Last year we wrote about a surge in Oktoberfest-style marzen beers and how they were beginning to compete with — and even supplant the domination of — pumpkin beers as a late summer/early fall release for many breweries. Well, that trend has continued, and even picked up speed, this year.
In addition to the yearly packaged releases from Odell Brewing, Great Divide, Prost, Dry Dock, Grimm Brothers, Boulder Beer and Left Hand Brewing, there will be at least three new marzens on the market and one that is returning. Some of these are hitting shelves this week (along with pumpkin beers, of course). Non-packaged Oktoberfest lagers will also be available from dozens of Colorado breweries, including Woods Boss, Comrade, Halfpenny, Fiction, Grist, Station 26, Bierstadt Lagerhaus, Ratio Beerworks, Locavore, Lost Highway, River North, Peak to Peak, Lone Tree Brewing, Seedstock, 4 Noses, Verboten and Upslope.
For starters, Avery Brewing is bringing back a canned version of its famed imperial Oktoberfest beer, the Kaiser. The Boulder brewery discontinued the award-winning favorite in 2016 to make room for other beers, "but its absence has been made known by fans," the brewery says. The new version is slightly lower in alcohol, at 8 percent ABV, but it retains its "gorgeous deep copper sheen, massive malty backbone...aromas of toast, nuts, and bread, all pulled together with a boisterous booziness."
Then there's Ska Brewing in Durango, which is canning its Oktoberfest Lager for the first time. "Crafted with 100 percent German-sourced Munich and Vienna malts that impart nutty, bready, toasty flavors, all balanced by noble hops," says the brewery, adding that "it finishes clean and crisp." And the labels on the six-packs will feature an image only ska could come up with: a ska-themed headless cowboy horseman in front of a blue-checkered Bavarian flag.
Two other breweries, Longmont lager specialist Wibby Brewing and Aurora's Ursula Brewery, are also packaging their own versions of Oktoberfest beers this year. Get your steins ready.
Keep reading for more craft-beer events through late August.
Wednesday, August 8
Peak Tap & Brew will host the grand opening of its second location at 3 p.m. in the former Mu Brewery space, 9735 East Colfax Avenue, in the Aurora arts district. The first Aurora location of this brewpub started life without a brewery, running for more than two years as a taproom before adding brewing equipment. Demand was so high that the owners decided to open a second spot with a larger brewing capacity just to keep up. The Mu space, with its seven-barrel brewhouse, provides that. There will be ten beers on tap for the opening along with a small wine, cider and soda selection. A limited food menu includes Rocky Mountain Pizza and Baker Street pretzels, though there may be a food truck, too.
Thursday, August 9
Renegade Brewing's newest sixteen-ounce can release is Chardonnay Barrel Aged Sister Cities Saison, which was originally a collaboration with Brasserie du Baril that was designed to celebrate the seventieth anniversary of the Sister Cities relationship between Denver and the city of Brest, France. Since the beer was "insanely popular the last time we had it on tap," Renegade says, "we have decided to do a short run of cans." There will only be forty cans availabl, for $8 each.
"Save water – drink beer!" That's the rallying cry for Save the Ales, a beer festival hosted by the nonprofit Conservation Colorado with the goal of raising money to "protect, conserve, and ensure a future with plenty of clean water for all Coloradans." Running from 6 to 10 p.m. at Mile High Station, Save the Ales features beers from a variety of local breweries, in addition to a food truck and a photo booth. Tickets, $35, and more information are available at eventbrite.com.
Friday, August 10
Ursula Brewery in Aurora hosts a triple can release starting at noon. The beers are Ultimate Clarity New England Style IPA, Believe Tart Wheat Ale (with Pineapple, Mango and Passion Fruit), and Mercury Rising Pilsner. They will all be available in four-packs of sixteen-ounce cans and on draft.
