Founder and Head Brewer at Black Project, James Howat, explains how he’s using his microbiological expertise to brew beer in a unique fashion in the US’ premier brewing location.
If you head south out of Denver on the city’s South Broadway, with the stunning Rocky Mountains on your right, you might come across a brewery and taproom which sounds like it belongs in Langley, Virginia, rather than Colorado.
But Black Project Brewing is no top-secret mission – not only can you sample its produce, but you can also see the brewing apparatus used to craft its unique rotating selection of beers. Saying this, the Black Project is no ordinary brewery, it does not pump ordinary beers through its pipes. And luckily for us, its Founder, James Howat, is no CIA operative (that we know of) and is far more partial to a chat than the folks at Langley.
Here, he spills the beans, laying the project’s secrets bare.
Although Howat is not designing secret spy aircraft or reconnaissance satellites like some of the now well-known so-called ‘Black Projects’ of the past, the story of how the brewery arrived in its current guise does share some characteristics with those backroom ventures.
“We could only afford to enter one beer in the Great American Beer Festival (GABF),” said Howat, whose brewery and taproom was then called ‘Former Future’. “I was telling people about this spontaneous fermentation beer I had brewed, and they would reply with ‘what are you talking about? We haven’t heard about this!’ – I didn’t know whether it would be any good or not!
“We called it the Black Project because it was this big secret. I had investors, as we had just opened, and I was taking cash out of the register to buy barrels, because we wanted to keep it locked down. It actually won a medal at GABF, and so from there we started releasing other beers we’d made in bottles every few months. People would be queueing to get hold of one.”
Eventually, Howat found that the Black Project beers he was brewing on the quiet were becoming less and less of a secret. “It was like lightning in a bottle.”
As a result, the Black Project became public knowledge and took up more and more of Howat’s time until eventually, Former Future was renamed Black Project Brewing, with several beers manufactured each month.
What makes Black Project unique?
Two words separate Black Project from almost all of Denver’s other 150 plus breweries: spontaneous fermentation.
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
The cookie is set by GDPR cookie consent to record the user consent for the cookies in the category "Advertising & Targeting".
This cookie is set by GDPR Cookie Consent WordPress Plugin. The cookie is used to remember the user consent for the cookies under the category "Analytics".
This cookie is set by GDPR Cookie Consent plugin. The cookie is used to store the user consent for the cookies in the category "Necessary".
This cookie is set by GDPR Cookie Consent WordPress Plugin. The cookie is used to remember the user consent for the cookies under the category "Performance".
This cookie is native to PHP applications. The cookie is used to store and identify a users' unique session ID for the purpose of managing user session on the website. The cookie is a session cookies and is deleted when all the browser windows are closed.
This session cookie is served by our membership/subscription system and controls whether you are able to see content which is only available to logged in users.
Performance cookies are includes cookies that deliver enhanced functionalities of the website, such as caching. These cookies do not store any personal information.
This cookie is set by Cloudflare content delivery network and, in conjunction with the cookie 'cf_use_ob', is used to determine whether it should continue serving “Always Online” until the cookie expires.
This cookie is set by Cloudflare content delivery network and is used to determine whether it should continue serving “Always Online” until the cookie expires.
This session cookie is served by our membership/subscription system and controls which types of content you are able to access.
This cookie is set by Litespeed Server and allows the server to store settings to help improve performance of the site.
This cookie is set by OneSignal push notifications and is used for storing user preferences in connection with their notification permission status.
This cookie is set by Youtube and is used to track the views of embedded videos.
Analytics cookies collect information about your use of the content, and in combination with previously collected information, are used to measure, understand, and report on your usage of this website.
This cookie is set by LinkedIn. The purpose of the cookie is to enable LinkedIn functionalities on the page.
This cookie is set by YouTube and registers a unique ID for tracking users based on their geographical location
This cookie is set by LinkedIn and is used to store the language preferences of a user to serve up content in that stored language the next time user visit the website.
This cookie is set by LinkedIn and used for routing.
This cookie is set by LinkedIn share Buttons and ad tags.
We embed videos from our official Vimeo channel. When you press play, Vimeo will drop third party cookies to enable the video to play and to see how long a viewer has watched the video. This cookie does not track individuals.
This cookie is set by Spotler and tracks an anonymous visitor ID.
This cookie is set by Spotler and enables it to track the Load Balance Session Queue.
This cookie is set by Spotler to track the Internet Information Services (IIS) session state.
This cookie is set by Spotler and stores the UTM values for the session. UTM values are specific text strings that are appended to URLs that allow Communigator to track the URLs and the UTM values when they get clicked on.
This cookie is set by Google Analytics and is used to calculate visitor, session, campaign data and keep track of site usage for the site's analytics report. It stores information anonymously and assign a randomly generated number to identify unique visitors.
This cookies is set by Google Universal Analytics to throttle the request rate to limit the collection of data on high traffic sites.
This cookie is set by Google Analytics and is used to store information of how visitors use a website and helps in creating an analytics report of how the website is doing. The data collected including the number visitors, the source where they have come from, and the pages visited in an anonymous form.
Advertising and targeting cookies help us provide our visitors with relevant ads and marketing campaigns.
This cookie is set by Advanced Ads and measures the browser width.
This cookie is set by Advanced Ads and measures the number of previous page impressions.
This cookie is set by Advanced Ads and sets geo-location, user role and user capabilities. It is used by cache busting in Advanced Ads Pro when the appropriate visitor conditions are used.
This cookie is set by Advanced Ads and sets the referrer URL.
This cookie is a browser ID cookie set by LinkedIn share Buttons and ad tags.
This cookie is set by Google DoubleClick and stores information about how the user uses the website and any other advertisement before visiting the website. This is used to present users with ads that are relevant to them according to the user profile.
This cookie is set by LinkedIn and is used for tracking.
This cookie is set by Linkedin and is used to track visitors on multiple websites, in order to present relevant advertisement based on the visitor's preferences.
This cookie is set by YouTube. Used to track the information of the embedded YouTube videos on a website.