Tour de brew: Vindication Brewing Co.

It’s what’s in the glass that counts

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Bridgett Royer, co-owner, Beer Goddess of Vindication Brewing Co.
Susan France

Let’s face it; food allergies and dietary restrictions are ubiquitous nowadays. Everybody seems to be sensitive to something or other but nobody really knows what. Maybe because we don’t really know what’s in the food we eat and the beverages we drink? Nutritional labels come with entire paragraphs of hard to understand, and harder to pronounce, ingredients, and an “understanding” of exactly how genetically modified organisms (GMOs) affect our digestion varies from person to person. The only way to combat these seismic shifts in food production is for the consumer to adopt Mad Eye Moody’s declaration of “Constant vigilance!” Not an easy task, but one Vindication Brewing Co. is helping out with.

That’s because Vindication Brewing believes in Brewtegrity® — complete and total transparency of what’s in the glass. As their manifesto reads, Vindication brewers will not use antifoam agents (dimethyl polysiloxane for you science types) in their beers, nor do they indulge in any yeast washing, isinglass or artificial process agents to control fermentation. Just cereal grains, hops, yeast, water, a little fruit peel here and there, carbon dioxide and Irish Moss make it into their beers.

Yep, Irish Moss. To get crystal clear beer in the glass, brewers have to filter the sediment out. Vindication uses Irish Moss to do the trick while the rest use isinglass (fish air bladders). Similar to gelatin, isinglass clumps to the solid particles left over from the brewing process, after which brewers can easily remove the clumps.

Though there’s hardly any isinglass in an average beer, the fact remains that isinglass is used in the beer-making process but isn’t talked about or printed on the label like other ingredients. It’s enough to make you wonder what else might be in your brew. Should that suspicion get the better of you, a trip to Vindication will set you right and restore your confidence in quaffing.

Take Vindication’s flagship brew: American Bold Ale (7.5 percent alcohol by volume and made with water, caramel malts, loads of hops, yeast, Irish Moss and CO2), a beer with the color of single-malt Scotch whisky, the sniff of caramel candy and a beautiful balance of sweet and bitter. Maybe it’s the power of suggestion, but each sip seems to highlight the individual ingredients Vindication lists on their tasting menu.

The same goes for their Hops on Spring (7.9 percent and made with water, barley, rye, hops, yeast, Irish Moss and CO2). This unfiltered, hoppy red ale hasn’t many, if any, traces of sweetness, but plenty of bite and bark to match.

With eight brews on tap, ranging from the floral and refreshing Winchester Wheat Ale (6.1 percent and made with water, barley, wheat, hops, yeast, lemon and orange peel, Irish Moss and CO2) to the beastly and boozy Devil’s Helper Imperial Stout (10.8 percent and made with water, barley, wheat, oats, rice hulls, hops, yeast, Irish Moss and CO2), Vindication offers plenty for every drinker, including the comfort of knowing exactly what’s in their glasses. Brewtegrity indeed.

Vindication Brewing Co., 6880 Winchester Circle, Unit F, Boulder, 80301, 303-530-0642, vindicationbrewing.com