Eastside to the Westside: Snowmass Mammoth Festival attracts new Colorado brewers to the lineup
Special to The Aspen Times
Most know it as the Chili Pepper and Brew Fest — a festival that began 10 years ago as a local gathering of chili, brews and music. Now, after years of boosted energy from local chili cookers and avid brewers, the grand occasion returns in a higher fashion with a new name, a new location, bigger sounds and bigger brews.
On June 7 and 8, the Snowmass Mammoth Festival will commence in Town Park with such musical acts as You Me and Apollo, Lord Huron, The Joy Formidable and Awolnation, along with a crowd of 29 Colorado-based brewers that will pour festivalgoers a taste of some of the best sips on the market for the summer season.
And while all of them may be worthy of your personal attention throughout the two-day weekend — like Telluride Brewing Co., which won gold at the Great American Beer Festival last year for its brown ale — we opted to give you a thirst for two breweries on two different sides of the state that will be joining the Mammoth Festival for the first time ever. Respectively, we will inaugurate them in. The judging, on the other hand, will be left solely up to you.
Brewery name: New Planet Beer Co.
Birthplace: Boulder, 2008
Specialty: Locally crafted gluten-free beers
Beers to be poured at the festival: The Belgian Ale, the only American-made gluten-free Belgian ale in the market and brewed with organic mudhava honey from Boulder with spice notes of cinnamon and vanilla to complement the rich tropical fruit notes from the yeast; the Pale Ale, the hoppiest gluten-free beer on the market, with rich grapefruit hop notes balanced by a subtle caramel to create a smooth drinking pale.
The story: New Planet Beer Co. began shortly after founder Pedro Gonzalez was diagnosed with Celiac disease in 2008 and realized he could no longer drink craft beer. The base ingredient in its beers is sorghum, which is very different from barley yet when used with other grains and sugars creates the beer-like flavor and texture. Unlike most gluten-free beers, which are lagers brewed solely with sorghum, New Planet’s craft beers are ales that benefit from the esters produced by ale yeast. Currently offering five styles, New Planet Beer is the only guaranteed gluten-free brewer of craft beers in Colorado.
Highlights: Won a silver medal at the Great American Beer Festival for its Brown Ale; works to donate a portion of its proceeds to environment-based nonprofits.
Brewery name: The San Luis Valley Brewing Co.
Birthplace: Alamosa, 2005
Specialty: A family-first, community-oriented brewery and restaurant with small-town values and a craft focus. Known best for its two signature beers, the rich and balanced Alamosa Amber poured in the pub and the hatch green chili Mexican lager Valle Caliente by the bottle, the brewery currently offers eight beers brewed year-round that can be found in restaurants and stores nearby.
Beers to be poured at the festival: the Valle Caliente, a green-chili lager; Settin Sail Kiwi Ale, a blonde ale brewed with kiwis; Alamosa Amber, one of the most popular beers, offering a nice balance between malt and hops; and Rye Hard, an American pale ale brewed with 20 percent rye in the grain bill and hopped exclusively with East Kent Goldings.
The story: The San Luis Valley Brewing Co. began as the dream of owners Scott and Angie Graber, who had, for years, created their own homebrews while working as volunteers in the San Luis Valley. They always dreamed of creating a community- and family-focused brewery and got that opportunity in 2005 when they opened one right on Main Street. Most important to them is the genuine love they receive from their community for each beer and the fact that they continue to create handcrafted brews with the highest attention to detail and love.
Highlights: The San Luis Valley brewery and restaurant stands out as the first of its kind in a town that had been without a brewery for 50 years. New this summer, it will proudly announce a new partnership with the Royal Gorge Route Railroad in Canon City and the release of a new beer brewed specially for them, called Royal Gorge Route Rogue. This beer will be available year-round on their railroad.
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