Cerveceria Colorado taps its newest beer, Locote Imperial Porter, at 5 p.m. The beer was aged on ocote wood from Puebla, Mexico. "Ocote is in the pine family and adds a resinous and slightly perfume-y fruitiness to this rich porter with strong flavors of chocolate and caramel," the beer bar says.
Cerebral Brewing hosts a double can release starting at noon. The first is Bird of Paradise Smoothie-Style Sour, which was "soured with Lactobacillus and fermented with a clean American strain, then conditioned on lactose, guava, pineapple and strawberry." The second beer is Action Potential, a 6.2 percent ABV IPA brewed with "a plethora of oats and hopped exclusively with a blend of Citra and Galaxy."
Saturday, August 11
Woods Boss Brewing hosts Community, Craft Beer, Music, a block party that promotes and supports local businesses, celebrates the community and commemorates the brewery's one-year anniversary. The party takes place on California Street between 22nd Street and Park Avenue; that stretch will be closed to traffic and transformed into a beer garden. There will be various special beer tappings throughout the day, including "some from the year-long archives, a variety of small batches from the Sapling Series and some barrel aged releases," Woods Boss says. In addition, there will be food and live music.
Join Bierstadt Lagerhaus for its second anniversary from 2 to 10 p.m., as the owners "celebrate the centuries-long tradition of drinking large quantities of pale lager." There will be a fasser of Kellerbier, $9 liters of Helles and possibly some other tappings. In addition, there will be giant yard games, live music and drinking in the parking lot. The first 24 people in line will get a one-hour cellar tasting with brewers Bill Eye and Ashleigh Carter from 1 to 2 p.m. And speaking of Bill, it's also his birthday, so raise a glass while you're there.
Denver Beer Co. marks its seventh anniversary with a birthday party at its original location on Platte Street starting at 11 a.m. The street next to the brewery will be closed to make way for beer, food trucks, live music, games, a photo booth and more. Event entrance is free.
Starting at noon, River North Brewery will release bottles of its Mr. Sandman Imperial Stout aged in Caribbean dark rum casks. "Rum Barrel Mr. Sandman is dry and robust, yet finishes with a hint of sweet molasses and lingering oak notes," the brewery says. The beer will also be on tap.
Hops in the Hangar returns to Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum from 5 to 9 p.m. for a beer festival featuring dozens of Colorado breweries. The fest also includes food, games, activities, music and access to aircraft cockpits. For tickets, $45, go to the event's Facebook page.
Since "fall is just around the corner," Loveland's Grimm Brothers Brewhouse is releasing The Farmer’s Daughter, an Oktoberfest marzen, in its taproom and in cans. "Using various European specialty malts, we created an elegant, complex, rich, malt-forward beer, lightly hopped for balance and lagered for a clean finish," the brewery says. "The nose is full of malty complexity with notes of toasted bread, caramel, brown sugar and chocolate. The aromatics transition to the taste buds as the same complexity intermingles on the tongue with a light-medium body, creamy mouthfeel, and a crisp, dry finish."
Monday, August 13
Walter's 303 Pizzeria & Publik House Uptown will celebrate its second birthday by tapping special beers and hosting brewery folk all week long. Things kick off tonight with Walter's first-ever tapping of Russian River Brewing's Pliny the Elder Double IPA. The brewery's Blind Pig will also make an appearance.
Thursday, August 16
Every summer, Black Shirt Brewing co-owners Chad and Branden Miller brew their beloved Imperial Red Rye IPA, Red Evelyn, in honor of their Grandma Evie, who ran a general store for more than half a century in the small mountain town of Westcliffe. "Made with copious amounts of rye and wildflower honey, and dry-hopped with Citra and Simcoe at five points in the brewing process, Red Evelyn is a bold, complex and bodacious beer, much like Grandma Evie herself," the brewery says. "Coming in at just under 10 percent ABV, it's a beer that demands respect and leaves a lasting impression." This year, Black Shirt is packaging the beer in four-packs of sixteen-ounce cans, available only in the taproom. There is a limit of one case per person.
