It was late last year when we started spying beer cocktails in bars. There were just a few at first, and most of them were basic twists on micheladas or other fizzy drinks -- experimental and not always tasty. But lately, the beer cocktail has become a veritable trend, with ale making its way into at least one delicious libation on many of the top beverage menus in Denver.
That evolution makes sense: In a very beer-y state with an explosive cocktail culture, it's no surprise that bartenders around town have collectively decided to become innovators in mixing the two. We saw many of those bartenders compete at the Aspen Food & Wine Classic in a beer cocktail competition, and a number of entries in the Colorado Cocktail Project contest featured selections from local breweries.
The attempt to popularize this type of drink continues this weekend, when ten bartenders will come together at Star Bar to showcase their drinks -- and show the public just how good a beer cocktail can be.
This Sunday night, the bar on Larimer and 21st is hosting mixologists from all over the state -- including Tyler French from Row 14, Kevin Burke from Colt & Gray and Ryan Conklin from Euclid Hall, who probably had the first tasty beer cocktail we saw on a list. The bartenders will mix up drinks using Avery beer and Cap Rock vodka and gin, plus whatever other ingredients they choose to toss into the mix.
This isn't a competition, but a chance for the men and women who have been pioneering this realm of drinks to showcase what they've done. They'll be pouring tastes for ticket holders from 6 p.m. on.
Want to be part of the crowd? Tickets are free, but you've got to pick one up at the home bar of one of the participating bartenders (or at Avery, in the tap room). Here's the lineup and where you can find each bartender (and a ticket):
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Matt Lanning from Aspen's Pacifica Seafood & Raw Bar Brian Melton Tyler French from Row 14 Kevin Burke from Colt & Gray Greg Van Wagner from Boulder's Oak At Fourteenth Ryan Conklin from Euclid Hall Ryan Caple from Lou's Food Bar Britt Henze from Boulder's Mateo Burton Daniel from Boulder's Bitter Bar Justin Lloyd from Star Bar
You might want to grab a beer cocktail for preview purposes while you're there.