Beer

Tapping talent: How local artists help to define metro Denver’s beer scene – Highlands Ranch Herald

Summary

Sitting in the studio of Noelle Phares, a 35-year-old artist based in Lakewood, a collection of seasonal beers from the Colfax microbrewery West Fax Brewing can be seen adorning her shelves. 

Phares, who studied environmental science before becoming a full-time artist, picks up a large can of the brewery’s brut IPA, a seasonal summertime favorite, and explains the meaning behind the salmon pink sky and purple mountains depicted on its label in wa…….

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Sitting in the studio of Noelle Phares, a 35-year-old artist based in Lakewood, a collection of seasonal beers from the Colfax microbrewery West Fax Brewing can be seen adorning her shelves. 

Phares, who studied environmental science before becoming a full-time artist, picks up a large can of the brewery’s brut IPA, a seasonal summertime favorite, and explains the meaning behind the salmon pink sky and purple mountains depicted on its label in watercolor brushstrokes. 

“This was a painting of an Alaskan landscape,” she said. “I wanted to highlight how unique the lighting is in a place that’s super snowy, especially around sunset time when you get really crazy colors and the whole landscape glows.”

It is just one of several painting by Phares that were featured on the cans of West Fax’s Summer Artist Series in 2018.

As Denver’s beer scene continues to grow, many breweries find themselves tapping local artists like Phares to compliment their products. 

“There’s been a long-standing symbiotic relationship between art and craft beer,” said Jack Buffington, a research professor at the University of Denver with more than 20 years of experience in the beer industry. “(Breweries) try to emphasize that, instead of being produced in some big factory, it’s being made by hand.” 

These small-scale beer makers — usually referred to as micro or nano-breweries depending on the size of their batches and breadth of their distribution — have found identity through local artists, helping them stand out from a sea of competition. But, more so than just boosting sales, Buffington said the art is about building community. 

“There’s so many big brands that exist in the world. … Everyone likes when you support local people. I think that’s a fantastic expression of culture.” 

For artists, it presents a unique opportunity for exposure. 

Ken Sarafin, a Denver-based digital artist, said Colorado’s capital has always had a lively art and beer scene. But it wasn’t until smaller breweries became more abundant that Sarafin said he noticed a shift from larger design firms to local artists when it came to the art on a can. 

“The breweries are offering a fantastic avenue for exposure for local artists,” he said. “That scene didn’t really exist before the craft beers.” 

Sarafin partnered last year with Resolute Brewing, with locations in Centennial and Arvada, to design three cans for their new sour, lager and IPA. The cans’ labels are reminiscent of famous artists, such as the spiral sky of the IPA that evokes Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night, or the Monet-style impressionism of the brewery’s lager. 

“It’s really cool to be part of the culture,” he said. “(Breweries) are almost developing their own niche …….

Source: https://highlandsranchherald.net/stories/tapping-talent,385154