A sweet and calming aroma filled the air in front of Steamworks Brewing Co. on Wednesday morning as a mobile hop harvester stripped cones from vines.
The harvester rumbled as the tines removed the hops and leaves, and the conveyor belts separated leaves and cones and spit out buckets of hops, destined for the mash tun, a huge metal pot, where they will steep, Steamworks Head Brewer Ken Martin said.
In 17 or 18 days, Steamworks will be ready to pour its Colorado Proud Pale Ale with a distinct flavor derived from the local hops, he said.
Kiln-dried and pelletized hops are common ingredients in many beers. He likened using fresh hops to swapping fresh fruit for dried fruit in any recipe.
"It tastes and smells fresher," he said.
Paul Black delivered about 60 pounds of Chinook and Cascade hops recently harvested from his farm in the Pine River Valley for the ale, he said.
Steamworks also plans to use Colorado-produced yeast and barley grown in the San Luis Valley.
"We just wanted to showcase the ingredients that are made here locally," he said.
The company expects to make about 10 barrels of the ale.