Elite Brands of Colorado, which has specialized in distributing craft beer in Colorado for nearly fifteen years, won the Craft Beer Wholesaler of the Year award from the Brewers Association at the annual Craft Brewers Conference trade show, which took place last week in Washington, D.C. "The national award recognizes the beer distribution company that does the most to market, promote and sell craft beer," the company says.
The company represents dozens of in-state and out-of-state breweries, distributing its beers to more than 2,200 liquor stores, bars and restaurants throughout the state. Elite has "seen 21 percent growth in craft beer sales over the past year. What started as a small operation with a few brands has turned into a team of incredibly passionate people working hard every day to promote and sell great craft beer around the state. I’m grateful to our staff, suppliers, retail partners, and all those that have helped to build Elite Brands into what it is today," said Elite owner and president Terry Cekola in a prepared statement.
Now, here's our calendar of great craft beer events, through May 6...
Black Shirt Brewing
Wednesday, April 19
A few months ago, Black Shirt Brewing converted its license to a brewpub license, allowing it to serve food — something that begins tonight. Black Shirt is opening a brick-oven specialty pizza restaurant inside its brewery, serving pizza, salads and more. "In collaboration with chef and restaurateur Bill Greenwood and chef Matthew Kender, the pizza and beer concept is elevated to new heights by incorporating BSB’s beer into the pizzas’ ingredients," Black Shirt says. The debut menu will offer three pizzas, three salads and desserts. “The opening of our kitchen represents a dream realized. The original concept for Black Shirt Brewing was to bring together four things — beer, pizza, music, and community” said Black Shirt co-owner Branden Miller in a statement. “The opportunity to open a kitchen gives us the ability to create the ideal beer and pizza pairings that bring out the best flavors from both. It’s our hope to serve the finest pizza and beer combo in Denver.” Kender, formerly of Portland, Oregon’s Pizzicato, will lead the kitchen, Black Shirt adds. He has more than twenty years of experience.
Thursday, April 20
Join Station 26 Brewing for Smoke Em If You Got Em, when the brewery will tap three small-batch creations: Lapsang Souchong Copper (American Copper with smoked black tea); Smoked Salted Chocolate Porter (smoked cacao nibs and sea salt); King Danquet (the last keg of King Creamson, the brewery's imperial cream ale, with a massive dose of dry hops).
TRVE Brewing will bring back its 10 percent ABV double IPA, Nazareth, at 4:20 p.m. The beer was initially created in 2013 as an ode to the song "Dopesmoker," by the band Sleep.
Got the munchies? Epic Brewing brings back its beer-and-munchies pairing all day in honor of 4/20. "This carefully crafted match-up of savory and sweet pairs some classic snack foods with a variety of Epic brews to make the perfect cure for your munchies," the brewery says.
Comrade Brewing is tapping two beers. The first is Honeyman V, a re-brew of one of Comrade's favorites in its Honeyman series. "Hopped with Azacca, Mosaic, Citra and Lemondrop. Beautiful bright golden straw color, intense floral and citrus aroma, with big notes of red fruits. Crisp and dry finish, with a nice smooth bitterness," the brewery says. "The beer is named after our favorite hand truck manufacturer, Honeyman Aluminum Products in Portland, Oregon." The second is Lenindrop Wheat, brewed with malted wheat and Lemondrop hops.
New Image Brewing in Arvada makes great beer, but the brewery also serves beers from other breweries and a menu of modern beer-friendly bites. The brewery is launching a new food menu consisting of "street-style tacos infused with local ingredients and New Image beers," the brewery says. "We will be drawing flavor inspiration from classic local cuisine as well as cuisine from around the world." To celebrate the launch and 4/20, New Image will also host a taproom takeover by North Carolina's Wicked Weed Brewing. There will be five Wicked Weed beers on draft.
