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Jeffco Libraries

Jeffco libraries talk beer and books

The six-week celebration targets an adult audience

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Karen Hertz founded Holidaily Brewing in Golden in 2016 after battling health issues that forced her to eliminate gluten from her diet.

Overcoming melanoma and thyroid cancer meant that she could no longer enjoy one of her favorite drinks — beer.

“I love beer,” Hertz said. “So I started shopping around for gluten-free beer options and wasn’t really happy with what was out there.”

So she created her own.

Now, Holidaily is the only dedicated gluten-free brewery in Colorado and one of five in the United States, according to Hertz.

“Our focus moving forward is getting beer out to people who haven’t been able to have a good, craft gluten-free beer,” she said, noting that soon the brewery will be adding a third beer to its distribution list which reaches 150 locations throughout the Front Range.

Hertz was one of four all-stars in the Colorado craft brewing scene to share its story Oct. 11 in a TED-style talk at the Craft Beer Talk and Tap Event, which kicked off Jefferson County Library’s Stouts & Stories, Ales and Tales celebration.

The six-week celebration of Jefferson County beer and books originated during a staff “Shark Tank” proposal to re-attract adults to the library. The impetus for the effort came from the community’s love of craft beer, the desire to take the library into the community in an unexpected way, and to support economic development by connecting library patrons with Jeffco small businesses.

“People were really excited about it,” said Cindy Matthews, marketing manager for Jefferson County Public Libraries. “Other libraries have done it in the past, and we really wanted our chance to offer it for Jefferson County.”

The series, Matthews said, is one way that the library is filling a gap in community enrichment.

“Not everybody can afford to go to the Great American Beer Festival,” Matthews said. “Not everyone can afford to etch their own beer glasses. So we wanted to fill that void.”

Getting the young adult, millennial demographic back into the library is another focus.

“People go to the library when they’re kids,” Matthews said. “They use it in high school and college, and then they kinda go away until they have kids and then they come back. We really wanted to find a way to reintroduce those young adults to the new library. It’s not what they remember as a kid. It’s so much different, so much better than it ever was.”

One of those young adults is Kim Medema, a Lakewood resident and self-proclaimed beer nerd. Medema, who wrote her master’s thesis on beer, said she was excited to see the passport program that encourages people to visit brewery partners in the county to receive discounts and prizes.

“Half of them I didn’t even know about — and I live by them,” Medema said. “It seemed like a great time to try some beers from places I didn’t know existed in my neighborhood.”

The kickoff, which was free to the public but required registration for fire code purposes, sold out two weeks before the event and generated a large wait list.

“With our adult programs, sometimes we hit it right on the head and get great attendance, and sometimes we don’t,” Matthews said. “This one blew it out of the park.”

So while this event booked quickly, Matthews encouraged book and beer lovers to check out other library events this month, which include The Story of Beer, where people can learn the origins and history of beer in Jefferson County, how it’s made, different types of beer and stories of the rise of several great American brewers and beer families. Trends in microbrewing and craft beers, and their strong Colorado connections, will also be featured.

People can get crafty and customize their own beer pint glass at one of the library’s glass-etching classes where all supplies and materials are provided.

Participants can also enter contests and win weekly prizes throughout the six weeks on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram and a grand prize at the end of the program.

People will earn an entry each time they play using the hashtag #stoutsandstories. The grand prize includes an annual Colorado State Parks pass.

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