The Great American Beer Festival is also a great American motivator. In previous years, it has driven local breweries to finish construction projects, open their doors, brew new beers, and generally get their acts in shape. And this year is no exception -- see the Bull & Bush, which is rebuilding its kitchen from the ground up.
The latest to be motivated? Left Hand Brewing, which is blowing out its Longmont taproom by adding a 650-square-foot outdoor addition. "Our goal is to build a small bar inside in the back corner with about eight taps with a walk-up order window," says Left Hand spokesman Chris Lennert. "And to complete it the week prior to GABF."
Watch the drinking games at Vine Street Pub.
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Wednesday, September 12
Avery Brewing enters the political debate today at 5 p.m. by releasing its 2012 version of Ale to the Chief on tap. First brewed four years ago during the last presidential race, the beer weighs in at 8.5 percent ABV and is dry-hopped with Cascade hops. Oh, and if you aren't registered to vote, you can do so from 4 to 7 p.m. and get a free pint.
River North Brewery will pour a version of its wit beer today for Wayward Wednesday that has been fermented with an alternative yeast strain that "exhibits lesser wit characteristics while taking on an malty quality with a hint of banana." Pints are $5.
Friday, September 14
Falling Rock Taphouse will welcome Tacoma, Washington's No-Li Brewhouse, which will start selling beer in Colorado for the first time. No-Li (formerly called Northern Lights) will be serving its bomber bottles beginning at 4 p.m. There will be a toast at 5:30 p.m.
Twisted Pine Brewing has only waited fourteen months for tonight. At 4 p.m., it will tap Reilly's Oak Whiskey Red, a Scottish-style ale that has been aging that long in Buffalo Trace bourbon barrels; the beer won gold at GABF in 2007 in the wood- and barrel-aged category. "One sip washes the palate with restrained malt sweetness tinged with toasted toffee and punctuated by a welcoming whiskey warmth," he brewery says. "Earthy, bourbon-soaked oak and caramel barley build to a beautiful balance as sip by sensuous smooth sip leave the glass." Reilly's will also be sold in 12-ounce pour packs.
Hops & Pie will tap Upslope Brewing's GABF gold-medal award-winning Pumpkin Ale tonight at 6 p.m. The beer is also available in cans at liquor stores for the first time.
Saturday, September 15
The Vine Street Pub will host its third annual Uptown Block Party today beginning at 1 p.m. Artwork is already in and hanging in the pubs for this year's Vine Street Uptown Block Party and Brewer's Olympics. Keith Moseley from SCI, twelve breweries competing for gold, thirty styles of world-class brews in the beer garden... and all to support New Era Colorado. Saturday, September 15! Mark your calendars!
The Copper Kettle will tap two firkins of Peach Saison made with fresh peaches today in the taproom, from noon until it runs out. There will be live music from Indigent Row and the Epicurean Catering food truck on hand beginning at 5 p.m.
Parry's Pizzeria & Bar, which offers fifty taps in Highlands Ranch, is hosting a crazy tap takeover by Oskar Blues today from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Why is it crazy? Because in addition to its regular lineup, Oskar Blues will be pouring a group of rarities that have almost never been seen in one place together. They include: Chaka, a collaboration with Sun King Brewing; Home Skillet Black IPA; Legends India Brown; Dave's Pale Ale (not Dale's); barrel-aged Old Chub, Ten FIDY and Gubna; nitro versions of G'Knight, Old Chub and Dale's Pale Ale; Red Wine Barrel Aged G'Knight; and Chardonnay Wine Barrel Aged Mama's Lil Yella Pils. Wow.
Tuesday, September 18
The Colorado Environmental Coalition and the Colorado Conservation Voters Education Fund will use hops -- something near and dear to the hearts of most Coloradans -- to highlight global warming tonight at Save the Ales, a fundraiser that includes beers from fifteen of the state's best brewers. "Hops, one of beer's most important ingredients, is extremely sensitive to the adverse effects of climate change," the organizations say. Tickets to the event, which begins at 6 p.m. at Casselman's Bar and Venue, are $35 and include food and beer. There will also be raffles.
Great Divide will celebrate the seven-barrel pilot brewing system it acquired last December by tapping eight different small-batch beers. The half-tap takeover (Great Divide has sixteen total), from 2 to 10 p.m., will showcase these experimental brews, which are: a Belgian-style tripel; an India pale lager; a schwarzbier; an oaked, smoked dunkelweiss; an altbier; a hefeweizen; Baby Yeti, a 3.2 percent ABV version of the brewery's signature stout; and Baby Hercules, a similarly low-alcohol IPA. Try a pint or order a $1 taster of each; all of Great Divide's taster proceeds go to charity.
Arvada Beer Company will throw a Great American Beer Festival release party today from 5 to 9 p.m. by tapping all nine of its GABF entries. Tickets are $20 or $25 at the door (limited to 100) and include tasters of all nine along with a pint of your favorite. There will also be meats and cheeses from Olde Town's Woodburn Deli.
