The darkest days of the year are here, and with them, dark beers. But not everyone wants a malty brown ale or an over-the-top imperial stout. Some people prefer to stick with lagers, which is why Czech-style dark lagers and German-style dunkel lagers are particularly prevalent right now.
On the first style, you can find Czech dark lagers at Bruz Beers, 4 Noses Brewing and Wild Provisions, and at Call to Arms Brewing, which just canned its Shirtless Putin Catchin' Rays (see below), among others. As for dunkels, in addition to Bierstadt's classic, now in cans, you can find new releases from Oskar Blues and Woods Boss Brewing — not to mention an old classic at Grimm Brothers Brewhouse in Loveland, which just took home a gold medal for Fearless Youth Dunkel Lager at the 2020 U.S. Beer Open Championship.
Seedstock Brewing, meanwhile, straddles the two styles with its Bohemian-style Dunkel, a dark-copper beer with a faint chocolate aroma, peppery hop notes and a clean finish.
Keep reading to see all of this week's craft-beer tappings and releases.
Wednesday, December 9
Put a little cheer in your beer at Diebolt Brewing, which releases cans of Jingle Juice Session IPA. "This is a light, clean, hoppy and refreshing IPA that will lure you in with incredible citrus, floral, piney aromas" from Southern Cross, Vic Secret, Falconers Flight and Galaxy hops, the brewery says.
Cerebral Brewing releases a new double IPA called Verification Code. The 7.8 percent ABV beer was made with Nelson Sauvin, Citra, Lotus and Motueka hops. The brewery will also have fresh cans of Muscle Memory, a 5.5 percent ABV pale ale made with Citra, Idaho 7 and Motueka hops.
New on tap: Mockery Brewing took a brown ale and added peanut butter and chocolate to make Spread It On, a 5.4 percent ABV beer available on tap and in Crowlers to go.
Bull & Bush Brewpub continues its Christmas Advent Calendar countdown by offering a different vintage beer and a vintage whiskey each day. Today's pairing is Bull & Bush CBC Colorado Barrel Collective #6, a dark lager aged for eighteen months in whiskey barrels, with Whistle Pig 18-Year Rye.
Dry Dock Brewing debuts a new canned seasonal, Blueberry Smoothie. "A unique take on our tried and true blonde ale, Blueberry Smoothie offers a creamy, full-bodied texture and bold opacity that's akin to what you might slurp at a smoothie shop," the brewery says. "With shiploads of blueberries and the addition of vanilla and lactose, this misty ale gives off big fruit aromas with a velvety sweetness to round it all out."
Thursday, December 10
New in cans: Call to Arms Brewing has canned Shirtless Putin Catchin' Rays for the first time. This dark Czech-style lager is available alongside fresh cans of Janet Reno's Dance Party Session IPA.
Comrade Brewing is tapping a new version of its 9.9 percent ABV Quit Stalin Russian Imperial Stout each Thursday in December at 2 p.m. This week's flavor is Toasted Coconut Quit Stalin.
Denver Beer Co.'s Gingerbread Graham Cracker Porter will warm you right up this holiday season, and it's available at both of the brewery's taprooms in limited sixteen-ounce four-packs. "We started with a base of biscuit malt and then we added some holiday flare with gingerbread spices, including cinnamon and ginger, and a light dusting of allspice and nutmeg." Pairs well with Christmas sweaters and carols.
Holidaily Brewing, Golden's gluten-free brewery, releases cans of Big Henry Hazy IPA. "Big Henry is the trophy fish that's always just out of reach," the brewery says. "This beer is juicy and balanced, with waves of tropical and citrus notes. A gluten-free beer you never thought you'd land."
Friday, December 11
Little Machine Beer Company wants to give people a reason to come out into the cold this month, so it will be tapping and releasing some heavy hitters in December. First up is Dark Source, an 11.6 percent ABV Russian imperial stout that was aged in Laws Whiskey barrels for nine months. Then there's Surface of the Moon, a mixed-culture sour ale aged in Chardonnay barrels. And finally, Little Machine taps Blimp. Blimp. Boom, a 9 percent AVB Scotch ale that was originally brewed in collaboration with Sun King Brewing.
