The Colorado Grain Chain (CGC) has announced the winners of its inaugural Brewers & Distillers Microgrant Program, a unique project seeking to support Colorado’s vibrant grain economy by awarding four craft distillers and breweries with $4,000 each to craft a beverage made exclusively from Colorado-grown grains.
The program’s initial plan was to pick one winner from each of Colorado’s four major watersheds, the South Platte River (northeast), the Arkansas River (southeast), the Rio Grande River (south central), and the Colorado River (western slope). However, after receiving no entries from the Arkansas River watershed region, the CGC instead chose two from the Colorado River, one from the Rio Grande River, and one from the South Platte River watersheds.
The winners are:
● WildEdge Brewing Collective (Colorado River watershed), a brewery based in Cortez, Colorado, is planning to brew a Dunkelweizen using a new Munich Wheat from Root Shoot Malting in Loveland, Colorado. Also included in the recipe are Root Shoot’s Genie Pale Malt, malted white wheat, Chocolate Malt, and C20 Malt as well as some locally grown un-malted winter wheat from the Cortez Milling Company. This resulting beer will be a darker wheat beer that will be perfect moving into the end of summer and early fall.
● Routt Distillery (Colorado River watershed), a distillery in Steamboat Springs, plans to make a West Slope Sloe Gin. They plan to source Montrose Barley from Proximity Malt for this spirit that will highlight the flavors associated with the West Slope of Colorado: sarvisberries/serviceberries, juniper, and sage. This producer has made a commitment to sustainability in three key areas: sourcing locally, minimizing waste, and energy efficiency.
● WeldWerks Brewing of Greeley, and Cohesion Brewing of Denver (South Platte watershed) are collaborating breweries who just brewed a Světlé Silné Pivo or a Czech style pale strong beer. They are working with Troubadour Maltings of Fort Collins to use Super Pevec, a Cohesion custom malt designed to help mimic the Czech lager flavors and aromas that Cohesion makes, and is malted from Genie Barley.
● Dune Valley Distillery (Rio Grande watershed), a distillery based in Mosca, Colorado in the San Luis Valley, is planning to produce a unique and special Colorado Quinoa Vodka. This vodka will not be a completely neutral spirit but one that highlights the unique high alpine desert valley terroir which is reminiscent of the Andes (where quinoa originally evolved). Their spirit will be composed of malted quinoa and malted barley with the plan to solicit a custom quinoa malting from Colorado Malting Company in nearby Alamosa, Colorado.