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Beer challenge: La Cumbre, Denver’s Comrade Brewing aim to ‘Make IPA Clear Again’

Making America Great Again might be the agenda in Washington, D.C., but locally, La Cumbre Brewing Company is focusing on making IPA clear again.

La Cumbre has teamed up with Comrade Brewing Co. of Denver to create its latest beer, Make IPA Clear Again. La Cumbre will be releasing four seasonal cans in March. They are Make IPA Clear Again, Helles Lager, Blackberry Briar and one that La Cumbre president and founder Jeff Erway is keeping close to his chest for now.

Make IPA Clear Again is a “big, fruity IPA without jumping on the haze train,” according to the Comrade Brewing website. It is hopped with Citra, Simcoe and Ekuanot in the boil and double dry-hopped with Mosaic, Centennial and Waimea. Helles is a traditional German pale lager, and the Blackberry Briar is a kettle sour ale made with blackberries.

“I’m friends with the brewer and the owner of Comrade (Brewing Co.),” Erway said. “I feel that they’re making the best hop forward beers in Colorado, and both of our breweries are pretty well-known for making classic West Coast-style IPAs, and we both toyed here and there with the newer East Coast hazy approach to IPAs, but it’s funny; we were kind of tongue-in-cheek poking fun at ourselves for making several beers that were not in any way clear. I just hope, beyond hope, that we get this beer really clear, but I’m pretty confident.”

The seasonal can releases will be available at La Cumbre’s brewery at 3313 Girard NE, but La Cumbre will soon be selling and releasing its beers at its new taproom on the West Side. The 2,400-square-foot taproom will be at the southeast corner of Coors and Montaño NW. It will feature a large patio, facing east, that will allow patrons to enjoy a good view of the Sandia Mountains.

“There’s demographics in that area that tend to be really good,” Erway said. “The traffic at Coors and Montaño … a lot of people coming back across the river during happy hour, so we are pretty confident that our happy hour is going to be good. The fact is that the West Side, we probably hear it more than anywhere else, that people over there were hoping for us to put up a taproom. We were able to find a taproom location in an area that didn’t have really anything like that. I don’t think we have anything within 7 to 8 minutes’ drive within that specific location. So that really appealed to us.”

La Cumbre opened its brewery location in 2011, and Erway felt no urgency in opening another taproom but began looking for a second taproom site in 2013, when La Cumbre was experiencing “triple-digit growth.”

“The fact is I try to take on, despite the fact that I might not be working the 100 hours a week that I was when we opened, despite the fact that I might not be in the brewhouse all the time,” Erway said. “I’m constantly taking on new big projects, and it just seems to be what I like to do and what I am good at. You know, up until this point, I feel like I’ve always had a lot on my plate, so I haven’t pursued it as seriously as I have now, and it just so happens that maybe I wouldn’t be if I hadn’t found this location maybe I’d still be, like, what state are we going into next? What’s the next major beer release we’re going to be doing? But it just so happens that it fell in my lap and it worked for me.”

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