Rail's End Brewing Facebook page
Friday, April 21
Copper Kettle Brewing kicks off its three-day-long sixth-anniversary party tonight with its annual staff beer showdown. "Each of our bar staff will be pairing up to brew with one of our talented brew crew to create special beers for this competition," Copper Kettle says. "We let you decide whose brewing reigns supreme, and the winner's beer will be featured on a full-sized batch." Beers include Rye Schwarzbier Black Lager; Prickly Pear Gose; Passionfruit Berlinerweisse; and Cilantro Lime Kolsch. There will also be live music from the Dollhouse Thieves and food from Pavy's Food Truck and Tony Gaucamole.
Rails End Beer Company in Broomfield, which has been open for a couple of months, will kick off its two-day-long grand-opening celebration at 4 p.m. with a ribbon-cutting by the Broomfield Chamber of Commerce. There will also be food from the Saturn Pit Stop food truck. On Saturday, there will be live music by Steve Manshel and food from the one and only Chuburger Food Truck by Oskar Blues.
Big Choice Brewing in Broomfield will kick off a five-week-long Beer Name Gose Here Contest by tapping Pineapple Gose. "For five weeks, we will release a limited Gose beer with different flavors. Beer drinkers can grab a punch card, try all five beers, and get a sixth pint free," the brewery says. "The best part about this is we want you to name the best of the Gose beers. Customers can submit the name for each week’s style; at the end of the five weeks, the Goses will be ranked via social media, and a customer name for the top ranking style will be picked. We’ll brew up a special batch of this beer, can it for an exclusive taproom release, and the individual whose name we choose for the Gose will have their name printed on the label and will get two free six-packs of the newly minted Gose. This will all lead up to the Mid-May release of our traditional Lime Gose." The contest takes place every Friday. The following week’s styles are as follows: April 28, Prickly Pear Gose; May 5, Basil Mandarin Gose; May 12, Tart Apple Gose; and May 19, Pomegranate Gose.
Black Project Facebook page
Saturday, April 22
To help support the construction of affordable homes, 21 Denver-area craft breweries, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver, will participate in Hops for Homes, a beer fest and fundraiser taking place at Great Divide's RiNo location. There will be two sessions, with 400 tickets available for each — and the potential to raise $20,000 for Habitat for Humanity. This summer, brewery employees will volunteer to help build a home (The House That Beer Built) in the Sheridan Square Development, which will then be sold to a local low-income family. "The need for affordable housing has never been greater in Denver. In fact, metro Denver has the highest home prices of any U.S. city not located on a coast," Habitat says. Participating breweries include Boggy Draw, Call to Arms, Cerebral, Crazy Mountain, Dead Hippie, Declaration, Diebolt, Dry Dock, Epic, Fiction, Great Divide, Grist, Living the Dream, Mockery, Ratio Beerworks, Renegade, Resolute, Seedstock, Station 26, 4 Noses and 38 State. Additionally, each brewery will be hosting individual fundraising events and promotions to raise more funds for Habitat. For more information or to purchase tickets, go to HabitatBeerBuild.org.
Comrade Brewing will celebrate its third anniversary with a blowout from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. There will be twenty different beers on tap, including Wheated Bourbon Whiskey BA Quit Stalin; Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey BA Quit Stalin; Grapefruit Superpower; 2016 Quit Stalin; 2016 Kentucky Barrel Aged Quit Stalin; and BA Vanilla Coffee Quit Stalin (at 5 p.m.) "Our limited-edition glassware for the anniversary party is a Rastal Craft Master Two, which has spiral nucleation — giving your beer constant bubbling," the brewery adds. "These will be available in the taproom in limited quantities."
Make some noise with the breweries who are part of Makin' Noise V2, an Earth Day Tapping. Five breweries made five distinct rye beers, each of which will be used to raise money for an earth-related nonprofit; $1 from each pint goes to charity. Goldspot Brewing will donate to Protect Our Winters; 3 Freaks will give to Sierra Club Rocky Mountain; Renegade is raising money for Denver Urban Gardens; Spangalang Brewery to the San Rafael Community Garden; and Caution Brewing to Groundwork Denver. The organizers began their effort in January with Makin' Noise: A Pussy Riot Beer as a way to raise money and awareness for nonprofits fighting inequality. The project has since expanded, and there will be a new tapping with new breweries in each quarter of the year.
