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Bavarian style: La Cumbre Brewing Co. serving beers from German-style gravity-fed vessels

La Cumbre Brewing Co. President Jeff Erway gets ready to tap a Bavarian Fasser he recently purchased. (Courtesy of Cory Campbell)

Jeff Erway continues to find way to expose BurqueƱos to beer culture from around the world.

Erway, president of La Cumbre Brewing Co., recently purchased several Bavarian fassers, gravity-fed vessels that are found in traditional breweries in Bavaria and North Rhine-Westphalia, according to Erway.

“What my intention with them is to use them as a launch for our lagers when new ones come out,” he said. “My experience is that they take really good lagers, as well as kolsch and altbier, that taste really great on draft and they take them to the realm of divine. I tasted the same beer on this last trip to Cologne, Maltzmuehle, and on draft the kolsch was wonderful. Really well made.”

La Cumbre is best known for its India Pale Ales but also wants to shine a light on its other impressive styles.

“When other brewers come to visit, more often than not they are truly impressed with our traditional Germanic and Czech styles,” Erway said. “I know that it’s a truism that brewers just tend to like these styles, but I also believe it’s what we shine at. Lots of brewers make great IPAs, and I know we are one of them. But we show our brewing prowess with the harder-to-nail lager and German ale styles.”

The fassers will provide La Cumbre guests a new experience.

“With the fassers I am just trying one more thing to get the general beer drinker to not just appreciate that, but to get truly excited for these beautifully simple beers,” Erway said.

La Cumbre has enough fassers to serve a beer for several days, or if it is popular enough, the brewery could serve it that way the entire time it is on tap.

“I’ll just remind people that this is not tap-conditioned beer in any way,” Erway said. “The beer is fully carbonated. It’s just not as harsh in carbonation as draft beer can sometimes be, and the mouth feels just creamier.”

German beer culture is dear to Erway’s heart.

“I’ve been lucky enough to go to Germany several times now. and what I find is when I have one beer on draught I always enjoy it,” he said. “It’s always well made. Germans don’t make much bad beer, so when I try that same beer served from the fasser, the beer is always so much more smooth and quaffable. … German beer is not trying to smack you across the face with flavor. They’re trying to make a beer that’s infinitely drinkable and satisfying. That’s what they’re all about.”

Beer does not have to be big, bold and overly flavorful, and Erway is good with that.

“Beer doesn’t always have to be a masochistic, earth-shattering experience,” he said. “It’s fine when it is, but that can get tiring. The best experiences I have ever had drinking beer has always been while sharing an evening with friends where the beer was wonderfully delicious, compelling and easy. The fassers are just a way for me to further share those experiences with La Cumbre’s fans.”

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