Every week is craft-beer week in Colorado — but it wasn't always like that, and some states are still fighting against laws that limit home brewers, taprooms and other pillars of the independent beer company. Which is why it's good to remember, even in taproom-loaded Denver, that American Craft Beer Week runs from May 15 to May 21.
This will be the twelfth year in a row that all fifty states will participate in the celebration — organized by the Boulder-based Brewers Association — and this year, in the spirit of the industry's culture, camaraderie and collaboration, the organization is promoting the idea of sharing with its #beeritforward campaign.
“Small, independent brewers are known for their commitment to their communities. They 'beer it forward' year-round through grassroots initiatives and charity work that in turn have a significant impact on our local economies,” said BA craft-beer program director Julia Herz in a statement. “This American Craft Beer Week, we invite the beer-loving public to embrace the theme, and find ways to ‘beer it forward’ as part of the fun.”
In addition to numerous events at breweries, the BA has also teamed up with Denver-based Geeks Who Drink, the pub-trivia organization, to incorporate ACBW at more than 800 locations across the country.
Read on for all of this week's craft-beer events.
Wednesday, May 10
Free beer alert: If you haven't had a chance to try any beers from Telluride Brewing, tonight is your chance. From 5 to 7 p.m., the Pizzeria Locale location in Highland Square, 3484 West 32nd Avenue, will host a Telluride Brewing happy hour. "Each guest can snag one free flight of beer...no food purchase necessary," the restaurant says.
May is saison cask month at Copper Kettle Brewing, which will tap a different cask saison each Wednesday. Today's was made with cardamom and orange; it taps at 2 p.m. The Grassroots Grill will be on hand with food.
The Crafty Fox is teaming up with Elite Brands, a local craft-beer distributor, to bring some delicious beer from San Diego to Denver at 5 p.m. The tap list Includes: Alesmith Decadence 2015, Alesmith Nibs and Beans Speedway, Alpine Windows Up, Ballast Point Manta Ray, Ballast Point Unfiltered Sculpin, Green Flash GFB, Green Flash Cellar 3 Divine Belgique, Gren Flash Cellar 3 Ideal Belgique, Hop Concept Dank and Sticky, The Lost Abbey Devotion, and Mike Hess Grapefruit Solis.
Thursday, May 11
Good River Beer Company, which is opening a taproom and brewery on South Broadway later this year, will host a party at the Patagonia store downtown at 1431 15th Street, to launch the brewery's "2 Percent for Rivers" program. Good River is donating 2 percent of its gross revenue to river conservation by establishing its own nonprofit organization. There will be live music, gear giveaways, short presentations by Colorado Water Trust and American Whitewater, and lots of beer to share (Good River is already making its own beer). The event is from 6:30 to 9 p.m.
If you loved Former Future Brewing — which is now called Black Project Wild & Spontaneous Ales — and its steampunky, penny-farthing cyclist logo, then head to Black Project today for some throwback merch. "Former Future Brewing Company will always hold a special place in our hearts, the boxes of old merchandise — not so much," the brewery says. "So we are getting rid of all of it, for free. Come down...and buy a pint, and we will let you pick from a random assortment of shirts, growlers, hats and other merchandise that is taking up space at the brewery."
White Labs, the yeast company, will continue its Fermented Pairings Series at 6:30 p.m. in Boulder. Join White Labs education and engagement curator Erik Fowler and Brewed Food chef Jensen Cummings as both certified cicerones "walk you through the expansive world of unique pairings showcasing fermented foods," White Labs says. They will "explore the science behind beer and food fermentations while giving attendees a general understanding on the similarities and differences between the two. Guests will also learn how to identify attributes created by yeast and bacteria and explore what is responsible for the production of acid, alcohol and various other flavors in both food and beer. For menus, tickets and other information, go to the White Labs Facebook page.
Boulder Beer Company will release a new canned beer called Bump ’n’ Rind in its taproom at 4 p.m., and in cans that will be available May through September where Boulder Beer is sold. “Bump ’n’ Rind is a crushable Kolsch-style beer with just the right amount of fresh watermelon zing,” the brewery says. The release party will have live music on the patio, watermelon-inspired games and prizes and giveaways.
