An inside look at Denver Beer Co.’s GABF gold medal saison & what makes it so special
Jason Buehler has come a long way from brewing small batch beer in a turkey fryer in his garage. Ten years ago, he quit his job as a textbook salesman and started to create his own beers. For the last year and a half Jason has been the Head Brewer at Denver Beer Co. Earlier this month, Jason was awarded a gold medal at GABF in the Wood and Barrel Aged Beer category for Denver Beer Co.’s red wine barrel aged saison, Drama Queen.
“Anytime you put a beer in a barrel, especially a used wine barrel, you don’t know what’s going to happen. That’s the fun of it,” Jason said of his award-winning Drama Queen. “I hand-selected the 16 different oak barrels used for Drama Queen out of nearly 200, and considered the quality and diversity of aroma of each individual barrel. Because each barrel is different, no batches of Drama Queen will ever be exactly the same. The process took hours (not unlike shopping for candles in a Bed Bath & Beyond), but that it was an important step in obtaining the complex flavors I was aiming for.”
The base for Drama Queen is a saison as the dry flavor and aromatics meld well within the fruity, oaky flavors in the Malbec, Merlot, and French Cabernet barrels. Jason used a blend of sake and a German hefeweizen yeast, which are both unusual yeast choices for a saison. The resulting Drama Queen is complex, fruity and very approachable—essentially the Neil Patrick Harris of saisons. When asked about the inspiration for the beer’s name, Jason simply said, “Everyone knows a drama queen.”
Not only did Drama Queen win Denver Beer Co. a gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival, but it has also won the coveted endorsement of Jason’s mom, who traveled to the festival from Ohio to try her son’s award-winning saison. “She told me Drama Queen is her absolute favorite beer ever, and that she wasn’t just saying that because she is my mom,” he laughed.
If you are curious to try the beer that has won the hearts of GABF judges and Jason’s mom, you’re in luck—Denver Beer Co. will be bottling limited edition 22 oz bombers of Drama Queen in house in their Platte St. taproom next week, and the bottles will be on shelves the first week of November. As for what’s next for Denver Beer Co., Jason hinted at the possibility of more sake yeast, maybe some experimentation with barrel-aged sours, and definitely some more unique, quality beers.
Guest Blogger: Caitlin Mahr