It’s a statement that becomes more and more true to me with each and every new tapping I attend or seasonal beer release I taste. Craft beer is an art form. On the surface, the craft beer industry is one of the production and consumption of a product. However, at its heart, it’s an industry of creative expression, that of the talented and enthusiastic brewers who’ve made the craft beer business what it is today. What better way to zoom in on that spirit and culture of creativity here in Colorado, then, than by means of another equally expressive and limitless art form, photography?
Four years ago when Dustin Hall moved to Denver, he truthfully wasn’t even that big of a fan of craft beer. Through the rock-climbing network he began building, Hall was introduced to employees of Hogshead Brewery in Denver who insisted that he stop by their taproom and give craft beer a chance. Upon visiting, Hall’s creative instincts were immediately piqued. An avid photographer for over fourteen years at that time, Hall was intrigued by the aesthetics of the taproom and brewing facilities, the juxtaposition and creative clashing of the industrial metal brewing equipment to the more rustic wood feel of the building and taproom itself. Not to mention he was a fan of the Hogshead beers. What started as an exploratory trip turned into an opportunity for Hall to exercise his own art form and view the brewery through his own unique lens, and, as he began snapping away, The Brewtography Project was born.
For Hall, what began as a keen interest in the physical spaces of Colorado’s breweries quickly evolved into an intense appreciation for the craft beer industry itself. As he continued to network and photograph more and more breweries eager for their stories to be told, he gained an extreme appreciation for the labor of love that is craft brewing.
“I really focused initially on the elements and the environment of the breweries, hardly focusing on any people in my shots,” says Hall, “and then I fell in love with the culture of the industry.”
Hall notes that there is often a misconception that craft brewing is akin to a rock star lifestyle but that, in reality, it’s an extremely laborious job that calls for a true passion in the field in order to excel. Hall translates this commitment to his own art, always working to learn more about brewing processes so that he can be better equipped to photograph breweries in a way that will honor both the final product and the intensive work it took to get there. Hall took up home brewing to further educate himself, and he says that he is often able to get more meaningful and representative photos of breweries and their operations because he knows what’s happening and why as he’s shooting. In the past three years, Hall has photographed approximately 140 Colorado breweries. Check out the entire gallery here.
The culmination of Hall’s work has manifested itself into a love letter to the state’s craft industry, a coffee table book titled Discovering Colorado Breweries. A 200-page book funded in just eight hours during a Kickstarter campaign this past May, the book will feature photographs of about 70 breweries around the state. Hardbound and filled, literally, with six pounds of pages dedicated to showcasing the best and most unique of Colorado’s breweries, the book promises to be epic in scope, quality, and its representation of the craft industry.
A Denver local, Hall loves making the trip to Boulder County to photograph its lauded craft breweries and, naturally, to imbibe in some of their wares. Hall has photographed a number of Boulder’s breweries large and small, well-established and new to the scene, including Avery Brewing Company (both in their former and current locations), Fate Brewing Company, Sanitas Brewing Company, Boulder Beer Company (currently undergoing an exciting renovation), J Wells Brewery, Finkel & Garf, Asher Brewing Company, Twisted Pine Brewing Company, and Upslope Brewing Company, which was one of the first large-scale breweries that Hall photographed. Each with their own unique flair, style, and identity, Hall aims to use his form of creative expression to honor the culture of hard work and high quality products that is indicative of the state’s craft breweries.
While there is not yet a set date when Hall’s Discovering Colorado Breweries will be available, stay tuned for details in the coming months to ensure you’re able to pick up your copy at their launch party (date, time, and location to be announced) or at your favorite local brewery as soon as it arrives.
Photo Credit: The Brewtography Project — ALL RIGHTS RESERVED