New breweries opened at a stunning rate of 1.5 per day across the United States in 2014, bringing the total number to more than 3,200 by the end of November, according to the Brewers Association, the Boulder-based trade group that covers the craft-beer industry. And there are another 2,000 breweries currently in planning.
The volume of beer produced also rose by 18 percent over the first half of 2014, led by IPAs, which continue to be the most favored craft=beer style. "According to retail scan data, IPA is up 47 percent by volume and 49 percent by dollar sales, accounting for 21 percent volume share of craft and 23 percent dollar share of off-premise beer sales," the Brewers Association said last week.
And finally, roughly 38 percent of U.S. households bought a craft beer in 2014, up from 29 percent in 2010. And while a lot of those purchases were made by men, women -- in particular, women aged 21-34 -- made up 32 percent of craft-beer volume.
Turn the page to see all of this week's craft-beer events.
Wednesday, December 17
Former Future Brewing hosts a Christmas Cookie Pairing all day today, along with an Ugly Sweater Contest tonight from 6 to 9 p.m. It's $12 for four, four-ounce tasters and cookies, and $20 for four short-pours and cookies. Supplies are limited.
Copper Kettle Brewing is counting down the days with the 12 Firkins of Christmas -- twelve unique casks themed around the holiday tune, "12 Days of Christmas." Today's beer is 8 Maids a Milking Chai Milk Brown Ale, a rich brown ale with lactose and chai spice. The Truck Yeah food truck be there at 4 p.m.
Sherpa Porter, the Yak & Yetiwinter seasonal, is back on tap. This 5 percent ABV beer is an English-style robust porter.
Thursday, December 18
Dry Dock Brewing will release Chocolate Raspberry Porter in 22-ounce bomber bottles today at 2 p.m. at the Canoe Room, the brewery's small taproom in its North Dock production facility. This beer will be available exclusively at Canoe Room through December 20. Brewed with dehydrated, seedless raspberry powder from nearby Ticklebelly Desserts and cacao nibs, the "dark brown porter has rich flavors of chocolate malt, coffee bitterness, and subtle ruby notes," according to the brewery.
Copper Kettle Brewing is counting down the days with the 12 Firkins of Christmas -- twelve unique casks themed around the holiday tune, "12 Days of Christmas." Today's beer is 7 Swans a Swimming, a super piney IPA made with the seven varieties of American hops: Cascade, Columbus, Centennial, Crystal, Chinook, Citra, and Cluster. The Wing Wagon Grill will be there at 4 p.m.
Denver Bicycle Cafe will host a cheese-and-beer pairing tonight at 7 p.m. featuring cheeses from Amy Combs of A Cheese Peddler and beers from Dudes Brews (Dad & Dude's Breweria in Aurora) Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 at the door.
The Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant location in Lone Tree will tap a collaboration beer today that it brewed with its neighbor, Lone Tree Brewing. Horchata Chocolate Stout is a 4.3 percent ABV milk stout with cinnamon that gives it a horchata flavor. The beer will be available throughout the winter at the Rio Grande and at Lone Tree Brewing.
Friday, December 19
Copper Kettle Brewing is counting down the days with the 12 Firkins of Christmas -- twelve unique casks themed around the holiday tune, "12 Days of Christmas." Today's beer is 6 Geese a Laying Rum Eggnog Stout, made with rum, nutmeg and lactose. Wikipita will be out at 4 p.m. serving homemade pitas.
The newly opened Zephyr Brewing will host a tacky holiday sweater party today from 5 p.m. to midnight, encouraging patrons to wear glitter, buttons, bows, bells and their tackiest holiday attire. Zephyr will tap a new beer, Peanut Butter Porter, and bring back its Scottish Ale.
Left Hand Brewing in Longmont will tap a special archived keg of its Smoke Jumper today at 5 p.m. as part of its annual toy drive benefiting the Longmont OUR Center. Bring in a new, unwrapped toy to donate between 5 and 6:30 p.m. and get a free sixteen-ounce Left Hand pub glass. Bring more than one toy and the brewery will you give a glass for each one. Also, Santa will be in the house if you want to bring the kids.
