Breweries and brewery owners and staff are often the first to jump in to help one another — or the community in general — during a crisis. It's part of the altruistic nature of the craft-beer industry, a nature that has faced its challenges as of late but is still very much alive. The most recent example is Group Hug, a collaboration between a whopping 28 Denver-area breweries that was designed to raise money in support of Blind Faith Brewing head brewer Josh Martin and his wife, Lorna, who was diagnosed with stage-four breast cancer.
The brewers got together at Denver's Woods Boss Brewing a few weeks ago to make the beer, a "super clean, lightly dry-hopped (with Huell Melon) crushable cream ale," Woods Boss says. Each brewery got a keg of the beer; some have already tapped them, and some of the tappings are coming up soon, including at Goldspot (December 18), Woods Boss (December 19) and Odyssey Beerwerks (December 19). Check the Facebook pages of the breweries list below to see when each one is available. One hundred percent of the proceeds will go toward helping Josh and Lorna and their two young children cover some of the treatment costs.
Participants include: Woods Boss, De Steeg Brewing, Blind Faith Brewing, Cheluna Brewing, Goldspot Brewing, The Grateful Gnome, Station 26 Brewing, Comrade Brewing, Over Yonder Brewing, Empourium Brewing, FlyteCo Brewing, Landlocked Ales, Mockery Brewing, Strange Craft, Good River, Bruz Beers, Launch Pad Brewery, 14er Brewing, Diebolt Brewing, Jackass Hill Brewery, Liquid Mechanics Brewing, Odyssey Beerwerks, WestFax Brewing, Resolute Brewing Tap & Cellar, Lariat Lodge, Jagged Mountain, Joyride Brewing, and Call to Arms Brewing. Grain and yeast were donated by Root Shoot Malting and Propogate Yeast Labs.
Keep reading to see craft-beer events into late December.
Wednesday, December 18
Black Shirt Brewing taps a new beer called Headrest Double Brown Ale. The 10 percent ABV beer has "notes of toasted nut bread with a molasses drizzle. It's not a small beer, but the alcohol heft hides in the sumptuous folds of candied black walnut and light brown sugar," the brewery says. Unlike Wired for Sound (Black Shirt's nitro-poured double brown ale with Yirgacheffe coffee), Headrest will pour from a standard CO2 tap. "On its heels will be one more double brown with coffee variant, Morning Stretch, made with Guatemalan Huehuetenango beans from Sweet Bloom Coffee Roasters," which will tap sometime in January, Black Shirt adds.
Black Sky Brewery is bringing a little Chinese influence to this week's Traveling One Barrel Wednesday tapping. The brewery added toasted sesame seeds and Chinese black rice to this small-batch beer. "Look for a little sweetness and maybe a little chocolate note as this rice tends to impart those characteristics," the brewery says. Find a pint at Chain Reaction, Black Sky Brewery, Dead Hippie and Strange Craft.
Launchpad Brewery in Aurora kicked off its Eight Crazy Nights of Barrel Aged Beer celebration on Monday by releasing the first of eight barrel-aged beers that are available on tap and in a very limited number of 19.2-ounce stovepipe cans. Things continue today with the release of Cozy Christmas Soyuz Imperial Stout with coffee, coconut, caramel and vanilla beans. That will be followed on Thursday by Soyuz aged in a Creekside Cellars Sherry barrel with strawberries and balsamic vinegar; Old Fashioned Saison aged in Laws Whiskey barrels with cherries and oranges on Friday; Gemini Belgian Dubbel Aged in Laws Four Grain Bourbon barrels with gingerbread spices on Saturday; Soyuz aged in Laws Four Grain Bourbon barrels with pistachios and honey on Sunday; and Soyuz Aged in Laws Rye Whiskey barrels with cherries and almonds on Monday.
4 Noses Brewing in Broomfield will release two new beers in sixteen-ounce cans and on draft. Both are part of its Velvet series. The first is Cherry Pie Velvet Milkshake IPA, made with cherries, graham crackers and Monroe hops, which push the cherry flavor even further. The second beer is Extra Pineapple Velvet, an amped-up version of the brewery's original Pineapple Velvet. "We wanted to make this beer as juicy and creamy as possible and we certainly accomplished that," 4 Noses says. "This pineapple and citrus-forward beer has a full-bodied mouthfeel due to the added lactose and choice of malt used."
Thursday, December 19
Comrade Brewing kicks off its holiday party at 4 p.m. by tapping five different versions of its Quit Stalin Russian Imperial Stout (they will not last long): Coffee Maple Quit Stalin, Blueberry Nuttyness Quit Stalin, Strawberry Pop-Tart Quit Stalin, Coconut Quit Stalin, and Bananas Foster Quit Stalin. Ugly sweaters encouraged; Christmas cookies will be provided.
Just in time for the final installment of Star Wars, and inspired by everyone's favorite scruffy-looking nerf herder, Fiction Beer taps Never Tell Me the Hops, a New England-style IPA dry-hopped with Galaxy and Styrian Wolf hops. "The soft mouthfeel helps this beer go down faster than Han can make the Kessel Run," the brewery says. "Notes of passion fruit and tangerine with a touch of guava are sure to be light years better than anything served in the Mos Eisley Cantina. Be like Han and shoot first on this one, it won't last long."
