Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Crazy Mountain: Coming Soon to a Ski Town Near Us

Just as the Texan skiers exit Colorado and the leaves begin to come back to the trees, it seems too that new breweries begin to peek their heads out every spring. And the first arrival of the season, Crazy Mountain Brewing Company, brings with it the hope that each of the year's rookie aspirants can carry as much promise as this newcomer.

If you haven't heard yet of Crazy Mountain, that probably just means you don't hang out a lot in the Vail area. The brewery made its splash debut at the Big Beers, Belgians and Barleywines festival in January, where it made such an impression with a Belgian golden ale that founder Kevin Selvy was able to secure the final funding he needed to open. It's currently contracting its recipes to be brewed while he puts the finishing touches on its Edwards taproom and production brewery, expected to open in June or July.

Kevin, who was nice enough to meet me last weekend at Bacco's Bar, one of eight restaurants in the Vail Valley that has his Crazy Mountain Amber Ale on tap, brings a wealth of experience to the venture, having gone to school at Colorado State University and later taken a job with Anchor in San Francisco. Although Crazy Mountain has created just two brews so far - the other being its Lava Lake Wit Beer - Kevin plans to experiment with making everything from the ubiquitous IPA to a creation using Ponderosa pine needles.

The Amber Ale is a highly appropriate apres-ski offering, a smooth and drinkable beer at 5.25 percent ABV but once that laces the red-tinged recipe with enough hops to wake up even the dehydrated taste buds on the back of the tongue. Kevin wanted to debut with an amber that was nicely balanced, he said, and ended up meeting that goal while also exceeding taste expectations of the style.

Crazy Mountain will, in time, make its way through not just the valley but all of Colorado, and it will be a substantial new offering to the state's collection of breweries. And, if 2010 unfolds like many years past, it hopefully won't be the only new brewery that debuts and gains traction.

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