As competition for shelf space heats up in the world of craft beer, bigger breweries are endeavoring to stay nimble, trying new things — and occasionally throwing everything against the wall to see what sticks. Odell Brewing, which is Colorado's third-largest craft-beer maker, has released a slew of new sour flavors lately, including Sunny Rain, a dry-hopped golden tart ale; Pyrus & Prunus, an oak-aged sour golden ale brewed with pear and peach purée; and Green Coyote Tomatillo Sour Berliner Weiss, brewed with tomatillos.
Its latest, though, is a new year-round hoppy beer called Rupture, which Odell makes by grinding whole-flour hops just moments before they're added to the beer. The brewery uses a custom-built "hammer mill," a piece of machinery that it says is more often used by hops merchants. Company COO Brendan McGivney believes the process can "unlock an unparalleled amount of hop aroma...without overwhelming bitterness.”
“It’s a wildly inefficient process, but once we tried the test batches, we knew it was worth the effort,” brewing manager Bill Beymer adds in a statement about the 6 percent ABV beer. “What we grind that day, we use that day. There’s a bit of a ticking clock that starts as soon as you rupture the lupulin. To get the hops at their peak, you need to move fast. It’s a lot like coffee. We all know fresh-ground beans make for a more complex cup of joe. Rupture applies those same principles to hops.”
Keep reading for the best local craft-beer events and tappings through September 9.
Wednesday, August 30
Goldspot Brewing has two events going on. The first is the latest installment of its pop-up farmers' market, running from 3 to 8 p.m. Vendors include Sister Gardens at Aria, Groundwork Greens, the Noshery and 25 Farms. Grab a beer, shop for produce. The second event is another fundraiser for the planned Grateful Gnome Sandwich Shoppe & Brewery, which has had "some crummy things happen during construction," Goldspot says, including construction scaffolding falling on top of the building. So, $1 from every beer sold (Pussy Riot beers excluded) today will go to the Gnome to help pay legal bills and get the doors open.
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 the Exdo Event Center 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 and 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.
Grist Brewing will release its first project from the Grist Lab, the brewery's new location at 9535 Park Meadows Drive in Lone Tree, called Hop Theorem #1: Prizmatic Pale Ale. The beer is only 36 IBUs, but it received massive whirlpool and dry-hop additions that give it a very hoppy, less bitter flavor. "Made with Mosaic Cryo Hops, this beer will have just the right amount of kick," Grist says. Hop Theorem will be a series of beers that each use a "creative hop of some sort." Each version will be released in very limited quantities at both Grist taprooms.
Big Choice Brewing, which moved from Broomfield to Brighton, will host a grand opening for its new location at 21 South First Avenue, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 4 p.m. The brewery will have a wide variety of beer on tap and barbecue from the Seasoned Swine food truck from 4 to 8 p.m. The new location, which opened for business earlier in August, is in a 1940 former Buddhist temple. It now boasts 5,300 square feet and two patios.
Casey Brewing and Blending in Glenwood Springs continues to produce some of the most well-balanced and sought-after sour ales in the state. And starting today, it's celebrating apricots and cherries with 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.
Friday, September 1
Join Ratio Beerworks for an Oktoberfest weekend and the tapping of Stay Gold, the brewery's take on a classic Bavarian Oktoberfest märzen lager. Stay Gold exhibits "biscuit-y malt-forward notes and an extremely refreshing quenchable finish," Ratio says. It was brewed with a blend of Pilsner, Munich and Vienna malts and fermented with a German lager strain for a crisp and clean finish. Elevation 5280: Street Food Elevated will be on hand Friday night, and Wilder Meats and Eats will drop by Saturday, serving beer brats, schnitzels, spaetzle and other German fare to pair with your half-liters of Stay Gold.
Bruz Beers is tapping its newest beer, Three Peaks Tripel, a 9.6 percent ABV Belgian-style beer, at 3 p.m. "Bruz Beers has a cult following with their Belgian tripels, and this one will continue the high mark of the style in the Denver area," the brewery says. "Three Peaks is strong, complex and golden in color, with a rewarding nose of spiciness. Pilsner and Vienna malts, brewing sugar and European hops yield a clean, refreshing beer with notes of bready malt and spicy, fruity yeast. Pairs wonderfully with cheeses like Spanish Manchego, French epoisses and Roquefort, and English Stilton." Several other new beers will also be on tap, including Bruin (a Belgian-style brown ale), Gnomeboy (a Belgian specialty ale), and Saison Nelson.
Freshcraft brings back Station 26 Brewing for its First Firkin Friday event at 5 p.m. Today's firkin is the brewery's newly created Vermont Pale Ale with white nectarines added.
Station 26 Brewing will tap Fluff's Pale Ale, a "Vermont-style" beer that it brewed in collaboration with Joyride Brewing in honor of the band Phish (also from Vermont), which is going to be playing nearby at Dick's Sporting Goods Park this weekend. The beer will be available to go in specially made Crowlers to take to the parking lot before the show. "Brewed with Mosaic Lupulin Powder, Denali and Vic Secret hops and a combination of London Ale II and Colorado IPA yeast strains, Fluff's Pale is full of love, light and foam that just keeps getting thicker," Station 26 says. The brewery will have a variety of bands and food trucks on hand all weekend. UPDATE: "Due to overwhelming demand, we have allocated Fluff's Pale Crowlers for the next three days. We have 120 Crowlers available each day for today, Friday, and Saturday. Sixty are labeled with the Fluff's Pale labels, and 60 are our generic Crowler labels. There is now a limit of three Crowlers per person."
4 Noses Brewing in Broomfield will release its award-winning Pump Action Imperial Pumpkin Ale at 2 p.m. The beer took gold at the Great American Beer Festival and World Beer Cup last year. It is available in cans and on draft.
