Brrrr, these sixty-degree days are really chilling, um, nothing. But that's okay — our internal body clocks know it's winter, and so do Colorado's breweries. That's why they are unleashing a host of wintry beers and hosting the best holiday-themed beer bashes imaginable. So grab your ugly sweaters (and flip-flops) and hit Festivus or the Holiday Rumpus, or just try out some amazing new beers from some of the best breweries around.
These are the ten best craft-beer events for December. For all of the beer events and tappings going down in Denver and the surrounding area, look for Westword's weekly craft-beer calendar, which posts every Wednesday.
Saturday, December 2
Wavering Radiant Release
TRVE Brewing will release its first spontaneously fermented beer, Wavering Radiant, at noon — and this one is a big deal for the brewery, says head brewer Zach Coleman. The beer was 100 percent fermented (and then re-fermented in the bottle) with microflora captured in TRVE's coolship, an open fermentation vessel. “This beer was made with processes slightly different from our more traditional batches of spontaneous beer, which are still aging/fermenting in wood, and is meant to be a window into what we have coming down the line," Coleman says. TRVE will have about 1,000 500-ml bottles for sale. There is a limit of four per person.
Friday, December 8
1477 Monroe Street
Cerebral Brewing will release two different canned beers and one in bottles. Destruct Sequence is a 6.4 percent ABV IPA brewed with wheat and oats, then "hopped aggressively" with a blend of Vic Secret, Idaho 7 and Cashmere; it will be available in cans for $16 per four-pack. Rare Trait, also in cans at 6.4 percent, is Cerebral's house IPA, "featuring powerful notes of tangerine, mango, and candied peach, with restrained bitterness." Safe Word, at 10.5 percent, is an "imperial pastry stout conditioned on Belizean cacao nibs from our friends at Cultura Craft Chocolate along with cassia bark and coconut." It runs $14 per bottle. Doors open at noon, and there will be a line. All three beers will also be on tap, and the Adobo Food Truck will be out front slinging food at 4 p.m.
Saturday, December 9
Alternation Brewing Opeing
1539 South Broadway
The opening of a new brewery in Denver is always cause for celebrating, and Alternation Brewing will be doing just that when it opens its doors for the first time at noon. "In a world filled with conglomerates, marketing campaigns and industry-shifting behemoths, the humble, quaint and well-crafted shall rise above," the owners say. "We welcome everyone to enjoy the taproom on this day, as six of our twelve taps will be filled with a wintery variety of artisan ales. Tap list to be announced as we draw closer to opening." Going forward, the taproom will be open on a limited schedule (Thursday and Friday from 4 to 10 p.m.; Saturday from noon to 10 p.m.; and Sunday from noon to 8 p.m.). Alternation will ramp up production in the coming months.
Saturday, December 9
Fifth Anniversary Party
Our Mutual Friend Brewing
2810 Larimer Street
Our Mutual Friend Brewing will celebrate its fifth anniversary with a party where you'll be able to sample several special beers. They include Year Five Golden Sour (cuvée of one- to five-year barrels); 2017 Laws Rye Barrel Aged Fixed Blade Barleywine; Saison Trystero Batch 2; and Those Who Believe in Telekinesis, Raise My Hand Winter Solstice Mixed-Culture Golden Sour (a collaboration with Baere Brewing). The first 150 people in the door will get a free fifth-anniversary glass with the purchase of a pour.
Saturday, December 9
2017 Genius Wizard Vintages & Variants Release Party
2920 Larimer Street
Ratio Beerworks hosts "an intimate beer release experience" from 5 to 8 p.m., celebrating the return of its Bourbon Barrel-Aged Genius Wizard Russian Imperial Stout. "This unique ticketed event will transport attendees to a mystical new dimension, as Ratio's back brewhouse will be transformed into an ethereal, illuminating experience designed by Denver artists Knomad.Colab," the brewery says. Tickets, $40, are very limited and available at nightout.com. They include three four-ounce vintages of Genius Wizard; three four-ounce variants of Genius Wizard (variants still to be announced); one full pour of 2017 Genius Wizard or any non-barrel-aged Ratio beer; one bottle of 2017 Bourbon Barrel-Aged Genius Wizard; a commemorative tasting glass and a chance to win a 1.5 liter magnum bottle of Genius Wizard. In addition, guests can sample food from the vendors who will be part of the soon-to-open Zeppelin Station in River North.
