New Belgium has been making tiny batches of one-off sour beers for years, but it hasn't ever packaged them, focusing instead on its larger sour creations, like La Folie and Transatlantique Kriek. But last month, the Fort Collins-based brewery revealed that it had put an end to its acclaimed Lips of Faith series of beers so it could introduce "an ambitious re-imagining of its specialty portfolio," which will include several very limited sours, some available only at the brewery. New Belgium provided more details this week by launching three new series: Wood Cellar Reserve, Belgian Reserve and Belgian Collection.
“We quickly realized that to move forward, we had to dig into our roots,” explains Andrew Emerton, New Belgium's specialty-brand manager, in a statement. “The overall vision with this new portfolio is to highlight beers we’ve been producing for years while adding new esoteric releases and presenting them in a way that conveys the attention and respect that they deserve.”
The Wood Cellar Reserve series will include rare, small-batch wild and sour ales, New Belgium says. "From individual barrel expressions, fruit and spice experimentations and fermentation explorations, the series represents our most ambitious efforts in our two biggest passions – wood and beer. Each batch is hand-bottled, conditioned over a number of months, and 100 percent naturally carbonated." The first beer in the series was Le Kreik Noir, which was only sold at the brewery.
Next up is Single Foeder Oscar No. 65, an unblended dark sour that has been maturing for a year in a Missouri white oak foeder (the first American oak to join New Belgium’s forest of 65 French oak foeders). "The beer pours dark walnut red and features subtle vanilla and coconut flavors that play beautifully with attributes like plum skins and cherry cola," New Belgium says. The 8.5 percent ABV beer is available at the brewery; smaller bottles will hit a few markets around the country.
The Belgian Reserve kicks off with Sour Saison, New Belgium’s first ever year-round, traditional sour ale. "To create this intriguing Saison, a French oak barrel-aged sour ale is artfully blended with a rustic, champagne-like Farmhouse Ale. This medium-light bodied beer pours goldenrod yellow with a nearly opaque heavy sheen and offers a pleasant mix of aromas including lemons and cloves, mild white grape, white pepper, and coriander."
And finally, the Belgian Collection consists of beers with a true Belgian heritage. "As such, two longtime favorites from New Belgium, Abbey and Trippel, have received refreshed packaging to complement their recent recipe upgrade last year, which distinguishes the beers as part of the brewery’s Belgian Collection."
Keep reading for the best local craft-beer events and tappings through September 9.
Wednesday, August 16
Goed Zuur will tap Casey Brewing and Blending's The Mix Cherry Funk Blender and Almanac's Grand Cru White at 5 p.m. and pair them with special dishes.
Goldspot Brewing will host its second farmers' market from 3 to 8 p.m. Vendors include Produce Denver, Sister Gardens at Aria, Groundwork Greens, the Noshery and 25 Farms. "Grab a beer, shop for some delicious produce, and let yourself sleep in on Sunday," the brewery says.
It's fruit firkin month at Copper Kettle Brewing, which will tap a blood-orange wit at 2 p.m. The beer features "sweet, subtle blood orange and a zesty, citrusy crisp finish."
Thursday, August 17
Walter's 303 Pizzeria & Publik House is celebrating the one-year anniversary of its reopening with a variety of special tappings and rare releases all week long. Today it taps Publik NEIPA, an anniversary beer made by Platt Park Brewing, at 6 p.m. To make this hazy IPA, Platt Park used Simcoe and Citra hops and lupulin powder.
Locavore Beer Works in Littleton brings back its Heisenberg Green Chile Pale Ale at 11 a.m. To make it, the brewery "uses the freshest Hatch green chiles available. No extracts. No fakery. Just authentic spiciness and roastiness provided straight from the 505," Locavore says.
Join the Governor’s Residence Preservation Fund from 6 to 8:30 p.m. for the fourth annual Brews and Bites, featuring beer from fifteen local breweries, food and comments from Governor John Hickenlooper. Taking place at the Governor's Mansion, the fest is coordinated by the fund and by the Colorado's Brewers Guild. Guests can sample beers that have been paired with the culinary creations of more than a dozen Colorado chefs while wandering the rooms and gardens of the mansion. Breweries represented include Joyride, Broken Compass, Strange, Boulder Beer, Odell, Pikes Peak, Cerebral, Wibby, Epic, Horse & Dragon, Jagged Mountain, Telluride, New Belgium, Ratio and Baere. Tickets start at $75.
