Mr. B’s Wine and Spirits shows off some of its just-arrived 12 Percent Imports beers (provided by Mr. B’s)
Already sought after for its own boundary-pushing beers, Denver’s Crooked Stave  Artisan Beer Project opens a new chapter this week as a distributor of kindred-spirit American and Belgian beers through a partnership with 12 Percent Imports of Brooklyn.
For local beer aficionados, it’s a chance to sample beers from cult-favorite breweries that never before have been distributed here. The headliners are Evil Twin Brewing , founded by Danish schoolteacher turned Brooklynite Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø, and Baltimore-based Stillwater Artisanal Ales , which specializes in saisons and farmhouse ales that get fantastic reviews.
The first shipment also includes Hof ten Dormaal , an all-farmhouse brewery in the small town of Tildonk, Belgium, that ages some of its beers in cognac barrels, said Crooked Stave owner and head brewer Chad Yakobson. He expects to get in more beer from Sweden and the Netherlands, and more from Belgium.
“We are super excited by it,” said Scott Blauweiss, owner of Mr. B’s Wine and Spirits in downtown Denver , which received its first shipment of 12 Percent beers Tuesday. “Chad knows exactly what he’s doing. He has created something that is much needed, which is competition in Colorado craft beer distribution.”
A newly formed subsidiary of Crooked Stave, Crooked Stave Artisans, began distributing its first shipments of 12 Percent beers up and down the Front Range this week, and special tappings are planned in early and mid September at four beer bars in the region (details below).
Yakobson said he met 12 Percent Imports owner Brian Ewing at The Festival, an artisan beer gathering staged by 12 Percent and Massachusetts-based importer Shelton Brothers . Twelve Percent, which mostly imports Belgian rarities, added Crooked Stave to the roster of beers it distributes in New York City this year.
Yakobson, in turn, saw an opportunity to bring Ewing’s finds to a new audience in Colorado as a distributor – an unusual move for brewery, let alone one that is relatively new and juggling all manner of bold projects this year. “I don’t think anyone is better to distribute these beers than we are,” Yakobson said. “A lot of these brewers, I’ve become friends with.”
Blauweiss of Mr. B’s said the new portfolio fills a real void on the Colorado liquor store scene – four packs of imported craft beer that are relatively affordable. Some Belgian 4-packs run up to $20 or more, which caused some liquor stores to sour on trying to sell them, breaking them into singles instead, he said.
Four packs of Stillwater saisons run $9.99, which is comparable to Green Flash or Odell beers that come in that package. The Evil Twin four-packs are more expensive, at $13 or $14, but Blauweiss said the beers also are higher in alcohol.
Blauweiss praised Stillwater’s saisons, predicting they will create competition for other saisons and farmhouses in four packs.
“It’s kind of taking what people in Colorado know about farmhouses to a new level because they do so many different things with it,” he said. “Light farmhouses, dark farmhouses. They use wild and crazy grains, sometimes fruit, often some wild yeast. … more interesting expressions of saisons.”
The Front Range beer bar rollout for the 12 Percent portfolio will feature 10 tap handles, with identical lineups at each location:
Backcountry Pizza and Taphouse , Boulder – Tues, Sept. 3
Brewers Republic , Colorado Springs – Fri., Sept. 6
Tap n Handle , Fort Collins – Tues., Sept. 10
Falling Rock Taphouse , Denver – Thurs., Sept. 12
The beers that will be poured:
Stillwater: Stateside Saison, Existent, Cellar Door, As Follows
Evil Twin: Yin, Yang, Ryan and the Beaster Bunny, Molotov Cocktail, Low Life, Lil B
Each bar also will receive a case of 750 milliliter rare Tilquin Questche-Plum Lambic, said Kyle Krebsbach, Crooked Stave’s head of sales and distribution. At each tapping the brewery also will be raffling off a ticket to its just-announced What the Funk!? Festival  – to be staged Oct. 11 during the Friday night Great American Beer Festival session.
Posted By Eric Gorski On August 28, 2013 @ 7:39 am In Bottle Shops, Colorado Beer