Can you smell that? It's the odor of fresh hops reaching their peak at hop farms on the Western Slope. And many of these farms -- which include San Juan Hop Farms in Montrose, Rising Sun Farms in Paonia, Misty Mountain Hop Farm in Olathe, Jack Rabbit Hops in Hotchkiss and Hippie Chick Organic Hops in Palisade -- will be harvesting this week.
While these small farms don't grow enough hops to provide Colorado brewers with all the hops needed to supply most of their beers, they can sell them enough for the fresh-hop seasonals that at least two dozen breweries pump out in the fall. Some of these include Great Divide, Ska, Tommyknocker, Crooked Stave, New Belgium and Left Hand.
I can't wait.
Wednesday, August 24
The BrewDEN group will convene at 6 p.m. at Denver Beer Co, 1695 Platte Street, for its monthly beer-drinking meetup/tweetup (look for the balloon to find the group). Denver Beer Co opened two weeks ago and features a constantly rotating slate of seasonal beers alongside giant, Bavarian-style pretzels and an awesome patio. Owners Charlie Berger and Patrick Crawford will give a tour and a talk around 7 p.m.
Longtime local journalist Ed Sealover, who currently writes for the Denver Business Journal, will release Mountain Brew: A Guide to Colorado's Breweries today with a book-signing and Q&A at 6 p.m. tonight at Amato's Ale House, 2401 16th Street. The 224-page book profiles the state's breweries, from the biggest to the smallest.
Watercourse Foods will temporarily take over the beer firkin program of its sister restaurant, City, O'City, while that restaurant is closed for expansion. At 4:30 p.m. today, Watercourse will present Viva La Firkin, combining a firkin of Renegade Brewing's Poblano Pepper Ale and a Cuban-inspired menu.
Yak & Yeti, 7803 Ralston Road in Arvada, will release the latest in its series of Wednesday wheats, Raspberry Wheat, today at 4 p.m.
Thursday, August 25
Centro Latin Kitchen, the Boulder restaurant operated by the Big Red F Group, will celebrate the debut of the canned version of its Top Rope Mexican-style lager with a party beginning at 4 p.m. today. The beer is made by Boulder's Upslope Brewing specifically for Centro and two other Big Red F eateries, Lola and Zolo. In addition to cans of Top Rope ($3), there will be food and drink specials such as Top Rope and chipotle barbacoa ribs; Top Rope-asadero green chile fundido; and a beer cocktail called the Knock Out, made with Ketel One Citroen, turbinado, orange cinnamon syrup, lemon and, of course, Top Rope.
Friday, August 26
Rockyard Brewing in Castle Rock will hold a release part for Buddha Nuvo from 5 to 8 p.m. tonight. The Belgian-style saison, which retails for around $35 to $40 per 750 ml bottle, is a collaboration between fourteen Colorado brewers and is one of the most unusual brews on the shelves right now.
Ed Sealover will be touting Mountain Brew: A Guide to Colorado's Breweries at a book-signing and Q&A at 5:30 p.m. today at the Tasty Weasel tap room in Longmont. The 224-page book profiles the state's breweries, from the biggest to the smallest.
Dry Dock Brewing in Aurora will serve up not one, but two, firkins of its cult-favorite, Watermelon Kolsch, today. The first firkin of cask-conditioned beer will break open at 3 p.m.; the second will be cracked around 7:30.
Saturday, August 27
Copper Kettle Brewing, 1338 South Valencia Street, says auf wiedersehen to summer by tapping a new beer, a crisp, German-style Kolsh, at a summer wrap-up party from 4 to 9 p.m. today. Alvie's Eats food truck will be outside.
Beers Made By Walking is an unusual project created by artist and Colorado Springs beer blogger Eric Steen, and sponsored by the Gallery of Contemporary Arts and Rocky Mountain Brewing. Seven times this summer, he and a naturalist, a professional brewer and a couple of home brewers, along with members of the public, have been going for a series of hikes in the Pikes Peak region and identifying edible and medicinal plants along the way. After the hikes, the home brewers come up with recipes and make beers (at Rocky Mountain Brewing) based on those plants. Today, from 4 to 8 p.m., Steen will serve up the beers that the group has made so far at Brewer's Republic, 112 North Nevada Avenue. Five bucks gets you four five-ounce samples served on trays that Steen made himself from local wood. The beers are: Opuntiae Deorum, a wheat ale made with prickly pear cactus and inspired by plants at the Garden of the Gods; Smoked Piñon Brown Ale, made with piñon pine nuts and inspired by plants at Red Rock Open Space; Monk Choker, a double double Belgian IPA made with chokecherries and inspired by plants at Red Rock Open Space; and Lightning Strike, made with juniper, ponderosa pine needles, and three-leaf sumac berries, and inspired by plants at Palmer Park.
Freshcraft, 1530 Blake Street, will celebrate its one-year anniversary today with a day-long barbecue and party that will include the tapping of a special imperial red ale brewed by Boulder's Upslope Brewing to mark the day. There will also be other tappings and releases from the restaurant's cellar, along with GABF ticket giveaways. Check Freshcraft's Facebook page for specifics and updates.
The Fort Collins Brewery will toast its fifth anniversary in its new location with a party from 1 to 8 p.m. today. There will be games, food and live music from 2 to 7 p.m., not to mention plenty of brews, including hefeweizen, Millions of Peaches and Cream Ale.
Deviant Dale's IPA, the hoptastic twist on Oskar Blues flagship Dale's Pale Ale, returns today at the Original Oskar Blues Grill & Brew in Lyons with a pig-smokin' barbecue. The 8 percent ABV beer includes five more hops additions than regular Dale's; it was last brewed for Old Chicago as part of the restaurant chain's ongoing effort to recruit Colorado brewers to make limited-time beers for the company. The party, which runs from 2 to 8 p.m., will also include a pie-baking contest, a dunk tank and three bands.
If you've never been to the Colorado State Fair in Pueblo, maybe this will be the key to luring you there: a craft beer competition culminating in Foam Fest, the fair's eighth annual beer extravaganza. Foam Fest will also be a chance to taste soon-to-open Arvada Beer Company's brews for the first time. (Arvada Beer, which had planned to open in July, has postponed its debut until this fall, but it will have four beers here.) Foam Fest takes place inside the special events tent from 6 to 10 p.m. today; $20 gets you a commemorative beer glass and lots of the state's finest beers.
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Thursday, September 1
Vine Street Pub's first-ever Belgian Beer Month kicks off today at the Mountain Sun-owned beer bar at 1700 Vine Street. It includes thirty days of special tappings, classes and events dedicated to Belgian-style beers like saisons, farmhouse ales, dubbels, tripels, quads, krieks and sours. Vine Street plans to roll out twenty of its own beers, along with dozens of beers from Belgian breweries and from American craft beer makers who brew their own versions of Belgian-style beers.