In Belgium, the situation is a little different. Breweries there sometimes transfer these lambics, as they are called, straight from wooden aging vessels to tanks and then directly into kegs or even plastic bags. The beers are served flat, fresh and cheap. They're a drink for the masses rather than just the educated few.
Located in a walkable part of Longmont’s Prospect neighborhood, Primitive will only be open two days per month, but its beer will be relatively affordable compared to similar lambic-style ales. The Boldts will have it on tap for $18 to $20 per pitcher, and in 1.5-liter (about 51 ounces) boxed bags for $25 a pop. That’s about half of what a similar spontaneously fermented sour might cost in a bottle at another brewery.
“We’ve always wanted to use the Belgian methodology, which is not to overcharge,” Brandon says.
“This is definitely an experiment,” says Brandon, who acknowledges that it may take a while for people to understand what Primitive is doing. But he and Lisa are willing to wait, especially since they will both keep their full-time jobs at Odd13 Brewing; Brandon has been the head brewer on Odd13’s taproom system for four years, while Lisa has managed the taproom for two.
The couple had always planned to launch a side project of their own that specialized in beers that take several years to make, Lisa says, but they weren’t sure how. “Then we went to Belgium,” she notes, and after trying still sours, they realized, “This is all we want to drink. ... It was so casual, so common. We thought, why not go all in?”
From there, it is aged in wooden casks for anywhere from nine months to three years. Some of the beers are blended, while others are aged with fruit or hops or other ingredients. Primitive currently has about fifty wooden puncheons along with some port and wine barrels, but the brewery will acquire more as it goes. All of the ingredients, from the malt and hops to the fruit and yeast, come from Colorado.
Primitive plans to adhere strictly to the Methode Traditionnelle standards.
The base blend is called Unbroken Boulevard of Green Lights, and it will be the first beer that the Boldts sell in bags; they will also have it on tap on opening day, along with five variations. Life’s Complicated was aged with plums, while Friends of Friends of Friends was aged with peaches. Pretty Chill Time includes peaches and hops; Accessibly Business Casual has cherries; and Excessively Business Casual has double the cherries.
The taproom itself is gorgeous. Candles and mood lighting highlight both the wooden barrels and the coolship, which is tucked beneath an indoor pergola and decorated with plants, while a mural that creatively depicts the brewing process is painted on one wall. And Primitive might be the only brewery in Colorado that has washcloths in the bathroom rather than paper towels.
Primitive will be open on the second and fourth Saturday of every month from noon to 10 p.m. Many customers are part of a membership club, which is now closed. But the public is welcome to come in and sample beer and buy boxes to go.