Tickets to the fifteenth annual Big Beers, Belgians and Barleywines Festival, which takes place January 8 through January 10 in Vail, went on sale this morning -- and some of the events have already sold out. Although the events, and the weekend itself, are expensive compared to many beer fests, every attendee I've ever talked to has returned feeling it was worth the money -- and then some, so it's worth trying to score some tickets if you can. Activities this round include the Commercial Tasting ($65), Brewmasters' Dinners (hosted by Jennifer Glanville of Boston Beer Company and David Cole of Epic Brewing, among others), a brewer's reception, homebrew judging and educational seminars put on by the craft-brewing industry's leading innovators and brewery owners. And then there's the drinking: craft celebrities and famous beermakers bring huge, rare and special beers to the fest, and then proceed to drink them with you. Most of the events are ticketed separately; for all the prices, times and information, go to bigbeersfestival.com.
Turn the page to see all of this week's craft-beer events.
Wednesday, September 3
Copper Kettle will tap a cask of Cucumber Saison today as part of its weekly firkin program. "English cucumber has far less seeds, reducing the bitter taste of the cucumber leaving the Saison characteristics to come through," the brewery says. The CKatering food truck will be on hand.
Friday, September 5
Lowry Beer Garden will strike up the band again for Oktoberfest, celebrating the German-style beer party for three weekends in a row this month. And this year, the spot's new sister location, Green Valley Ranch Beer Garden, will also celebrate. Left Hand Brewing will take over the taps today and tomorrow, from 5 to 9 p.m., pouring Oktoberfest, Milk Stout Nitro, Polestar Pilsner and 400 Pound Monkey. There will also be oom-poah bands in the house each weekend, including Austrian Connection, The Rhinelanders and the Peter Kron Band -- not to mention Lowry's collection of brats and dogs. So dust off your dirndl, polka shoes and lederhosen for this annual fall tradition. Anyone wearing the getup gets their first beer free.
Conservation Colorado, which works to conserve the state's water, air and beer, will hold its fourth annual Save the Ales fundraiser and beer-tasting event at EXDO tonight beginning at 7 p.m. Tickets are $35 (VIP tix are $60 and get you in an hour early) and include unlimited beer samples from 20 to 25 breweries, along with food from local vendors. Get the brewery list and more info at ConservationCO.org/SaveTheAles.
Dry Dock Brewing will tap a cask of Chocolate Mint Stout at its original location today as part of its weekly Firkin Friday program. These specialty casks are tapped at 3 p.m.
Maine-based beer writer Russ Phillips, the founder of CraftCans.com, will be at Oskar Blues's Tasty Weasel taproom in Longmont today from 5 to 8 p.m. to sign copies of his new book, CANNED! Artwork of the Modern American Beer Can. Since 2009, Phillips has been writing about canned craft beer; he has compiled a database of 1,500 entries and 300 beer reviews online. As for the book, it includes the stories behind more than 200 canned beers and their artwork. Oskar Blues founder Dale Katechis wrote the forward.
Copper Kettle will tap Stinger Imperial Pils today. The beer is a hoppy, dry imperial pilsner with local Colorado wildflower honey.
Lucky Pie's Louisville location will tap all twelve collaboration beers from Sierra Nevada's Beer Camp Across America series today at 4 p.m., along with several other brews from Sierra Nevada and Oskar Blues. The collaborations were with Bells Brewery, Cigar City, Allagash, Russian River, Three Floyd's, Firesone Walker and others.
Saturday, September 6
Gravity Brewing in Louisville will celebrate its second anniversary with a blowout today from noon to 10 p.m. The brewery will be tapping a barrel-aged or small-batch beer each hour, on the hour, including Rum Barrel Aged Mendacious Golden Strong, Apple Whiskey Barrel Aged Mendacious, Brett Barrel Aged Mendacious, Brett Barrel Aged IPA, Brett Barrel Aged ESB, Barrel Aged Coffee Stout, Flanders Red and more. There will be live music, too: The Longest Day of The Year Duo from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.; Fully Belly from 6 to 9 p.m. And there will be food from Worldwide Vittles.