Saturday, December 20
Fiction Beer Company and Glazed and Confuzed teamed up to create a crazy-sounding holiday treat. The 6.2 percent ABV beer, called 42, is a Donut Bourbon Porter Fermented with maple syrup; it was inspired by Douglas Adams's Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. To brew it, Fiction started with a malty porter and then added 57 pounds of donuts (including the vanilla brown butter glaze) "late in the boiling process to help release and lock in the flavor and aroma of fresh donuts," the brewery says. "The glaze was specially made...so that it contained little to no fat that would normally be expected in a Vanilla Brown Butter Glaze. Instead the brown milk solids were separated from the liquefied butter fat and only the solids were used to make the glaze." After fermentation, the brewers added 33 pounds of Grade B Maple Syrup and then infused the beer with bourbon=soaked oak during the aging process. Doors open today at 11 a.m., and there will be doughnut and beer pairings starting at noon.
Joyride Brewing will host an Ugly Sweater Party today as the young brewery's first holiday fiesta. You don't have to wear an ugly sweater, but if you do, your second beer is on the house. Joyride will also bring back its Bear Paw Oatmeal Milk Stout.
Chain Reaction Brewing will tap a beer today at 1 p.m. that it collaborated on with author/writer/brewery PR person Emily Hutto. Book Lady IPA celebrates Hutto's book, Colorado's Top Brewers, as well as the craft-beer industry as a whole. Made with Chinook, Magnum, Experimental Grapefruit and Topaz hops, the beer has a crisp mouthfeel, the brewery says. Hutto will be on hand to sell the book and talk about it.
Copper Kettle Brewing is counting down the days with the 12 Firkins of Christmas -- twelve unique casks themed around the holiday tune, "12 Days of Christmas." Today's beer is Five Golden Rings, a version of Charlie's Golden Strong ale with five different fruits: strawberry, blackberry, pomegranate, cherry, and raspberry. Homefield Cheesesteaks will be on hand with food.
Sunday, December 21
Hops & Pie presents Holiday Beer and Cheers, starting today at noon, when you'll be able to partake in Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada, Prairie Christmas Bomb!, 2013 Santa's Little Helper from Port Brewing, Merry Maker from Sam Adams, 2014 Anchor Christmas Ale, 7 Swans-A-Swimming from The Bruery, Yule Fuel from Bull & Bush, Noel de Calabaza from Jolly Pumpkin, Christmas Eve at a New York City Hotel Room from Evil Twin, and Chanukah Pass the Beer from Schmaltz Brewing.
Copper Kettle Brewing is counting down the days with the 12 Firkins of Christmas -- twelve unique casks themed around the holiday tune, "12 Days of Christmas." Today's beer is 4 Calling Birds, a creamy Belgian Quad Dark Strong. The Wing Wagon Grill there at 2 p.m.
Monday, December 22
Copper Kettle Brewing is counting down the days with the 12 Firkins of Christmas -- twelve unique casks themed around the holiday tune, "12 Days of Christmas." Today's beer is a Biere de Garde, a French farmhouse ale with cranberries and rosemary. No food truck today, so bring your own.
Wednesday, December 31
Renegade Brewing will continue its annual New Year's Eve tradition, tapping its Imperial Peanut Butter Cup Stout at 4 p.m. today; the 11 percent imperial milk stout contains peanut butter cups, dehydrated peanut butter and sea salt. Previously called Black Gold, Renegade changed the name this year to Depravity, in order to align it more closely to the brewery's branding. "The idea for the beer originated after Halloween 2011, when surplus candy was bought at a discount and brewery owner Brian O'Connell started experimenting on the pilot brew system," the brewery explains. The beer was an immediate hit, but to get enough peanut butter cups, Renegade now orders them in increments of 25 pounds. The process of unwrapping the individually-wrapped cups takes a lot of labor and creates a mess.
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