Friday, August 18
Cerebral Brewing will re-release Dreamy Thing, its GABF silver-medal-winning beer that was brewed in with Our Mutual Friend Brewery. Dreamy Thing is a saison brewed with wheat, fermented with Brettanomyces and dry-hopped with Citra, Centennial and Sterling. Coming in at 6.9 percent ABV, Dreamy Thing offers notes of "overripe pineapple, apricot and gooseberries followed by a clean, dry finish," Cerebral says. It will be available in 500 ml bottles for $12 each, and there's a limit of three per person. There will also be a limited amount on tap until it runs out. Dreamy Thing will also be available on draft and in bottles at Our Mutual Friend.
Cerebral will also tap Orange Kushcicle, a hazy IPA brewed with spelt, oats, and lactose, then hopped with Denali, Mosaic, Eureka and XJA2/436. "Coming in at 6.8 percent, this IPA tastes just like a dank orange push pop," Cerebral says. Crowlers are $14 per person.
Join Odyssey Beerwerks in Arvada at 7 p.m. when it rolls out the barrel — of its German-style Marzen Oktoberfest beer — for Arvada mayor Marc Williams. That first keg is a firkin, and you can get your first pint free while it lasts. There will also be music from Polka Folka.
Saturday, August 19
TRVE Brewing will release Devil Stuff at noon. The collaboration, done with Oklahoma's American Solera, "will ascend from the depths of your darkest nightmares," the brewery says. "A spooky ale to drink in the dark."
Join Our Mutual Friend Brewing for the bottle release of Saison Trystero at 2 p.m. "Fermented with our house yeast and bottle-conditioned for two months, this provision saison has a complex yet dry malt profile, balanced hop bitterness, and wonderful citrusy aroma," OMF says. "We've designed it to be a reliable mainstay at the dinner table, on the porch with friends, or anything you can think of, for that matter." Each 750-ml corked-and-caged bottle is $11, and the first fifty customers get a free OMF corkscrew/bottle opener.
Black Shirt Brewing makes many special beers, but there is one that stands out every year because of its special meaning to brothers and brewery co-owners Chad and Branden Miller. Red Evelyn Imperial Red Rye IPA is typically brewed in the early spring and released in August to honor the Millers' grandmother Evie, who helped raise the boys in the town of Westcliffe. (Last year's version came out in December because the first batch didn't come out right). But the beer is also special because it is one of the best, most underrated double IPAs in the state. Brewed with wildflower honey, Belgian candi sugar and five kinds of hops, Red Evelyn takes five months to make because of the specialized processes that the Millers use. Uncannily balanced for such a big beer — 9.6 percent ABV — it offers flavors and aromas of pine, caramel, grapefruit, spice and flowers. This year, the party will run from 11 a.m. to midnight and feature live music from 1 to 9 p.m. from Silver and Smoke, Dayton Stone & the Undertones and Tyler Imbrey & the Ghost Review. Red Evelyn will be pouring on draft and in limited quantities of 32-ounce Crowlers to go.
To make Rum Barrel Aged Pau Hana, Fermaentra Brewing took Pau Hana, its POG Belgian Wheat Ale (made with passion fruit, blood orange and pink guava) and aged it in a Caribbean rum barrel from Rocky Mountain Barrel Company. But to design this lower-ABV barrel-aged variant, the brewery monitored the progress more closely than that of its bigger strong ales "so that it would be pulled at the peak of balance between tropical fruit and delicate rum flavor," Fermaentra says. As a result, the beer "is reminiscent of pineapple upside-down cake meeting a daiquiri, with a nice effervescence from bottle conditioning, keeping it dry and clean on the palate." There are only 21 cases of 375-ml bottles. It will not be on tap.
Wanna hit seven breweries in one day? For $5, you can get on board the Brewery Bus Loop, two buses that will be working in a circle from 2 to 10 p.m., with stops at Black Sky, Renegade, Seedstock, Strange and Wit's End; and since Crazy Mountain and Intrepid Sojourner are just a block or so off the loop, you can visit those, as well. Purchase a punch card at your first stop and punch it at each brewery with a purchase. If all seven breweries are punched, your card is good for one free beer at your brewery of choice after the day of the event.
