Boulder’s got a new taproom, and it’s a beauty: Sleek yet rustic, modern but warm, a real treat. You ought to drop whatever you’re doing and go for a pour of something special. Too bad you can’t, at least not yet.
Located in East Boulder’s industrial Flatiron Park, Wild Provisions Beer Project is the passion project of Tommy Bibliowicz (co-owner of 4 Noses Brewing in Broomfield) and Brandon Boldt (co-owner of Primitive Beer in Longmont). They opened their doors on May 8. Well, rolled up the garage door is more like it. They can sell you bottles to go, but it’s going to be a while until you can head in and hang out for a beer or three. A pity too: oak dominates the décor, the open and airy room is flooded with natural light, and the front of the house feels like a natural extension of the back.
“We really wanted the atmosphere to be pretty open,” Bibliowicz says. “Often times, when we have projects like this, it’s like they’re hidden behind the veil. We wanted it to be front and center.”
And it is. From where you sit at the bar, you spy a wooden nook housing a koelschip (a large flat tub where beer is spontaneously inoculated), two upright fermenters and a stack of five large puncheon barrels — all fashioned out of American oak from Missouri. Look further back, and you’ll see glass doors sequestering another coolship, two more open fermenters and horizontal lagering tanks stacked up like piglets.
Welcome to ales and lagers, wild and clean. Two brewing styles alike in execution colliding in 8,000 square feet of Boulder brewing space.
Both are rooted in tradition. The sour ales adhere to Belgian techniques, while the clean lagers mimic the Czech tradition. If you know anything about the two brewing nations, and the beer produced, you know they’re widely different — at least in the glass. But Boldt sees a lot of similarities between the two styles and the processes involved, especially in their resistance to modernize with the rest of the brewing world.
“These two areas, to some degree, said: ‘No, no, no. We love what we’re doing, we’re going to continue on and make this part of our beer culture,’” Boldt explains.
The main ingredient in both is time. While most breweries go from grain to glass in one to three weeks, Wild Provisions’ lagers will more than double that. And their wild ales will mature anywhere from one to three years. They also plan to cellar those sour ales in a separate climate-controlled room, which patrons can rent out for special tastings.
Wild Provisions opened with three sour ales, with their fourth releasing on May 22. The Czech lagers will soon follow, as will a proper opening. That will happen when Bibliowicz can assure the safety of his staff and customers. Until then, admire Wild Provisions’ all-black exterior and snag a few bottles of sour ale to go.
THE FIRST THREE
Packaged in handsome 500–ml bottles finished matte black (to keep aging beer safe from light), Wild Provisions’ first three sours are equally effervescent, featuring delightful pops of tartness and subtle hints of wood influence.
Their sour table beer, Ranch Chores, 4.1% ABV, was matured in Château Montelena chardonnay casks, which either impart a tart apple quality to the beer or lead your taste buds in that direction. It pours a pale straw color, fizzes on the nose and delivers light aromas of lemon, field grass and a touch of white grape. Drink it on a hot afternoon.
Old Bones (7.1% ABV) is a golden sour aged on freshly picked nectarines — which give the beer a sweet, fleshy fruit flavor — and Cascade hop cones, which contribute bitterness and structure to complement the tartness, and touches of citrus rind and orange blossom. Old Bones was then aged in chardonnay and whiskey barrels, with the latter adding a touch of woody heat. It’s superb — drink tonight with a lightly dressed arugula and goat cheese salad.
Bowery Lane (11.8% ABV) is a strong golden sour with Montmorency cherries aged in rye whiskey barrels to approximate a classic Manhattan cocktail. Better lay this one down and come back in a few years, after the boozy heat has mellowed and the wood and fruit tannins soften. When that day comes, pair with a marbled rib-eye steak.
Wild Provisions Beer Project, open daily 2-7 p.m. 2209 Central Ave., Boulder, wildprovisionsbeer.com