervecería Colorado teamed up with Cerveza Cru Cru, a brewery out of the Roma neighborhood of Mexico City, to brew the seltzer, which is made with Champagne yeast, ginger juice and hibiscus flowers.
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Cervecería Cielito Lindo head brewer Laura Peña adds cacao to the Pozol Porter.
Antonio Arellano
A pair of Cervecería Colorado beers have recently hit the market as well. Que Buena is a lime lager that director of innovation Andy Parker has been tweaking for over a year for both flavor and shelf stability. The beer is currently available on draft and in six-packs.

Mi Vida is the second new beer, an IPA with hops from Loza Farms out of the Yakima Valley in Washington. Loza Farms is the only Hispanic-owned hop farm in the U.S. The beer is a blend of the two most popular types of IPAs, featuring piney hop flavors from the West Coast style and tropical notes from the East Coast style. Mi Vida is available in mixed twelve-packs, but will be in dedicated six-packs before the end of the year.

The Fiesta will also feature food from Mi Rey Social Food, El Sabor de Mi Puebla, DBC Eats and more, as well as music from DJ Miggy, lucha libre, folklórico dances courtesy of ArtistiCO, local artisans and other live entertainment.

The Great Mexican Beer Fiesta will take place at 1635 Platte Street, starting at 2 p.m. October 8; admission is free. For more information, visit the event page.
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Ryan Pachmayer is a beer writer living in Arvada. He has written for publications such as Craft Beer & Brewing, Zymurgy, Porch Drinking, Homebrewing DIY and Punch. He is also the head brewer at Yak & Yeti Brewpub, marketing director at New Image Brewing and a BJCP Certified Judge.

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