Colorado Craft Brewers Collaborate to Protect the Arkansas River

By Thomas Appel

Craft brewers across the country continue to join forces in order to create unique beers that convey strong messages and a unified brewing community. Many of these collaborations are brewed to benefit charities or conservation efforts and aim to help spread the good word of craft beer on the local level.

Brown’s Canyon India Brown Ale, a collaboration of the newly founded Ark Valley Libation Society (AVLS) has caught the attention of a small Colorado river community. Located in the rural Arkansas Valley in the central Rocky Mountains, the AVLS is an organization dedicated to promoting craft beer and spirits in Colorado’s Upper Arkansas Valley including Salida, Buena Vista and Leadville.

The craft brewery members of the AVLS (Elevation Beer Company, Moonlight Pizza and Brewpub and Amicas Pizza and Microbrewery) recently joined forced to brew Brown’s Canyon India Brown Ale, with sales of the beer benefiting the AVLS guild and Friends of Browns Canyon, a non-profit focused on protecting Browns Canyon and the Arkansas River.

When the AVLS was thinking of ways to support itself, they decided that a collaboration beer would not only support their own cause of great libations in the Arkansas Valley, but could also help protect their iconic river. This small 450 gallon batch will only be available in the Arkansas River Valley, but there are plans to brew more in the future.

Xandy Bustamante, co-founder of Elevation Beer Company, said that the AVLS enjoyed working together and that all members are extremely proud of the outcome. Xandy adds, “I don’t think we’ll have any trouble selling out. I think it will be gone in less than two months.”

The collaboration has been well received in the high mountain valley with support from local rafting outfitters and even Senator Mark Udall (D-CO) who along with Friends of Browns Canyon are attempting to preserve the 22,000 acre wilderness area.

Brown’s Canyon India Brown Ale is a delightful hop-forward Belgian-style brown, designed to be enjoyed exactly how the brewers brewed it, among friends. Hopefully with continued support, this collaboration will be brewed often to help protect the scenic and unique American wilderness area of Brown’s Canyon.


Thomas Appel’s love for craft beer began after visiting a micro brewery at the end of the world in the Chilean Patagonia. He currently lives in the center of the beer world in Boulder, Colorado, where he is the intern for the craft beer program and a recent graduate from the University of Colorado. A native of the Sunshine State, Thomas can be found enjoying craft beer while getting lost on the beautiful rivers of Colorado!