Beer Man

Beer Calendar: Opening Day Brews, Rye Fest and a Hazy IPA

The Brewers Association released its annual list of the top fifty craft brewers in the nation, and Colorado lost a member from the 2014 list: Craftworks, the parent company of Rock Bottom, Old Chicago, Boulder Beer and the Chop House. That leaves only five in-state breweries on the list, but things will tighten up even more next year since Breckenridge will fall off; the brewery was recently purchased by Anheuser-Busch InBev, which means it no longer qualifies as a craft brewery, according to the BA's definition. The other big piece of news from the list is that Longmont's Oskar Blues Brewery shot up ten places to fourteenth on the list. That jump was based partly on the fact that the brewery purchased Michigan's Perrin Brewing last year. The BA also counted production at the Wasatch and Squatters breweries (together called the Utah Brewers Cooperative) under Oskar Blues's designation. The Utah cooperative is owned by Firestone Capital Management, the same private equity firm that bought a major stake in Oskar Blues last year.

The Colorado breweries on the list were New Belgium at fourth; Oskar Blues at fourteenth, Odell Brewing at 32nd, Left Hand Brewing at 39th, and Breckenridge at 47th.

Wednesday, April 6
Black Shirt Brewing will tap Rhubarb Farmhouse today as part of its weekly One Keg Wednesday series of beery experiments. "It's bright, lively, and slightly tart with a soft overall mouthfeel. We think sitting in the sun and crushing a whole bunch of these sounds like a blast," the  brewery says.

Thursday, April 7
Today is apparently both National Beer Day and National Burrito Day, an alignment that calls for a toast — which you can do at the Chipotle at Sixth Avenue and Broadway, the only branch of the burrito chain offering the experimental new Cantina beverage program. And the beer to have? Oskar Blues's new Mexican-style lager, conveniently called Beerito, which is available here only on tap. "The light-bodied Mexican lager brewed with premium German and Colorado-sourced craft malt – also is available in cans at most Colorado Chipotle locations, too," Chipotle says.

It's Session Beer Day at Dry Dock Brewing's original South Dock location in Aurora, where they are tapping Session Wheat IPA.

Friday, April 8
One of my favorite packaged beers from 2015 will make its triumphant return to Denver Beer Co today at noon when the brewery hosts a release party for Cocoa Cream Graham Cracker Porter, on tap and in 22-ounce bomber bottles. The beer is an imperial version of Denver Beer Co's award-winning Graham Cracker Porter that was then aged American oak with vanilla and cocoa nibs. It tastes and feels like a s'mores milkshake. The first 100 people to buy a bomber can then hang out at the brewery's campfire on the patio and make their own s'more. Oh, and it's Rockies opening day, too.

Spangalang Brewery will celebrate its first anniversary all weekend long with a variety of beer tappings, giveaways and live music. Tonight, Arturo Gomez is spinnin' on the 1s and 2s. On Saturday, it's the Parlor Pickers and the Mike Schwartz Band. On Sunday, there's a ZIVIX Five Points Brunch with the The Clarkson Street Band and a special appearance by The Real Dill.

Hazy New England-style IPAs — loosely grouped as having juicier, more tropical flavors and a hazy appearance — are becoming more popular in Colorado (see Thursday, April 14, below), much to the dismay of brewers and drinkers who believe that IPAs should be clear in appearance (see Saturday, April 16, below). Fermaentra Brewing will enter the fray today by tapping a new beer called ÆSOP, which it describes as an 8.6 percent ABV New England-style Imperial India Pale Ale. "What makes ÆSOP so unique is the intensity of the hop aroma and flavor, balanced by a textural creaminess and the juice-like drinkability not typically found in traditional IPA, or even IIPA. It's juicy, it's hazy, and it's a smooth strong ale with intense flavors of tropical juice (pineapple, mango, guava) and undercurrents of lime, grapefruit, and lemons... ÆSOP was designed to be reminiscent of those amazing new-school IPAs from out East, so it is made with a combination of barley and wheat, a lovely and fruity English strain of yeast, and some of the absolute sexiest hops available: Motueka, El Dorado, Mosaic, Citra, Simcoe, and Magnum."

The Rackhouse Pub will tap a collaboration Kolsch today at noon that Bierstadt Lagerhaus, located in the same building with the Rackhouse, made in conjunction with Westbound And Down Brewing in Idaho Springs. In addition, the Rackhouse will be celebrating Opening Day with an outdoor barbecue, whiffleball, mustard salted chicharones, grilled beer brats with housemade fermented sauerkraut and helles mustard.

Wit's End Brewing will launch its Law's Rye Whiskey Barrel-Aged Kitchen Sink Rye Porter today. The beer aged for almost five months. "We have a limited amount of this available, and the first 5 lucky folks that want to take some home can buy a growler or 40 refill," the brewery says. Tacos El Huequito will be there.

