California's Fifty Fifty Brewing brings its high-end Eclipse beer to Denver

Categories: Beer Man

Fifty Fifty Brewing
Fifty Fifty Brewing out of Truckee, California, is the latest out-of-state brewer planning to see if there is room in Denver's crowded craft-beer market for another name.

But Fifty Fifty will take an interesting tack, initially distributing just one beer here, its most sought-after, most expensive product: Eclipse, an oak-aged imperial stout. The beer is only released in limited quantities and only once a year.

"It is just Eclipse for now, but that is because we are so small," says brewery owner Andy Barr. "We are in the process of expanding, and it will happen within 2012. When we do, other regular beers of ours should be available on a continuous basis, however, in relatively limited supply as we will still be tiny."

Eclipse (not to be confused with Eclipse Black IPA from Greeley's Crabtree Brewing, which just hit the market in sixteen-ounce tallboys) should start showing up on shelves here this week, and at a retail price of between $28 and $30 for a 22-ounce bottle.

Neither Barr nor Fifty Fifty head brewer Todd Ashman is shy in their belief that the beer is worth every penny.

"Eclipse is a phenomenal beer, but it is also an incredibly expensive beer to produce," notes Barr. "All the way from the raw ingredients of Totality, to the best barrels, to the high-touch process involved. We have made a commitment to produce the best, most interesting, most innovative beer we can produce with our incredibly limited infrastructure. Eclipse is the most high-profile result to date."

"Eclipse is not a beer for everyone, but for those who seek it, they will more than pleased," Ashman adds. "For those who have the luxury of having that much money to pay for a bottle of a barrel-aged beer, we thank them. Obviously there are some well-established breweries in the state of Colorado, and we are not looking to take anyone's market share. We just want to be part of the mix, and we felt that by adding ourselves to the mix at that price point, our product would show well amongst its company."

In addition to Denver, Fifty Fifty is bringing Eclipse to Chicago and Philadelphia, three cities where "there is a great craft-beer awareness," Ashman says.

Eclipse is made by taking Fifty Fifty's Totality Imperial Stout and aging it in oak bourbon barrels for at least six months. Different batches are aged in different kinds of barrels and marked by different-colored, hand-dipped wax tops. A coding guide to the seven batches can be found on the brewery's website.

Fifty Fifty has sent approximately four hundred to five hundred cases to the Denver area; if sales go well, the brewery hopes to distribute its Donner Party Porter here next year.

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Hat Trick Pin
Hat Trick Pin

This beer went from $18 a bottle 2 years ago to $27+ a bottle this year.  It's a good beer, but at this pricepoint, there is no way I will spend the money on it.  Throwing a good imperial stout in a bourbon barrel isn't a new idea, and there have been many awesome beers that are very similar to this that has come before it and been a hell of a lot less of a ripoff.


well said.  there are so many great choices available that $27+ is too much.  


30 effing dollars? american dollars? i'm sure it's good, but...

Scott Steigerwald
Scott Steigerwald

People spend 30 effing dollars (and a lot more) on wine?  wtf!


...but what? It's just beer? 

It's all about perceived value per dollar. I would never spend $30 on a dress for my doll, but a lot of people do. But occasionally I will spend that kind of money for a rare experience of something made with care and quality that will enhance my life. It's not like anyone who spends this money is going to be out mowing the lawn while drinking one of these.


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Dave Butler
Dave Butler

I noticed that there are several other beers in the USA with the Eclipse name also. Hopefully there won't be any legal issues over the Eclipse name in Colorado.

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