Rich Tucciarone and Eric Baker came from different backgrounds and worked in different industries, but the two share three main interests: skiing, beer, and the Yampa River.
Baker remembers meeting Tucciarone when Baker was working at Hala GearSpace and Tucciarone, co-owner of Mountain Tap Brewery, was visiting the hardware store, as it is located a few feet from the brewery.
One evening, the two sat down together at the brewery and discussed their love for the community and the outdoors, which inspired them to create a beer in honor of skiing.
“Our love of skiing, beer and the river kind of brought it all together,” said Baker, owner of Harvest Skis, a grassroots ski business based in Steamboat Springs.
Four years later, the couple are excited to celebrate the annual Harvest Homegrown, a rye lager with locally sourced ingredients. Mountain Tap Brewery will be selling it next month in its auction room, and those who want to take the beer out can buy bottles or a growler.
As a pale rye beer, Tucciarone said the beer is “breaded” with hints of caramel and rye. Baker often prefers darker beer and Mountain Tap focuses more on more hoppy beer, so Tucciarone said the lager rye ale is a happy medium for the two.
“It’s a good transitional style of beer when you switch to lighter beers in late summer and fall,” Tucciarone said. “It’s just a little more toasty, more roasted and conducive to late fall and early winter evenings.”
Mountain Tap normally hosts a party to kick off the beer and kick off the winter sports season, but the brewery was unable to do so in 2020 due to COVID-19.
To make up for lost time, Mountain Tap invites its guests to a celebration at the brewery from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday. Local DJ Rocksteady Teddy will be spinning his vast collection of reggae, Jamaican soul and ska records to set the mood, and limited edition 22-ounce bottles of Harvest Homegrown will be on sale. Free entry.
“We also hope it will bring some snow,” said Baker.
Several varieties of cereals, including the strong-tasting malted rye, have been grown and malted at Proximity Malting in Monte Vista. Hops were grown and processed at High Wire Hops in Paonia and Billy Goat Hop Farm in Montrose. The yeast was propagated at the Brewing Science Institute in Woodland Park. The water came directly from the mountains surrounding Steamboat.
“It’s just a little bit of working together, creating something local that we can celebrate,” Baker said. “I think we just appreciate it. We enjoy the process, the beer is good and it gets a good response from customers who go to Mountain Tap and try it.
Because the beer is specific to Steamboat, Baker said he and Tucciarone have talked about donating a portion of the proceeds to community nonprofits in the future.
“The possibilities are endless,” Baker said.
The recipe has remained the same for the past four years. Baker said the two had talked about changing it, but the rye lager had received positive reviews from community members and represented the ski and beer culture well.
“It’s something you can enjoy when you ski powder in the winter, or it’s a little snowier in the spring,” Baker said. “It works, so let’s keep doing it. “
To reach Alison Berg, call 970-871-4229 or email [email protected]