JUNE/JULY 2005 | REGIONAL |
Rocky Mountain Brews : Sweet Politics
By Marty Jones
Mark Beran is proof that one man can make a difference in
his state’s politics — and his industry. Beran,
the owner and operator of his one-man Medovina meadery in
Niwot, Colo., has been on a mission to change the way Colorado
law treats mead makers.
For the past year, Beran has been lobbying the state’s
liquor enforcement people and the state legislature to change
the details of the state’s limited winery license, under
which he works. Years ago, the laws pertaining to the license
were rewritten, and the new laws defined wine as alcoholic
beverages made of “grape and fruit.” Those three
words meant wineries like Beran’s, which make their
art from honey, faced extra obstacles, including everything
from more expensive licensing fees to such peculiar requirements
as having to serve meads in roped-off, mead-only areas at
Beran has spent an estimated 1,000 hours of time trying to
get Colorado’s definition of wine expanded to include
“agricultural products,” so that his company and
others like it can enjoy the same privileges as winemakers.
His efforts gained momentum a few months ago when State Senator
Ron Tupa heard Beran’s concerns and decided to step
up to the fermenter and help him.
summer beer festival, the Rendezvous, will feature choice
beers from the state’s best breweries.
Beran has now successfully pushed a Tupa-sponsored bill through
the state legislature. At press time, the bill was awaiting
the signature of Governor Bill Owens before it becomes law.
Once it does, life will become better for Beran and Colorado’s
mead lovers. Beran will reap the promotional bennies of the
state-supported wine industry and be able to promote his products
side-by-side with the state’s vintners at Colorado wine
festivals. Mead lovers in Colorado will have the right to
buy bottles of mead on Sundays at places like Medovina, Redstone
Meadery and other meaderies.
Meanwhile, Beran’s faith in politics has improved like
an aged dessert mead. “I took this on because it was
the right thing to do,” Beran said, “and I feel
really good about what has happened. Nobody in the wine industry
stood up for me, but Ron Tupa was a real champion for me.”
In Other News
The brewers at Glendale, Colo.’s Bull &
Bush continue to champion big, bold beers. On July
1, the brewpub launches “Christmas in July,” a
celebration of high-strength beers normally savored around
the winter holidays. The star of this unseasonal affair will
be Legend of the Liquid Brain, a two-year-old imperial stout
aged in a whisky barrel. Other heavy hitters for the month
will include the Bush’s barley wine, a ’98 keg
of imported Stille Nacht and a few others. Merry July!
On July 2, the Colorado Brewers Rendezvous will present the
ninth edition of its annual small-town beer bash in Salida,
Colo. The state’s best summer beer festival, the Rendezvous
will feature choice beers from about three dozen of the state’s
best breweries. There will also be beers from a few out-of-state
breweries, live music and the charming gifts of Salida. Get
details at coloradobeer.org.
John Hanley of the Rock Bottom location
near Park Meadows Mall, south of Denver, reports that he and
his peers will mark American Beer Month by brewing various
versions of India pale ale at their locations. Each version
will feature a similar grain and hop bill, but the recipes
will be tweaked by their respective brewers. The IPAs start
flowing on July 1.
In June, Flying Dog Brewery will release
a tribute beer in honor of the late gonzo journalist, Hunter
S. Thompson. The beer, Gonzo Imperial Porter, is brewed with
an array of malts and Millennium and Cascade hops. It sports
9.5% abv and a label illustration by longtime Thompson (and
Flying Dog beer label) illustrator Ralph Steadman. The beer
will be released in four-packs. Flying Dog will also release
a limited number of bottles of the beer with labels signed
by Steadman. A portion of proceeds from the sales of the beer
will fund the building of the “Gonzo Memorial Fist”
on Thompson’s Owl Farm Estate in Woody Creek, Colo.
The stone structure is intended to reach 150 feet and be topped
with a giant red fist. No word on whether the beer self destructs
at the end of its shelf life.
Marty Jones is a Denver freelance writer
and leader of Marty Jones & the Pork Boilin’ Poor
Boys, Colorado’s kings of bash-grass and drunky-tonk.
Got beer news from the Rocky Mountain region? Contact him