Friday, May 12
Freshcraft will tap a single firkin of Station 26 Brewing's Juicy Loops at 5 p.m. The beer is the brewery's Juicy Banger IPA that has been conditioned on orange, lemon lime and wildflower honey. Juicy Banger will also be on tap, along with Single Hop Mandarina Bavaria and Hop Sequence No. 5.
Zuni Street Brewing will tap a new beer, Wllhelm's Schwarzier, at 5 p.m. "Crisp and well-enjoyed, this Schwarzbier is dark in color and light on the tongue," Zuni Street says. "Wilhelm's is brewed with dark malts to give an easy chocolaty flavor, then lagered for ultimate crushability."
Saturday, May 13
Here Be Monsters, a 13.1 percent imperial stout aged twelve months in Woodford Reserve bourbon barrels, was one of my favorite beers from the Big Beers, Belgians and Barleywines Festival in Vail in January. But that version was just a sneak peek. This time, Cerebral Brewing will release the beer on tap and in bottles ($16 each, with a limit of four per person), starting at noon. "Whiskey, charred oak and cherry on the nose followed by notes of luscious chocolate, toffee, and caramel," the brewery says. Cerebral will also release a vanilla variant of the beer, which has been conditioning on Madagascar Bourbon vanilla beans for more than three weeks (two bottles per person).
Fiction Beer Company will host a charity burger-and-beer pairing featuring food from Park Burger and educational direction from Julia Herz, the craft-beer program director for the Brewers Association; Herz will guide the pairing and sign copies of her book Beer Pairing. For $16, you get three sliders and three five-ounce beers. They are: a cheeseburger with Island of Conclusions Imperial IPA; a BBQ burger with Alternate Present Black Lager; and El Chilango with Petty Vexation Berliner Weisse. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Habitat for Humanity's House That Beer Built project. There will also be $5 raffle tickets. Prizes include glassware, crowlers, calendars, copies of Beer Pairing, T-shirts, sweatshirts and free beer for a year.
Westside in the house! A group of west-side breweries — Little Machine, Joyride, Strange and Seedstock — will have two shuttle buses running continuous loops between them from 2 to 10 p.m. Start at whichever brewery you choose and ride the loop for $5. Buses will leave each brewery every ten minutes or so. Complete the loop at all four breweries and get a coupon for a free beer at the brewery of your choice on your next visit. Tickets can be purchased at your starting brewery on the day of the event.
And if you're on that bus (above), try the firkin of Cherry Limeade beer at Strange Craft, which is celebrating its one-year anniversary all week long with a variety of tappings and other events. There will also be food from the Spudz truck and live music from Rob Wivchar.
The weather is getting warmer, which means it's Wiggy Wiggy time at Diebolt Brewing. This honey-hibiscus saison "is a brilliant red color with a tart and fruity aroma and hints of honey; smooth, silky mouthfeel with a slightly dry, acidic finish," the brewery says. Draft and cans will be available in the taproom starting at noon, and there will be live music from the Dollhouse Thieves from 2 to 5 p.m. There will also be a hula-hoop contest.
Crazy Mountain Brewing will host a grand opening for the new beer garden at its Denver location. The party will include live music, food trucks, games and drink specials.
Join Dry Dock Brewing and Aurora Firefighters Local 1290 for a day of food, games and beer — in particular, Big John Ale, a collaboration with the firefighters. Taking place at Dry Dock's North Dock location in Aurora, the event also includes a disc-golf tournament and a chili cook-off. Portions of each Big John Ale sold will go toward the Antique Apparatus Fund. Other proceeds will go toward the Firefighters of Aurora Benevolent Fund.
38 State Brewing in Littleton honors its third anniversary with a party starting at noon. There will be new beers, Colorado-themed trivia, giveaways, live music starting at 5 p.m. and food by Saucy Buns BBQ.
The Bacon and Beer Classic, which takes place in several cities, returns to Mile High Stadium for two sessions, one from 1 to 4 p.m. and one from 7 to 10 p.m. There will be more than eighty beers from many local breweries, along with thirty-plus bacon-infused dishes from Front Range restaurants and food trucks. There will also be games like giant Jenga, a bungee run, a bacon-eating contest, music and more. For information on tickets and other details, go to baconandbeerclassic.com.
Sunday, May 14
Station 26 Brewing brings back its monthly Bluegrass Brunch for a special Mother's Day edition. There will be live music from Meadow Mountain, doughnuts from Glazed and Confuzed, and barbecue from Turn-In BBQ.