Thursday, September 20
Longtime local beer authority, Dave Thomas will sign copies of his brand new book, Of Mines and Beer!: 150 Years of Brewing History in Gilpin County, Colorado, and Beyond today from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Barnes & Noble, at 14347 West Colfax Avenue, in Lakewood. Thomas, who worked for Coors for 32 years, is now the brewer emeritus at the Dostal Alley Casino and Brewpub in Central City.
Saturday, September 22
Durango's Ska Brewing takes over the taps at 1 p.m. today at the relatively new Right Coast Pizza in Wheat Ridge. The "Ska Domination Vacation" includes at least twelve Ska beers, including Steel Toe Milk Stout on Nitro, Mexican Logger, ESB, Euphoria, Modus, Pinstrip, Buster Nut Brown, Dubbel Blonde, Nefarious, Decadent and the new Mole Stout (see below).
Copper Kettle hosts its own Oktoberfest today by tapping its Oktoberfest Lager. And, at 5 p.m., there will catered food from Helga's German Deli; a $10 plate includes two kinds of brats, potato salad and saur kraut. There will also be accordion music from 6-9 p.m.
Ska Brewing will debut its new Seasonal Stout program today by releasing the first of four canned stouts, Autumnal Mole Stout, a beer brewed cocoa nibs, spices and three varieties of chile peppers: Mulato, Ancho and Hatch green chiles (Read more: "Ska Brewing will debut a new series of seasonal canned stouts."). Cans should start showing up throughout Colorado today or over the next few days. Ska will release three more new, canned stouts over the next nine months, in December, March and June.
Sunday, September 23
Join Denver's finest bartenders today at 2 p.m. at Ghost Plate & Tap for a Beer Cocktail Shakedown. Around contestants will vie to make the best beer cocktails in the city using beers from the Wynkoop Brewing Company. Judges, including Westword's Beer man, will pick a winner. Tickets are $15 and include all-you-can-drink Breck and Wynkoop beer and beer cocktail samples. There will also be snacks and door prizes.
Monday, September 24
West Flanders Brewing will open for business in the former will open in the old BJ's Pizza location on the Pearl Street Mall today. The brewery and restaurant are owned by Mark and Chris Heinritz who also own the Sink and were the founders of the now-closed Redfish New Orleans Brewhouse. Longtime restaurateur Barry Wolfman and former Oskar Blues brewer Brian Lutz are also on the team.
Great Divide celebrates Oktoberfest this week by putting on all of its German-style beers in the taproom. The list includes: Schwarzbier, Alt, Hefeweizen, Oaked Smoked Dunkelweiss, Wiesn, and Wolfgang. The first four pilots have been poured before but the Wiesn is a new beer off the pilot system that is a traditional Oktoberfest favorite. Pints are $5 and tasters are $1. The beers will be through September 28.
Wednesday, September 26
Great Divide continues its celebration of Oktoberfest this week by putting on all of its German-style beers in the taproom. The list includes: Schwarzbier, Alt, Hefeweizen, Oaked Smoked Dunkelweiss, Wiesn, and Wolfgang. The first four pilots have been poured before but the Wiesn is a new beer off the pilot system that is a traditional Oktoberfest favorite. Pints are $5 and tasters are $1. The beers will be through September 28.
Friday, September 28
The relatively new Lowry Beer Garden kicks off a three-day Oktoberfest celebration at 5 p.m. today, doubling in size for the event by expanding into the parking lot of Hangar 2. Guests at the massive biergarten will enjoy a ceremonial tapping of an authentic wooden keg, live music, including traditional oom-pah, German food, performances and plenty of opportunities to do the chicken dance. There will also be beer, including all of Lowry's regular tap handles, along with Paulaner. There is a suggested $2 donation for admission; a portion of the proceeds will go to the Denver Children's Home. The party runs through midnight and picks up again tomorrow from 11 a.m. to midnight, and on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Saturday, September 29
Hops & Pie knows how to celebrate a birthday, and beginning today at noon, the pizzeria and taphouse will celebrate its second year with a massive list of rare beers from Boulder's Avery Brewing, along with giveaways and prizes. Some of the the beer you'll be able to enjoy include: Uncle Jacob's Stout, Ale to the Chief, Summer's Day IPA, 2009 Czar, 2010 Mephistopheles, 2010 Reverend, Beast, Kaiser, Immitis, Oud Floris, Odio Equum, and more.
The Great Rumpkin will rise at Avery Brewing today at 5 p.m. when the Boulder brewery taps its amazing imperial pumpkin ale aged in fresh rum barrels. Avery squeezed this beer into twelve-ounce bottles for the first time last year after previously distributing it only on tap and it will have both again this year. Today's barrel-release party will include live music, autumn-inspired eats, and a selection of rare and exclusive brews to sample. Bottles will be $10 each; cash only.
Dry Dock Brewing in Aurora will host its Docktoberfest today from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan will be on hand to tap the German-style Märzen at 11:15am. There will be food and live music.
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