Friday, August 24, 2007

Left Hand Brewing Company

One of the changes I've noticed in the twenty years we've been away from Colorado is the proliferation of micro- and mini-breweries here. As Matt pointed out when we talked about this, it's sort of a "return to the future" as in the 19th century where most towns had at least one brewery. Competition in these new breweries seems more intense here than in Southern California, maybe because there are no wineries to speak of to divide people's attention.

One of the first of these I noticed back in December was Lefthand Brewing Company located in Longmont up in Boulder County. Their website says they make about a half-dozen styles, but I've only seen two in stores: the Sawtooth Ale (pictured above) and a Milk Stout. I enjoy the ale but can't drink the stout - and I'm a stout lover.


A bright person in their graphics department came up with this simple but distinctive logo. Another bright person in their publicity department got the smart idea of putting one of these stickers in each six-pack. You see these things stuck up all over the place around here - lots of free advertising.

When I first saw these it occurred to me what the origin of the name must be, and I was able to verify that checking with the brewery's website.

When the Boulder County area was first settled by Whites in the 1850s, a band of Arapahoe Indians lived there. The leader of this band was Chief Niwot. Niwot very quickly understood the futility of trying to fight back, and adopted a policy of peace and cooperation with the incoming Whites. In the long run, it didn't do him any good. He and his band were camped with Chief Black Kettle and other Arapahoe and Cheyenne when they were attacked by Col. John Chivington and his regiment at the Sand Creek Massacre. Niwot is not believed to have survived the battle.

Niwot's link with a modern brewing company is the fact that his name means "Left Hand" in Arapahoe. This left-handed chief and his people were abused, but he so impressed White settlers that they put his name all over the landscape. There is a town of Niwot, Niwot Mountain (el. 11,471 ft.), Niwot Ridge, Left Hand Creek, Left Hand Canyon, Left Hand Reservoir, Left Hand Park Reservoir, and Left Hand Valley Reservoir.

2 comments:

Peter said...

Flying Dog is another very good Colorado-based microbrewery.

Heidi the Hick said...

I guess the least they could do for Ol Niwot was to name plenty of landmarks after him!

We have lots of micro breweries in Ontario. It's great stuff. Of course a few have been bought by Molson and Labatt because that's how you get in on the profit. Absorb the competition.

We like to buy the small brewery beer.