DENVER — I’ve sampled my way through plenty of breweries, but walking into Dos Luces, I was a little stumped by the menu.
I had never seen pulque and chicha on a menu before, but for the owner, Judd Belstock, it’s a family tradition.
“My dad lived in Peru in the late 60s and he drank a lot of chicha,” Belstock said. “He told me about it growing up.”
Chicha is a South American and Central American beverage usually derived from grains, maize or fruit. The beverage dates back more than 3,000 years to the Inca and Aztec civilizations.
“It tastes very different from traditional western beers because we don't use barley and we don't use hops,” Belstock said.
That’s right – no barley or hops, making it entirely gluten-free.
Instead, Judd uses traditional ingredients like cloves and cinnamon to add spice, with the main ingredient coming from farmers right here in Colorado.
“Every beer we make has Colorado blue corn in it,” Belstock said. “It's our little twist on making things a little differently than they would traditionally.”
So how does it taste? It’s different from most beer you’d find in breweries, but it’s tasty.
Plus, there’s a non-alcoholic Chicha Morada on the menu that’s a deep purple.
“It’s made out of Peruvian purple corn,” Belstock explained.
Peruvian purple corn has more antioxidants than blueberries (so mark the Chicha Morada down as a superfood).
Dos Luces’ clientele ranges from those craving family tradition to the gluten-free crowd to adventurous beer geeks.
“We get people from Peru and Mexico or people who descended from people in Peru or Mexico who want to taste what their ancestors drank,” Belstock said. “When we talk about our mission, it's to change the way people think about beer. To expand these beers to include beers that are distinctly American.”
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