When Bent Barley Brewing opens November 16 at 6200 South Main Street in Aurora, it will join the newest generation of beer makers in the United States — the class of 7,000. That's right, somewhere in October, the number of breweries nationwide surged past the 7,000 mark, landing at exactly 7,082 on Halloween and now heading toward 7,100, according to the Boulder-based Brewers Association.
It's a crazy number, but even more wild is the fact that 1,100 of those breweries opened in the past twelve months — which indicates that there is still interest, there is still desire, and there are still people willing to lend money to would-be brewers who want to join the industry. Colorado, for its part, is also on pace for a record number of brewery openings in 2018 — a push that could see the number of breweries approach 440 or 450.
But things don't end there. The Brewers Association says there are more than 2,000 craft breweries in the planning stages across the country, which would quickly push numbers beyond 9,000.
Keep reading for all of this week's craft-beer events in the metro area.
Wednesday, November 14
Ratio Beerworks will tap Nobody’s Darlin’ Blended Barrel-Aged Whiskey Ale at noon. "One of Ratio’s greatest strengths is assembling tremendous individual talents and finding a way to unify them toward a greater singular force," the brewery maintains. Such is the case with Nobody’s Darlin', which blends bourbon-barrel-aged versions of Hold Steady Chocolate Rye Scotch Ale, Reservoir Old Ale, and a black IPA that Ratio brewed with Stone Brewing. "The result is a beautifully balanced, barrel-forward" beer.
Gingerbread Man Brown Ale makes its annual return to Strange Craft Beer Company at 3 p.m. It will "warm your belly and get you on track for the holiday season," the brewery says. "Medium bodied and easy spice notes bring this brew full circle. Indulge in your inner cookie monster and crush this beverage without remorse."
Strange Craft, Chain Reaction Brewing, Black Sky Brewery and the Brew on Broadway will all pay homage to the show "Stranger Things" by tapping Mouthbreather Belgian Dubbel. "Rich, malty, and spicy, with Belgian candy syrup and 72 Eggo waffles," Strange says, this beer is part of the Traveling One Barrel Wednesday collaborations between the four beer makers.
The Colorado Pickle and Beer Society is back at Spangalang Brewery from 6 to 9 p.m. so that pickle and beer lovers can "rekindle your bond with your fellow Society members and sign up for another amazing year of otherworldly pickles and life-changing craft beer," the organizers says. "This next year is guaranteed to be at least 80 percent better than last year. Stick around after signing up for live jazz at 7. Rumor has it there may be some pickles there." Not to mention beer.
Thursday, November 15
Join Goldspot Brewing at 3 p.m. for its most recent collaboration with Bruz Beers. Fig Belgian Brown has notes of cherry, plum, fig, chocolate and spice. (Bruz will tap its version on December 1.)
Call to Arms Brewing taps Beer Drinks You Baltic Porter. Brewed true to style, and featuring lager yeast and plenty of cold-conditioning time, this 6 percent ABV "deep chocolate, ruby-hued beauty boasts notes of black currant and dark chocolate-covered cherry with a hazelnut finish," the brewery says.
Liberati Osteria and Oenobeers, which just opened in October, will tap two new wine-beer hybrids. The first is India-Cube Pale Oenobeer IIIPA (I-3PO for short). Brewed with 25 percent Gewürztraminer from Oregon's Willamette Valley, and a "gargantuan quantity" of Wakatu, Kohatu, Waiamea and Amarillo hops, "the balance of this oenobeer is striking," Liberati says. "Unusual wine yeasts harvested from the skins of NZ grapes further augment the aromas, and it’s in a burst of mangos that some chardonnay yeast notes sometimes surface." I-3PO is 13.8 percent ABV and will be served in Chardonnay glasses. The second beer is Recioto Denveris, a sweet dessert beer brewed with 22.6 percent Petit Verdot grapes from Plum Ridge Vineyards in Sonoma Valley, along with Magnum, Challenger and East Kent Golding hops and roasted malts. Though it is a beer, it more resembles "in alcohol, acidity and body a sweet wine one would generally appreciate at the end of a meal," Liberati says. "Absolutely to be enjoyed flat, we feel it would be a crime to add bubbles to it. The aromas bring you to a forest floor filled with wild berries coated with chocolate, while the taste finely mirrors the nose."
