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FEBRUARY 21 2017

By BreckWynkoopAdmin

The pint sized pleasures of summertime in the Mile High City are undeniable. On any given day, craft beer cheers are enjoyed throughout town and Amato’s skylined rooftop is no exception. Ask Ben Jaeger, Ale House’s Minister of Beer, about any crafty summer adventures and you’re likely to hear about his ultra-beery time with Sierra Nevada. A craft beer camp that began in Northern California and made its way back to our beloved Amato’s in Denver, Colorado.

Downtown Denver View

         Amato’s legendary view of Downtown Denver.

A single step into the Lower Highlands neighborhood spot you’ll see the influence of his love for craft beer prominently displayed. It’s kind of his thing — it’s kind of our thing; that’s why this works. For nearly a decade, the Littleton native has shared our obsession and passion for microbreweries and craft beer adventures.

As head of Amato’s craft beer and cocktail program, Ben’s passion and enthusiasm rivals that of any ale house in Colorado. His mantra? A simple one. Create craft beer events that leave people better off than they were before. He believes there is power in sharing a sip-worthy pint or two amongst good company. As result of this craft beer ethos, Ben’s quest for hosting the next best brew gathering at Amato’s is a relentless one.

Beer Minister

Beer Minister, Ben Jaeger.

So when the folks at Sierra Nevada Brewing Company reached out, Ben was in craft beer heaven. The offer? A special invitation to attend a spin-off of their annual beer camp brewing event. On Ben’s horizon were campfire beers with the brewmasters of Sierra Nevada and a brew weekend spent making the hoppiest of IPA brews. As Colorado homebrewer and all-around brewhead enthusiast, this offer was the stuff of craft beer dreams.

Sierra Nevada weekend – first, let’s frame it. The Chico, California headquarters of Sierra Nevada Brewing are as spectacular as you’d imagine. And don’t get us wrong. We’ll take our LoHi Denver views any day of the week. But the lush, hop-farmed greenery of the brewery is seriously magical. Add the “last call for summer fun” feeling of August along with a handpicked group of beer nerds from across the country, and you’ve got yourself a solid outline for a legendary brew tale.

Sierra Nevada Hop Farm

         Sierra Nevada’s hop farm in Chico, CA. 

As is tradition, the special edition beer camp set out to create a most delicious one-off batch (later named Hopricot IPA) using on-site and in-season ingredients. These short-listed items included Sierra Nevada’s very own homegrown peaches, picked and peeled for this brew. Making the Hopricot IPA ingredient list as well: a wildcard fruit. For paired complexity, a batch of brightly colored, juicy mangoes fresh from the local farmers market.

From start to finish, the Hopricot IPA was a labor of love. Picking, peeling, slicing, dicing – Ben and his crew did it all. In addition to the brewing experience, Sierra Nevada promised each beer camp attendee a keg or two of Hopricot IPA’s fruition.

Since saying his goodbyes to the Sierra Nevada group that warm August weekend, Ben has thought long and often about his beer camp adventure. Not just about the Hopricot IPA making its way through the brewing process, but — you know where this is going — the Amato’s craft beer event that would come of it.

On Friday, February 10th, 2017, the Sierra Nevada brew made its Denver debut at Ale House. The Sierra Nevada brewed collaboration beer, Hopricot IPA, is evidence beyond Ben’s brew skills. It’s a proud moment in craft beer for our Amato’s family.  The special event tapping gave Ben a chance to share the craft beer adventure by pouring up pints for an intimately packed, standing room only, group of friends. Tapping the keg on that unseasonably summerlike day, Ben and a friend or two from Sierra Nevada served up pint after pint of the highly drinkable Hopricot IPA.  

Craft beer overlooking Denver’s best view.

Sierra Nevada craft beer camp was without a doubt a special one. Lucky for us, Ben considers Denver to be the “epicenter of craft beer” where craft beer relationships are strengthened and collaborative event ideas are endless. As summer in Denver nears, Ben is already thinking about Amato’s next big craft beer event (the goal is to team up with brew friends every week).

To stay in the know on the latest craft beer events at Ale House Amato’s, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. And if you’ve got a great craft beer event idea or two up your sleeve, we want to hear from you! After all, Ale House’s craft beer community is built one pint and one person at a time.