Buffalo Commons band, Butcherknife brewery collaborate to create brand new beer

Buffalo Commons and Butcherknife Brewing Company’s collaboration beer, The Traveler Brut IPA, makes its world debut at a release party Sunday, May 26, at the Steamboat Springs brewery.
Denton Turner

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — There’s a new band-brewery collaboration beer in town. Its parents are soulgrass group Buffalo Commons and Butcherknife Brewing Co., and its name is The Traveler. The first kegs of the brew will be tapped Sunday, May 26, at a release party at Butcherknife.

The idea of the beer began brewing about a year ago.

“As a company that supports local music, we wanted to develop a relationship to promote creativity within the community, whether it be through beer or music or art,” Butcherknife account manager Erin Orr said. “It seemed very organic for us to work together on two things we all enjoy: music and beer.”

“It started as a pipe dream, but it was a cool idea,” Buffalo Commons’ guitarist and vocalist Tyree Woods said.

The two groups got to work.

“It was really fun to get a feel for what the band’s overall favorite style was,” Butcherknife owner Nate Johansing said, “and we tweaked it to add a little personality on our end.”

The beer used a new, experimental hybrid hop, a suggestion of Butcherknife’s new brewer Corbin Korsgard.

“Our experimental hop doesn’t have a name yet — it’s just a number,” Orr said. “It’s big — a monster of a plant with gigantic cones. She has a high total oil content to boot.”

“The (beer’s) personality is very bluegrassy,” Johansing said.

The beer is a Brut IPA with a dry finish, which means after fermentation, there’s not much sweetness left. The hop profile includes flavors of melon, lemon and fresh-cut grass.

“It’s extremely complex but very drinkable,” Johansing said.

If you go

What: Traveler Brut IPA release party
When: 3 to 9 p.m. Sunday, May 26
Where: Butcherknife Brewing Company, 2875 Elk River Road

“It’s something you can hang out with on a summer day and have two or three of them and not get slogged down,” Woods said.

The beer is named after Buffalo Commons’ original song “The Traveler,” which Woods wrote nearly two years ago.

Release party music schedule

3:45 to 4:45 p.m. — Jon Fogerty & Friends
5 to 6:30 p.m. — 3 Wire Winter
6:45 to 7:45 p.m. — Buffalo Commons
8 p.m. to 9 p.m. — Buffalo Commons

“I sat down with a notepad, and the whole song was out in probably 30 minutes,” Woods said. “It’s about learning the difference between what you want and what you need. There’s usually a pretty stark contrast between what people want and what they need; this song is trying to find that happy medium between the two.”

It’s a bar ballad with elements of call-and-response.

“It’s fun to get other people involved in it,” Woods said. “The energy of getting everyone in the crowd singing together, even if they don’t know each other — that’s the best.”

The Traveler Brut IPA makes its world debut at a release party Sunday, May 26.
Denton Turner

The release party for the beer begins with a keg tapping at 3 p.m. Sunday. The release is block-party style, with food trucks and games. Music by Jon Fogerty and special guests begins at 3:45 p.m., followed by a set by 3 Wire Winter and two sets by Buffalo Commons. Guests arriving before 4 p.m. will be entered to win prizes and giveaways.

The Traveler isn’t the first local band and brewery collaboration. Butcherknife’s Amputator IPA was inspired by local punk band The Amputators, Johansing said. Earlier this month, local band Yer State Birds and Mountain Tap Brewery also released a collaboration beer.

“We hope this beer inspires more people to think out of the box and utilize the resources and talents that we have right here in the valley,” Orr said.

Woods noted his appreciation for the local community’s support of Buffalo Commons’ music.

“We owe a lot of this as a band to this place,” he said.

Julia Ben-Asher is a contributing writer for Steamboat Pilot & Today.

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