Eric Gorski
the denver post

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September 22, 2012
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Crooked Stave of Denver stands out as a craft beer experimenter

Squeezed between rows in what looks like a wine cellar, Chad Yakobson takes a pair of pliers and pries a nail out of an oak barrel.

He tips his glass forward, catching a stream not of pinot or zinfandel but a dark, sour beer - don't call it an ale - fermented with a yeast strain brewers traditionally have considered a contamination threat.

"Acidic ... palatable ... nice," he says. " This is about ready."

This warehouse-like spot in north Denver is the Barrel Cellar, the temporary home of Yakobson's Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project.

Here, aging in nearly 100 wooden barrels, is everything from a traditional saison to an imperial pale ale and Danish-style Baltic porter, all 100 percent fermented with the wild yeast Brettanomyces.

Equal parts scientist, brewer and businessman, the 28-year-old Yakobson has an almost obsessive respect for brewing tradition and plans lurking in his head that would make Willy Wonka proud.

He is part of a younger generation of Colorado brewers - a group that includes Troy Casey at AC Golden and Jason Yester of Trinity Brewing in Colorado Springs - pushing boundaries by creating complex, delicate barrel-aged beers with wild yeast and bacteria.

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The Summit Daily Updated Sep 22, 2012 08:48PM Published Sep 22, 2012 08:46PM Copyright 2012 The Summit Daily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.