THIS EVEN HAS BEEN CANCELLED: Treat someone's mom to "the harmonious pairings of cupcakes stacked next to the refreshing smoothie-esque qualities of Ratio's Heart Tattoo Blackberry Wit, the balanced tropical fruit notes from Rented World Session IPA, and champagne-y refreshing flavors of Dear You Citra Hopped French Saison" at Ratio Beerworks all day long. For $16, you get a flight of three cupcakes from Church of Cupcakes and three Ratio tasters.
Black Shirt Brewing made a Red Beet Porter just for Mother's Day. Designed to "transport them to a place of relaxation and salvation — the garden," the beer was brewed with fresh beets and garnished with edible nasturtium flowers grown and harvested at the GrowHaus. "Traditionally, Mother's Day in Denver signals the last frost, and therefore the time of the year that we start to really plant veggies and flowers in the garden. In this vein, we wanted to create something that tasted like the garden — in a very pleasant way," Black Shirt says. "The beer is chocolatey, creamy, rounded, delicately earthy, and tastes pleasantly of the garden. The beet character is nuanced but noticeable, and the nasturtium flowers are spicy and crisp." It taps at 11 a.m.
Monday, May 15
Freshcraft will kick off American Craft Beer Week at 7 p.m. by tapping Ska Brewing's latest small-batch beer, Pink Vapor Stew, a sour ale. Made with "Citra and Galaxy hops, it's a tropical medley of citrus and sour flavors blended together with earthy beets, carrots and ginger - originally brewed in homage to Fishbone for the Ska 21st Anniversary," the brewery says. Cans of the beer will start hit Denver next week, but this will be the first draft tapping. The Ska crew will be in house with glassware and swag.
Strange Craft Beer Company was founded seven years ago during American Craft Beer Week, so the brewery always celebrates both at the same time. It will have tappings and other events all week leading up to its anniversary party on Saturday, May 20. But today, Strange taps Mescal Pale Beer at 3 p.m. and also holds a bottle release for the beer.
Wednesday, May 17
It's Saison Month at Copper Kettle Brewing, which is tapping a different saison firkin each Wednesday at 2 p.m. Today, you'll find one infused with peppercorn. The Mama Said Eat food truck will be there.
Thursday, May 18
Factotum Brewing hosts Hope Is Brewing, a fundraiser for Love146, an international human-rights organization that is working to end child sex trafficking. To help, Lady Justice Brewing made Emancipation Red IPA just for this event, which runs from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. For tickets and information, go to the Love 146 web page.
Friday, May 19
As a trend, it seems like fruited IPAs should be almost over. But they just keep going as every brewery, big and small, gets on board. The latest packaged release comes from Avery Brewing, which will release its canned Real Peel Tangerine IPA today at the brewery, followed by a nationwide rollout in the coming weeks. Avery has actually been brewing this beer, which it describes as a "bright, refreshing, and crisp IPA that uses real tangerine peel to add a citrusy and zesty kick" for years for its taproom, but just decided to can it recently.
Saturday, May 20
Odyssey Beerwerks has gotten bigger and better every year since it opened in 2013 — something the brewery will celebrate at its fourth-anniversary blowout, which starts at noon. Odyssey plans to tap an anniversary maibock, along with four other small-batch releases. They will also be selling some bomber bottles that were held in reserve from past releases just for this event. The party includes food from Taste of Texas BBQ and the Pambasos Food Truck, plus music from Jim Jamm Jimmy from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. and Angus Mohr from 8 p.m. to midnight.
Renegade Brewing takes over its own taps at 2 p.m., putting on barrel-aged versions of Bedwetter, Hammer & Sickle, Endpoint, Berbere, and Contrarian. "We don't do this very often, and they won't last long, so get down to the tap house early," the brewery says.
Join Call to Arms Brewing for Snouts & Stouts, an "afternoon of craft cuisine and libations" featuring smoked pork from Il Porcellino Salumi and two Russian Imperial Stout bottle releases. Both beers are part of the Carriage House Series, and each began as the brewery's Large Farva RIS. The first, It's Dark & Hell is Hot, was aged in whiskey barrels for more than six months before getting a dose of fresh orange peel and vanilla. The second, The Shadow, was aged in red-wine barrels with pomegranate molasses. There will be ninety 375ml bottles available of each beer, with a two-per-customer limit. Bottles will be available starting at noon and aren't expected to last long.
