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Colorado beer calendar: Great American Beer Festival edition

Falling Rock's Chris Black greets Maui Brewing owner Garrett Marrero on Tuesday.
Falling Rock's Chris Black greets Maui Brewing owner Garrett Marrero on Tuesday.

Water, water everywhere, and not a drop to drink. Well, not when there's this much beer around. Welcome to Great American Beer Festival week in Denver -- which is, for some, the most wonderful time of the year. And the presents have already started arriving. But whether you have tickets to the main event or not, there are beautiful beers to drink all over town. Here's an extensive list of many of the events going on. Cheers.

Colorado beer calendar: Great American Beer Festival edition
Great Divide

Wednesday, September 28

Ignite Denver 10 is an unusual event that will feature fifteen or so courageous beer lovers presenting five-minute beer-related slide shows, during which the slides will automatically advance every fifteen seconds. Oh, and a $10 ticket gets you several beers from Ska, Great Divide, Odell and Renegade Brewing, along with cider from Colorado Cider. Co-organized by Denver Off the Wagon, on online booze news blog, the lineup of speakers includes some beer celebrities like Stone Brewing's Greg Koch, blogger Ashley "The Beer Wench" Routson, Ska Brewing's Dave Thibodeau, Odell's Amanda Johnson, along with some everyday people who just want to be made fun of. Ignite fires up at 6 p.m. at the Sherman Events Center, 1770 Sherman Street.

Afterward, there will be an Ignite after party at Star Bar, which will have many beers on tap, including the Fifth Horseman Saison, AC Golden Star Sour, Crooked Stave Wild, Wild Brett Rouge, Odell Hiverano, Funkwerks Cochon, Oskar Blues Home Grown Hops, Great Divide 2010 Grand Cru and 2009 Hibernation, and New Belgium Super Cru, Abbey Grand Cru, and Dunkelweiss.

Hops & Pie will feature beers from California's Green Flash, including a firkin of West Coast IPA, and kegs of La Freak, Hop Head Red and Imperial IPA . Tapping is at 5 p.m.

The Rackhouse Pub's Rare Beer Tasting will offer an insane lineup of seasonal, rare or unusual Colorado beers. It runs from 6 to 9 p.m.; tickets are $35. The list includes: Ska Brewing's Sethvleteren 8, Hoperation Ivy and Toasters Shebeen Black IPA; Great Divide's Stranahan's Barrel Aged Yeti Imperial Stout and Fresh Hop Ale; Bristol Brewing's 2003 Oud Bruin, 2004 Grand Cru and 2005 Cuvee; Left Hand's 2008 Twin Sister IPA, 2009 Oak Aged Imperial Stout and 2008 Smoke Jumper; Dry Dock's Swabby Belgian Quad, Stranahan's Old Bligh's Barley Wine, and White Tail Chardonnay Barrel Sour Wit; Funkwerks Brewing's Chardonnay Barrel Blonde, Southern Tropic and Cherry Saison; New Belgium's Transatlantique Kriek; Crazy Mountain's Single Batch Sticky Fingers Fresh-Hop Harvest Ale, Lava Lake Wit and Hookiebob IPA; AC Golden's Baltic Porter and Bock; Oskar Blues's Stranahan's Barrel Aged Cherry Sour Ten Fidy; Elk Mountain's Biere de Garde; Strange Brew's Cherry Kriek, Farmhouse Ale and 7 Barrel Saison; along with brews from Avery, Breckenridge, Odell, Upslope and Wynkoop.

Does the Cheeky Monk Belgian Beer Cafe make you dream of Belgian nights? How about Belgian Knights? Cheeky Monk owner James Pachorek, who was recently inducted into the Knighthood of the Brewers' Mash Staff (an honor doled out by the Belgian brewers' guild) and Stone Brewing beer celebrity Greg Koch, who is also a Knight of the Mash Staff, will be pouring some special barrel-aged Stone beers beginning at 6 p.m.