Black Project Wild & Spontaneous Ales is releasing two bottled beers, both packaged in 750 ml cork-and-cage bottles, at 1 p.m. The first is Rocked Sled, the brewery's "first beer fermented with 100 percent coolship-caught microbes and then dry-hopped with Mosaic and Simcoe Cryo Hops," which is "concentrated lupulin powder that doubles the resin content, creating a super-juicy hop character." The second beer is Reheat, a wine-hybrid beer that started with wine grapes from Palisade. "Once the grapes have been destemmed and crushed, we allow the juice to rest for a few days — developing rich color and depth of flavor — before finally transferring the juice to neutral oak barrels along with our base Golden Sour," Black Project says. "The beer then goes through a secondary fermentation while resting on the grapes, and after a few weeks is ready to bottle."
Charlie (center) needs support.
Sunday, April 23
The Colorado Let's Talk Craft Beer Facebook group will turn out at Bruz Beers from 1 to 4 p.m. to lend support to brewery co-owner and head brewer Charlie Gottenkieny, who was severely injured during a boilover accident and will need a lot of time and support to get through multiple surgeries and recover. "There's a GoFundMe out there ...but we also know that there are multiple ways we can help," say the organizers of CLTCB. "One really amazing way we can help Charlie is to ensure the cash register keeps ringing during this incredibly difficult time so the day-to-day business can keep on keeping on." CLTCB regularly turns out to support breweries with its "Beer Mob."
Join Avery Brewing for the brewery-only release of Islay, the 44th iteration in Avery's Barrel-Aged Series. "This complex and smokey stout, clocking in at 10 percent ABV, was aged in Scotch barrels hailing from the island of Islay in Scotland," the brewery says. "Peaty and polarizing. Delicious and divisive. What else would you expect when we got our hands on rare Islay Scotch barrels?" Islay will be on tap starting at 11 a.m., which is around when a line will form for bottle sales. Those bottle sales begin at 1 p.m.
Tuesday, April 25
Strange Craft Beer Company hosts a fundraiser for Charlie Gottenkieny, head brewer and co-owner of of Bruz Beers, who was recently injured in a boil-over accident; from 3 p.m. to close, Strange will donate all proceeds to the GoFundMe page that has been set up to help pay for Gottenkieny's medical bills.
Friday, April 28
Tivoli Brewing will host its first Buck Beer Bash from 5 to 10 p.m., featuring the brewery's own Buck Beer, along with signature suds from the breweries distributed by Tivoli's local distribution arm. "Buck Beer became a regionally favored style, originally based off of Bock-style beers, in the early 1860s," Tivoli says. "Every year, on May 1, Colorado brewers would brew their version of 'Buck Beers' and release them at the notorious Rocky Mountain Buck Beer Festival. Now, in 2017, we are bringing this rich tradition back. There will be live music from Steel Horse Swing, The Wildflowers and Woodshed Red. Admission is free, although there are VIP tickets available for $25 at eventbrite.com; VIP tix get you unlimited tasters, VIP area access, exclusive tours and more.
Lone Tree Brewing and Boulder's Wild Woods Brewery have collaborated on a Kölsch-style beer made with birch bark in honor of National Arbor Day. The two "tree-themed breweries teamed up to brew a beer with bark from birch trees, a native Colorado tree, in the boil. This addition should impart subtle earthy flavors and fresh herb aromatics," the breweries say. Both breweries will tap Arbor Day Kölsch and "pass out seedlings to customers and encourage them to post tree-planting photos on social media using the hashtag #ArborDayBrew."
River North Brewery will present Brass & Beer tonight, "the second in an ongoing series of concert-level musical performances in an intimate yet casual setting," the brewery says. "Featuring Apollo Chamber Brass, this show goes beyond a typical taproom band appearance. Drawing talent from orchestras along the Front Range, Brass & Beer marks the first brewery performance by the quintet. Showcasing pieces from classical to jazz to big band, this show is guaranteed to keep you on your toes with a spectrum of sounds." In keeping with its previous show, Bach & Beer, River North will offer a “name-your-own” ticket price model at the door, with a suggested donation of $20. "All ticket sales will go directly to the artists. The brewery requests attendees bring cash for entry, with beers sold by the glass via cash or credit card." The taproom will open at 4 p.m. for pre-show beers, with dinner available from the Rocky Mountain Slices truck. The brewery asks that all attendees arrive by 6:30 p.m. for a 7 p.m. start.