Friday, December 20
Would you rather be on a beach somewhere instead of shoveling your car out after yet another snowstorm? That's the question that forms the basis of Little Machine Beer Company's July in Christmas party, where you can forget about winter from 7 to 11 p.m. "We're cranking up the heat to 80 degrees. Everyone in beach attire will get a free beer. And we're re-releasing customer favorite Concrete Paradise Pineapple IPA," the brewery says. "Bring your friends to be your backup singers during karaoke starting at 8 p.m., and Bad Santa will be on site for photo ops and free lap rides." There will also be palm trees, summertime games and kiddie pools.
Brut la Grande Belgian-Style Champagne Beer returns to Bruz Beers. This pale golden 10 percent ABV beer has a dense off-white head and a "perfumy aroma that yields notes of lemons, apricots, allspice, and black pepper," the brewery says. "Its complex flavor profile hints at tart apples, peaches, citrus, vanilla and exotic spices. It is light and airy with a silky mouthfeel, creamy pinpoint carbonation and a tart, bone-dry finish."
Mushroom beers are as rare as wild mushrooms themselves, but they are almost always a treat. Next Stop Beer Company (the former Intrepid Sojourner) taps its own version, Osaka, at 3 p.m. This French-style biere de garde "was brewed with Matsutake mushrooms from Chris Starkus and oyster leaf grown at his own Lost Creek Micro Farm in Lakewood," the brewery says. The 6.2 percent ABV beer will be on tap.
Earlier this year, Falling Rock Tap House owner Chris Black sat down with James Howat and his team at Black Project Wild & Spontaneous Ales to create a specially blended beer. That beer, Dry-Hopped Three-Year Spontaneous Blend "is now ready for your taste buds," Falling Rock says. It taps at 5:30 p.m.
Join Goed Zuur as it taps four different beers from Cellar West Artisan Ales, a small but up-and-coming Lafayette brewery focusing on wild, sour and wood-aged ales. The beers are Palisade Calling, Biere de Garde, Proprietor's Blend #2, and Special Herbs Vol. 2. Food pairings will be available.
Denver Beer Co. releases a limited number of Crowlers of Cinnamon Toast Crunch Graham Cracker Porter at both of its locations in Denver and Arvada. This is DBC's classic Graham Cracker Porter with cassia cinnamon and brown sugar. The 5.6 percent ABV beer will also be on tap.
Thirsty Monk will tap Bretted Pale Ale at 2 p.m. The beer was fermented with a blend of the brewery's house Belgian yeast and two strains of Brettanomyces "to lend aromas of orange and grapefruit peel, cut grass and leather, with spicy flavors of black pepper, pear and subtle stone fruits," Thirsty Monk says.
Cerebral Brewing will have fresh cans of two of its beers starting at noon. They are Strange Claw IPA, hopped with Citra and Columbus; and Nordic Noir, a 10.5 percent ABV Baltic porter aged in foeders.
Odyssey Beerwerks in Arvada taps Bavaria Hysteria Weizenbock, an 8.8 percent ABV dark, German-style wheat beer with "rich flavors of bready malt, delicious dark fruits and molasses, plus sublime aroma of banana and clove," the brewery says. "It's like banana bread in a glass."
Avery Brewing will release bottles of Rocky Mountain Olsons — a taproom-only offering. "Long, long ago, on a snowy day in The Alley, our Cellar Manager John Olson dropped some malted milk balls into a stout," the brewery explains. "The result? Rocky Mountain Olsons. This creation is beloved by our brewers, and they wanted to share it with you as a holiday treat. Rocky Mountain Olsons is a stout aged in bourbon barrels with milk chocolate malted milk balls."
Saturday, December 21
"What better way to celebrate the shortest day of the year than cozying up to our barrel aged Imperial Saison, C'est la Saison?" says Diebolt Brewing. "We aged this winter seasonal in five different barrel varieties: Chardonnay, Red Zin, Tequila, Rum, and Double Barrel Bourbon and we are releasing all varieties as four-packs of the same barrel and a pick four or six pack of multiple barrels," the brewery says. We'll also have a keg of each barrel on tap for the occasion, as well as some limited pours of 2017 C'est la Saison varieties."
Hops & Pie hosts one hell of a Stout and Holiday Beer Fest starting at noon when it taps: WeldWerks Medianoche #18706, Ratio Genius Wizard, Cerebral Safe Word and Winter Halo, 4 Noses Coconut Barrel Aged Stout, Westbound & Down Vanilla Absence, Copper Kettle Mocha Snowed In, Firestone Walker Mole Merkin, Strange Gingerbread Man, Port Brewing Santa's Little Helper, Brouwerij Huyghe Barrel Aged Delirium Noel, Southern Tier Old Man Winter, and Fremont Chocolate Vanilla Maple Dark Star.