Meet Dirk Diggler, a New England-style IPA that Odd13 Brewing in Lafayette will tap and sell in cans only in its taproom starting at 1 p.m. "Dirk Diggler is the winning entry from our homebrew competition with Lafayette Homebrew Supply," the brewery says. Travis Trembly created the recipe for the beer, which "features tons of Citra and Amarillo with just a touch of Centennial." It costs $11 per six-pack.
Saturday, September 2
Freshcraft is turning seven years old, and to celebrate all those years of beer-centered food and drinks, the restaurant will tap some special beers and smoke a hog and a lamb to serve with all the fixings. (In addition, since Freshcraft's owners love the Iowa Hawkeyes, they will host a college football kickoff party at 10 a.m., when the team takes on Wyoming.) The anniversary tap list includes: Station 26 Brewing Citra Pro Am IPA; Stone Brewing 21st Anniversary Hail to the Hop Thief; Russian River Pliny the Elder and Temptation; Cerebral Brewing Orange Kushcicle; and WeldWerks French Toast Stout. For the Hawkeye game, Freshcraft will have $3 Station 26 Lemon Drop Wit cans, $5 Mimosas/Beermosas (with Station 26 Tangerine Cream), $5 Peach Street Distillers Goat Vodka Mules, and $12 mix-n-match buckets of Station 26 cans.
Fiction Beer Company joins the Oktoberfest train with Written for Film, an Oktoberfest-style lager that was inspired by the The Third Man, a novel by Graham Greene. "Much like the novel, we wrote this beer recipe with a different medium (and a certain audience) in mind," Fiction says. "We hope the translation from paper to liquid impresses." The beers has notes of "biscuit, cracked malt and a subtle hint of hay aromas."
TRVE Brewing brings back a couple of favorites in bottles for a bottle release in the taproom. The first is Melissa, a 4.2 percent ABV mixed-culture petite saison. "This year’s version is a blend of barrel-aged stock using a variety of different cultures," TRVE says. The second is Suffering Soul, its stainless-fermented golden mixed-culture ale with ginger, grapefruit, lime, and black pepper. Limit one case each per person.
New Image Brewing hosts a double can release today. The first is the return of One, a double-dry-hopped New England-style IPA that was originally brewed for New Image's first anniversary. One is available in limited quantities of sixteen-ounce cans at the Arvada brewery only, one case per person per day. The second beer is Paul, a Vermont-style pale ale. There are only sixty cases available.
Barrels & Bottles Brewery in Golden toasts four years with a party starting at 11 a.m. There will be special releases, drink discounts and live music.
Thursday, September 7
Pancakes returns to Renegade Brewing for a second helping. Starting at 5 p.m., if you purchase a pint of this maple porter, you will get a glass to keep and a six-pack to take home. Bring your appetite as well, because Rocky Mountain Cheesery will be serving up pancakes to pair with Renegade's Pancakes.
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.
Lowry Beer Garden hosts its fifth annual Oktoberfest celebration. The Friday night kickoff party runs from 5 to 10 p.m. and features live music from the Polkanauts. But the real fun starts on Saturday at 11 a.m. with live music all day, beer and German-style food in Lowry's already appropriate biergarten. From 4 to 9 p.m., a mini-fest wil take place, featuring Oktoberfest and marzen-style beers from six local breweries: Epic, Avery, Left Hand, Odell, Prost and Dry Dock. Tickets are $20 and include a mini-mug and unlimited small pours.
Saturday, September 9
Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project will once again open the doors of its Barrel Cellar and production facility to the public for the one-day-only release of Persica, a golden sour ale aged on peaches. First released in 2011, Persica has become Crooked Stave's signature beer, which is why the brewery hosts a day dedicated to its release. The first 250 guests will receive an exclusive Persica Day 2017 glass and a full pour for $10. Additional pours will be available for $6. There will also be 750-ml cork-and-cage bottles available for $30 — limit of four per person. This year, Crooked Stave will also have an extra-special Persica Sauvignon Blanc available in 750ml format at $35 each, with a limit of two per customer. None of the beers will see distribution outside the brewery, which Crooked Stave rarely opens to the public. The event takes place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Wynkoop Brewing will tap its Oktoberfest lager, Fest Friends Forever, this morning at 10 a.m. with some fre samples paired with a bite of roasted chicken and acorn squash cassoulet served in cast iron. RSVP for this portion on eventbrite. The beer still stay on tap after that. Fest Friends Forever is "a malty, smooth, and crisp Oktoberfest Lager worthy of its namesake," Wynkoop says.
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Amalgam Brewing, a brewery that is forming in Niwot to make sour and wild ales, will release its first bottled beer at Small Batch Liquors at 11 a.m. Ascension Golden Sour Ale showcases Amalgam's house culture. "The interplay between the oak/chardonnay, stone fruit and sharp acidity with a dry finish is a profile we can’t get enough of," say Amalgam owners Eric Schmidt and Phil Joyce, who will be on hand for the release. The 375-ml. bottles will only be available today; they are $12.99 each, with a limit of six per person. There are 600 total. A few bottles will be available for on-site tasting, but because of liquor-license rules for liquor stores, they will be limited to two-ounce pours. Future releases are likely to be in 750-ml bottles.
Lowry Beer Garden continues its Oktoberfest celebration at 11 a.m. with live music all day, beer and German-style food. From 4 to 9 p.m., a mini-fest will take place, featuring Oktoberfest and marzen-style beers from Epic, Avery, Left Hand, Odell, Prost and Dry Dock. Tickets are $20 and include a mini-mug and unlimited small pours.
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 (formerly Yak & Yeti) and SomePlace Else Brewery. Come meet the brewers, try their beers and ask questions.