Take a walk on the wild side at Cortez’s WildEdge Brewing Collective
Hey baby. Take a walk on the wild side.
And by wild side I mean the wild side of beer, which you can do at WildEdge Brewing Collective in Cortez. (Side note: If you haven’t been to Cortez lately, I highly recommend you make a trip out that way. There are so many activities!)
I ended up at WildEdge Brewing on the Saturday before New Year’s Eve, and it was immediately clear the little brewery, which sits just off the main drag in downtown Cortez, was somethin’ special. I got there with a group of friends about two minutes after they opened, and there was already a table of patrons posted up at one of the small tables that flanks the bar. We snagged a table close by before ordering our beers, and it’s a good thing we did, cause that place got packed just a few minutes later.
By the time we sat down with four different sets of taster glasses, there were at least three other groups walking in. Fifteen minutes after we’d arrived, most of the tables were full.
This brewery opened in mid-2017, but it’s always hopping, and the patrons aren’t all from Cortez, either. The table next to us was a mix of people from Mancos and out of state, and if the license plates in the parking lot were any indication, there were plenty more out of state beer drinkers where those came from.
There’s a reason this place fills up as quickly as it does, though. The beer is freakin’ killer. The menu at the collective is extensive – there are fruit sours, semi-sweet milk stouts, and saisons, for starters – and each one is a “wild” take on your typical beer.
Take, for example, the Pomtastique, a tripel inspired ale fermented with Fenceline Cider, which is a cidery right in nearby Mancos. The Pomtastique was one of the beers I ordered in my taster of four, and I was pretty convinced I’d be the only one at the table who’d like it. I was hesitant to pass it around with all the cider haters at my table, but lo and behold, each one’s face lit up after a sip of this dry, semi-sweet brew. In fact, one of those cider-haters bought a crowler of it on the way out.
As we passed around each taster of beer, the excited commentary from our table compounded. There was gushing over the Monkey Wrench, a pale ale brewed with Citra and Huell Melon hops, which surprised us all with its smooth hint of melon and citrus, a killer twist on what could have been a Plain Jane pale ale.
Oh, and there was also a mass rave review of Island Dream, my personal favorite, a kettle soured ale re-fermented with guava and passion fruit. You could really taste the burst of guava at the end of each swallow, but not once was the bright note of tropical fruit overwhelming or off-putting. I will be tracking that one down again for the warmer summer months for sure.
We tried just about all the beer options on WildEdge’s menu, including the Krieky, a fantastic one-year-old barrel-aged sour beer made with tart cherry juice, lactose, and vanilla. No matter the style, every beer, with their crazy collaboration of flavors and ingredients, worked out seamlessly.
You’re doing yourself a disservice if you don’t try ALL of what this collective has to offer. It’s going to be hard for other breweries to live up to what these mad beer scientists are doing out in Cortez. Guava – GUAVA! – shouldn’t work as an ingredient in beer, but somehow they pull it off, and I truly can’t wait to see what these folks come up with next.
Details: WildEdge Brewing Collective, 111 N. Market Street, Cortez. Call 970-565-9445 or visit wildedgebrewing.com for more information.