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Fossil Brewing evolves, Ground Rules Coffee opens at Curbside Cuisine

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Evolution Ale

On the surface, the story's about two guys named Josh: Brewer Josh Bye (and his wife Colleen) who sold his shares in Fossil Craft Beer Company (2845 Ore Mill Road, #1, fossilbrewing.com) to brewer Josh Mater (and his wife Megan). But of course, there's more to it than name coincidence.

Colleen was recently relocated by the military, so she and Josh had to sell. Buyer Josh had met seller Josh a while back when buyer Josh (who moved to Colorado Springs for Megan's work) was fresh off a year-long stint with Houston's esteemed Saint Arnold Brewing Co. There, he was in charge of "implementing automation systems," but he was able to make beer too, expanding on years of homebrewing knowledge.

Mater offered Bye help as a volunteer to get Fossil launched back in fall 2014, and they became friends, with Mater also getting to know Fossil's other three business partners. For a few months leading up to the Jan. 1, 2015, share-swap, Mater regularly brewed with Bye to learn his recipes for Fossil's flagship lineup, paving the way for a smooth handover.

"I'm building on an existing foundation," he says, "It's a really good business, there's no sense in changing what's working."

But that said, he does aim to simplify some of the recipes for better "repeatability" and add some of his favorite seasonals. Mater says he's also excited to expand on the Evolution Ale, a beer that subs one ingredient each time it's brewed. How that works: Taproom guests vote on both an ingredient and beneficiary nonprofit. The last batch, which raised $1,500 for Friends of Red Rock Canyon, featured vanilla bean and cherries, for example. The current kept the cherries only, paired with almonds, and will benefit Marian House soup kitchen.

Mater says other collaborations will continue and he already foresees a brewery expansion: "Our biggest bottleneck now is we don't have the capacity to put beer out past the tasting room."

Third wave, four wheels

Joey Miller's first experience as a barista came at a Pueblo Starbucks 12 years ago, but a two-week training at Chicago's revered Intelligentsia since put him on the craft-coffee track. He's now supplementing part-time work as the sous chef at Pueblo's Mr. Tandoori Urban Bar & Grill — the 34-year-old also has a culinary degree from his hometown of Birmingham, Alabama's Culinard — with his own venture, Ground Rules Coffee.

Ground Rules is now parking at Curbside Cuisine, serving traditional espresso drinks and pourovers plus pastries from Old School Bakery. Miller utilizes a vintage Rancilio Z11 manual espresso machine, "a 200-pound beast" which he believes makes a better shot, in part because of his use of bottomless portafilters, which reportedly yield more crema. He buys sustainable beans from national roasters and great regional outfits, including Florence's All Good Things (inside The Pour House), who also provides house-made organic syrups.

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