“I would kill everyone in this room for a drop of sweet beer.” Homer Simpson said that, of course, and it makes you wonder whether Springfield is located in Colorado. While not resorting to Homer’s extremes, the simple truth is we love our beer, with the emphasis on our. There are few other places in the country where you can earn so many looks of puzzlement (or, on occasion, outright derision) for ordering a “Miller Lite” at the local pub when there are so many better choices on tap, usually brewed just around the corner, if not on the premises. In fact, the sheer selection can overwhelm even veterans of the Colorado beer scene. Kriek lambic? La Folie? Who you calling a Frambozen, bozo?
With fall just around the corner—and with it, the Great American Beer Festival and the launching of an untold number of handcrafted seasonal beers from Grand Junction to Fort Collins—this month’s Cheat Sheet offers up a little reminder of how seriously we take our hops and barley. And how seriously important it is to our economy. Breweries big and small employ nearly 6,000 people throughout the state and contribute an estimated $18.5 billion to the economy. That comes partly through direct sales, but also through tourism. Practically every brewery in the state—from Bud and Coors to Avery and Oskar Blues—offers tours and tastings. These aren’t just for out-of-towners from good-beer wastelands like Mississippi (which had outlawed craft breweries until just this year), but for locals as well, if only to keep abreast of what’s on tap. How else will you know that referring to “Old Chub” isn’t necessarily scandalous ?