Fiction Beer Company has two new beers available in sixteen-ounce cans, along with the return of another beer. The first is Golden One, a hazy imperial IPA made with El Dorado and Azacca hops for notes of watermelon candy, guava and lychee, the brewery says. The second is Hive Swarm Honey Rye Pale Ale, which was brewed with local wildflower honey. And the final beer is Alternate Present Dark Lager, a schwarzbier with light notes of chocolate and a bit of roasted marshmallow.
Platt Park Brewing will have Ice Cream Parlor: Mango Milkshake IPA available in cans to go. Brewed with malted oats, raw wheat and milk sugar, and packed with copious amounts of vanilla and mango purée, this 6.8 percent ABV beer was double-dry-hopped with El Dorado, Citra and Mosaic.
New on tap: Bruz Beers has just tapped Carrot Saison, a seasonal beer brewed with fresh rainbow carrots picked out of the garden behind the brewery in Midtown. The beer is "smooth, earthy, with a touch of dryness," the brewery says; it is available on the patio or in sixteen-ounce cans to go.
Copper Kettle Brewing releases Snowed In Maple. This latest version of the brewery's bourbon-barrel-aged imperial oatmeal stout was made with real maple syrup. It is available on draft and in nineteen-ounce cans.
Factotum Brewhouse kicks off the holiday season with the first of several Factotum Gives fundraising beer tappings. Today's beer, a blonde ale with aromatic hops, was made along with Judi's House, a nonprofit that helps children and families dealing with grief. Factotum will donate $1 for every can or pint sold.
Liquid Mechanics Brewing in Lafayette continues to show love to West Coast-style IPAs with the release of Clear Beer IPA. Brewed with Strata, Experimental HBC 586 and Simcoe hops, it is available in cans. The brewery will also have bottles of Xmas Anarchy Project, a bourbon barrel-aged Russian imperial stout with ginger, orange zest and cinnamon.
Saturday, December 12
Our Mutual Friend Brewing hosts a two-day outdoor, socially distanced celebration of its eighth anniversary or, as the brewery puts it, "2,920 days of making beer and a place for community at 2810 Larimer Street." OMF will have seventeen beers on tap and three can releases, including Year 8 West Coast IPA and a smoked-malt strong ale (in addition to its existing list of cans and bottles). Owlbear Barbecue will be cranking out food, the heaters will be on, and the brewery will be accepting donation items (see the list of needed items on OMF's Facebook page) for the Hope Program, which helps HIV-positive people experiencing homelessness.
Graham Cracker Grand Cru returns to both Denver Beer Co. taprooms. This 9.4 percent ABV holiday seasonal is an imperial version of the brewery's award-winning flagship Graham Cracker Porter. It was aged in whiskey barrels along with chocolate, coconut, vanilla and coffee. "The result is a joyous journey of flavors that are smooth, rich, and complex," the brewery says. Reserve a bottle online.
New Image Brewing takes a page from Die Hard with Now I Have a Candy Cane. Ho. Ho. Ho. This 10.5 percent ABV imperial stout was made cacao nibs, peppermint and candy cane bits. "It tastes like solo doming the Nakotomi tower with a candy cane sword and chocolate dynamite," the brewery says. "So intense even the hardest of cowboys will be moved to their core." It is available in cans to go, along with the latest 6.5 percent ABV version of Double Dry Hopped Coriolis Effect, this one brewed with Topaz hops.
River North Brewery's final release of the year from its Single Cask series is Colorado Whiskey Barrel Aged J. Marie Imperial Saison. "You will find a deep, caramel-colored beer with light Belgian esters and caramel on the nose. Belgian, banana, and a subtle whiskey flavor partake in this light bodied beer that sits at 10.1 percent ABV," the brewery says. It is available in limited quantities on draft and in bottles to go.
