Nestled in a business park off of 71st Street near Gunbarrel, it might be easy for a passerby to overlook Vindication Brewing Co. But woe be to the beer seeker who does, because he or she will be missing out on one of the best gems in the region for handcrafted brew right now.
A relative newcomer on the Colorado beer scene, Vindication began operations on the summer solstice of 2013 and has supplied the surrounding community with a wide variety of beers ever since. Part of what sets Vindication apart from the myriad startup breweries in the region is the ideology of its founders: use high-quality ingredients, locally sourced when possible, and make sure the customers know exactly what is going into their beer.
“We were the first one to actually disclose everything,” said founding partner and brewmaster Eric Huber. While sipping one of his brown ales, Huber explained that mirroring recent shifts in food production toward organic and farm-to-table, the next revolution in brewing will be one of bringing transparency to an industry with perhaps less stringent production oversight than food. “The consumer is going to be asking more questions. Who is behind the products? Is it feet on the ground, or some backroom deal?” he said.
He brings up an important question, not only for those who care about the origins of what they drink, but for the brewers themselves. Major brewers have long sought to regain some of the market share that has been usurped over the last several decades by microbreweries.
“The large conglomerates are trying to blur craft brewing,” said Huber.
The exact opposite could be said about Vindication, whose brewing philosophy was to take brewing back to its roots. The brewers promote “Brewing with Brewtegrity.” In essence, that’s to “take it back to the original way,” said Huber—as much as modern conveniences permit. Examples of “Brewtegrity” that I witnessed included using local Rocky Mountain hops from a farm right down the street, to not using artificial ingredients or anti-foam agents, to preparing and brewing every batch by hand. The result of such meticulous care was something I could taste in the finished product.
With regard to transparency of ingredients and procedures in brewing, “I believe it’s going to be a national conversation in the next couple years,” Huber said.
There is something lost when brewing becomes automated and mass-produced, or as Huber calls it, “computer brewing.” Whatever it is, those at Vindication Brewing are hard at work to bring it back. In a way, these are the new pioneers of brewing; as big breweries get more involved in the craft beer market, microbrewers will have to adapt and find new strategies to maintain their identities, even if it means returning to the tried and true methods of the past.
“I’m vindicated by the beer I make,” said Huber.
Thanks to the hard work being done at Vindication Brewing, we all can be.