Art and beer make for a fine pairing at Pinot’s Palette

Casey Setash

Zwei Brewing’s open floor plan was teeming with jovial chatter Tuesday night as residents enjoyed a post-work beer or two.

Beneath the kitschy local art scattered along the walls sat a group of patrons in spattered smocks and content grins grasping generous pints of beer in one hand and paintbrushes in the other. They were participating in the Paint a Pint event hosted by Pinot’s Palette, giving artists a different kind of canvas on which to express their creativity.


Paint a Pint Participants
A trio of retired teachers enjoying an evening of friendship, painting, and beer. Photo credit: Casey Setash
It was crowded for a Tuesday, and Otis Redding crooned over the brewery’s loudspeaker forcing the instructor to lean in close to hear her student’s questions. Through the malt-laden air, she smiled and answered questions patiently as she directed her group of pupils, intent on the task at hand. Each participant received two pint glasses inscribed with the Zwei logo, and for $40 per person were instructed on the best techniques for creating a painted pint-sized masterpiece.

Zwei Brewing’s mission is “to have some serious fun making our art.” Sharing this mission with patrons of Pinot’s Palette, they allowed customers to both create and consume art simultaneously. Since 2014, their establishment has sought to bring the best German style beers to residents of Fort Collins in an authentic and accessible setting.

Zwei offers several preconceived flight selections including the Bavaria Tray and the Euro Tray, which feature some of their most popular German options. The beers on the Bavaria Tray comes in an array of colors, from opaque blonde to burnished amber, and pack a variety of flavors into an option that won’t severely impact your budget or your ability to drive home.

The Helles Munich-Style Golden Lager is a wheaty, crisp beer that evokes feelings of spinning through fields of sunflowers, while the Dunkel Munich-Style Amber Lager is its darker cousin earthy and sweet, it’s reminiscent of the sensation of walking into a mossy forest.

The Weissbier, a Bavarian-Style Wheat Beer, rounds out the trio with a classic straw hue, but tastes somewhat like someone left a handful of Skittles in a Helles and allowed them to infuse for slightly too long.

Zwei flight
Zwei Brewing's Bavaria Tray, including a Helles, a Dunkel, and a Weissbier. Photo credit: Casey Setash

Originating in Houston, Texas, Pinot’s Palette quickly expanded across the nation and arrived in Fort Collins in 2012. They strive to bring art to the masses, and in Fort Collins, where you find beer you also typically find the masses of people looking to enjoy it.

When asked what drew her to painting pint glasses rather than a canvas in a more controlled setting.

Paint a Pint participant Jennifer Neuwalv said, “it’s different and it’s fun.”

Neuwalv was in the midst of inscribing the House of Stark Direwolf sigil on her glass alongside a stenciled Deathly Hallows emblem.

The adjacent table was occupied by three retired Poudre Valley School District teachers busily painting sunflowers and a pointillism impression of the German flag on their glasses.


Carol Zick, whose glass was adorned with the flag, whispered conspiratorially, “Are they better than us?” gesturing to the other table of women. Without missing a beat, she joked, “it doesn’t matter because we’re having way more fun!”

The event’s organizer, Chelsea Ermer, noted that there is definitely a more relaxed atmosphere teaching painting in a brewery than in Pinot’s Palette’s main studio on Mountain Ave., but that some people might be intimidated by the lack of specific instructions given to pint painters.

An art teacher for Fossil Ridge High School, Ermer she said she saw parallels between the high school student’s lack of artistic confidence and the people coming into Pinot’s Palette for the first time.

“I think we’re getting to that point in town, though, where people have been to a lot of our classes and they feel a little bit more confident with their skills, so when they see something like this they think ‘oh that’s really cool, I could do a class like that!’”

Pinot's instructor
Chelsea Ermer chats with participants of the Pinot's Palette Paint a Pint night. Photo credit: Casey Setash

With events like yoga and cupcake tasting more frequently being paired with beer tasting, it seems logical that a place like Fort Collins would mix the art of brewing beer with the art of, well, art.

Collegian reporter Casey Setash can be reached at or on Twitter @caseylovesbirds.