A beer made from Hirakata melons is being featured at select Front Range breweries this fall.

A beer made from Hirakata melons is being featured at select Front Range breweries this fall.

This is the second year for Rocky Ford’s Hirakata Farms to collaborate with a craft brewer to create a melon-flavored beer. Last year, the farm teamed up with Denver’s CO Brew to produce their first limited batch cantaloupe beer. This year they partnered with another Denver craft brewery, Banded Oak Brewing Company, to introduce the limited edition Crenshaw melon IPA.

The Crenshaw melon's flavor is similar to the famed Rocky Ford Cantaloupe, but a bit sweeter and slightly spicy. The result is beautifully balanced India Pale Ale that leans toward “a West Coast-style IPA with copious amounts of CTZ and Chinook hops,” according to the brewer. The infusion of Hirakata Farms Rocky Ford Crenshaw melon adds sweetness with an appreciable spice to mellow the hoppiness.

This year’s Hirakata Farms' Rocky Ford melon beer was produced in larger quantity than the year before, allowing more people to sample it.

"We are so excited to work with Banded Oak Brewing to increase the scope of the project this year," said Michael Hirakata, co-owner of Hirakata Farms. "The Crenshaw melon is kind of the ugly ducking of the varieties we grow, but it's also one of the sweetest."

Banded Oak creates both classic and unique styles of beer aimed at being accessible to both hardcore beer geeks and patio drinkers alike. The head brewer strives to combine the best quality traditional and non-traditional ingredients to create his in-house brews.

"We couldn't wait to get involved in this project," said Banded Oak Brewing owner Will Curtin. "Working with a local, family-owned farm like Hirakata Farms to get the best seasonal Colorado ingredients is exciting for brewers and beer drinkers alike."