Saturday, April 29
Join Mockery Brewing for its second annual Reinheitsgewhat?! Party in celebration of the 501st anniversary of the German Beer Purity Law, Reinheitsgebot. "It's going to be a grand day of mocking and rocking the law, with new and limited beer releases (all of which break the law)," the brewery says, along with live music from the Polkanauts, a German menu from Revelry Events, and commemorative steins for the first one hundred people.
Denver Beer Co brings back its Oyster and Stout Festival. The brewery has once again teamed up with Seattle Fish Company and Blue Island Oyster Bar and Seafood to make a beer, Blue Island Oyster Stout, which was brewed with Blue Island No. 9 Oysters from Peconic Bay, New York. From noon to 5 p.m., DBC will be pairing the briny brew with oysters from both coasts at the Platte Street taproom. Tickets, $30 for two beers and a dozen oysters, are available at Denver Beer Co's website.
Parry's Pizzeria & Bar and Avery Brewing return with their sixth annual Big Ass Tap Takeover at five Parry's locations, in Northglenn, Longmont, Highlands Ranch, Greenwood Village and Castle Rock. As always, there will be an astounding fifteen to forty different Avery beers on tap at each location starting at 11 a.m., including "highly sought-after bottles at select locations," Parry's says. In addition, "brewery representatives will be present at several locations for some good conversation and perhaps a toast or two." The Longmont location will have live music, as well as hourly drawings for cool craft-beer goodies including Avery VIP brewery tours.
Join Bruz Beers for its first annual Belgian Brew Fest from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., featuring ten Colorado breweries pouring their best Belgian-style beer. There will also be plenty of great food trucks (Rocky Mountain Cheesery, Street Frites Denver, Basic Kneads Pizza, Little India Food Truck) and music from Velvet Compass and the Goonies. Tickets are $48 and available at eventbrite.com.
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Powder Keg Brewing in Niwot will release bottles of Twilight Rendezvous, its Imperial Stout aged in Woodford Reserve Bourbon Barrels, at noon. They are $18 per 22-ounce bomber, with a limit of two per customer.
Odd13 Brewing hosts its monthly taproom-only release party starting at 1 p.m. This time around, the brewery will release two beers on the same day. The first is Kaptain Ka-Powder, a collaborative IPA brewed with Upslope Brewing. "We each brewed the beer with hop products containing no leaf matter. Our version was brewed with lupulin powder (Mosaic and Simcoe); their version was brewed with hop extracts," the brewery says. The Odd13 version will be available in six-packs and on draft; there will be a limited amount of the Upslope version on tap. The second is Barrel Aged Liftmaster 13,000 (500ml only, no draft). It's a mixed-culture Bier De Garage fermented and "aged in a fresh chardonnay barrel," Odd13 says. "The result is a moderately tart vinous beer with bright flavor, and contributions of white wine, fresh oak, and young brett."
Saturday, May 6
Ursula Brewing is releasing four barrel-aged bottles at 1 p.m., and tapping the beers for draft as well. The first is Bourbon Barrel Aged 180 Gram, a 12 percent ABV Russian Imperial Stout aged for fourteen months. The next two are variants of this beer: Chocolate Hazelnut BA 180 Gram, which was aged for two months on hazelnuts and cacao; and Blueberry Cobbler BA 180 Gram, aged nearly two months on blueberry purée, pecans, vanilla and cinnamon sticks. The fourth beer is Aurora Cuvèe; this beer started out as Ursula's 9.2 percent ABV Aurora Belgian Dark Strong before being aged in a Laws Scale Rye Whiskey barrel and re-fermented with the brewery's house mixed culture. "What became of it was an extremely complex sour beer that clocks in at 10.3 percent ABV," the brewery says. "Then this last fall, we decided to pitch some unused plumb pits from our Belschnickel's Wrath Plumb Dubbel. This added a cinnamon-like spice character to this already complex creation."