The Crafty Fox, a new craft-beer bar at 3901 Fox Street, will host Crooked Stave and Stone Brewing as a way to kick off the Colorado Rockies season at 11 a.m. The rooftop patio will be open as well.

Comrade Brewing will tap a new beer today called Honeyman 9: R&D IPA. The Honeyman rotating IPA series was designed to have an "evolving hop bill, where we test out new and experimental hop varieties," the brewery says. At 5.8 percent ABV, Honeyman 9 is a "beautiful bright golden straw color with a crisp and dry finish," the brewery says.

Tivoli Brewing will host a party today in its new biergarten to celebrate the Colorado Rockies home opener. They'll be grilling burgers and brats and pouring plenty of beer.

Copper Kettle is tapping Pomelo IPA, aka Hipster IPA, which it made with Caution Brewing for Collaboration Fest. There is only a small amount available. The beer was brewed with New Zealand hops and then fresh pomelo juice was added. Smoke: Colorado Craft Barbecue will be on hand.

Lucky Pie Pizza and Tap House in LoDo will slide into its Third Annual Opening Day Patio Party today at 11 a.m. in conjunction with Epic Brewing, which will be pouring several of its beers to celebrate the Rockies opening day. Enjoy homemade grilled sausages, like Texas hot link sausages, andouille sausages, boudin blanc and bratwurst. There will also be braised purple cabbage, pickled onions, pickled jalapenos, beet pickled eggs, lemon garlic aioli and BBQ sauce.

Zephyr Brewing will open early today, at 11 a.m., to celebrate the Rockies home opener by grilling dogs and brats on the patio before, during, and after the game. Wear your Rockies gear for $1 off drafts all day long.

Known primarily for its big, hoppy ales, Oskar Blues will go the other direction this month when it releases Beerito, a 4 percent ABV Mexican-style lager made with several kinds of malt, including one grown in Colorado. "The hallmark of this beer is the complexity of its deeply developed malt bill, which includes Weyermann Barke Vienna, Carabelge, Melanoidin, and Colorado's own Troubadour Blue Ballad malt," the brewery says.  A Beerito launch party takes place today at the Tasty Weasel taproom in Longmont. After that, the beer will be available nationwide in six-packs and twelve-packs.
Saturday, April 9
Black Sky Brewery will host its second annual Rye Fest today from noon to 4 p.m., featuring rye-based beers from several local breweries, including Strange Craft, Chain Reaction, the Brew on Broadway and Black Sky (you can buy tickets, $35 each, at any of those four breweries as well, or online for $40). There will also be live music from the The Rye Pushers. Proceeds to benefit Community Sailing of Colorado.

"Ever wonder how individual breweries can each make IPAs that you love, but are all so different from each other? Well now is your chance to find out," say the organizers of Possible Worlds, a tasting and celebration of beer theory taking place today at 2 p.m. at Cannonball Creek Brewing in Golden. Join Cannonball, Call to Arms, TRVE, Ratio and Station 26 "to learn more about the the decision-making process that brewers face while creating unique IPAs that please our palates." To do this, each brewery made the same IPA with Amarillo, Centennial and Citra hops while using their own techniques. "The beers will be analyzed for their color and IBUs at Avery Brewing Company, and we will host a discussion on the intricacies of hop utilization and how incredibly different beers can taste when brewed in different facilities. A flight of five-ounce pours of each beer will be available for purchase at 2 p.m. when the discussion begins. The beers will be poured blindly, as Possible Worlds is less about whose beer is best, and more-so a conversation in beer theory and dynamics."

City Star Brewing in  Berthoud is pleased to announce the fourth edition in its Barrel Aged Series, Damsel, a sour Belgian rye pale ale aged in oak rum barrels with Palisade peaches. The 7.5 percent ABV beer will be available for sale in the taproom in 22-ounce bottles for $18 each.

An event in Greeley? Yep, we can include this one because Weldwerks Brewing landed on Westword's list of five breweries to watch from Vail's Big Beers Fest based partly on the brews they'll be selling today starting at noon. Weldwerks plans to release crowlers of Medianoche imperial stout variants, including: S'mores Medianoche, aged with toasted marshmallows, Meadowfoam honey, graham crackers, cacao nibs and vanilla beans; Coconut Medianoche, aged with six pounds of organic toasted coconut per barrel; Coffee Maple Medianoche, aged with maple syrup and more than four pounds of Peruvian coffee per barrel from Zoe's Cafe & Events. There will also be bottles of Mexican Achromatic, a 10 percent ABV imperial Stout brewed with cacao nibs, cinnamon sticks and vanilla beans, available for purchase.

Sunday, April 10
Station 26 Brewing will host its monthly Bluegrass Brunch event starting at 11 a.m. with beer, live music from Burn It Blue, donuts from Glazed and Confuzed and barbecue from Rolling Smoke.

