Beer has the ability to carry folks collectively. By way of completely different brewing types and the additions of fruits and spices, you’ll be able to expertise new flavors and be taught concerning the tales, and cultures, behind them. At Wah Gwaan Brewing, Harsha Maragh and Jesse Brown introduce friends to Jamaican tradition by means of vibrant, flavorful beers, colourful murals and Jamaican Patois — the dialect of English spoken in Jamaica.
When Maragh moved to Colorado from New York Metropolis, she discovered it tough to attach along with her Jamaican heritage. In New York, the Caribbean neighborhood was established and most of the people knew about Jamaican tradition by means of the eating places, bars and language spoken across the neighborhood. “You might be surrounded by Caribbean tradition wherever you go. Right here it isn’t as prevalent,” mentioned Maragh. After shifting to Colorado to earn her grasp’s diploma in sustainability from CU Boulder, she developed her ardour for beer and ultimately met her now-husband — Brown — at Avery Brewing. “Beer has been an enormous a part of our relationship,” mentioned Brown, “we’d go to breweries on the weekends and ultimately began home-brewing.”
The couple had at all times needed to begin their very own enterprise and would give you enterprise concepts collectively for enjoyable. It wasn’t till the pandemic left Maragh with out a job that the concept for Wah Gwaan got here to fruition. In a saturated craft beer market they weren’t positive if a brewery was possible, however with a scarcity of Jamaican affect in Denver, they knew that they had a singular thought.
“We knew we needed to create that neighborhood right here,” mentioned Maragh. “There’s a lack of range within the craft beer trade and this neighborhood has rather a lot to supply,” added Brown.
From the title of the brewery — which suggests “what’s up?” in Jamaican Patois — to the murals adorning the inside and exterior partitions, you’re launched to the Caribbean tradition even earlier than you are taking your first sip of beer. Every mural has a tie again to Jamaica — the lion is a logo of “rasta,” the crocodile is on the Jamaican nationwide seal, the physician hummingbird is Jamaica’s nationwide hen and the island woman embodies confidence and sweetness. Contained in the brewery you’ll discover three reggae musicians — Koffee, Damian Marley and Shaggy — gracing the partitions. “We needed to place little touches of Jamaica with out being excessive,” mentioned Maragh. Whereas the murals are extra apparent decor, there are some features which might be much less apparent, just like the blue “river” operating alongside the bartop, chosen as a result of the title Jamaica comes from the Arawak Indian phrase “Xaymaca” which suggests “the land of wooden and water.”
The beers at Wah Gwaan make the most of Jamaican substances as effectively. Trop Queen is a jackfruit kolsch — a light-weight and refreshing beer that has a delicate jackfruit style with out the sweetness. Wash Stomach is a pomegranate hefeweizen named after Maragh’s little sister and father, who’re each the wash bellies — a Jamaican slang phrase for the youngest little one — of their households. “ We’re actually attempting to include some popular culture references with Jamaican dialect so folks can be taught Jamaican phrases that I grew up listening to on a regular basis,” mentioned Maragh. The beer is tart from the pomegranate with out being as bitter as a conventional bitter beer. The couple can be excited a few espresso IPA that would be the first beer within the brewery’s espresso collection. It has sturdy notes of espresso on the nostril with the distinct hoppy taste of an IPA.
Whereas Wah Gwaan doesn’t have a kitchen, you’ll be capable to order from meals vehicles on the weekends in addition to from a number of of the encompassing eating places within the space. “We wish to incorporate Black-owned companies after we do partnerships. When Indians had been introduced over to Jamaica they assimilated in some methods and had been influenced by the Africans that had been there, so Jamaican tradition is similar to African tradition,” mentioned Maragh. Along with being a minority and women-owned enterprise, Wah Gwaan can be veteran-owned. Brown served within the Marine Corps for over 5 years and is worked up to work with veterans at VFW Submit One — a world veteran group positioned only a block from the brewery. This put up of the VFW is the primary one within the nation — based in 1899 — and helps to arrange advantages and rights for veterans. “Not everyone seems to be conscious of how it’s to transition out of the navy, you’ll be able to really feel misplaced,” mentioned Brown.
Wah Gwaan plans to host a grand opening social gathering on June 19 — Juneteenth — to not solely have fun the grand opening of the brewery however the emancipation of traditionally enslaved folks in America. “It’s all we’ve been speaking about, interested by and dreaming about for a very long time,” mentioned Maragh. Head over to the Santa Fe arts district on the June 19 to study Jamaican tradition, get pleasure from a chilly beer and have fun the increasing range of the Denver craft beer scene.
Wah Gwaan Brewing is positioned at 925 W. eighth Ave, Denver. Hours are to be introduced.