That's the word Denver Beer Co. Co-Founder Charlie Berger uses to describe Jason Buehler.
“He was really one of those incredible, enjoyable people that you just couldn’t resist,” Charlie said.
Jason was the Head Brewer at Denver Beer Co. for the last six years. “But more than that, he was a friend,” continued Charlie.
"Sunrise Sensei" brewed to honor Jason Buehler
Sunrise Sensei is a Black IPA brewed in honor of the late Head Brewer, Jason Buehler.
Jason died November 6, 2020. He went on a solo hike to Maroon Bells and had a tragic fall. "He wasn't unprepared; he wasn't unskilled," Charlie said of his friend. "He was unlucky. The kind of unlucky that leaves a lot of people really, really missing him and really, really sad."
“It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever been through,” said Leanne Buehler, Jason’s wife. “I think it’s hard to grieve the loss of my partner of 20 years, but also be a witness to my children’s grief.”
The couple have three children. “He loved nothing more than being a dad,” Leanne said. “We miss him every day.”
Jason's friends and family said he loved his career as a head brewer. “He’d never been happier. It allowed him to be creative and play to his strength of really caring about quality,” Leanne said.
Denver Beer Co. has released a new beer to honor Jason’s legacy. “Sunrise Sensei” is a Black IPA with special ingredient rosita de cacao. The Black IPA is based on Jason’s own recipe, one that earned him a medal at the Great American Beer Festival. The rosita de cacao was an ingredient that Jason had been experimenting with on his frequent trips to Mexico.
There are multiple meanings behind the name Sunrise Sensei.
"You could have six beers with Jason—or maybe 14—at a beer festival. The next morning, he's up first. He was always up first," Charlie said. "And 'Sensei' was just because we were learning from Jason, always."
Jason started his career at Oskar Blues, and the Longmont-based brewery brewed a similar beer in Jason's honor called Home Skillet.
"There was nothing that he loved more than to work really hard and be thoughtful about a recipe and to see somebody in the taproom enjoying it," Leanne said.
Sunrise Sensei sold out quickly at the Denver Beer Co. taproom, but is available at over 30 liquor stores around the Denver metro area and some throughout Colorado. The brewery also announced Sunrise Sensei will be available at Denver Beer Co's South Downing Street location when it opens March 17.
100% of the proceeds of both brews will go directly to Jason’s family.
"Beer just brought people together, and he would love that we raise our glass to him and have a beer in his honor. And I like to think that every time that happens, he's there with them, enjoying it with them."
Photos courtesy of Denver Beer Co. & Leanne Buehler