Beer and Breweries

A Tale of Friendship – How Two Women from FCB and Renegade Inspired a Friendship Themed Beer for Collaboration Fest

A Tale of Friendship – How Two Women from FCB and Renegade Inspired a Friendship Themed Beer for Collaboration Fest

Fort Collins, CO and Denver – The collaboration between Fort Collins Brewery (FCB) and Renegade Brewing Company came about through a happenstance friendship.  Two brew gals, two breweries, and a conversation over beer sparked a friendship that became a shared brew for Collaboration Fest. “Friendship, camaraderie, and community are values that Laura and I personally hold close and are also reflected in our breweries,” said Katie Nierling, FCB National Sales Manager.

The resulting friendship brew is dubbed, “Free to be Renegade and FCB,” a nod to the 1972 “Free to Be You and Me” record by Marlo Thomas and Friends.  “Free to Be is supportive of individuality and that definitely translates to the craft beer industry,” said Laura Decker, VP of Operations at Renegade Brewing Company. “There are so many personalities in craft beer and that’s what makes it so great. There’s no expectation for who can be a brewer or who can be a salesperson. It’s where people are free to be.”

Both Nierling and Decker started off working at beer bars and restaurants before landing at their respective breweries. Nierling was hired to help open Ale House at Amato’s, a popular Highlands restaurant owned by Breckenridge Brewery and Wynkoop Brewing Company. Eventually she landed a job at FCB in 2014 where she advanced quickly from Denver sales rep to statewide coverage and now to sales management on a national scale. Decker moved to Colorado in 2010 to attend grad school for counseling. Working at the Cheeky Monk, Decker discovered she preferred reading beer magazines instead of textbooks. Finding herself spending lots of time at Renegade Brewing, Decker caught on and started working in the taproom.  Since then, Decker has grasped each new opportunity to contribute and today she oversees operations of both the Renegade taproom and brewery.

Nierling and Decker connected through industry events and a willingness to jump in on shared projects for breweries.  For instance, FCB helped round out the brewery set when Decker launched “Offensively Delicious,” a craft beer themed comedy show. Their growing friendship is responsible for the decision of the two breweries making beer together.  The friendship inspired beer will be a wheat lager brewed with five different varieties of wheat malt and hopped with mostly Cascade hops. “The recipe sort of resembles a miniature wheat wine. Our hope is that the beer will be reminiscent of a hefe in aroma but then quickly fade into a smooth, caramel malt bomb,” said FCB Brewer Shaun Salyards.

“Free to Be Renegade and FCB” will be available on tap at both brewery locations prior to Collaboration Fest on March 19th as well as at launch parties in both Denver and Fort Collins. The first launch party will be hosted at The Mayor of Old Town on March 9th from 4-7pm in Fort Collins followed by a Denver launch on March 10th at Historians Ale House from 7-9pm.

About Fort Collins Brewery (FCB):

Fort Collins Brewery & Tavern is a family-owned, handcrafted microbrewery and full service tavern in Northern Colorado, established in 2003. FCB offers an outstanding lineup of 50 ales and lagers that can be found on tap as well as in bottles throughout the U.S. FCB is a 2015 GABF® Gold Medal Winner for Oktoberfest in the Dortmunder/German-Style Oktoberfest category. For more information, visit or call 970-472-1499. Brewery tours run Monday – Friday by appointment and Saturday from 12 – 4 p.m. (at the top of the hour).

About Renegade Brewing Company: 

Renegade Brewing Company was founded in 2011 in Denver, Colorado. Their slogan, Offensively Delicious, speaks to their irreverence to the traditional and pursuit of creativity in style and flavor.  All packaged products are available in cans and distributed throughout Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, Wisconsin and Arizona. For more information visit

Contact Info

Company: Fort Collins Brewery
Contact: Chea Franz