Celebrate the Solstice in true Falling Rock Tap House fashion by starting at noon for the Shortest Day, Longest Night event, featuring the darkest of the dark beers. The lineup is still being finalized, but it includes: Surly Darkness, Epic Big Bad Baptist Quintuple Barrel, Avery Mephistopheles 2015, Alesmith Nibs & Beans Speedway Stout 2018, Elevation Coffee Oil Man 2018, Destihl Dosvidanya, Alaskan Smoked Porter 2015, and Boulevard Rye on Rye on Rye 2016.
Westbound & Down Brewing is thrilled to announce its first official can release, which takes place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Cultural Center, 6381 Beach Street. This is the shared barrel cellar and tasting room that Westbound shares with Amalgam Brewing. The first beer is Chicago Peaks Kölsch, a collaboration with Bierstadt Lagerhaus that boasts a simple, clean mouthfeel and a spicy subtle hop aroma. The second is Westbound Double IPA, the 8.8 percent GABF silver medal winner from October; "a ludicrous amount of Enigma, Galaxy and Mosaic hops pack big aromas of tangerine, blueberry, papaya and other tropical fruits," the brewery says. And finally, there is Colorado Pale Ale, dry-hopped with Mosaic, Simcoe, Centennial and Citra hops. El Taco Veloz Food Truck will be serving up authentic Mexican street tacos and more. Cans will also be available at Westbound's brewery and pub in Idaho Springs.
Banded Oak Brewing has bottled what it calls "one of our absolute favorite beers to come out of barrels," Belgian Blonde aged in French oak pinot noir barrels for five months. "There have been many different versions of this beer, but this one is very special," the brewery says. "We've previously tapped this same base beer aged in Cabernet barrels, and we've done a Chardonnay version as well. We like this beer so much that we put our brewer's wife on the label. She's actually a Brazilian blonde and not Belgian, but hey this is America, we're a melting pot country. It doesn't matter what's on the label as long as the beer is good, and this one is delicious." Bottles of the 8.6 percent ABV beer will be released when the brewery opens at noon.
Every year, Fiction Beer brews a beer based on the flavors of a different doughnut. For this year's Donut Panic event (the sixth annual iteration), the brewery auses a pale stout base, rich with characteristics of fresh bread, chocolate and caramel. "We then added seven pounds per barrel of toasted coconut and 1.25 pounds per barrel of cocoa," Fiction says. The result is a full-bodied beer with all the characteristics of a Samoa Donut. Starting at 1 p.m., there will be beers and doughnuts available (while supplies last).
River North Brewery's last Single Cask of 2019 will be released at noon at the Washington Street taproom. "This Single Cask has been aging in Bear Creek Distillery barrels and is our American Imperial Stout, Mr. Sandman," the brewery says.
Comrade Brewing taps Media Blackout American Stout at noon. The beer was made with a blend of roasted British malts and flaked barley, along with Simcoe hops "to match the big roast flavors of this pitch black, 5.9 percent ABV ale" the brewery says.
Ursula Brewery in Aurora will once again release the Sacred Fire, its 12 percent ABV Scottish-style Wee Heavy, in honor of the winter solstice. "As most know, this is the party and the beer when we do the 'hot poker' treatment while standing around fires and celebrating the winter solstice," the brewery says. This beer will be on draft and in a limited number of 375ml bottles.
Sunday, December 22
Liberati Brewing releases a new oenobeer today and hosts an ugly sweater party and contest. The beer is amusingly called We Don’t Blend Beer and Wine, and is an 8 percent ABV double IPA fermented 20 percent on Riesling grapes, and hopped with Calypso and Jarrylo hops. As for the sweaters, if you show up wearing an ugly one, you get your first pint of We Don't free.
Wednesday, December 25
Alpine Dog Brewing is open every year on Christmas, and it hosts its 6th Annual Christmas Day Party from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. The event is quite popular in the neighborhood and with beer-loving folks who need some sudsy company on Christmas Day. This time around, the brewery will tap three beers, Bourbon Barrel Aged Porter with Banana, Lactose, Chocolate, and Coffee; Bourbon Barrel English Style Old Ale; and German Style Schwarz Bier. There will also be music from The One and Only Jon Ham from 1 to 3 p.m. and cookie decorating.
Home alone? Not to fear. Bierstadt Lagerhaus and the Rackhouse Pub will open up the Beer Hall at 5 p.m. for games, music, movies on the big screen, and, most important, some solid holiday beer drinking. "Food and beverage options will be slightly limited in the Beer Hall, but the fun will be unlimited," the brewery says. "Bring some holiday cookies or a quality nut medley; tip the bartender in leftover ham; wear your new socks." There will also be a Giant Beer Pong tourney at 8 p.m.
Burns Family Artisan Ales opens from 5 to 10 p.m. for a family day potluck. Bring a dish to share, and spread the joy and get 25 percent off your tab. "We'll sneak-peek something amazing, but you will just have to be here with your best 'I was good all year' behavior to find out," the brewery says. All present get presents, and there will be HoHoHoliday tunes with Jeremiah Shore at 7:30 p.m.
Hogshead Brewery will be open from noon to 10 p.m. and plans to release a beer called The Rich Man's Premium Bitter in honor of the day.
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