Freshcraft will be the scene of Odell Brewing's latest release (and one of its more controversial ones), Cloud Catcher Milkshake IPA. "Hop-forward with notes of creamsicle and peaches," the brewery says, the beer is a hazy IPA also made with lactose, giving it a velvety mouthfeel. The seasonal beer will be available on draft at 6 p.m. and will be available in cans as well. Brewery reps will be on hand giving away free stuff.
Peachopotamus is lumbering back into 4 Noses Brewing in Broomfield for its yearly release, and it's bringing a friend, Sour Peachopotamus. "Jam packed with 1,800 pounds of Palisade Peaches from Peachfork Orchards & Vineyard, Peachopotamus is a wheat beer that packs a really peachy punch to the tastebuds," the brewery says. The beer will be available in four-packs. Sour Peachopotamus will be sold in 500ml bottles.
Friday, August 17
Liquid Mechanics Brewing in Lafayette is throwing a two-day party to celebrate its fourth anniversary; the brewery is closing off part of its parking lot both days for food trucks, live music, cornhole, ladderball and general mayhem. There will also be more than twenty beers available, including limited releases. Today's events run from 2 to 11 p.m., and some of the proceeds will benefit the Colorado Brewers Guild, the nonprofit that promotes and protects the Colorado brewing industry. The Butcher & the Blonde will serve food, and bands include the Aristocats, Hindsight Classic Rock, and the JV3.
Wiley Roots Brewing in Greeley releases Packed With Peaches Sour Golden Ale at noon (about 70 percent of the bottles were sold online on August 13, but the remaining 30 percent will be available today). "Packed With Peaches is one of the beers within the brewery’s 'Packed With' series, which focuses on barrel-fermented and barrel-aged sours that are re-fermented on whole fruit," the brewery says. "Unfermented wort is inoculated in the barrel and left to age until the beer reaches the desired flavor profile and level of dryness. Once the beer is ready, it is racked into stainless steel fruiting vessels for re-fermentation on various types of fruits at specific fruiting rates." In addition, the brewery will release bottles of Peach Table Beer, a mixed-culture session saison aged on second-use peaches, online and at the brewery.
Saturday, August 18
Westfax Brewing welcomes in its fellow Lakewood breweries for a Lakewood Beer Collective Beer Block Party from noon to 11 p.m. It's a chance to taste beer from all of the Lakewood breweries at one place and time. The participating breweries are Green Mountain Beer Company, Great Frontier Brewing, Ironworks Brewery & Pub and LandLocked Ales. There will be free limited pint glasses for the first seventy attendees, live music by Larry Nix from 6 to 8 p.m., and beer and swag giveaways all day long from all five breweries.
Parker's biggest beer fest returns to O'Brien Memorial Park from 1 to 5 p.m., with beers from more than 45 breweries and cider makers, along with live music from Bad Candy, food from Golden Toad and Cheffin's Cheesesteaks & Cubanos, and lawn games. Tickets are $40 for general admission at 2 p.m. or $55 for VIP at 1 p.m. They're available at parkerbrewfest.com.
Liquid Mechanics Brewing in Lafayette continues its fourth-anniversary party at 11 a.m. when the first wave of people will get a free anniversary pint glass and a drink ticket. Burgerchief will be serving food, and there will be live music from Brothers Fortune, Indigent Row, Ultralowfi, Guerrilla Radio and Rogue 2.
The Outlets at Castle Rock are celebrating the dog days of summer with an annual Barks & Brews event from 4 to 7 p.m. The center "welcomes hundreds of local pets and their owners for a fun, relaxing day" of craft beer tasting from 38 State Brewing and Lagunitas, food from Philly on the Go, Stokd Pizza, Uncle Tapas, Tacos With Altitude, and live music. Beers are $5 and support the Humane Society of the South Platte Valley.