Thursday, April 14
There's been a battle brewing recently between breweries and beer lovers who enjoy the so-called hazy style of IPAs that are popular in New England and those who believe that IPAs should be clear. Westword talked a little about the dispute in a story recently, and there are many opinions on both sides (see April 16). But Jake's Brew Bar in Littleton is going to let you be the judge today starting at 4 p.m. when it taps five different hazy IPAs (sometimes called New England-style IPAs). The beers are WeldWerks Brewing's Juicy Bits, Fermaentra's Aesop, Odd13 Brewing's Codename Superfan, Cerebral Brewing's Rare Trait and Fiction Beer Company's Cosmic Unity. Feel the haze.

Saturday, April 16
Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project will celebrate the re-opening of the Barrel Cellar, at 1441 West 46th Avenue today, by releasing one of its most sought-after beers, Persica, at 10 a.m. The Barrel Cellar was Crooked Stave's original Denver taproom, but closed to the public after the brewery opened a taproom at the Source in 2014. Although Crooked Stave owner Chad Yakobson had originally planned to brew his beer at the Source, that didn't work, and he has been contract brewing it elsewhere and fermenting it at the Barrel Cellar. His brewery is now fully operational at the Barrel Cellar, which is why he is reopening the location to the public. For Persica Day, the brewery will only be selling bottles of the beer at the brewery, with a limit of six per person; they will not see any local distribution. "Persica was the brewery's first major hit release in 2011 and has been one of its most sought after beers since," Crooked Stave says. "Aged in oak barrels for months with copious amounts of fresh Colorado peaches, Persica embraces a bright citrus golden sour beer with all the peach flavor and aroma that can only come from the use of freshly harvest local peaches." In addition, the brewery will be tapping numerous barrel-aged sour beers from years past and "producing a limited edition Persica glass to be used exclusively throughout the day."

There has been a battle brewing recently between breweries and beer lovers who enjoy the so-called hazy style of IPAs that are popular in New England and those who believe that IPAs should be clear. Westword talked a little about the dispute in a story recently. But Station 26 is taking it to the next level with Drunken Tirade Double IPA, which will be released at Falling Rock Tap House today at 11 a.m. Brewed in collaboration with Mr. B's Wine & Spirits and Falling Rock, the beer will be released exclusively at Mr. B's in bombers starting at 1 p.m. "This beer is a DISturbid, unfiltered Double IPA for drinking, not for chewing. Hopped intensely with Nelson Sauvin and Hallertau Blanc," the brewery says, adding that the beer is "our not-so-subtle rebuttal to the 'New England-style IPA' hype train. ?#?nohaze? ?#?unfiltered?."

The Bacon and Beer Classic returns to Mile High Stadium today from 1 to 4 p.m. and again from 7 to 10 p.m., featuring more than 100 craft beer samples and more than forty bacon-infused dishes from local chefs, plus music, games and more. General admission tickets are $59; VIP tickets are $99 and get you in an hour early to either session. Find all the details at or more

Atom Brewing, which operates out of the owner's house at 654 Moffat Street in Erie, will release its first bottled beer, Arlo Batch One, today from noon to 3 p.m. "This is our take on a traditional Farmhouse Ale. Open fermentation in our custom built oak fermentors, utilizing our house yeast strain blend, additionally aged in oak barrels for 3 months. Unfiltered, unpasteurized, and 100% naturally conditioned," the brewery says. The 750 ml cork-and-caged bottles are $15 each. "All sales are for off-site consumption only, no bottles are allowed to be opened at the brewery. Please do not bring outside alcohol to our property, aka no bottle share. Parking: Since we are located in a residential area street parking is all that is available. If at all possible we ask that you carpool to limit the amount of traffic and cars. PLEASE be mindful of our neighbors and not block any driveways."

Sunday, April 17
The Black Project will host a dual bottle release today from noon to 2 p.m. at its home at Former Future Brewing. The first is the dry-hopped wild ale, Jumpseat Batch 2, which has Citra, Mosaic, Equinox and Mandarina Bavaria hops. It boasts "increased complexity, same delicious citrus fruit hops playing with our house wild-yeast derived peach/apricot character," the  brewery says. Each 750-ml bottle costs $24, and supply is very limited, so bottle limits will be in effect. The second beer is Ejector, a double dry-hopped wild ale (and Jumpseat's big brother). "This beer receives a second dry hopping just a couple of days prior to packaging. The second charge contains more Citra along with New Zealand Kohatu," the brewery says. "In case you aren't familiar, Kohatu is an interesting new hop out of New Zealand that is known for creating dry hop flavors ranging from funky pineapple to 'Hawaiian Punch." The 750-ml bottles of this beer will be $28 and are also very limited.
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Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes