Crowdsource Ale started as a simple idea in April of 2015. We were unsure it would ever come to fruition. Could we brew a fresh-hop ale from only locally sourced hops?
Here at the brewery we knew that many of our customers are avid backyard hop growers. In the past, we too have grown hops for our own home-brewed ales. As a local company we wanted to highlight the best of what Loveland has to offer.
In early May we let people know we were planning on brewing a fresh-hop ale and were looking for donations in late summer. The amazing Loveland community responded with far more generosity than we ever expected. As the rains of May subsided into the heat of June and July, we were getting hop growth updates from all of you. As the heat of August peaked, pictures of your amazing gardening skills came across the internet and the bar top. The fans of Loveland Aleworks were growing many different varieties of hops, including: Cascade, Centennial, Chinook, Zeus, Brewers Gold, Galena, Sterling, Nugget.
The word went out that we were collecting donations the weekend of August 14-16th. We were shooting in the dark at the expected weight of hops that would come into the brewery. Looking at pictures and estimating the incoming weight is an inexact science. As the weekend progressed we were blown away by the bounty that our wonderful community produced. Bags of hops were being donated by friends new and old.
We had spoken with our friends at Osborn Farm about some hops they had been growing for a few years. They needed some help harvesting, so we packed up the truck with kids, boxes and chairs. We met Wallis and Jess Osborn down at the farm on a tranquil Sunday morning. The truck was backed up to the 20' poles and we began the process of cutting down a summer's worth of growth. Everyone chipped in and piled the truck full of 12 freshly cut Cascade hop bines. The next 4 hours were spent on the barn's porch picking hops off the bines. Young and old chipped into the effort. Boxes were filled, but finally the sun had moved to a spot where the barn no longer provided shade. We all agreed that we should take the remaining pile to the brewery to finish the job where we might be able to recruit a few extra friends.
As we brought the piles into the brewery, people willingly took time out of their Sunday afternoon to help us finish the harvesting process. Finally, around 6 pm we had collected all of the hops for our Crowdsource Ale. Hands were sticky with hop resin, arms itched from the rough bristles of the bines, but we knew that we would have enough hops to brew a legitimate batch. The Loveland community had generously donated their time, labor, and garden space to help us brew a batch of beer that can never be duplicated. The terroir of Loveland is intrinsically a part of this beer.
Monday morning came too soon, and final preparations were made to get the brew started. We had gathered over 70lbs of hops that were planted, grown, and harvested by the people of this great town. This beer is the definition of locally sourced ingredients. Local home brewer Mark P., generously donated his time on brew day to help Paul and Nick.
By mid-afternoon the brew was in the kettle and hop additions were occurring at regular intervals. After a frenzied transfer to the fermentor, everything came together and yeast was pitched, temperature control was adjusted, and clean-up began. The Crowdsource Ale should be on tap in a few weeks for everyone to enjoy. Thank You LOVELAND.