Craft brewers sold $8.7 billion worth of beer in 2011, up more than 9 percent over the previous year, according to the Boulder-based Brewers Association. That's a lot of suds.
The total amount of beer they made rose 13 percent, or roughly 1.3 million barrels, to nearly 11.5 million barrels. The numbers mean that craft beer now represents more than 5 percent of the total amount of beer made in the United States. The total number is 5.68 percent, the association said this week.
In the meantime, 250 new breweries opened in 2011 -- while only 37 closed -- bringing the total number to 1,989. Small brewers employed 103,585 people.
Friday, March 30
Wynkoop Brewing hosts a party at 5 p.m. today to celebrate the release of Cottonwood Organic White, an unfiltered, American-style wheat beer that was brewed to help raise funds for the Cottonwood Institute, an environmental education nonprofit group that works with inner-city students and schools in the metro area. Made with organic malts and wheat, kaffir lime leaf and organic agave nectar, the beer was fermented with an American strain of wheat beer yeast and is 4.6 percent ABV. Wynkoop will donate fifty cents from the sale of each draft of the beer to the institute.
Dry Dock Brewing will tap firkins of something called Maple Bacon Mild Ale today at 3 p.m. and again around 7 or 8 p.m.
Saturday, March 31
Odell Brewing welcomes the return of its seasonal Double Pilsner today (it takes the place of Mountain Standard for the warmer months) today with a party in the brewery's Fort Collins tap room. In addition to beer, there will be a food, back yard games, and live music by the Gin Mill Gypsies from 4 to 6 p.m. Odell describes the Bohemians-style pilsner like this: "[We] took the storied style and increased both the malts and hops to increase the ABV and body while balancing the crisp hop character that is so prominent in this style of beer." It will be sold in liquor stores in four-packs.
Sunday, April 1
Do you like barrel-aged beers? Then you don't want to miss this month's version of the Littlest Big (Barrel-Aged) Beer Fest at Hops & Pie. The newly-expanded Tennyson Street restaurant will have a dozen barrel or oak-aged beers on tap, including Dogfish Burton Baton, Upslope Barrel-Aged Foreign Stout, Odell Bourbon Barrel Stout, Firestone 15, Boulevard Rye on Rye, Left Hand Widdershins and Boulder Beer's barrel-aged orange and cocoa porter, among others. There will also be a Dry Dock beer on the hand pump. Flights and single pours are available. The madness starts at 2 p.m.
Falling Rock Taphouse will honor an April Fool's Day tradition today by tapping a beer from Blue Moon Brewing @ the Sandlot -- which is located just down the street inside Coors Field. This year, it will be a malty, Oktoberfest-style lager, which should also be available in the Sandlot on April 9, Colorado Rockies Opening Day.
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Monday, April 2
The Rackhouse Pub brings back IPApril this month for a hoppy experience that rivals the Easter bunny. The restaurant will feature ten different double IPAs from Colorado brewers, including Dry Dock Double IPA, Great Divide Hercules, Odell Myrcenary, Oskar Blues Gubna, Avery Maharaja, Ska Decadent and Renegade Elevation.