Freshcraft will tap a series of specialty beers on the hour tonight, beginning with something from Sierra Nevada at 7 p.m.; Boulevard's Saison Brett at 8 p.m.; Dogfish Head Sony Legacy Series at 9 p.m.; and a brew from Victory Brewing at 10 p.m.

The Brown Palace and the Wynkoop Brewing Company introduces a new beer made from honey from the hotel's beehives that it keeps on the roof. Rooftop Honey, a Belgian -style ale, will be on tap at the hotel and at the Wynkoop beginning this week.

Euclid Hall will make Yeti lovers cry tears of joy today at 6 p.m. when it taps a lineup of at least four versions of Great Divide Brewing's most sought-after beers: Expresso Yeti, Chocolate Yeti, Oak Aged Yeti and Belgian Yeti.

You can pretty much show up at Falling Rock Taphouse any hour of any day this week and find something going on. But here's the official schedule. At 4 p.m., they'll tap some new offerings from California's Anderson Valley. At 9 p.m., you can lose your gourd with Elysian head brewer Dick Cantwell and the Elysian Brewing team for a pre-GABF Pumpkin Beer Throwdown. There will be ten Elysian pumpkin beers on tap, including Night Owl; The Great Pumpkin Imperial Pumpkin Ale; Dark o' the Moon Pumpkin Stout; Hansel & Gretel Ginger Pumpkin Pilsner; Mr. Yuck Sour Pumpkin; and Coche de Medianoche -- a Mexican-themed pumpkin ale with cumin, cinnamon, black pepper, chiles and roasted pumpkin seeds. And at 11 p.m., Falling Rock will tap four Stone Brewing collaboration beers, including Hwy 78 Scotch Ale and Japanese Green Tea IPA.

 

Thursday, September 29

In addition to its expanded tasting room, which should be ready today, Great Divide will also have its beer lounge set up outside the brewery today through Saturday with comfy furniture, live music, food and beer. The beer lounge is open during tasting hours. Music for the week will be from Bonnie & the Beard (Thursday, from 6 to 9 p.m.), the Kentucky Street Parlor Pickers (Friday, from 6 to 9 p.m.), and Fallen Pines (Saturday, 6 to 9 p.m.).

Ale House at Amato's, 2501 16th Street, hosts The Great American Ale Trail Book Release Party; the book is about coast-to-coast craft beer. It runs from 1 to 3 p.m. and is free; call 303-433-9734.

Freshcraft, 1530 Blake Street, presents Schmaltz & Friends: A Year of Collaborative Brewing, a showcase of unique and innovative collaborative brews from 2 to 4 p.m. Admission is free; call 303-758-9608 or visit www.freshcraft.com.

Explore the sour side of the New Belgium Lips of Faith Series at Star Bar, which will tap Imperial Berlinerweiss, Transatlantique Kriek, Vrienden, Clutch, Kick, Le Terroir, La Folie and several others beginning at 2 p.m.

Summit Music Hall, 1902 Blake Street, presents the Summit Beer Garden through Saturday, October 1; the inaugural free event, iin conjunction with the GABF, spotlights numerous breweries and features gourmet sausages and live entertainment. It starts at 4 p.m.; call 303-443-2227 or visit www.sodajerkpresents.com.

Freshcraft, 1530 Blake Street, and the Blake Street Vault, next door, will team up for a Night of Light & Dark from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m., which will feature rare and specialty beers from the Alaskan, Stone and Odell breweries; Freshcraft will have the dark beers, while Blake Street Vault will have the lighter ones. Beers at Freshcraft include: Alaskan Brewing Perseverance Ale (on tap), Odell Bourbon Barrel Stout (in a firkin), and Stone's 15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA (in bottles). Blake Street Vault beers include: Alaskan Pilot Series Raspberry Wheat and Stone Ruination.

