Welcome to 2018. It's time to fulfill some of those New Beers Resolutions, and it never hurts to get an early start. This month, you can get your fill of barrel-aged beery goodness at three different festivals focused on the style, or you can marvel at a brand-new venue from Oskar Blues Brewery right here in Denver. Not enough? Then sample the stouts from the first anniversary of the Makin' Noise beer project and pay it forward. Here are the ten best craft-beer events happening in Colorado in January.
Thursday, January 4, through Saturday, January 6
Big Beers, Belgians & Barleywines Festival
Beaver Run Resort, Breckenridge
This three-day festival — one of the best and most unusual in Colorado — kicks off in Breckenridge, where hundreds of beer brewers, owners and fans will convene for a host of seminars, pairing dinners, tastings, a large festival and all-out partying. Although some of the festival events are sold out, there are still tickets left for the commercial tasting on Saturday — one of the best, most important tastings of the year in Colorado — along with seminars and the Calibration Dinner, which is hosted by Adam Avery of Avery Brewing and Bryan Selders of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery. There are also various tappings and other beer-related activities around Breckenridge all weekend. Get more information at bigbeersfestival.com.
Friday, January 12
Galaxy Dry Hopped Funk Yo Couch Release
Wiley Roots Brewing, Greeley
Last October, Greeley's Wiley Roots Brewing took home a gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival for Funk Yo Couch, a mixed-culture Brettanomyces saison. Now the brewery is releasing Galaxy Dry Hopped Funk Yo Couch — but in a very unusual way. Rather than letting the yeast continue to activate in bottles, which is what most breweries do, Wiley Roots is experimenting with can conditioning. This is Colorado, after all (where canned beers rule). "As is the case with all of our mixed culture beers, we add additional sugar and yeast to the packaging tank and allow the beer to re-ferment in the package — whether that be a bottle, keg or can," the brewery explains. "This helps to ensure the beer is as stable as can be for as long as possible, but also shows reverence to the old-world styles from which these beers have drawn influence." Four-packs of twelve-ounce cans cost $15 and will be available in the Greeley taproom and, later, in just six liquor stores: Mile High Wine and Spirits in Lakewood, Mr. B's Wine & Spirits (both downtown and in Stanley Markeplace); Mondo Vino, Wyatt's Wet Goods in Longmont; and Basecamp Wine and Spirits in Frisco.
Saturday, January 13
Oskar Blues Grill & Brew Grand Opening
Oskar Blues Grill & Brew, Denver
Longmont-based beer and restaurant juggernaut Oskar Blues hosts a grand opening starting at 11 a.m. for its huge new Denver spot, Oskar Blues Grill & Brew, at 1624 Market Street. The company recently opened locations in Boulder and Colorado Springs, as well. Upstairs, patrons will find 48 taps, including rare beers and Oskar Blues specialties, as well as selections from other breweries; the food menu will feature Southern-style fare. Downstairs, they'll be able to check out the the Black Buzzard, a music venue. Tonight's show is from People’s Blues of Richmond, with special guests Interstate Stash Express. Doors open at 8 p.m. and the show starts at 9. Get more information and tickets to the show at theblackbuzzard.com.
Saturday, January 13
Cellar West First Anniversary Party
Cellar West Artisan Ales, Boulder
Join Boulder's Cellar West Artisan Ales starting at 1 p.m. for special beers, merriment and food in celebration of its first anniversary. The brewery will roll out a couple of new beers (Dry Hopped Meager and Ice Cream Kid) and bring back some old favorites (like Farmer's Breakfast French Toast), as well as a few bottles from its cellar stash (Zep, Westfield, Sea No Evil, Make Hay). Cellar West will also pour beer from all of the breweries it collaborated with in 2017, including Cerebral Brewing, Call to Arms, Cannonball Creek and Wild Woods Brewery. Pepperbelly Barbecue will be on hand with Texas-style barbecue.
