During an unseasonably warm, July morning, several brewers accompanied by Latona Pub's owner Bob Brenlin, brewed a special edition of Scarlet Fire India Pale Ale. With a release date in August, the beer was paid tribute to one of the city's crusaders for craft beer, the Latona Pub. The beer much like the pub it is brewed for has a fascinating history.
Started in the later half of the 90's, Scarlet Fire was the conjunction of ideas between Big Time brewers Dick Cantwell, Kevin Forhan, and Bill Jenkins. The beer would eventually medal at Denver's Great American Beer Festival (1998) while inspiring countless imbibers to visit and revisit the brewery. Later, a slightly modified recipe would be released by Kevin Forhan inside the walls of Elysian's Fields brewery and restaurant under the aptly-named Prometheus. Much like the legend of the Greek Titan, Scarlet Fire's reputation endures in the stomach and minds of those who consume pint after pint.
Maybe it was the human condition, which urged Big Time's former watchman (Dick Cantwell, Bill Jenkins, Kevin Forhan, and Drew Cluley) to supervise and participate in brewing a batch of Scarlet Fire earlier this month. Maybe it was respect for the Latona Pub and their philosophy of supporting local breweries. Or maybe it was an infectious sense of nostalgia that inspired several former brewers to revisit a brewery that inspired them to open their own brewery (Cantwell), manage a start-up brewery (Cluley), manage an established brewery (Jenkins), or brew at the state's first cooperative brewery (Forhan). No matter, what was important was their willingness to take time out of their lives to openly share experiences spent inside the tight confines of the Big Time Brewery.
Sitting there, moments filled with joy and laughter escaped as several of the former brewers recalled batches of beers, argumentative alehouse managers, and former (albeit stubborn) co-workers. With each story, the ending was often punctuated with laughter and smiles while the aromas of milled grain floated into the backroom of the alehouse. The whole experience of listening to former brewers was akin to a campfire where each guest told a tale, inspired by prior experiences. And like the stories told around the table or campfire, each guest would eventually depart. What remained from the experience can only be described as something special or spiritual, blessed by collective memories from each brewer who once called Big Time Brewery their home.
But soon, like the tales told amongst friends and families, this unique edition of Scarlet Fire India Pale Ale will be shared with others to enjoy.