Oskar Blues smiling from ear to Beerito
Creating beers using only regional ingredients is a thing — more a thing than ever.
And when the Wall Street Journal took a road trip across America this year to identify the most interesting regional brews, it found Oskar Blue’s Beerito, a low-alcohol lager first made to commemorate the opening of a company restaurant, the cyclist-friendly Cyclhops Bike Cantina in Longmont.
How stiff was the competition? Well, the Boulder-based Brewers Association lists about 3,500 craft brewers nationwide as members, and more than 490 of those call Colorado home. The Journal chose 21 beers for its list.
To win notice in that busy pool of contestants “is great,” said Oskar Blues spokesman Jeremy Farmer.
The Rocky Mountain region is getting increasing attention for its for lowalcohol lagers, beers that allow people to drink two or three in a session without getting drunk or feeling full.
The Wall Street Journal described Beerito, which is 4 percent alcohol by volume, as “having the earthy chew of good corn masa, like a handmade tortilla.”
Oskar Blues created Beerito in partnership with another regional player, Troubadour Malting in Fort Collins, a malt company known for cultivating regional grains, in this case barley, with location-intense characteristics.
“It definitely has that sort of biscuitbread taste to it,” Farmer said. “The beer fits the flavor of those grains.”
Troubadour co-owner Chris Schooley said his 18-month-old company works with about 30 craft brewers, selecting barley and wheat strains that are then subjected to the malting process, which imbues them with different flavors and colors.
The barley used for Beerito is a new variety, Schooley said, “that has proven to be really good for making flavorful beers.”
Two other Colorado beers also made the Journal’s list. Ska Brewing was recognized for its Ska Mexican Logger, and Carver Brewing Co. for its Lightner Creek Lager. Both are based in Durango. Those two beers also won awards at the Great American Beer Festival.
Beerito hasn’t won that distinction yet. Oskar Blues just started canning it this year. But that doesn’t take away the fun of the mention in the Journal, Farmer said.
“We work really hard on these beers, so anytime we get that kind of national recognition it helps reinforce that we’re trying to make the coolest stuff we can.”
Bartender Lucas Green pours a beer at the Oskar Blues restaurant in Longmont. The brewer makes Beerito, a lowalcohol lager recognized by The Wall Street Journal as an interesting regional beer. Helen H. Richardson, Denver Post file
Kelsy Colvin pours a taster of beer for a customer at the Tasty Weasel, an Oskar Blues location in Longmont, on Tuesday.