By Em Kribs and Greg Mees
Eli Kolodny’s birthday celebration was a little more special than usual this year. Some people get clothes or a DVD for their birthday, but he got the fruition of a two-and-a-half-year project and a must-try beer.
Odell Brewing Company released Amuste Saturday afternoon with a party full of cupcakes and local food trucks, live music and — of course — beer.
“It’s an imperial porter aged with Tempranillo grapes grown on the western slope, and we’ve also aged it in red wine barrels” said Eli Kolodny, the quality control manager at Odell Brewing Co. who developed the idea surrounding Amuste.
“I’m not 100 percent responsible, obviously,” said Kolodny. “It’s a huge team effort to make a beer like this, but I’ve kind of been given the opportunity to lead the project and it’s been a really awesome experience.”
The result of the experience is a blend of beer and wine.
“I love it. I think it’s great. I think it turned out really well,” said Kolodny, a former biochem student at CSU. “It’s definitely beer forward with just that cusp of wine.”
The grapes make their presence known in more than just the taste. The 750mL bottles are corked, allowing the final fermentation to take place inside the bottles, and their labels are covered in purple splotches reminiscent of the grape stains that “made a mess everywhere” during the secondary fermentation.
“There’s kind of a presentation that people are accustomed to when drinking wine. I was kind of hoping to bring that character into the beer,” said Kolodny.
As an avid lover of stout, porter or any dark beer, Ian Gordon, a long-time friend of Kolodny said it makes him feel great to see Kolodny’s two-and-a-half year project come to life in the Odell taproom.
“I wouldn’t say I love wines, but that’s another why I like this beer so much,” said Gordon. “It’s just enough wine where I get credit for the wine drinking.”
Amuste was the drink of choice, according to Katie Guiffre, a bartender scrambling to serve one of the nearly two hundred people that attended the release.
“Most people are getting it (Amuste) today and if it’s not their first beer, it’s definitely their second,” said Guiffre, “Everyone’s having a great time. They’re just out here to have a blast and drink great beer and listen to good music and even though it’s crowded, no one’s having a stressed out time.”
In fact, the packed-house was a surprise to Kolodny. “It’s crazy. I don’t typically come by the brewery on the weekends, to be completely honest. It’s nice to see that many people willing to come out, especially given the weather, to try something new, especially something that we were taking a little bit of a risk on.”
Kolodny added, “Any time we can bring people here and have them enjoy something we’ve poured our hearts into, is a win-win situation.”
Entertainment Editor Em Kribs and Editor in Chief Greg Mees can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.