Dos Luces, a brewery specializing in corn and maguey-based gluten-free beers inspired by pre-Columbian traditions, will tap its newest beer, Chile Lime Pulque. Made with maguey sap, malted blue corn, cinnamon, clove, pure lime juice and ancho chiles, "it’s a rich and complex blend of sweet, sour and spicy flavors designed specifically to complement and enhance the flavors of foods," Dos Luces says. Denver comedians Sammy Anzer and Elliot Broder will also be at the brewery to kick off a monthly comedy showcase.
Friday, November 16
Snowed In Mocha lands at Copper Kettle Brewing at noon. This 12.7 percent ABV beer is a "velvety sweet imperial oatmeal stout aged in Breckenridge bourbon barrels with coffee and chocolate," the brewery says. It is the same beer from previous years, "but renamed with mocha to distinguish it from the coconut (fall) and maple (spring) editions we added to the lineup." It will be on tap and available to go in 19.2-ounce cans.
National Yeti Day returns to Great Divide Brewing's Barrel Bar, which will "honor the magical beasts we love so much," the brewery says. There will be at least ten varieties of Yeti Imperial Stout on tap, including Yeti Imperial Stout, Barrel Aged Yeti, Velvet Yeti, Chai Yeti, Chocolate Oak Aged Yeti, Oatmeal Yeti, Macadamia Coconut Yeti, Maple Pecan Yeti, S'mores Yeti, Chocolate Cherry Yeti and Mexican Hot Chocolate Yeti, plus two specialty firkins. There will also be Yeti floats made with Sweet Cow's Yeti-infused ice cream. At 2 p.m. you can sign up to be entered into a drawing for several giveaways, which begin at 3 p.m. They include beer, gift certificates, Yeti merchandise, a Yeti game and a Yeti Timbuk2 Backpack. At 5:30 p.m., Great Divide will open its Yeti Cave & Patio — which is actually its barrel-aging room; the Yeti cave will have special tappings, giveaways, treats, new merch, a photo booth and more. The Clamato Time food truck will be on hand, too.
Banded Oak Brewing taps its seasonal Hirakata Farms Crenshaw Melon IPA, a West Coast-style IPA made with Rocky Ford Crenshaw melons — a cousin of the cantaloupe.
Little Machine Beer Company hosts a mini-beer festival and fundraiser from 6 to 9 p.m. to support victims of Hurricane Michael, via the Tapper Foundation Disaster Relief Fund. For $25, attendees get pours from nine breweries: Little Machine, Bierstadt Lagerhaus, Comrade, Cannonball Creek, TRVE, Call to Arms, Hogshead, Joyride, and Westbound & Down. There will also be flash tattoos being done on site for $40, and a raffle – all benefiting hurricane relief efforts.
Denver Beer Co. will host two Crowler releases — one at its Platte Street location and one in Arvada. The Platte Street release is Salted Caramel Pecan Tart; "inspired by the traditional Turtle candy, this kettle sour was made with Munich, caramel and brown malts, and fermented with salt and caramel and aged on pecans, it brings together a unique blend of flavors," the brewery says. There will be only 100 Crowlers available. The Arvada release is Cranberry Princess Yum Yum. A special holiday edition of this DBC staple, the beer "features our traditional German Kolsch fermented with both raspberries and cranberries. The result is a berry match made on Grandma’s dinner table that will quench your thirst and have you reaching for that second helping of turkey." This one will also be limited to 100 Crowlers.
Meanwhile, Cerveceria Colorado, which is also owned by Denver Beer Co., will release one hundred Crowlers of El Grito Blonde Ale. A collaboration of Cerveceria Colorado and five Mexican breweries, the beer "mimics the traditional dish of chiles en nogada, which is served to celebrate Mexican independence every fall," the brewery says. "The dish features chiles, walnut cream sauce, and pomegranates to showcase the three colors of the Mexican flag." El Grito is a blonde ale made with lactose sugar for creamy sweetness; pomegranates were added during fermentation, and the beer was aged on toasted walnuts and poblano chiles.
Cerebral Brewing celebrates its fourth anniversary with a series of special releases this weekend. At noon, it will begin selling cans of Rare Treat (a special version of Rare Trait IPA), Last Night in Sweden (a sour collaboration with Sweden's Brewski, made with yumberry and coffee), Plate Tectonics, DDH Rare Trait, and Time Crystal. The VX-3 Mobile Food Unit will be on hand from 2 to 10 p.m.
Platt Park Brewing taps a new Brut IPA made with tangerine for its Ski Waxing Party, which runs from 5 to 9 p.m. For $15, you get a pint and a ski/snowboard wax from Rocky Mountain Ski and Board Tunes.
Bent Barley Brewing, at 6200 South Main Street in Aurora, will open its doors for the first time during a grand opening celebration beginning at noon.
