Name: Purpose Brewing and Cellars
Location: Fort Collins, CO
What you need to know: Zach and Laura Wilson took control of the property and brewing equipment from the defunct 1933 Brewing in Fort Collins at the end of 2015. In May of 2017, they joined forces with Peter Bouckaert, the former brewmaster at New Belgium, and in September they opened Purpose Brewing. They started brewing on the four-barrel system they acquired from 1933, and immediately combined an enthusiasm for interesting ingredients with an extensive use of barrel and wood aging to produce an ever-changing list of highly regarded beers.
Beer/Food Pairing #1: Nacht (Porter / 7.45%) paired with Tiramisu Cannoli
Notes/Thoughts: Nacht is a black ale matured on Brazilian Amburana wood with additions of coconut, orange peel, vanilla beans, and grains of paradise. The few reviews that are available are glowing, and the description suggests a natural fit for a dessert pairing. The cannoli certainly should fit the bill, and the combination should be worth seeking out.
Beer/Food Pairing #2: pH1 (Wood-Aged Sour) paired with Compressed Melon and Cucumber Panzanella
Notes/Thoughts: pH1 is a well-traveled barrel, one of the originals that started New Belgium’s sour program in 1998. It was given its name as part of an acidification treatment before its first use. As New Belgium's sour program grew, the barrel was used for La Folie production, and a tasting panel distinguished it as emblematic of that beer. Then the barrel went missing. In 2005, the barrel turned up at Russian River, aging Beatification. In 2014, the barrel returned to New Belgium's sour program. Along the way, the founders of the Rare Barrel named their brewery after it and, after using pH1 in a collaboration sour, the barrel moved again to the Rare Barrel. When Peter Bouckaert announced his plans to brew for Purpose Brewing, Rare Barrel returned pH1 to Colorado for the 2017 Great American Beer Festival and delivered it to Purpose Brewing. pH1 the beer is a sour blonde ale, released to excellent reviews. The food does make sense as a pairing for a sour beer.
Overall Impressions: Purpose Brewing’s Savor offerings set them up nicely to be a standout brewery for the festival, and with the pedigree they bring to the table, I doubt that they will disappoint. Their two beers should offer something for most palates, and both of the pairings should accentuate the positives. For fans of sour beer, the story behind pH1 should be pretty compelling, and the resulting beer should be worth investigating as well. This table is near the top of my list for this year, and I doubt that I will be alone in that sentiment.
Written by Bruce Webster