Amalgam Brewing Lifts Off with Ascension

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About a year ago Phil Joyce and Eric Schmidt unveiled a new brewing venture, Amalgam, which we brought to you all with great excitement and anticipation. Well, the wait is over and it’s finally here. Once the team received the appropriate notice to proceed, Joyce and Schmidt quickly got to work brewing beer and transferring it into oak barrels for aging. Following an extended maturation time and some blending, Amalgam has finally created some beers of full ripeness.

Last week the great people at Goed Zuur in the Five Points neighborhood graciously hosted an event where Amalgam previewed bottles of their upcoming beers. If you haven’t been to Goed Zuur yet then you’re doing it wrong. Their sour-only tap list paired with various charcuterie options are really unmatched anywhere in the city and maybe the US, but I digress.

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First off was Composition, a farmhouse style beer which starts off with a dosage of two saccharomyces yeast strains typically suited for saisons. Then a cocktail of multiple strains of brettanomyces, which Joyce has personally tailored, is introduced. After fermentation and aging in oak barrels for a few months the beer is then blended with their golden sour base to tarten up the beer. The result is a low ABV, lightly tart yet highly drinkable saison with notes of white wine grape skin – truly a fantastic beer. Keep your eyes peeled for a future release along with a version dry hopped with Citra and Mosaic.

Next on the docket was Ascension, a golden sour which saw extended barrel aging in freshly dumped chardonnay barrels using the house culture Joyce has cultivated over his years of making sour beer. The chardonnay adds a nice sweetness which balanced well with the ever so present tartness that never crosses the threshold of being overdone. Mid-palate displayed pronounced peachy stone fruit esters. The amount of vanilla-like oak present on the finish was really what added the wow factor to the beer. There are so many layers to this but they’re all so tightly woven together. “Our slogan continues to be ‘Commit to the Culture’ in all aspects of what we do. The next time we make Ascension our house culture may create an entirely different beer, which is an exciting aspect of the beer we will make,” says Joyce.

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Finally, Handpicked will be Amalgam’s heavily fruited beer series using the golden sour base of Ascension. “The fruit will be hand-picked by Phil and I, either foraged from local trees and bushes or the orchards of Colorado’s western slope” says Schmidt. The boys shared a sample of their Handpicked with Colorado Danube cherries, which they had pulled from their fruiting tank earlier in the day. The fruit addition added yet another incredible layer to an already complex beer.

We were absolutely floored by Amalgam’s debut portfolio. It was a difficult task to match and even surpass the expectations of the fan favorites beers of Powder Keg, however Amalgam has done just that. The resurgence of sour beer has brought along a lot of cookie cutter examples, however Amalgam is truly making inspiration and creativity a priority to really make some genuinely unique works. Please join us at Small Batch Liquors this Saturday, 9/9 at 11:00AM where Amalgam will have their very first release of Ascension. When someone pops one at your next bottle share you’ll be pretty bummed that you didn’t stock up.


By: Brian McKenzie

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