Peak to Peak Tap & Brew in Aurora is "thrilled to announce we will fill all of our thirty taps with Peak to Peak beer for our four-year anniversary." The brewpub hosts a weekend-long anniversary party that will include the release of some bottled beers, some throwback beers and music each night.
Saturday, November 17
Westbound & Down Brewing, in Idaho Springs, and Amalgam Brewing, which doesn't yet have a taproom, will unveil their new joint tasting room from noon to 7 p.m. in its shared barrel cellar. The Cultural Center, at 6381 Beach Street in north Denver, will specialize in barrel-aged sours. El Taco Veloz will be on hand with food.
Fiction Beer Company is releasing two beers in four-packs of 16-ounce cans starting at 1 p.m. The first is On Cloud Wine Brut IPA. A collaboration with Platt Park Brewing, the beer was made with Sauvignon Blanc grapes and will be available at both breweries. The second beer is Fiction's GABF bronze-medal-winning Madame Psychosis New England Style Pale Ale; this was the only Colorado beer to win an award in one of the new Juicy/Hazy GABF categories. This is its first time in cans. Ninja Ramen will be outside with food.
Take a walk on the dark side with Wynkoop Brewing's annual Day of Darks, a festival highlighting dark beers from more than thirty breweries from near and far. Tickets, $30, get you a commemorative glass for unlimited tastings and chocolate. Some proceeds benefit Beer for Boobs, the Colorado Cancer Institute and Movember.
Fermaentra Brewing celebrates its fourth anniversary with a variety of special tappings and can releases. The specifics are TBA, but the first 100 people will receive a commemorative, exclusive, full-color-wrap Rastal Harmony tumbler with their first pour. One of the beers is a collab with Alpine Dog and Locavore called Tangerine & Blood Orange Milkshake IPA; it's loaded with Citra, Mosaic and El Dorado hops along with lactose and vanilla, ans there will be about thirty cases available to go in cans. It will also be on draft.
TRVE Brewing is dropping Burning Arrow, a 5.7 percent ABV mixed-culture saison, which was fermented and aged in one of the brewery's foeders and then dry-hopped with Citra. It was fully refermented in the can "for perfect bubbles," the brewery says. It will be available on draft and in cans to go.
Barrel Aged Mr. Sandman, River North Brewery's award-winning American imperial stout aged for a year in a blend of whiskey barrels, is back at the brewery starting at noon. There will also be a fresh batch of classic Mr. Sandman, both on tap and in bottles to go.
Locavore Beer Works in Littleton marks its fourth anniversary with exclusive beer tappings, live music, food and giveaways. Beer releases will include 2018 Black Pearl BBA Imperial Porter; BAT Orange Bitters Barrel Aged Trippel; 2017 Quadricorn BBA Quadruppel; Tangerine & Blood Orange Collaboration Milkshake IPA with Fermaentra and Alpine Dog Brewing (which are also celebrating their anniversaries this month); and more. The Dollhouse Thieves will perform from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., and A.J. Fullerton will be there from 3 to 4:30 p.m. The Eric Dorn Trio will wrap things up from 6 to 9 p.m. There will also be limited-edition beer glasses available.
Oskar Blues celebrates its sixteenth "Caniversary" with a concert, pig roast, plenty of Oskar Blues beers and a party in the Oak Room, located at the brewery's headquarters in Longmont. Who's playing? That would be the Lonesome Days at 6 p.m., Bonnie and the Clydes after that, and finally, the acclaimed Gasoline Lollipops. Doors open at 5 p.m., and tickets are $17.50 online.
Monday, November 19
Join the Grateful Gnome Sandwich Shoppe & Brewery for the release of its newest beer. Imperial Gingerbread Stout, at 8.4 percent ABV, was brewed with fresh ginger, vanilla, cinnamon and lactose.
Wednesday, November 21
Renegade Brewing will release its latest barrel-aged beer just in time for Thanksgiving. Barrel-Aged Berbere Imperial Chocolate Stout is an imperial chocolate oatmeal stout with native Ethiopian berbere spice aged in Laws Whiskey barrels. The 12.5 percent ABV will be available on draft and in sixteen-ounce cans to go.
Banded Oak Brewing brings back Drunkard's Cloak at 4 p.m. This barrel-aged English-style old ale took good at the Great American Beer Festival this year. It features Madagascar vanilla beans, "big malt and oak, which meld together with the Pinot Noir barrel to create an impressionable beer," the brewery says.
