Amalgam Brewing Ready To Mix Things Up In Niwot

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We’ve got some thrilling news for all of you Colorado craft beer junkies and we couldn’t be more excited to give you the exclusive.

Philip Joyce and Eric Schmidt of Powder Keg Brewing are branching out with a new side project brewing venture called Amalgam. Now before everyone panics, I know what you’re thinking – Does this mean that Powder Keg is going to stop making sours? The answer is quite the contrary, Powder Keg is actually in plans to slightly expand their barrel program with Joyce and Schmidt still at the helm making the beers we all know and love.

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“We want to brew beers that we want to drink and Amalgam gives us an artistic avenue to make the experimental beers and take risks that we just can’t do at Powder Keg. We’re letting inspiration lead the way,” says Schmidt. Amalgam’s initial focus will be barrel aged mixed cultured beers, however the long-term focus of the project is purposely being left wide open as to not constrain creativity. Will we see IPAs, barrel aged stouts, or spontaneous beers from this project? Your guess is as good as their’s. This “no holds barred” approach allows them the freedom to be inspired by growing trends in craft, while still being able to apply their own artistic spin.

Initially, Amalgam will brew and occupy a cozy 90 sq ft. at Powder Keg in Niwot, CO, consisting of 8 barrels and a puncheon with hopes to max out the rented space with an additional 4 barrels. Perhaps the most beautiful thing about this new venture is that it is free to grow as organically and incrementally as it wants. Both Joyce and Schmidt have day jobs at Powder Keg and the Amalgam project is solely worked on during their free time. “Inevitably we will grow out of the space and we’ve already begun the hunt for additional warehouse space,” says Schmidt. As Amalgam grows, Joyce and Schmidt envision a gypsy brewing scenario but they are definitely not trying to get ahead of themselves and are allowing the project grow at it’s own pace.

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“One goal of ours is to have a library of barrels housing different types of beer. The types of barrels will range from neutral oak to wine and spirit barrels. This will give us the ability to blend beers of different age, recipe and taste to dial in flavors we’re looking for, creating truly unique beers,” remarks Joyce. This technique sounds like a page out of a winemaker’s book, however it truly captures the essence of their namesake – to blend.

Collaboration will be another strong focus for Amalgam. “I typically like to have full control when brewing, however it’s really a lot of fun to let go of your inhibitions when brewing in collaboration. It enables you to learn completely new techniques and habits from fellow brewers, sometimes incorporating them into your regime.” Amalgam’s debut will be August 20th with fellow friends Call to Arms and Cannonball Creek. *Please read the press release below for details.

Amalgam will also feature a series of “foraged” beers. The idea is to use fruit and other ingredients sourced entirely from local, community gardens. Some ingredients may even come from the homes gardens of friends and family. This old world approach leaves sensory in the driver’s seat to create these beers. If you attended 2015’s edition of What The Funk!? then this news was hidden in plain sight. Amalgam poured two of their foraged beers that knocked everyone’s socks off.

Amalgam will use the house yeast culture that Joyce has propagated over the years, the cocktail contains a mystery blend of commercial strains of yeast and bottles dregs from some of his favorite beers. “I have no idea what specifically is in our house culture, I can only determine that it definitely contains lactic acid producing bacteria and multiple strains of Brett. What I do know is it amazes me how each generation is unique as some of the bugs are out completing one another depending on cellar conditions,” says Joyce.

“Amalgam will operate under the tagline ‘committed to the culture’”, says Schmidt. “The word ‘culture’ has so many meanings to us. First of all we’re committed to Phil’s house culture which has created so many incredible beers time and time again. We’re committed to the brewing beer culture, which has allowed us to connect with so many people who inspire us. We’re also committed our local culture, by remaining engaged with our community.”

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Please join us on August 20th for the formal debut of Amalgam at Call to Arms.

For the third year in a row, Call to Arms Brewing Co. will be teaming up with our friends at Cannonball Creek Brewing Co. to promote camaraderie in the craft beer industry through our annual Peace & Assist event. The event will take place Saturday, August 20th from Noon-9pm at Call to Arms.

The original Peace & Assist event took place prior to Call to Arms’ opening, when a number of craft breweries were sending cease and desist letters to one-another. Having worked in the craft beer industry for many combined years, the owners of Call to Arms and Cannonball decided to take a different approach and instead help and promote other breweries in our Colorado community.

The first year was a collab between CTA and Cannonball; the second year was a collab between CTA, Cannonball, and Beryl’s Beer Co., and this year’s event will involve CTA, Cannonball, and Amalgam Brewing – a soon-to- be opened brewing and blending operation owned by Phil Joyce and Eric Schmidt, both of whom currently work as Head Brewer and Beer Buyer respectively at Powder Keg Brewing Co. in Niwot, CO.

The P&A No. 3 collaboration beer itself is a Brett Pale Ale, with Brett Claussenii lending huge notes of stone fruit and pear, and the Galaxy, Mosaic, and Hull Melon hops offering layers of bright lemon zest, ripe cantaloupe, and fresh apricots. Peace & Assist No. 3 will be available on tap in the Powder Keg taproom starting on Sunday, August 21st.

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By: Brian McKenzie

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