Saturday, December 16
Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum
7711 East Academy Boulevard
More than fifty breweries will fill the Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum from 4 to 7 p.m. for the sixth annual Denver [only] Beer Festivus, a holiday-themed beer fest pouring beers only from breweries located within Denver city limits. Attendees will be greeted with a welcome pour of Denver Pale Ale from Great Divide Brewing before making their way through the rest of Denver. “Trying to visit every brewery in Denver has become a lot harder in recent years,” says PJ Hoberman, co-owner of Two Parts, which created and hosts Festivus; the event has grown from nineteen to more than fifty breweries. “Festivus puts many of these breweries under one roof, allowing locals and visitors the opportunity to sip their way through our mecca of beer.” Tickets, $40-$65, and more information can be found at denverbeerfestivus.com. In addition to the beer, there will be a silent disco, an ugly-sweater contest, Bad Santa, and a prize blimp dropping gift cards. Some proceeds will be donated to New Era Colorado Foundation, a multi-issue nonprofit.
Saturday, December 16
Inaugural Gingerbread Invitational
Intrepid Sojourner Beer Project
925 West Eighth Avenue
Intrepid Sojourner Beer Project and Spice Trade Brewing have gotten together with Inland Island Yeast Lab, Root Shoot Malting and Savory Spice Shop for a Christmas collaboration beer called Gingerbread Helles Bock. But because the gingerbread men and women who gave their lives for the beer deserve a good sendoff, the companies are also hosting their first Gingerbread Invitational, featuring three other infused beers; live music from from Weatherbee and the Gnarbillys; food from Karma Food Truck; and gingerbread decorating. "Most of our vendors will be building gingerbread houses that we want you to vote on," Intrepid Sojourner says. The winner will be announced at 9 p.m. and receive the Inaugural Gingerbread Invitational trophy. A food drive will benefit the Denver Inner City Parish Food Pantry.
Saturday December 16
Dual Hazy IPA Release
301 East Simpson Street, Lafayette
Odd13 Brewing brings back its best beer from 2017 for a special taproom-only can release starting at noon. Codename: Holidayfan is "the most ridiculous Codename variant that we have ever produced," the brewery says. It is a triple IPA coming in at 10 percent ABV, and is "surprisingly crushable." But Odd13 will also release cans of Intergalactic Juice Hunter 2.0, an IPA with tons of Galaxy hops. Odd13 is experimenting with different versions of this hazy, New England-style IPA and hopes to release its favorite as a year-round beer in 2018. "In this version, we are using a different yeast that we use in several other IPAs," the brewery says.
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Saturday, December 16
Call to Arms Brewing
4526 Tennyson Street
Inspired by the world-famous German holiday markets, the Third Annual Tennyson Street Holiday Rumpus & Market returns to Call to Arms Brewing from noon to 9 p.m., featuring sixteen local artisans and food purveyors, along with holiday-inspired music and beer (think Gluhwein Baltic Porter, the brewery says). Vendors include: XO Gift Co., Mrs. Clever Clogs, Women's Partnership Market, Bare Bones BARKtique, Beautycounter, Cozy Home Creations, Soul Salve, Tee Roy Tees, Berkeley Park Running Company, Stone Lotus of Boulder, Tennyson neighbors Valhalla Cakes, Copia Confectionery, and MAS KAOS Pizza. There will also be custom ugly T-shirts from Humble Monster Screen Printed Goods and a live polka band from 3 to 6 p.m. And finally, the brewery is hosting a clothing drive with Clothes to Kids of Denver; bring a coat or a pair of shoes in exchange for a $2 beer.
Saturday, December 23
Fiction Beer Company
7101 East Colfax Avenue
Donut Panic, Fiction Beer Company's annual collaboration with Glazed & Confuzed Donuts, returns to the brewery when it opens. This year's doughnut beer is Chai-pple Pie Oatmeal Stout, which was brewed with vanilla, cinnamon, Chai spices and, of course, doughnuts. The base beer is a "chewy, rich and smooth oatmeal stout," the brewery says. The inspiration for the beer was the Chai-pple Donut from Glazed & Confuzed, which was recently named one of the fourteen best doughnuts in the country by Zagat. Fiction will release the beer on tap and in a limited number of Crowlers. There will be doughnut pairings and a food truck.