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Local peaches featured in latest offering from Breckenridge Brewery

By Dave Buchanan

I'm straying from the wine trail this week to focus on another Grand Valley product – peaches – available in beer form.

Thanks to a stray email, I was turned on to Breckenridge Brewery's new Peachfork Wheat, an unfiltered beer featuring fruit from Peachfork Orchards and Vineyard on East Orchard Mesa.

Peachfork (the vineyards, not the beer) has long supplied grapes for local winemakers but this time it was their peaches that attracted a brewer's attention.

"I’ve always wanted to marry the Palisade peach goodness with our brewing style," said Todd Usry, general manager and brewmaster for the Breckenridge-based brewery. "It seems a natural fit."

Peachfork Wheat is available on tap locally at the Ale House Brewery and Pub, 2531 North 12th.

Ale House general manager Brian Oliver said the peach beer fits well with the company's buy-local philosophy.

"Buying locally is what we're all about," said Oliver. "We try to buy as much locally as we can and finally our (main) company did something using local ingredients."

Peachfork Wheat isn't a peach-flavored beer. You have to concentrate to pick up the barest aroma of peaches and you might discern just a hint of peach flavor, way back in the palate.

But it wasn't meant to a peach-dominated quaff, said Oliver. Like an Oscar-winning supporting actor, the peach is there to enhance the beer, not steal the show.

"The peach sweetens and lightens up the wheat texture," he explained. "Wheat beers can be a bit heavier by nature and our brewmaster takes the sweetness of the peach and softens the beer."

Also, it's an unfiltered beer, and like an unfiltered wine whose cloudy face may initially turn off some customers, that first taste will reveal the difference between an unfiltered beer and a filtered beer.

"There's so much more depth and layers in an unfiltered beer," said Oliver, who has 18 years in the bar and brewery business. "You get so much more out of an unfiltered beer and it's amazing how many people prefer unfiltered beers."

The new offering is immensely popular, Oliver said, and he had to fight off other Breckenridge Brewery pubs for his share of the much-in-demand special production.

"There's only a limited number of kegs and I had to go the brewery and argue that I needed the lion's share because it's my backyard," Oliver said. "I got 16 kegs, enough for about a month and a half."

The Ale House can go through four to five kegs a week (each keg holds about 110 pints) so the supply won't last forever.

"It's just blowing out the doors," Oliver said of the Peachfork Wheat. "This is great time for this sort of thing."

For those readers still unsure about their beer knowledge, and that includes this writer, Oliver offers a free beer tasting and pairing class the first Wednesday of every month.

"We cook with beer and pair it with different foods and explore it in depth," said Oliver. Each class includes 11-12 beers, about a third of the 32 beers the Ale House has on tap.

"We have a lot of fun and end up learning a lot about beer," said Oliver. The next class is 6 p.m. Wednesday (Nov. 3). Call the Ale House at 242-7ALE (7253) for more information.


 

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