Denver Pearl Brewing will host a party starting today at noon when it officially announces its new (possibly neighborhood-based) name, along with a new logo. There will be prizes, merchandise and new beer releases. The brewery will be selling glasses with its old Denver Pearl logo for $5 each and donating all of the proceeds from those to Ronald McDonald House Charities of Denver. The brewery is changing its name after receiving word from two other breweries that it was violating trademarks.
Denver Beer Co will hold its annual Hop Swap today at the Platte Street taproom. In the spring, the brewery gives away hops plants, which people plant in their back yards. Then, in August and September, they harvest their hops and bring the cones to Denver Beer Co, which will use them to brew its Neighborhood Hop Swap Ale. At 2 p.m., the brewery will start its weigh-in ceremony "where each farmer's harvest will be weighed and a prize will be awarded for the most cones by weight," the brewery says. "Immediately following, each farmer will ceremoniously toss their hops into the brew." If you can't go to the ceremony, you can still bring your hops in (in a paper bag labeled with your name), starting at 3 p.m. on September 3. The beer will be tapped in a few weeks.
Sanitas Brewing will host a first-anniversary party beginning at noon today, featuring rare beer tappings, a grown-up bake sale with beer-infused cupcakes, a crawfish boil put on by McDevitt Taco Supply, and tunes spun by DJ Z-Staar throughout the evening.
Casey Brewing & Blending in Glenwood Springs will release Cherry Fruit Stand Farmhouse Ale today from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Fruit Stand series consists of Casey's saison aged on different Colorado fruits. There are two versions of Cherry Fruit Stand, one made with sweet cherries and one with sour Balaton cherries. Both will be available on tap ($6 a pour) and in bottles ($18 each with a six-bottle limit). Casey will also be pouring Saison Blend Two, Saison Blend Three ($5 a pour) or by the bottle ($15), and selling Saison Blend Three ($15 per bottle). There are forty cases of Saison Blend Three and twenty cases each of the Cherry Fruit Stands.
For more events in September, turn the page. Wednesday, September 10
Copper Kettle will tap a cask of Raspberry Rye Saison today as part of its weekly firkin program. It was made with rye grain and fresh raspberries and has a sour and spicy taste. The CKatering food truck will be on hand.
Friday, September 12
Lowry Beer Garden will strike up the band again this year for Oktoberfest, celebrating the German-style beer party for three weekends in a row. And this year, the spot's new sister location, Green Valley Ranch Beer Garden, will also celebrate. Dry Dock Brewing will take over the taps today and tomorrow, from 5 to 9 p.m., pouring Oktoberfest, U-Boat Hefeweizen and Apricot Ale. There will also be Oom-Pah bands in the house each weekend, including Austrian Connection, The Rhinelanders and the Peter Kron Band - not to mention Lowry's collection of brats and dogs. So, dust off your dirndl, polka shoes and lederhosen for this annual fall tradition. Anyone wearing the getup gets their first beer free.
Dry Dock Brewing will tap a cask of Oak Aged Double IPA at its original location today as part of its weekly Firkin Friday program. These specialty casks are tapped at 3 p.m.
Saturday, September 13
Denver Beer Co will celebrate the grand opening of its brand-new production facility, known as the Canworks, today at 2 p.m. with an inaugural Harvest Party and release of Hey! Pumpkin in cans. There will be bluegrass bands, harvest party games, food trucks and tours of the new brewery. A group will be leaving the brewery's Platte Street taproom at 1:45 p.m. and riding bikes to the new location; you're welcome to join them. Tickets to the party are $30 and available at brownpapertickets.com.
River North Brewery will re-introduce Barrel Blonde today in its taproom at 1 p.m. The experimental beer is a Belgian-style blonde ale that was aged in bourbon, Manhattan or Boulevardier cocktail barrels and then blended. It was first poured in the taproom over the summer, and the brewery liked it so much, it decided to bottle it. Barrel Blonde will be available on tap and in 22-ounce bottles to go ($15 each; limit of three). River North bottled 147 cases total, so some will show up on liquor store shelves.
