Gettin’ Crafty with Renegade Brewing

By Leah Arthur, Colorado Beer Girl

The Crafty Ladies Beer Club at Highland Tap and Burger is a wonderful thing. A different brewery is featured each month–some from Colorado, some from out of state. The brewer or brewery representative brings 4-6 of their beers and puts on a great event with beer and food pairings. The events are for women only, and it provides a wonderful atmosphere in which ladies can socialize and learn about craft beer. Crafty Ladies started a little over a year ago, and so far, I have attended 3 of their events. Amazingly, they have always been free of charge; however, starting in April, there will be a small fee to attend. But trust me, it’s definitely worth the $7.50.

March’s Crafty Ladies meeting featured Denver’s own Renegade Brewing. It was great to see one of its owners, Khara O’Connell, at the event. Khara and her husband Brian opened Renegade in 2011 in the Santa Fe Arts District, and they have a wonderful menu of staple beers as well as many creative interesting brews on a rotating basis.

On this Crafty evening, we started with Una Mas, a Mexican style amber with roasted chili peppers. I enjoy chili beers in very small doses, which worked out perfectly because the beer was poured from pitchers, so I got to say “when.” The Una Mas was paired with freshly made tortilla chips and salsa verde; the spiciness of the beer and salsa complimented each other well. Thanks to the deliciousness of this pairing, I drank a bit more of the Una Mas than usual.


I was pleased to find the next beer was Ryeteous Rye, which is without a doubt one of my favorite Colorado IPAs. Along with it came wheat crackers and Cheddar cheese. The Cheddar was flavorful and the IPA balanced it nicely. Khara mentioned the Ryeteous Rye will soon be available in cans, which is fantastic news for those who love it but can’t make it to the tap room every day to get it—can’t wait!

The third beer was another of my favorites, Elevation Triple IPA. If you’re looking for the hoppiest beer around, this is it. Brewed exclusively with Summit hops, it weighs in at over 100 IBUs. And I’ll never forget what kind of hops are in it, as I answered a trivia question about it and won a Renegade t-shirt (best score so far at a Crafty Ladies meeting!). Due to the fact that Elevation may be a bit overpowering for some, it was paired with French fries, as the grease from the fries helped to offset the stronger flavor of the beer.

The fourth and final beer was Renegade’s Jean BelJean, which is described as “a heavily caramel and chocolate Belgian strong ale with fruity bubble gum esters added from our Belgian yeast strain.” I do not care for Belgian beers, but I am pleased to admit that this is one of the most drinkable Belgians I have ever had. Specifically, while I do not particularly care for the taste of Belgian yeasts, I found the BelJean to be much more mild and smooth than the average Belgian. Jean BelJean also came with a square of dark chocolate, which made it all the more enjoyable.

Crafty Ladies Beer Club, Highland Tap and Burger, and Renegade Brewing worked together to put on an excellent event. Though I’ve only been to three of them to date, I’ve never been disappointed and I look forward to finding out what the next brewery will be!

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