First of all, Jeff doesn’t use domestic two-row for his base malt. Instead, he uses British and German malts, which he feels are a higher quality and produce a richer malt flavor and aroma. In addition, even though these base malts are a little higher in cost, he actually gets a better efficiency rate with them. And because some of these malts are considered to be “under-modified,” he has to utilize a step-mash process and occasionally needs to perform decoctions. All of La Cumbre’s beers are unfiltered, yet still crystal clear in the glass and are vegan-friendly due to his use of a clarifier called Biofine Clear (which is a derivative of sand). It would make other head brewers jealous to learn that La Cumbre Brewing is uninhibited by an accountant over-seeing the brewing process. Jeff has a “better to beg for forgiveness than ask for permission” attitude: when he brews, he creates the beers he wants, using ingredients he wants, then worries about the cost later.
Yes, La Cumbre’s beer was amazing and the pub had a comfortable feel. But the best part about all of it is the humbleness of head brewer Jeff Erway. He has won medals at the GABF when he brewed for Chama River Brewing Company, but you would never know it from his attitude. Jeff is a graduate of the American Brewer’s Guild and is a certified beer judge. He will be using his hard-earned skills at this year’s GABF, having entered several beers for La Cumbre as well as judging. Jeff feels that it is really important for breweries of all levels to attend festivals such as this, as it facilitates awareness and evokes respect for all breweries that are present. He’s extremely approachable and very obviously knowledgeable, so if you see Jeff at the GABF, any other festival, or are ever down south visiting the 505, stop in at La Cumbre Brewing Company and say hello.