As we enter the holiday season, Ratio Beerworks has lined up a double release to get people in the mood for Thanksgiving. The first beer is Roots Radical Citrus Beet Saison, a "beautiful, naturally bright ruby-hued saison featuring a slight blend of tartness, yielding to sweetness from the citrus and coriander," Ratio says. The second beer is Reservoir English Strong Ale, a winter warmer that "imparts bold, toffee, nutty, malt-forward flavors from the use of Maris Otter English malts and muscovado sugar."
Friday, November 23
Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project got a bunch of its friends together earlier this fall for a "megabrew" collaboration; the results will be tapped at noon. The participating breweries were: 18th Street Brewery, American Solera, Beachwood Brewing, Casey Brewing and Blending, Jackie O's Brewery, Monkish Brewing, Sante Adairius Rustic Ales, and WeldWerks. The beer, called Megacollab Double-Double Dry Hopped Imperial Juicy India Pale Ale, weighs in at 8.5 percent ABV and will be available on draft and in cans to go.
It's Black Friday 2018 at Station 26 Brewing, and that means the annual release of the brewery's barrel-aged imperial stout,
Dark Star Nightfall of Diamonds. The beer, formerly called Dark Star, has become a Black Friday tradition, and although Station 26 won't be releasing bottles this time, it will tap ten different flavor variations, alongside a base version and vintage batches from years past. All ten versions will go on at 11 a.m. The Order 26 Food Truck will be serving special pairings inspired by Nightfall of Diamonds.
Hops & Pie turns to the dark side at 11:30 a.m. for a Black Friday stout fest. The tap list includes: Westbound & Down Barrel Aged Posse Riot, Bell's Brewery Cherry Stout, Odell Whiskey Barrel Aged Lugene, Prairie Artisan Ales Deconstructed Bomb! Vanilla, Mikerphone Brewing & Untitled Art Barrel-Aged Hazelnut Imperial Stout, Untitled Art and Angry Chair Brewing Chocolate Vanilla Maple Imperial Stout, Fremont Brewing Bourbon Barrel-Aged Dark Star, Hubbard's Cave Vanilla Imperial Stout and Chocolate & Raspberry Pot De Créme, WeldWerks Coffee Maple Achromatic and Mocha Milk Stout, Station 26 Nightfall of Diamonds, Comrade Quit Stalin with Vanilla/Marshmallows, and Copper Kettle Brewing Company Snowed In: Coconut.
WestFax Brewing hosts its annual Black Friday Day of Dark Beers, releasing seven new dark beers at 11 a.m. They include a Black Brut IPA, Imperial Coconut Coffee Stout, Imperial Black IPA, Imperial Black IPA Nitro, Eclair Pastry Stout, Coffee Stout on Nitro, and Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout. That last one, called Silently Judging, was aged for six months in Laws Whiskey barrels and will be available in limited bottle quantities for purchase and in ten-ounce pours. Then, at dusk, Westfax will convert its taproom into a Cosmic Beer Party with black lights, glow sticks and live music by DJ RC3. Guests can enjoy all these dark brews (while supplies last) and don neon or glow-in-the-dark outfits "to take Black Friday to a new dimension."
4 Noses Brewing brings back Cinnamon Stout Crunch, a 9.4 percent ABV Russian Imperial Stout served on nitro. "Brewed with 50 percent more Cinnamon Toast Crunch this round, you'll experience a robust cinnamon flavor with an overwhelmingly smooth mouthfeel," the brewery says. The beer isn't available to go, but 4 Noses will be offering two-for-one Summer Whimsy packs. The Little Big Sandwich Truck will be on hand as well.
All Parry’s Pizzeria & Bar locations in the metro area (except for the Parker location) will tap rare dark beers in honor of Black Friday — "offering a reprieve for thirsty shoppers or a refuge for those avoiding the malls," the company says. Check each location's Facebook page for a tap list.
Thursday, November 29
Don your finest ugly sweater and join Boulder's Uplsope Brewing (at the Lee Hill location) at 5 p.m. for the release of Wild Christmas Ale with Balaton Cherries, part of the brewery's Lee Hill Series. Upslope makes a new wild version of its Christmas ale every year, each time with a different fruit. This year, the 9.1 percent ABV beer was aged in oak barrels for twelve months with the brewery's house sour culture before being racked onto 1,000 pounds of Balaton cherries and allowed to re-ferment for eight weeks. "Aromas of pie cherries, leather, clover honey, and almond are followed by mulling spices, and a touch of orange peel," Uplsope says. The beer will be available on draft and in 19.2 ounce cans to go.