Sunday, September 14
The Slaughter, a meat-centric beer-pairing dinner, will return to TRVE Brewing today as chefs Jon and Jamey from Bad Apple prepare an amuse bouche and three dishes that will be paired with three TRVE beers. There are two seatings, one at 5:30 p.m. and the other at 8:30. Tickets are $50 and available at trve.cc/slaughter.
Friday, September 19
Lowry Beer Garden will strike up the band again this year for Oktoberfest, celebrating the German-style beer party. And this year, the spot's new sister location, Green Valley Ranch Beer Garden, will also celebrate. Odell Brewing will take over the taps today and tomorrow, from 5 to 9 p.m., pouring Oktoberfest Marzen, Odell 90 Shilling, Myrcenary, and 5 Barrel Pale Ale. There will also be Oom-Pah bands in the house - not to mention Lowry's collection of brats and dogs. So, dust off your dirndl, polka shoes and lederhosen for this annual fall tradition. Anyone wearing the getup gets their first beer free.
Dry Dock Brewing will tap a cask of Lemon and Sage Saison at its original location today as part of its weekly Firkin Friday program. These specialty casks are tapped at 3 p.m.
Copper Kettle will tap Pumpkin Porter today. The beer is an English-style porter with pumpkin pie spices. Instagram alert: It will be served to the first fifty patrons in baby pumpkins.
Saturday, September 20
"After 21 months of hustle and grit," Our Mutual Friend Malt & Brew is pausing to reflect on its evolution and thank its customers with the Gratitude party, running from 2 p.m. to midnight. Throughout the day, there will be special tappings, including a beer called Gratitude Dark Sour Ale, as well as live music, merchandise giveaways, and food from Pride of Philly and A Taste of the Philippines. Draft beers will be $3 all day and include: Proletariat Session Ale, American Wheat, IPA, Chinook Red Ale, Farmhouse, Brown Ale, Ritual Cocoa Nib Brown Ale, Novo Coffee Stout, Blackberry Sour, American Wild Ale, Fresh Hop IPA and Gratitude, which will also be sold in bottles. "We absolutely love making beer and don't take for granted the fact that we've had immeasurable support from an uncountable amount of people. We wouldn't exist without them," the brewery says. The party will also be the first opportunity to check out Tenth Acre, a new garden space where OMF will produce hops, fruits and vegetables next year that it plans to use in its beers.
The fourth annual Vine Street Uptown Neighborhood Block Party and Brewer's Olympics kicks off today at 1 p.m. at the Vine Street Pub, which will close down its namesake thoroughfare between 17th and 18th avenues. There will be a beer garden highlighting brews from the Mountain Sun/Vine Street group, as well as a dozen or more other local beer makers. Representatives from many of these breweries -- Mountain Sun, Avery, Breckenridge, Wynkoop, Prost, Jagged Mountain, River North, Upslope, Boulder Beer, Great Divide, Oskar Blues, Renegade -- will also complete in the Brewer's Olympics, 1 to 2:30 p.m., which includes events like the tricycle race, obstacle course and the yeast-filled balloon toss. Live music will start at 3:30 and continue all night; bands include Drunken Hearts and the Vine Street All-Stars. All proceeds benefit New Era Colorado.
Sunday, September 21
Avery Brewing will release a new high-alcohol, barrel-aged pumpkin beer beer today with the debut of Pump[KY]n, part of the Boulder brewery's Annual Barrel Series. This spiced spiced pumpkin porter weights in at 16 percent ABV. Bottle sales begin at the taproom at 1 p.m. and cost $12 per twelve-ounce bottle; there is no limit. Avery will also be tapping and selling several rare beers that day, starting at 11 a.m.
Friday, September 26
Copper Kettle will tap its malty Oktoberfest today. There will also be German-inspired food on hand and a local band.
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