By Joseph Rios
For Army National Guard Sgt. Kyle Warren, Veterans Day is a chance to celebrate those who paved the way for the United States’ freedom and prosperity through their military service.
The Metropolitan State University of Denver brewery-operations major hopes this Veterans Day you’ll raise a toast to those who served with a pint of a special Tivoli Brewing Co. beer he helped brew.
Tivoli Brewing Co., Colorado’s oldest brewery, will pour two special Veterans Day beers on Tuesday at 5 p.m. at its Auraria Campus taproom: Liquid Courage and Valkyrie Vision Braggot. The brewery will donate a portion of the proceeds from each pint sold to MSU Denver’s Veteran and Military Student Emergency Scholarship Fund, which supports veteran and active-duty military students experiencing financial hardships that could halt them from completing their studies.
Warren, who was moved to join the Army National Guard in 2013 after the massive Colorado floods that caused almost $4 billion in damage across 24 counties, teamed up with Chris Thibodeau, an Air Force veteran, MSU Denver Beer Industry Program graduate and current Tivoli brewer, to cook up Liquid Courage.
When they first conceived of a special Veterans Day release, the pair started out to create a lager-leaning brew, Warren said. As their Colorado Common beer came along, the duo had another idea:
“Why not do something with a whiskey barrel?” Warren said.
Liquid Courage was barrel-aged in Laws Rye Whiskey barrels, yielding subtle fruity esters and malt that has a touch of heat, he said.
“We’re really looking forward to (Liquid Courage) being able to be part of Tivoli Brewing Co. and having the brewery use the proceeds to go toward supporting vets,” Warren said.
Thibodeau also hopes Liquid Courage will inspire folks to come down to the Tivoli Taproom, sit down and share their appreciation for veterans over a pint.
During his 23-year career in the Air Force, he spent six years traveling Europe, where he first got a taste for beer. Those years of service also provided him with memories he harks back to on Veterans Day.
“It’s a good time to sit down and spend time with other people that have a similar experience and to be able to share stories. When you’re in the military, that’s what you do,” Thibodeau said. “You sit down, have a few beers and talk. I’ve sat down in front of fires at military bases and just shared stories.”
The other beer that will be tapped Tuesday in support of the MSU Denver Veteran and Military Student Emergency Scholarship Fund was created by Ethan Tsai, a beer-brewing-operations professor at MSU Denver, and Todd Bellmyer, a brewer at Tivoli Brewing Co. Valkyrie Vision Braggot is a spicy pour that packs 10.8% alcohol by volume.
Yeast in the beer comes primarily from Norway, Tsai said. “It finishes very clean and very light,” he said. “Some will think of it almost like a spiced apple.”
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Each beer aficionado agreed that support for the men and women who serve and served our country is a shared value of Tivoli Brewing Co. and MSU Denver.
“Working at the brewery, there are veterans in here every day,” Thibodeau said. “Everybody has a mutual respect for each other.”
It’s Tivoli Brewing Co.’s commitment to collaboration that inspired this chance to give back, Bellmyer said.
“It’s important to the people we work with here,” he said, “and anything that we can do to help out our vets is a good thing.”
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