Purpose Brewing & Cellars

When people think of Fort Collins, New Belgium and Odell are breweries that immediately come to mind. It makes sense because of their capacity and breadth of distribution. However, there are also newer and smaller breweries that have been created from brewers who got their starts at bigger places.

Craft Beer Bucket List Material

Today, I am excited to visit Purpose Brewing & Cellars, the opus of Peter Bouchaert. Who is Peter Bouchaert? Peter Bouchaert is a master brewer in every sense of the title. Bouchaert brewed at Rodenbach in Belgium for 10 years and later held the position of brewmaster at New Belgium in Fort Collins, Colorado, for 21 years. Purpose Brewing & Cellars is his latest project and his focus is on turning the local and best ingredients into something greater than they currently are.

I have to admit, I have long been a fan of New Belgium and their beers. I first heard about Peter Bouchaert on a tour at New Belgium in 2013. Among brewers and craft beer geeks, his name is on the same plane as Yoda and Dumbledore. Bouchaert is widely acknowledged and respected in the beer community as someone who has infinite passion and wisdom.

Beer is a humble drink at its base, and it often manifests itself as artful and flawless when brewed sagely to perfection. The challenge, I often find, when I visit a brewery, is how approachable can the beer be made to everyone who walks in the door and bellies up to the bar? When a beer has spent years aging in a barrel and then blended with the best other beers, how can it still be something that anyone can walk in and enjoy?

Well, I can happily say, with firsthand experience, that not only did I enjoy the beer at Purpose Brewing & Cellars, I felt quite welcome and at home doing so. I even got to meet Peter Bouchaert’s wife and partner in crime, Frezi, when I visited the taproom.

A Fantastic Taproom Experience

One of my favorite things to be able to do at a brewery is sit at the bar. I was a little worried, given the limited hours of operation that Purpose Brewing & Cellars has, that it might be too crowded for that today. Well, luckily, I got there early on a Thursday afternoon and there are only a handful of people here. No doubt this will change with time, but for a bit, I have the run of the place.

Having been in this space once before when it was 1933 Brewing, I am just floored by how different it looks. 1933 Brewing felt cavernous and sprawling. Purpose Brewing & Cellars feels homey and quaint. There is an intimacy in the space and all the wooden touches make me feel at home. As I traverse back behind the bar into an area that offers more seating, I see the room outlines with barrels. Each table has a lone candle on it to create a calmness and inviting atmosphere to just be. I love it here. The atmosphere is relaxing and provides a perfect backdrop to enjoy the beer.

Liquid Perfection

After evaluating my options and realizing that these beers are quite substantial in ABV, I decide on four different tasters of beer. To start, I begin sipping on The Get Together. As I raise the mini-tulip up to my nose, I am instantly transported to a tangerine grove. This intense jolt to my olfactory senses is special. The sip is a piney and pitchy bitter delight. I am in the throes of pithy passion as this beer screams every element of citrus. What is absolutely transformative about this beer is that it is an ESB. Never, in a million years, would I ever think an ESB could be like this. I am off to a great start here at Purpose Brewing!

The next beer is Nacht, a 5.2% ABV roasty and onyx colored marvel. This beer is brewed with malt from Troubadour Malting, a local maltster. The roasted malt flavors of chocolate, wood, and dark toast are all fabulous and balanced. There is no acrid or astringency from the malt. Flavor is delicate on the palate thanks to the incredible malt used in this beer. There is a richness to this beer that defies its sessionable nature. The mouth feel is fulfilling and robust, which really makes it shine in my eyes.

As I continue down the line of insatiable aromas, flavors, and textures, the Smoeltekker # 107. This Smoeltrekker series is Bouchaert’s Belgian Blonde playground. Variations of this beer span the continuum of flavors and shatter the boundaries of what you thought the style could be. This particular variant is not a blonde beer at all, rather, it looks like a fine red wine. It smells like red wine vinegar and a blend of berries. The flavor is supremely complex. There is a tart funkiness to the beer to jumpstart the salivary glands. Red grape skin, vinegar, plum, and chocolate are all evident at certain points in the sip. The finish is dry and woody. I am not sure that I am equipped to fully dissect the majesty of this one-of-a-kind creation. All I know is that I am being tutored in fantastic beer.

Last, but certainly not least, is the Barleywine. Soothing and familiar aromas of fig, caramel, toffee, and vanilla waft forth is if to trick me into thinking that I am experiencing Christmas in July. The flavors of chocolate, dark caramel, brown sugar, and a peppery flavor from the rum-soaked coffee beans used in the beer make it extraordinary. I wish that I had a wedge of stilton cheese to pair with this wonderful malty elixir of the gods. The warming sips are savored with a gratitude for the vision and talent of the brewery.

As I prepare to leave, I look around with more than a hint of jealousy at those in the taproom who get to call this their neighborhood haunt. I can safely say that there is nothing that even comes close to this in Minnesota right now. Purpose Brewing is a treasure and I cannot wait until I can return. Prost!

Dan Beaubien has been involved with Beerploma since 2014 although his passion for craft beer dates back to 2006 when he started traveling for beer.  Dan mostly covers craft beer events, festivals, brewery openings/releases, and beer reviews. Dan has a soft spot in his heart for authentic British Style ales, IPAs, and all things barrel-aged.  If you have any questions or comments about this article feel free to email Dan at dan.beaubien@beerploma.com .