"No flair, no twist, no added things." That's how Bierstadt Lagerhaus describes both its beer and its first-anniversary party, which begins when the Rackhouse Pub opens at noon. "We'll tap some stuff, but mostly just drink beer outside and play games and celebrate co-founder and lager master Bill Eye's 55th birthday."
New Image Brewing in Arvada will release its first Dyad variant, featuring coconut and lime, starting at 11 a.m. Dyad is a beer that is made with kombucha and fermented with Brettanomyces. "This beer marks the beginning of a new series of seasonally inspired variants of our kombucha blended sour ale," the brewery says. "This first release features flavors that inspire memories of beach-side relaxation and warm summers on the coast."
Resolute Brewing in Centennial wants to party, so the brewery is shutting down the parking lot next to its building for a first-anniversary bash starting at noon. Resolute will kick things off an hour earlier than usual, at 11 a.m., with its first ever (taproom-only) bomber release — a Belgian dark strong ale with peaches. This anniversary ale is limited, but there is no bottle limit — and while you can drink it fresh, Resolute says it was designed to age well, too. For the party, there will be a Big Wheel racing course that allows up to six trikes at a time. There will also be a beer tent overlooking the track — where Resolute will have other special releases on tap — as well as music, life-sized games, and a pig roast from Ol' Skool Que. At 5:30 p.m, the party moves indoors, with more beer and live music from Timber. Other details are TBA.
Beer festivals are a great way to get a taste of a wide variety of breweries without having to go to each one, and the Parker Brewfest, running from 2 to 5 p.m. in the gazebo area at Parker's O'Brien Park, will deliver this year with 39 breweries (and one cider house), nearly half of which hail from Parker, Littleton, Centennial, Aurora, Highlands Ranch and other south Denver suburbs. Some of the remaining breweries are from the northern suburbs or from beer companies that are making beer at other breweries but don't have locations yet. Hosted by the Cherry Creek Valley Rotary Club of Parker, the festival raises money for charities: 100 percent of the proceeds will benefit various groups, including Parker Task Force for Human Services; Douglas County Student Support Center; Crisis Center; Project Sanctuary; End Polio Now; ShelterBox; Rotary Water Project; and Project C.U.R.E. Tickets for the fest are $40 in advance from parkerbrewfest.com or $55 for VIP tickets, which get you in one hour early, at 1 p.m. In addition to beer, there will be food from Cheffin's Cheesesteaks, Sokare and Golden Toad, as well as music from the Dollhouse Thieves.
It's Oktoberfest season — almost — and Grimm Brothers in Loveland is releasing its annual Oktoberfest lager, Farmer's Daughter. "Using various European specialty malts, we created an elegant, complex, rich, malt-forward beer, slightly hopped for balance and lagered for a clean finish," the brewery says. "The nose is full of malty complexity with notes of toasted bread, caramel, brown sugar and chocolate. The aromatics transition to the tastebuds as the same complexity intermingles on the tongue with a light-medium body, creamy mouthfeel, and a crisp, dry finish." It should be available on tap and in cans starting today.
The third annual Wheat Ridge Brewfest and BBQ Bash takes place in the area behind Colorado Plus Brewpub from 2 to 8 p.m. There will be live music, plenty of pork, and beer from Strange Craft, Green Mountain Beer, Brewery Rickoli, Black Bottle Brewery, Hogshead, Odyssey Beerwerks, Three Barrel, Lone Tree Brewing, 14er Brewing, Horse & Dragon, WestFax, Tivoli and more. Beer costs $2 per token; food is $10.
Monday, August 21
Join Lost Highway Brewing at its new location in Centennial for the eclipse-day release of Bad Moon Rising at 3 p.m. This Belgian ale is brewed with Colorado Malting Company's Brownie, Toasted Honey and Belgian Chocolate malts. Fermented with a house Belgian strain of yeast, the beer comes in at 5.7 percent ABV. Lost Highway will also be pairing the beer with Moon Pies.
Tuesday, August 22
Pizzeria Locale in Highland Square will host a Crooked Stave happy hour from 5 to 7 p.m. Each guest can snag one free flight of Crooked Stave beer, which will include the new "sourless" pilsner. No food purchase necessary.
