Steamboat band and brewery collaborate to create Yer State Beer
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Raise a glass to local business, local ingredients, live music, mud-season parties and brand-new beers. On Saturday, May 11, Mountain Tap Brewery and local blues-rock band Yer State Birds debut their collaboration beer to the world during a release party at the brewery.
The idea for “Yer State Beer” first came about last summer when Mountain Tap brewmaster Rich Tucciarone and Yer State Birds bassist and vocalist and Mountain Tap General Manager Jeff Goodhand were chatting.
“(Jeff) floated the idea (of a collaboration beer), and I said, ‘heck yeah,’” Tucciarone said.
First, Tucciarone, Goodhand and the rest of Yer State Birds — lead vocalist and guitarist JR Adams, drummer Ryan Fanders and keyboardist and vocalist John Miller — sat down with a slew of beer samples to dissect and discuss what kind of beer they were going for.
“Imagine yourself at a rockin’ show — what’s going to taste really good for that environment?” Tucciarone asked.
“We discussed what beers we all like to drink, and the styles were all over the place, but a low ABV (alcohol by volume) beer was definitely what we agreed on,” Goodhand said.
“That’s a beer you can drink a lot of, that’s not too strong,” Tucciarone explained.
“So from there, we steered the conversation to what style best represented the band’s music,” Goodhand said. “We came up with a classic American style lager that is dry hopped to give it a fresh aroma and a modern twist.”
What: Yer State Beer Release Party with Yer State Birds
When: 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday, May 11
Where: Mountain Tap Brewery, 910 Yampa Ave.
“American-style lagers aren’t dry hops, so we thought that would be a fun spin — just a little bit of hop aromas to give a little Colorado signature,” Tucciarone said.
“We wanted something that would be approachable to all kinds of beer drinkers and still be unique and interesting,” Goodhand said.
Tucciarone, who has been brewing professionally for more than 25 years, took the group’s feedback and, with a technical eye, worked out a recipe for the beer that would offer all the desired qualities.
He sourced all the ingredients from within Colorado. The malt was grown and malted at Monte Vista’s Proximity Malting, the Chinook and crystal hops were grown and processed at Paonia’s High Wire Hops, and the yeast was propagated at Woodland Park’s Brewing Science Institute.
Finally, it was time to put it all together. On brew day, the whole band was there right next to Tucciarone, adding hops to the brew kettle, hosing down the floor and shoveling out the spent grain from the mash tun — a vessel for mixing the ground malt with temperature-controlled water.
“It was the first time any of the other guys in the band (other than Goodhand) had actually brewed,” Tucciarone said. “I think they were surprised at how much work it was.”
They brewed a full seven-barrel batch of beer or 14 kegs worth. Lagers typically take a bit longer than other beers to ferment, so the group planned ahead, budgeting several weeks for fermentation time ahead of Saturday’s release date.
“(That amount) will maybe be on tap for several weeks,” Tucciarone said. “It depends how busy we are and the time of year.”
The beer is a limited-edition brew, which means once the seven barrels are drunk, the only part of Yer State Beer that remains will be the memories and the aftertaste.
“But we’d consider doing another batch if (Yer State Beer) does really well, or maybe we’d make it an annual thing,” Tucciarone said.
Yer State Beer will be available on tap and in 32-ounce crowlers filled fresh, flaunting Mountain Tap’s first beer-specific label with a bird soaring by a hop. A crowler is a 32-ounce aluminum can that is different than larger glass growlers.
“(The label) was a collaborative effort, trying to meld the two brands into one, representing each in the spirit of collaboration,” Tucciarone said.
In the past, Mountain Tap has collaborated with local companies, such as Hala and Harvest Skis.
“A lot of the folks we’re interested in collaborating with are interested in the outdoors and music,” Tucciarone said, “and there’s a connection there over the beer. It’s really fun.”
The beer’s debut
The “Yer State Beer” release party takes place from 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday, May 11, at Mountain Tap. Yer State Birds will play original music from their debut album, “Build A Fire,” originals that have yet to be recorded and some favorite covers.
“We like taking old classic rock songs and putting our own fresh spin on them, which I think this beer sort of nods to,” Goodhand said.
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