1892 Artesian Lager is a custom-made, retro-minded beer brewed with water from the underground aquifer that supplies the Brown Palace’s water.
“We wanted to do something very special for our 120th,” says Mark Shine, sales director for the Brown Palace, “and having another Denver icon create a special beer for us was a great way to do that. The beer gives us a unique way to share a piece of our history with the people of Denver.”
“Colorado brewers have been touting the state’s water for over 150 years,” says Wynkoop’s Marty Jones. “We’re adding a small-batch chapter to that tradition, while showcasing the Brown and one of its many treasures.”
Wynkoop enlisted the help of Longmont, Colorado’s McDonald Farms to truck 800 gallons of water from the hotel and deliver it to Wynkoop, where head brewer Andy Brown brewed the beer.
The draft-only beer is fermented with a lager yeast at a slightly warmer temperature than modern-day lagers, to mirror the early days of Colorado’s brewing history.
It is brewed with American two-row malts and US-grown, pilsner-style hops. For a contemporary twist, the beer’s grain bill included flaked oats, flaked barley and several other grains and oats that provide body and aroma.
“Our goal,” Brown says, “was to create a beer that echoes Colorado’s early beers and the beers that were served in the Brown Palace’s first years. It’s a cross between a late 1800s steam-style beer and a modern cream ale.”
Highly sessionable and designed for summer drinking, 1892 Artesian Lager is a crystal-clear filtered beer with a straw color, a substantial snow white head, and champagne-like effervescence. It has subtle flavors of blonde malts and oats, a delicate sweetness, and restrained hops. It’s a very quaffable 4% ABV.
“We wanted a beer that left room to highlight the hotel’s water,” Brown says, “and it has a slight mineral character that does that. It also has an especially creamy head for such a light beer.”
With its delicate flavor, 1892 Artesian Lager also gives Wynkoop a chance to highlight a particular side of its craft. “This is a very unforgiving beer,” Brown says. “So it allows us to showcase our skills in making very clean beer in small batches.”
This limited-release beer is available on tap at Wynkoop (on the guest taps upstairs) and the Brown Palace’s Ship Tavern.
This is the second beer Wynkoop has brewed for the Brown Palace. Last fall Wynkoop brewed Rooftop Honey Saison, a Belgian-style saison that was crafted with honey from the Brown’s rooftop beehives. Wynkoop will brew that beer again this fall.
In 1888, Henry C. Brown, the namesake of The Brown Palace Hotel and Spa, had a well drilled on the site of his early Denver grazing land, which was bordered by 17th Street, Tremont Place and Broadway. In 1892, the Brown Palace Hotel was constructed at that site and the water from the well was used to supply the hotel.
Today the well continues to provide water to Brown Palace guests. A water fountain in the hotel lobby provides attendees a drink straight from the aquifer. The pressure gauge for the well can be found just outside the entrance to Ship Tavern.
The well is 780 feet deep, about as “tall” as the nearby Republic Plaza.