Wednesday, August 23
Prost Brewing will kick off its five-day-long fifth-anniversary party with music from DJ Sam and specialty sausages from Widermeats & Eats. There will be more music, beer tappings and food through Sunday.
Thursday, August 24
Prost Brewing continues its week-long fifth-anniversary party by tapping its Barrel-Aged Dunkel. There will be food from Seasoned Swine and music from Polka Folka.
Dry Dock Brewing will release a new pumpkin beer at 2 p.m. as part of its Signature Series. Pumpkin Double Porter will be on tap and in bottles at both Dry Dock locations.
Friday, August 25
Prost Brewing continues its week-long fifth-anniversary party at 5 p.m. by tapping a single firkin of its Keller Marzen bier. Music from Steve Linsky Reverbnation.
Fluffy Pumpkin Toasted Marshmallow Porter returns to Odyssey Beerwerks in Arvada at 6 p.m. "Brewed with ample amounts of roasted pumpkins, select seasonal spices, vanilla, and marshmallow, Fluffy Pumpkin hits the spot for those of us longing for both the holiday table and the campfire ring," the brewery says. The 6 percent ABV beer will be available on tap and in cans.
Boulder Beer, the state's oldest craft brewery, has expanded its presence in town by opening a new brewpub in the former space occupied by the venerable Walnut Brewery. Boulder Beer will host a grand-opening party so that the downtown crew can tap their newest creations. There will also be smoked barbecue, beer, wine and cocktails throughout the day, along with live music and door prizes.
Saturday, August 26
Great Divide Brewing will release bottles of its newest Local Knowledge series beer, White Stout, at noon only in the brewery's two taprooms on Arapahoe Street and in RiNo. "The fifth beer of the Local Knowledge series is a spiritual companion to a black IPA that comes in at 7.1 percent ABV," Great Divide says. "This white stout will have you questioning your own assumptions. While the beer pours a nice golden hue, it has all the flavor and aroma characteristics of a stout. Using coffee and cocoa instead of malt allows for the roasted and chocolate flavors and aromas to come through without adding any color. "Local Knowledge is Great Divide's new "hyper-limited, hyper-local pilot series." The beers are sold in six-packs and don't hit distribution.
Resolute Brewing, which was founded by a group of Columbine High School grads, has put together the Reflection Garden on Tap Beerfest and 5K as a way to have a blast in Aurora. But proceeds will be used to construct a memorial in honor of the "victims, survivors, and heroes" of the 2012 Aurora theater shooting. The memorial will become a part of the Reflection Memorial Garden inside the ten-acre Aurora Municipal Water-wise Garden, at the northwest corner of Alameda Parkway and Chambers Road. The 5K course takes runners on a scenic jog through nearby parks and neighborhoods, finishing in the Water-wise Garden, where celebrations kick off with the beer fest. There will be fifteen breweries on hand, along with two food trucks, live music from Brushfire, life-sized games, sidewalk chalk artists and more. For details and registration, go to eventbrite.com.
Halfpenny Brewing in Centennial celebrates the release of its Oktoberfest beer with a fun fest featuring food, games, prizes and a cornhole tournament at 2 p.m. There will also be a traditional German band and a beer-stein-carrying competition at 6 p.m. Wear your lederhosen or dirndl and get 10 percent off your tab. And if you bring your own stein (one liter or less), Halfpenny will fill it for $10.
The Post Brewing will celebrate its neighbors and its Lafayette brewing brethren at Townie Fest, a festival outside the brewpub running from noon to 5 p.m. and featuring food and beer from the Post and beer from Front Range Brewing, Liquid Mechanics Brewing and Odd13 Brewing. There will be carnival games, swag giveaways and live music throughout the day. Tickets range from $15 to $60, depending on what package you buy. Details and tickets are available at eventbrite.com. All proceeds benefit the Lafayette Professional Fire Fighters and their Fill the Boot Campaign.
Sunday, August 27
For its half-anniversary, Halfpenny Brewing in Centennial will tap the very last sixtel of its Bourbon-Barrel Aged Oatmeal Stout. The brewery celebrates its half anniversary every year.
