Craft Beer Tour 2018: High Altitude Hops

These photos were taken Wednesday, September 19, at High Altitude Hops Farm in Larkspur, and Lone Tree Brewing Company in Lone Tree; which was day three of my Craft Beer Tour 2018.

Before I left L.A. on Monday, my friend Desiree, a beertender at King Harbor Brewing Company, told me she was going to introduce me to her friends Kris Meese and his wife Aleece, the owners of High Altitude Hops Farm. So when I left Durango I set off towards Larkspur, which is about 40 miles south of Denver.

Kris has been growing hops for about five years, beginning with what was apparently nothing more than a divider between their property and their neighbor. After two years they made their first sale to a local brewery; at that point they decided they needed a larger area if they were going to grow enough to make this a viable business. That is when they moved to Larkspur and a five acre spread.

As you can tell from the photos, they are not using all five acres for hops; the hop portion of the farm is just under an acre. They have gotten to the point that they are now able to sell whole cone hops to local breweries and homebrewers. Since it is September, the harvest has already been completed, but they freeze the hop cones so they are available to use and/or sell year round.

One of High Altitude’s clients is Lone Tree Brewing, which is located up the road from Larkspur. As it turned out, Lone Tree Brewing was releasing their Fresh Hop IPA Wednesday night which was brewed with Cascade and Chinook hops (50 pounds of each) which were grown at High Altitude Hops Farm. Naturally, Kris, Aleece and I had to head over there to try it out.

Lone Tree Brewing has a 20-bbl system that had 15 taps pouring when I was there. After trying a pint of the Fresh Hop IPA I tried a flight consisting of their Mexican Lager, Irish Red, Raisin Dubbel (their GABF Pro-AM entry), and Hoppy Little Trees Project IPA; everything was quite solid, with Fresh Hop and Hoppy Little Trees being my favorites.

Lone Tree Brewing Company is located at 8200 Park Meadows Drive in Lone Tree. They are open seven days a week, are dog friendly and offer growlers, cans and bottles to go.

High Altitude Hops Farm is located at 3261 E. Estates Circle in Larkspur. They are open Saturday through Monday, but if you are interested in purchasing hops, I recommend reaching out to Kris; I am confident that he will work with you. They sell hops in quantities of one pound to 100 and Kris is quite eager to show you everything you need to know about whole cone hops. He particularly enjoys showing the difference it makes to grow them high above the smog level. So, if you are a homebrewer or a brewery interested in brewing with cones as opposed to pellets, High Altitude is there for you.

I want to thank Kris and Aleece for their hospitality and thanks to Desiree for the introduction. I am sure if you get the opportunity to meet Kris and Aleece you will realize that they are everything I said and more. I know I want to come back around harvest time; maybe next year. Cheers!

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