Free Yeast! And why I love my local brewer
I love my local brewer. Or should I say, brewers... Lots of brewers. Denver has been overrun by new breweries, and I couldn't be happier.
Of course, most of them make tasty and interesting beers that I love to try. I appreciate the experimentation of some, but value the diligence of others who try to nail traditional yet challenging styles, such as the German Pils. I love the unique environment they create, each a unique extension of a living room or beer hall which makes you want to gather with friends and loved ones to share in the delight.
But one of the things I love most about my local brewer is the friendly camaraderie they've established between themselves and with their community. Nothing exemplifies this more than their sharing of ingredients. Most local brewers are quick to share their yeast with aspiring homebrewers. I'll often show up with a zip lock bag (yes, new zip locks are sanitary and a great way to transport yeast) and ask the brewer if I can have a bit of the appropriate yeast for an upcoming brew. Most are more than willing to help you out, including the kind folks at Wynkoop and Prost. In fact, recently at the latter I learned that they are not only sharing their yeast with homebrewers, but with lots of other Colorado breweries. If anything, I'd find it a bit odd if a brewery was unwilling to share or acted protective of their "house strain." What do they have to hide? If I'm able to walk in off the street and recreate one of their beers with only a common yeast, they aren't making very extraordinary beer.
In what other industry would you find such camaraderie? I'll toast to that.