Westfax Brewing releases three beers in cans. Faux Sho Pilsner is a 5.4 percent ABV keller pils fermented with Norwegian kveik yeast and hopped with Hallertau Mittlefru and Saaz. Cowboys vs. Hipsters IPA is a clear IPA brewed with Vic Secret and Strata. PB & Jelly Pastry Blonde has peanut butter and raspberries.
Sunday, December 13
Copper Kettle Brewing brings back its annual 12 Days of Firkins, which begins today when the brewery taps a small batch of Chocolate Bock. After that, the brewery will tap a different firkin each day through Christmas. Tomorrow's beer is Winter Warmer Spiced Strong Ale. Go to Copper Kettle's Facebook page for the rest.
River North Brewery has partnered with the famed Hammond's candy company in Denver to brew Chocolate Peppermint Candy Cane Porter, a 12 percent ABV beer that will be on tap and in bottles to go at both of the brewery's taprooms. There will also be a limited number of chocolate filled peppermint candy canes to go with the beer. The Go Green Food Truck will be at the Blake Street taproom serving up lunch and dinner.
POSTPONED: Burns Family Artisan Ales had planned twenty events to say goodbye to 2020, but in true 2020 fashion, most of them had to be canceled due to the latest restrictions on breweries and restaurants. But the brewery will still have the beers — in this case, Miracle on Second Avenue, a brown ale made with figs and orange honey. This sessionable beer is available in 16.9-ounce bottles.
Thursday, December 17
Comrade Brewing is tapping a new version of its 9.9 percent ABV Quit Stalin Russian Imperial Stout each Thursday in December at 2 p.m. This week's flavor is Maple Coffee Quit Stalin.
Friday, December 18
Little Machine Beer Company hosts a double tapping. The first beer is the return of That’s my Yam Sweet Potato Stout, a 5.9 percent ABV seasonal. The second is Beer Acquisition Syndrome, a 6.5 percent ABV West Coast-style IPA brewed with Trident and Simcoe hops.
4 Noses Brewing releases À La Carte, a 10.5 percent ABV imperial stout brewed with toasted coconut, raw coconut and cacao. "Brewed with a rich malt bill setting the stage for the luxurious coconut and cacao ingredients, we went all out with this recipe, adding over 350 pounds of coconut to the tank," the brewery says. "The toasted coconut brings a sensational natural sweetness to the rich chocolate flood from the cacao."
Saturday, December 19
Do you want to forget 2020? So does Briar Common Brewery + Eatery, which is why the brewpub created Amnesia Wood-Aged Imperial Stout. Weighing in a hefty 13 percent ABV, and infused with a touch of tart cherry, this smooth beer will help you say,"2020? What 2020? I don't remember a damn thing."
Dos Luces Brewing's annual Summer Solstice (in Peru) celebration will look a little different this year as the chicha and pulque producer can't crank up the heat, break out the kiddie pool, and pretend it's in South America for the day. But Dos Luces will have a special bottle release, Pomegranate Tùpac Amaru III, a variation on its barrel-aged Imperial Chicha. Pomegranate Tùpac was aged in Colombian rum barrels, with Palo Santo wood staves. At 11% ABV, "the flavors are rich and just a touch boozy," the brewery says. It will be available in 22-ounce bottles only, and in limited quantities.
Sunday, December 20
Bierstadt Lagerhaus unites with Goed Zuur and some local artisans for a socially distanced, mask-wearing holiday market and beer release. This is your chance to get Bierstadt's newest lager, Snüpinator Doppelbock, along with some brunch bites and last-minute shopping from local makers. Tickets are required for this event (get the details, along with the list of vendors, on Bierstadt's Facebook page) and include a two-hour window of time, beer and food like Italian tacos, banana bread and Nutella sandwiches.
Monday, December 21
Ursula Brewery brings back its Sacred Fire outdoor event with vintage bottles of Sacred Fire from 2017 and 2018. "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," Ursula says. The beer is on draft and in limited 375ml bottles.