Join Boulder's Avery Brewing for the brewery-only release of Promiscuus, an 8.6 percent sour ale aged in Madeira and port barrels; the beer is the 46th in Avery's acclaimed Barrel-Aged Series. Avery will begin bottle sales at 1 p.m., although it will go on tap at 11 a.m. There will most likely be a line. In addition, Avery will be selling several cellars beers from the Barrel-Aged Series, including 2014 Pumpkyn, 2015 Samaels, 2014 Mephistopheles, Old Perseverance, 2010 Kaiser, 2013 Kaiser, 2010 Czar, and several others. These will be in very limited supply; see Avery's Facebook page for the full list. Promiscuus, which will sell for $12 a barrel, is "a rich and decadent sour that is slightly sweet and delivers on tartness," Avery says.
Thursday, August 31
The Real Dill will unveil the third pickle in its Briners & Brewers series, this time with the Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project. For each release, the Real Dill partners with a local brewery to create a pickle based on one of the brewery’s beers. The two previous collaborations were with Odell and Great Divide. For this one, the Real Dill drew inspiration from Crooked Stave’s Colorado WildSage Brett Saison. "The unfiltered beer pays homage to the state of Colorado by incorporating all local ingredients, and fresh herbs such as lemongrass and sage. The latter ingredients were chosen to enhance the savory flavor profile of the pickle," the pickle maker says. "The process to make the collaboration pickles is not a simple matter of pouring beer into brine. Milled barley can be used to sweeten the brine, hops can be used to add depth and bitterness, and for this particular release, the brine was aged on oak and dry-hopped." A launch party takes place at Crooked Stave's taproom in the Source at 5 p.m. The pickles will also be available in stores starting in September.
Chef and Brew, one of the best and oldest beer-and-food-pairing competitions and festivals in Denver, returns to Exdo from 6 to 10 p.m. with food-and-beer pairings and lots of fun. Each chef creates two small dishes to pair with two beers from a matched brewery, and the event really lets these chefs get creative as they play with everything from sour and wild ales to chocolate stouts to the hoppiest IPAs. Attendees can learn about beer flavors from their own reactions to the combinations. Tickets, $49 to $69 (though they will go up), include a logo glass, unlimited samplings of all the pairings (while they last) and a chance to vote for the coveted People’s Choice Award. For a full list of participants, go to chefandbrew.com.
Casey Brewing and Blending in Glenwood Springs continues to produce some of the most well-balanced and highly sought-after sour ales in the state. And starting today, it's celebrating apricots and cherries with some of its fresh fruit beers from this season. These include Apricot Casey Family Preserves, Dry Hopped Apricot Casey Family Preserves with Galaxy and Nelson, and The Cut: Sour Balaton Cherry. The releases for all of these beers are complicated and orchestrated — and they require tickets. To find out more information and to get tickets, go to brownpapertickets.com, here for August, and here for September and October.
Saturday, September 2
One, New Image Brewing's anniversary beer, is back — by popular demand. This double-dry-hopped New England-style IPA is available in limited quantities of sixteen-ounce cans at the Arvada brewery only. There is a limit of one case per person per day and three Crowlers per day per person. Merch is also available.
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Friday, September 8
"Get yer boots on and come stomp the dance floor with us as we celebrate our favorite year-round girl," says Great Divide Brewing, which will throw a barn party from 7 to 10:30 p.m. in honor of Colette Farmhouse Ale. The shindig includes live music, square dancing, specialty and core beers, games and two food trucks, Wong Way Veg and Goin’ South. There will also be a costume contest: "Wear your Colette- or Hoss-inspired outfits to enter our costume contest or rock your best Western attire," Great Divide says. And don't forget that the brewery recently updated its Colette logo to make her outfit a little more modern. Tickets are $15. For more information on dancing and beers, and to buy tickets, go to GreatDivide.com.
Tivoli Brewing celebrates the second anniversary of its brewpub from 5 to 10 p.m. with a beer festival pouring products from fifteen breweries (all of them distributed by Tivoli's sister distributorship). There will also be live music from the Wildflowers, On Vinyl Tonight and Woodshed Red. Admission is free.
Saturday, September 9
The Last Arvada Patio Society party takes place at New Image Brewing from 5 to 10 p.m. Round four of the periodic party features a collection of Arvada craft beers served festival-style in the alley behind the expanded New Image patio. In addition to New Image beer, you can find brews from Odyssey Beerwerks, Spice Trade Brewing and SomePlace Else Brewery. Come meet the brewers, try their beers and ask questions.