March is stats month for the Boulder-based Brewers Association, the not-for-profit trade group representing thousands of craft breweries nationwide. So far, the organization has released several interesting numbers (a more comprehensive look will arrive soon). For starters, the number of operating breweries in the United States grew 15 percent in 2015 to 4,269 — faster growth than at any time in American history. And while 620 breweries opened last year, only 68 closed. That's because Americans — and foreigners — just keep drinking more and more craft beer. Here are a few more numbers from the BA:
- Small and independent craft brewers now represent 12 percent market share of the overall beer industry.
- In 2015, craft brewers produced 24.5 million barrels, and saw a 13 percent rise in volume and a 16 percent increase in retail dollar value.
- Retail dollar value was estimated at $22.3 billion, representing 21 percent market share.
- Craft brewers provided nearly 122,000 jobs, an increase of over 6,000 from the previous year.
- Craft beer export volume to other countries increased by 16.3 percent in 2015, 446,151 barrels.
- Western Europe saw a 33.4 percent increase in export growth. Ireland, the Netherlands, Thailand and Taiwan were the fastest growing markets in 2015.
- Canada was the leading international market for American craft beer, followed by Sweden, Ireland, the UK and Australia, but Ireland, the Netherlands, Thailand and Taiwan were the fastest growing markets.
In its next release, the BA will include a list of the fifty biggest craft brewers in the nation. It will be interesting to see who made the list and who didn't — and why.
Wednesday, March 30
Things just got real at Black Shirt Brewing, which will tap Whiskey Barrel-Aged Double Black Peanut IPA today at 11 a.m. as part of its One Keg Wednesday series. The beer was brewed as a collaborative effort between Black Shirt and To the Wind Bistro, where each meal begins "with a delicious bowl of boiled peanuts," the brewery says. "Well, we saved a bit of our wort (pre-fermented beer) and had Royce cook a batch of their peanuts, along with their delicious spice mix, in the wort. Afterwards, they drew the liquid off and gave it back to us to create a unique beer." The result is Black Shirt's Jack Daniel's Whiskey Barrel-Aged Double Black IPA infused with the spiced peanut broth.
It's Stone Brewing IPA Madness Night at Freshcraft which will tap three specialties from the San Diego brewery at 5 p.m.: Enjoy By 4.20.16; Pataskala Red X IPA; and Stone Epic Vertical 08.08.08.
Friday, April 1
Seedstock Brewery, at 3610 West Colfax Avenue, will host its grand opening today and tomorrow with growler giveaways, food trucks and live music tonight from High Desert, a bluegrass band.
Ratio Beerworks and New Belgium Brewing will take over the taps at Local 46 on Tennyson Street today starting at 4 p.m. for a patio party on First Friday. The two breweries will bring the beer that they made for Collaboration Fest, Let's Get Incredible Bruleed Grapefruit Saison.
Cosmic Unity, Fiction Beer's hazy New-England-style IPA, goes back on tap today — and this version was dry-hopped with even more hops than the last one.
Comrade Brewing will tap a new beer, Lemondrop Wheat: Hoppy American Wheat Beer, today. "A crisp and refreshing wheat beer, hopped with Sorachi Ace and Lemondrop," the brewery says. "Big and pleasant lemon zest aroma with a well-rounded smooth bitterness."
Copper Kettle will give you a taste of summer today by tapping a single barrel of Blueberry Scone Ale at 2 p.m. It will go quickly. Hamburghini Burgers will be out front.
Dry Dock Brewing is hosting a series of food-truck pairings this year at its North Dock Canoe Room tasting facility. Today's is is with 5280 Sliders, which is braising pulled pork in Dry Dock's Double Coffee Porter to serve a special rendition of their Cochon de Lait po' boy sliders.
Barrels & Bottles in Golden will host Milk & Cookies tonight, part of Firestone Walker's series of events where it pairs the new nitro version of its its Velvet Merlin Milk Stout with cookies from Brown Butter Cookie Company in California. The event starts at 5:30 p.m.
Saturday, April 2
River North Brewery, which was forced by development to move out of its original location, will celebrate its grand reopening today from noon to 10 p.m. and tomorrow from noon to 7 p.m. in the new brewery and taproom location at 6021 Washington Street. The new space has twice as much space and sixteen tap lines. "For the reopening party, you can enjoy drafts of both our classic brews and a selection of barrel-aged specialties. A limited amount of barrel-aged bottles will also be available to drink here or take home," River North says. There will be food trucks and tours on both days. After the opening party, the taproom will hold weekend hours only for a while before adding weekday hours.
Ursula Brewing, formerly known as Coda Brewing, in Aurora will tap Crustless today at noon. Formerly known as PB&J Porter, Ursula says it has been the brewery's "most requested re-brew ... ever since this beer won a gold medal at the Colorado State Fair." Also, it is National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day. Ursula recently changed its name after a split between its owners, so it is rebranding. As a result, the brewery says "our new bottle labels aren't finished yet so we'll only be selling growlers of Crustless to go. Look for bottles as soon as we can complete our newly branded labels."
World of Beer Cherry Creek, in Glendale, will celebrate its third anniversary today starting at 2 p.m. with live music, food, and a stellar tap lineup that will include beers from Crooked Stave, Funkwerks, Telluride Brewing, River North, Elevation, Epic, Firestone Walker, Almanac, Green Flash, Jolly Pumpkin, Alaskan, Widmer Brothers, Boulevard, Sierra Nevada and Stone. And starting at 6 p.m., there will be Boxwood Pinball in house with a pinball tournament.