Saturday, January 13
Winter Wassail Release & Carnival
C Squared Ciders/Rackhouse Pub
C Squared Ciders and the Rackhouse Pub, which are located in the same building, will host their third annual Winter Wassail Release & Carnival. And, yes, this is a cider celebration rather than a beer bash, but it promises to be really good anyway. C Squared's 2018 Wassail is a semi-sweet 6 percent ABV cider made with gluten-free "de-bittered black malt creating a dark cider with rich, roasted caramel and winter spice characteristics," the cidery says. The celebration will continue all night in the beer hall with a variety of entertainers, "including but not limited to magicians and jugglers, Tarot card readers and live music. Wassailing is a pagan tradition in English cider orchards to wish the trees good health and a good harvest in the coming year. Though details differ from orchard to orchard, the premise is the same: frighten away evil spirits from the orchard; welcome good spirits into the orchard; and express gratitude for the orchard’s abundance and wish it health for the upcoming year," C Squared adds. "We’ll frighten away evil spirits with our off-key Wassail singing; and we’ll welcome good spirits by hanging toast from the tree...and give a bit of cider back to it in appreciation of last year’s harvest."
Saturday, January 13, through Sunday, January 14
Barrel Aged Beer Festival
Lowdown Brewery + Kitchen
Lowdown Brewery hosts its fourth annual Barrel Aged Beer Festival starting at 10 a.m., with eight different barrel-aged beers from Lowdown, plus rare or barrel-aged stuff from Little Machine, Black Project, River North Brewery, Declaration, Spangalang, Banded Oak, Funkwerks, Platt Park, Station 26, Left Hand, Lagunitas, Elevation, Dry Dock, Odell and Ratio. The party runs from 2 to 5 p.m.
Friday, January 19
Big Barrel Aged Beer Festival
Colorado Plus Brewpub
Every year, Colorado Plus Brewpub brings out the big guns for its Big Barrel Aged Beer Festival. This year, the brewpub will pour Bull & Bush Barrel Aged Man Beer, Rockyard Rockness Monster, Crooked Stave Nightmare on Brett, Dry Dock Coconut Belgian Dark, Epic Big Bad Baptista, Funkwerks Duplicity, Avery Samael's, Colorado Plus Cookie Zilla and more. Beers go on tap at 11 a.m.
Saturday, January 20
Discovering Colorado Breweries Book Release
Falling Rock Taphouse
If you've been to a beer festival or a brewery at some point in the past four years, there's a good chance you've seen Dustin Hall quietly, kindly taking photos of everyone and everything. Over that time, he has ceaselessly traveled the state, recording the craft-beer industry and garnering goodwill under the Brewtography Project moniker. Although photographing breweries and the people who work there began as a hobby for Hall, it's become an all-consuming passion, and after a couple years of work, he and his wife, Marcia, are finally releasing Discovering Colorado Breweries, a 232-page coffee-table book filled with photographs of more than seventy Colorado breweries. The official book release takes place from 1 to 5 p.m. at Falling Rock Tap House, where the Halls will celebrate and sign copies of the book, which retails for $49.99. This will also be the time for people who supported the Brewtography Project's successful Kickstarter campaign to pick up their rewards; anyone who buys a copy of the book will also receive a free beer. For more information on the project, where to buy the book and other events surrounding its release, go to brewtographyproject.com.
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Saturday, January 20, and Sunday, January 21
Makin' Noise One-Year Anniversary Tappings
The Makin' Noise beer project was founded to raise funds and awareness for nonprofit groups that help the people and causes that are most threatened under the current administration. The loose collective of local breweries tapped their first beers on inauguration day 2017, and they'll celebrate their one-year anniversary by tapping different stouts at five different breweries today. Try the beers at Call to Arms Brewing, Ratio Beerworks, the Post Brewing, Our Mutual Friend and Gold Spot Brewing. Then, on Sunday, Ratio Beerworks will tap all five beers, with proceeds benefiting a local nonprofit. There will also be rebellious live music.
Saturday, January 27
Cool Beans Coffee and Beer Festival
Save the date for the return of the Ratio Beerworks Cool Beans Coffee & Beer Festival, which serves as "a showcase of the harmonious marriage between coffee, beer and coffee beers," Ratio says. The details are still TBA, but the brewery will once again have a host of food vendors on hand, in addition to coffee demos and roastings by Novo Coffee. And this time, there will be a few other roasters joining Novo. Ratio will also have a variety of coffee beer on tap and on hand.