Andrew Moore and Ben Gettinger are opening Intrepid Sojourner Beer Project, a new brewery that will specialize in "internationally inspired twists on traditional beer styles." That means the Belgian-style tripel will be made with lavender, the stout will be brewed with Turkish coffee, and the amber will be made with garlic. You can find those and several other beers during the grand opening. Moore, the head brewer, used to be an archaeologist, which is why the beers are flavored with ingredients from around the world. The brewery, located along the busy Eighth Avenue corridor in west Denver, will also be decorated with maps and travel-related items.
To celebrate its seventh anniversary, Strange Craft Beer Company has invited some brewery buddies over for a birthday beer festival. The Anniversary Backyard BBQ runs from noon to 4 p.m. and includes beers from Wit’s End Brewing, Renegade Brewing, Hogshead Brewery, Caution Brewing, Copper Kettle, Black Sky Brewery, Chain Reaction, The Brew on Broadway and Very Nice Brewing. There will also be music from Blooming Honeywise at 6:30 p.m. and food from Spudz & Frank’s BBQ. Tickets are $30 at eventbrite.com or $35 the day of the party. And since Strange Craft’s anniversary coincides with American Craft Beer Week, the brewery will also be hosting daily events, including the Westside Is the Best Side beer bus tour on May 13 and a screening of the documentary film Blood, Sweat, and Beer on May 16. Find a complete ACBW event list at strangecraft.com.
Peak to Peak Tap & Brew in Aurora has evolved from a taproom into a taproom and brewery, adding its own brewing system. It will host a grand opening and launch party today with a solid lineup of its own beers, as well as three firkins, food and music. The firkins are: Summer Saison with Cucumber at noon; Cherry Wheat at 3 p.m.; and Double Cream Ale with Coffee at 6 p.m.
Factotum Brewhouse hand-squeezed thirty pounds of pink grapefruit to create the second beer of its fruity saison series, Grapefruit Saison. "One delicious and delightful keg was made, and much like the Clementine Saison, we expect this tarty brew to disappear quickly," the brewery says. It taps at noon.
Upslope Brewing brings back its annual free music fest, the Upslope Get Down, from 1 to 10 p.m. As it does every year, the Boulder brewery will take over the parking lot at its Flatiron Court location so that it can bring you three stages' worth of live music, food trucks, games, art, a kid zone, lots of beer and the Elemental Enhancers, a Denver performance group that plays with fire. The music lineup includes: Roosevelt Collier's Colorado Get Down featuring Very Special Guests! Freekbass, Caribou Mountain Collective, the Pamlico Sound, Sixty Minute Men, Envy Alo, Guerrilla Fanfare, Voodoo Visionary, Arthur Lee Land Trio, Coambient, and BluePrint Metro. Upslope will donate a portion of the proceeds from the festival to Protect Our Winters, a nonprofit that enlists the help of professional athletes and the outdoor sports community to affect climate change. And although admission is free, you can upgrade to the VIP package and get more information at twoparts.com.
Powder Keg Brewing in Niwot will release Twilight Rendezvous Imperial Stout aged in Woodford Reserve bourbon barrels. It's $18 per 22-ounce bomber; limit of two per customer.
Saturday, May 27
Denver Beer Co is releasing its Maui Express Coconut IPA for the first time in cans this year, and to celebrate, the brewery is throwing a proper Hawaiian luau at its taproom on Platte Street. "Denver Beer Co will be transformed into a tropical paradise for the party, and we're hoping to see a lot of dudes sporting coconut bikinis and grass skirts, and ladies in awesome Hawaiian shirts," the brewery says. In addition to beer and music, there will be raffles for lots of DBC swag, including Maui Express growlers and a Maui Express keg. Raffle tickets will be handed out with every Maui Express pint purchased between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Black Project Spontaneous & Wild Ales is releasing Peacemaker, a new spontaneous "solera" blend at noon. Part of the brewery's experimental series, the beer is a blend of two base beers, one 100 percent wheat and the other, a golden ale, made with pilsner malt. "Both beers were brewed on Black Project’s four-barrel system and then cooled in the brewery’s coolship, a custom-built copper twelve-barrel vessel designed to cool wort overnight while inoculating with wild yeast and other microbes from the air," the brewery says. "Once it is cooled, the wort is transferred to stainless-steel totes where it aged and fermented for eight to twelve months." For much, much more information on the beer and recent changes at Black Shirt, go to the brewery's Facebook page.
