Homer Simpson, a modern guru of life, could have been talking about any of Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project’s offerings when he muttered this pearl of wisdom, “Ah, beer, my one weakness. My Achilles’ heel, if you would.” Because if you have ever had the opportunity to sample any one of the truly unique offerings coming out of this experimental brewery in Denver, you would stop what ever you were doing when offered one and imbibe in its goodness.

Launched in 2010 by brewer Chad Yakobson as a breeding ground for all sorts of barrel-aged beers—hence the brewery name, a stave is one of the slats that make up a barrel, Crooked Stave focuses especially on sour beers. With highly complex offerings that challenge your taste buds in so many unexpected ways, any tasting of theirs is sure to be interesting. Just make sure you leave behind all of your preconceived notions about what beer should, and should not be.

Employing fruits (blackberries, guava, and pear to name a few), spices (tarragon, ginger, and hibiscus are some that have flavored past offerings), and a variety of barrels (wine, whiskey, and other liquors) they have consistently turned out superior brews time after time. It only makes sense since Yakobson’s master dissertation at Colorado State University was called “The Brettanomyces Project” and won an award from the Master Brewers Association of the Americas. Anyone who would write a complete paper about the wild yeast that is prevalent in the wine industry and is the most important ingredient in wild/sour beers must have an eye for the unexpected.

After what seems an eternity of rain over the last few weeks it would only seem fitting to reach for a beer that would remind you of the warmer days of summer. A time when we Coloradoans look forward to endless sun, incessant adventures, and kicking back with friends enjoys a few libations. Cooked Stave has the perfect beer to remind you of what’s coming.

Crooked StaveVieille Artisanal Saison is an interesting take on a current style (saison) that is sweeping the nation. Aged in oak barrels to give it a slightly more complex taste with the sour taste on the forefront but balanced nicely with a slight oak aftertaste. A slight addition of hops during the brew process gives it a slight bite. Available year round in a 375ml bottle at most fine liquor stores—Hazels in Boulder and Mile High Wine and Spirits in Lakewood always have a large selection of their beers—each bottle bears the batch number on the back.

So as you dig out the grill and set up the backyard for cookouts under the stars spend a few bucks on yourself, you deserve it. Pick up a couple of bottles of Vieille and have a glass of superior suds.

HZ12_ShieldLogoLiquid Gear is proudly sponsored by Hazel’s Beverage World which is the go-to store for outdoor enthusiasts and everyone else on the go.  Featuring Boulder’s largest selection of wine, beer and spirits at everyday low prices, Hazel’s has lots of beverages that are easy to carry along and enjoy no matter what your adventure.  So don’t forget to pack the party—fly by Hazel’s before your next excursion and stock up on your favorite liquid refreshments. Hazel’s – Same Planet, Different World.