Join Tap Hunter at Denver's Renegade Brewing, 925 West 9th Avenue, from 10 p.m. to midnight for a GABF after party featuring a mix of beer gurus, judges, newcomers, business owners, brewers and beer geeks.

Cheeky Monk will offer special tappings all day from the Green Flash, Dogfish Head and Boulevard breweries. There will also be a tap takeover with Firestone Walker.

Falling Rock will tap Boulder Beer's Neapolitan Porter, made from Planet Porter aged for three months in oak barrels with vanilla, chocolate and strawberries. That will be followed at 2 p.m. by some Anchor Brewing kegs like Breckle's Brown and Old Foghorn. Then, after the GABF session, at 10 p.m., Full Sail head brewer John Harris will break into Full Sail rarities. At 11 p.m., it's Green Flash kegs. And finally, at midnight, try some stuff from Michigan's Short's Brewing, which is making a big splash this year at the festival and at liquor stores by distributing some of its beers for one week only. On tap: Huma-Luma-Licious, Bludgeon Yer Eye, Key Lime Pie, Spruce Pilsner and Bourbon Wizard.

 

Friday, September 29

Join Tap Hunter at Star Bar, 2137 Larimer Street, from 10:30 p.m. to midnight for a GABF after party featuring a mix of beer gurus, judges, newcomers, business owners, brewers and beer geeks.

Star Bar will also tap numerous unusual beers today beginning at noon, including Denver Beer Co's Fifth Horseman Saison, Crooked Stave Wild, Wild, Brett, Great Divide, Belgian Yeti, Odell Friek and various New Belgium Lips of Faith beers.

Highland Tap & Burger, 2219 West 32nd Avenue, will host an BBQ Patio Party featuring Odell beers from noon to 3 p.m., including its just-released Bourbon Barrel Stout and a collaboration Fall Harvest Ale made just for Highland Tap.

Caution Brewing, which opened this year but doesn't have a taproom, will celebrate GABF by hosting an open house at its production-only brewery today, tomorrow and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. each day. It's the only place you can taste the brewery's Wild Blonde and Honey Matrimony Brown ales that are not available anywhere else.

Euclid Hall will pucker up for a Lips of Faith tapping at 4:30 p.m. that includes Transatlantique Kriek, Eric's Ale, Imperial Berliner Weisse, Vrienden, Ooh, la la and Dunkeweiss.

Are you strong? Find out at the Left Hand Armwrestling Tournament, which takes place at 3 p.m. today at Freshcraft. The winners of each round will get one free pint of Left Hand Brewing beer; the overall winner gets two tickets to the Friday night GABF session, starting at 5:30 pm. Pints of Left Hand beers will be $4 all night, with 50 percent of the proceeds going to the Colorado Brewer's Guild. Sign-up starts at 2:30 p.m.

FreshCraft and The Blake Street Vault host Avery's "Heaven & Hell," a celebration with Avery's "Holy Trinity" and "The Demon" series: Hog Heaven, The Reverend, and Salvation, Samael's, The Beast, and Mephistopheles. Kickoff is at 10 p.m.

Hops and Pie will tap a firkin of Stone Brewing's Sublimely Self Righteous that has been fresh-hopped with Amarillo hops and a firkin of Arrogant Bastard that was dry-hopped with Columbus an chinook hops. The tapping is at 6 p.m.

Summit Music Hall, 1902 Blake Street, presents the Summit Beer Garden through Saturday, October 1; the inaugural free event, in conjunction with the GABF spotlights numerous breweries and features gourmet sausages and live entertainment. It starts at 4 p.m.; call 303-443-2227 or visit www.sodajerkpresents.com.

Every year during the Great American Beer Festival, Falling Rock Taphouse, 1919 Blake Street, taps a keg of Sierra Nevada's fresh-hopped Harvest Ale to see how fast they can pour and kill it. And every year, Falling Rock owner Chris Black beats his own record (he does the pouring): In 2010, it only took nine minutes and 53 seconds. Can he beat that? Find out at noon, and then stick around for more fresh-hopped Sierra Nevada beers at 12:30.

