Yes, a lot of Denver breweries do a lot of weird things, but sometimes those weird things need to be tasted and unpacked for science.
Andrew Moore, owner and brewer at The Intrepid Sojourner Beer Project, did kind of a weird thing during his honeymoon on Rapa Nui, or Easter Island. He left a dollop of agar, a gel made from algae, on a plate — a laboratory plate, not like a Dixie plate — and let it collect the minuscule, native stuff floating around in the open air. He put a cap on the plate, kept it cold and brought it home to Denver.
Moore took the samples to Inland Island Yeast Laboratories, where staffers separated bacteria from yeast and other microbes. From a teeny sample of wild yeast, the brewer propagated enough to make its newest offering, Mo’aipa, a pale ale named for mo’ai, the monoliths erected by the ancient Rapa Nui on Easter Island.
“We’re always trying to create beer that’s like, from a place, beer that has a terroir,” Moore said. “And was like, how cool would it be to have an Easter Island or a Rapa Nui terroir for a beer?”
It probably won’t surprise you to hear that Moore used to be an archaeologist. By the way, “terroir” is a word used to describe the natural environment that gives an alcoholic drink (usually wine) its character.
This reporter liked the beer. It’s dry — fermented in white wine, mango and guava — and easily downed. The island yeast makes the drink from Intrepid Sojourner (soon to be Next Stop Brew Co.) completely unique, according to Moore.