Preparing for GABF–Crystal Springs


Bob’s Cedar IPA and 13 IPA

The initial spark for Crystal Springs Brewery began years ago as a father-son homebrewing collaboration between owner Tom Horst and his son Bob. For this year’s Great American Beer Festival, Crystal Springs is returning to its roots with a special father-son collaboration.

Crystal Springs is one of the smaller breweries in Boulder County. It’s located in a rather out of the way unit in Louisville’s Colorado Technology Center industrial park. If you haven’t made the trek, you’re missing out on some good beers.

Crystal Springs is taking 5 of those beers to this year’s GABF—a kölsch, a blood orange infused kölsch, a Belgian ale, and two IPAs—13 and Bob’s Cedar IPA. According to their sales and marketing director Collin Woods, Crystal Springs, like many smaller breweries, is not expecting to win medals. They’re certainly hopeful, but they focus more on crafting beers they can be proud of rather than beers that tick off all the checkmarks for a particular style.

Their 13 IPA, for example, is a single hop IPA using Nelson Sauvin hops. This single variety of hops results in a very mild and balanced IPA. The Nelson Sauvin hops add less bitterness than most hops and finish with a delicate floral taste. That means that while 13 is an interesting and different take on an IPA, it doesn’t stand much of a chance in the IPA category at the GABF.

Bob’s Cedar IPA is another very interesting spin on the traditional IPA. Bob’s Cedar IPA is Crystal Springs throwback IPA. Bob made a special trip home so he and Tom could recreate their early homebrewing collaborative efforts. Bob’s Cedar IPA, as you might expect, uses actual Spanish Cedar to accent the traditional IPA flavors. Crystal Spring lagers Bob’s Cedar IPA on the Spanish Cedar for three weeks. The result is a very unique IPA. Where the traditional IPA cycles you through hops then malt, Bob’s Cedar hits you with a cedar burst up front, moves through its piney hops and balanced malts to a another burst of cedar to finish off the taste. The result is a steady pine overtone that accents the pine notes in the hops quite well. Bob’s Cedar IPA is a really good example of how to use unusual flavors to enhance a beer rather than to just say you did it.