But the party at Falling Rock continues at 2 p.m. with Avery rarities, like Fred's Mom, Beast and Samaels (aged two years), and at 3 p.m. with Rogue Brewing's Double Chocolate Stout and John John Hazelnut. And at 5:30 p.m., Falling Rock will host the world re-premiere of Courage Russian Imperial Stout (bottles), an English beer from Wells & Young's Ltd that hasn't been brewed since 1993. Fewer than 1,000 cases will be coming to the United States.

At 10 p.m., Falling Rock Taphouse, will delight hardcore beer geeks with the Colorado Huge, Exotic, Esoteric, and Rare Social (CHEERS), which is being held as a fundraiser for the Colorado Brewers Guild. Why? Well, in part to see TV star and Dogfish owner Sam Calagione pour Palo Santo infused with local coffee through the beer that Randall thought he made famous. And, in part, because the Guild and Chris Black of Falling Rock asked the ten participating brewers to bring something that they aren't serving anywhere else during GABF week, in or outside the hall. Oskar Blues, for instance, is bringing its last five-gallon keg of The Duke, a sour brown ale aged for five years. Other beers include Avery Immitus, a barrel-aged sour; Boulder Beer's Mortimer, a barrel-aged blend of Mojo IPA and Planet Porter; and Great Divide's A Love Supreme, a barrel-aged saison with brettanomyces). Wristbands for CHEERS will go on sale about 9 p.m. downstairs at Falling Rock; $40 gets you a half-pint pour of each beer.

Meanwhile, upstairs at Falling Rock, they'll tap Alaskan Brewing 25th Anniversary Imperial Stout, which was made with birch syrup from Wasilla fireweed honey from Delta Junction. After that, check out a He'Brew Celebration with JewBelation 15, 15:15, and HopManna from the Coney Island brewery.

 

Saturday, October 1

Get your day started at 11 a.m. with Freshcraft's breakfast burritos made with fresh, local ingredients along with beers from Upslope Brewing. Freshcraft also be debuting a fresh michelada recipe using Upslope Craft Lager for those that like it spicy.

Join Firestone Walker head brewer Matt Bryndelson at 8 p.m. at the Falling Rock Taphouse for a cask of Velvet Merlin and some Parabola on tap. At 10 p.m. Falling Rock will say goodbye to the thirtieth annual GABF by tapping into three special blends of New Belgium's La Folie, one made by Falling Rock's Chris Black, and the other two by New Belgium's Lauren and Eric Salazar. After people have sampled all three, Black will ask for an applause vote to determine a favorite. Then he'll open the envelope and disclose the winners.

Summit Music Hall, 1902 Blake Street, presents the Summit Beer Garden through Saturday, October 1; the inaugural free event, in conjunction with the GABF, spotlights numerous breweries and features gourmet sausages and live entertainment. It starts at 4 p.m.; call 303-443-2227 or visit www.sodajerkpresents.com.

Star Bar taps various sour beers and other specialties beginning at noon. They include: AC Golden Star Sour; Odell Bourbon Barrel Stout; Black Fox Cracked Black Pepper Saison; Great Divide Chocolate Oak Aged Yeti; Avery The Kaiser; Oskar Blues Home Grown Hops; Ska Doubel Blonde; New Belgium La Folie, Clutch, Abbey Grand Cru. There will also be a post-GABF party with Avery and Ska.

Sunday, October 2

You'll be hungover by Sunday morning, and although most people will be packing away their beer drinking shoes or heading out of town, Oskar Blues Homemade Liquids and Solids in Longmont will host a Hangover Beer Brunch with Maui Brewing, which also cans its big, delicious beers -- like Coconut Porter and Big Swell IPA. Join the Oskar Blues crew and Maui's Garret Marrero at 10 a.m. at Oskar Blues at 10 a.m.; tickets are $30.

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