Odd13 hosts a dual beer release beginning at noon. The first beer, Ubern00b, is the Lafayette brewery's taproom-only can release for May. Ubern00b is a bigger, hoppier versinon of n00b, the brewery's year-round pale ale. "An irresponsible dry-hopping regimen with Mosaic and El Dorado creates an incredibly juicy DDH IPA," Odd13 says. The second beer is Chardonnay Barrel Aged Liftmaster, a mixed-culture Bier De Garage fermented and aged in a fresh Chardonnay barrel. "The result is a moderately tart vinous beer with bright flavor contributions of white wine, fresh oak and young Brett," Odd13 says. Taproom only.
Odell Brewing's on-again, off-again Small Batch Festival returns at a new time of year for 2017. This year, the Fort Collins event will be one day only, from 1 to 6 p.m., and will include more than fifty — yep, fifty — different Odell beers on tap. Many of the beers were made on Odell's five-barrel pilot system, and they include sours, barrel-aged brews, seasonals and twists on some Odell favorites. “This festival is the culmination of a year’s worth of brewing,” says Odell's Adam D’Antonio. “For months, we’ve been hoarding a few kegs of our favorites.... I think our brewers look forward to it as much as the fans." There will be food trucks along with live music from Choice City Seven, The Reminders and Euforquestra. Tickets are $35 and include two beer tokens and a stainless-steel cup.
Friday, June 2
Jagged Mountain Craft Brewery will tap a beer dedicated to the memory of Mike Sadler, a former punter for the Michigan State Spartans who died in a car accident in 2016; Sadler, who was known for a fakepunt/trick play called Hey Diddle Diddle and for his humorous Twitter feed, was volunteering as a coach at a kicking camp in Wisconsin and had been set to being law school at Stanford. For the beer, Jagged Mountain brewmaster Adam Glaser has infused rose petals as a reference to Sadler's role in winning the 100th Rose Bowl in 2014. Some proceeds will benefit the Michael Sadler Foundation, which holds events across the country.
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Saturday, June 3
Platt Park Brewing will celebrate its third anniversary with a luau all day. The brewery will tap several new beers and various favorites; more details TBA. There will also be a ticketed Brewer Cellar VIP lunch; $30 will get you a pour of an exclusive beer from the cellar and lunch (a whole roasted pig with all the fixins).
Sunday, June 4
"To commemorate the longstanding tradition of drinking on, off, and all around the stage," Shakesbeer will return for the summer with a new script at Ratio Beerworks. The free performance of A Midsummer Night's — Dram (a sixty-minute adaptation of the Bard's A Midsummer Night's Dream) begins at 7:30 p.m. and will be performed by The Wit's Shakesbeer group; actors imbibe before and during the show. "Lambic pentameter...Vienna-style verse — frankly, few things fit together like theatre and beer," the group says.
Thursday, June 8
Renegade Brewing brings back its 5:00 Bangkok-style Ale at, of course, 5 p.m. This is the brewery's regular 5:00 Afternoon Ale session ale brewed with lemongrass and ginger. With the purchased of a pint between 5 and 10 p.m., you'll also get a limited-edition glass and a six-pack of beer to go.
Friday, June 9
New Kids on the Block, "the radtacular 80s dance party and new breweries beer festival" returns for its fifth year from 7 to 10 p.m. Sponsored by host, The Lobby, and PorchDrinking.com, the festival highlights local breweries that are two years old or younger. This year, that mighty list includes 14er Brewing, Banded Oak, Bierstadt Lagerhaus, Brewability Lab, Briar Common Brewery + Eatery, Call to Arms, Cellar West Artisan Ales, Cerebral Brewing, Cheluna Brewing, Holidaily Brewing, Little Machine, Maxline Brewing, New Image, Outer Range Brewing, Resolute Brewing, Seedstock, Something Brewery, Spangalang, The Intrepid Sojourner Beer Project, and WestFax Brewing. Each will pour two beers, which will help fuel you for the dance party that will be rocking all night with a live DJ and prizes for the best 80s outfits. Small bite munchies will be provided by The Lobby, Briar Common and the Rackhouse Pub. Tickets are $35 at nightout.com or $40 the day of.