Sunday, April 3
River North Brewery continues its grand reopening party today at 6021 Washington Street from noon to 7 p.m. with beer, food trucks and tours. See above for more details.
Monday, April 4
Locavore Beer Works in Littleton will be tapping three new lagers today: Not Your Quell, a Czech-style pilsner; Muncher Dunkel, a Munich dunkel; and RIPpLe, a red India Pale Lager. In addition, the brewery will host a baseball opening day party at 7:30 p.m., showing the Colorado Rockies game on TV. There will be all-you-can-eat peanuts.
Friday, April 8
One of my favorite packaged beers from 2015 will make its triumphant return to Denver Beer Co today at noon when the brewery hosts a release party for Cocoa Cream Graham Cracker Porter, on tap and in 22-ounce bomber bottles. The beer is an imperial version of Denver Beer Co's award-winning Graham Cracker Porter that was then aged American oak with vanilla and cacoa nibs. It tastes and feels like a s'mores milkshake. The first 100 people to buy a bomber can then hang out at the brewery's campfire on the patio and make their own s'more. Oh, and it's Rockies opening day, too.
Spangalang Brewery will celebrate its first anniversary all weekend long with a variety of beer tappings, giveaways and live music. Tonight, Arturo Gomez is spinnin' on the 1s and 2s. On Saturday, it's the Parlor Pickers and the Mike Schwartz Band. On Sunday, there's a ZIVIX Five Points Brunch with the The Clarkson Street Band and a special appearance by The Real Dill.
Tivoli Brewing will host a party today on its new biergarten to celebrate the Colorado Rockies home opener. They'll be grilling burgers and brats and pouring plenty of beer.
Lucky Pie Pizza and Tap House in LoDo will slide into its Third Annual Opening Day Patio Party today at 11 a.m. in conjunction with Epic Brewing, which will be pouring several of its beers to celebrate the Rockies opening day. Enjoy home made grilled sausages, like Texas Hot Link Sausages, Andouille Sausages, Boudin Blanc Sausages, and Bratwurst. There will also be braised purple cabbage, pickled onions, pickled jalapenos, beet pickled eggs, lemon garlic aioli, and BBQ sauce.
Known primarily for its big, hoppy ales, Oskar Blues will go the other direction this month when it releases Beerito, a 4 percent ABV Mexican-style lager made with several kinds of malt, including one grown in Colorado. "The hallmark of this beer is the complexity of its deeply developed malt bill, which includes Weyermann Barke Vienna, Carabelge, Melanoidin, and Colorado's own Troubadour Blue Ballad malt," the brewery says. A Beerito launch party takes place to day at the Tasty Weasel taproom in Longmont. After that, the beer will be available nationwide in six-packs and twelve-packs.
Saturday, April 9
Black Sky Brewery will host its second annual Rye Fest today from noon to 4 p.m., featuring rye-based beers from several local breweries, including Strange Craft, Chain Reaction, the Brew on Broadway and Black Sky (you can buy tickets, $35 each, at any of those four breweries as well, or online for $40). There will also be live music from the The Rye Pushers. Proceeds to benefit Community Sailing of Colorado.
"Ever wonder how individual breweries can each make IPAs that you love, but are all so different from each other? Well now is your chance to find out," say the organizers of Possible Worlds, a tasting and celebration of beer theory taking place today at 2 p.m. at Cannonball Creek Brewing in Golden. Join Cannonball, Call to Arms, TRVE, Ratio and Station 26 "to learn more about the the decision-making process that brewers face while creating unique IPAs that please our palates." To do this, each brewery made the same IPA with Amarillo, Centennial and Citra hops while using their own techniques. "The beers will be analyzed for their color and IBUs at Avery Brewing Company, and we will host a discussion on the intricacies of hop utilization and how incredibly different beers can taste when brewed in different facilities. A flight of five-ounce pours of each beer will be available for purchase at 2 p.m. when the discussion begins. The beers will be poured blindly, as Possible Worlds is less about whose beer is best, and more-so a conversation in beer theory and dynamics."
Sunday, April 10
Station 26 Brewing will host its monthly Bluegrass Brunch event starting at 11 a.m. with beer, live music from Burn It Blue, donuts from Glazed and Confuzed and barbecue from Rolling Smoke.
Saturday, April 16
The Bacon and Beer Classic returns to Mile High Stadium today from 1 to 4 p.m. and again from 7 to 10 p.m., featuring 100-plus craft beer samples, forty-plus bacon-infused dishes from local chefs, plus music, games and more. General admission tickets are $59; VIP tickets are $99 and get you in an hour early to either session. Find all the details at or more baconandbeerclassic.com.
Sunday, April 17
The Black Project will host a dual bottle release today from noon to 2 p.m. at its home at Former Future Brewing. The first is the dry-hopped wild ale, Jumpseat Batch 2, which has Citra, Mosaic, Equinox and Mandarina Bavaria hops. It boasts "increased complexity, same delicious citrus fruit hops playing with our house wild-yeast derived peach/apricot character," the brewery says. Each 750-ml bottle costs $24, and supply is very limited, so bottle limits will be in effect. The second beer is Ejector, a double dry-hopped wild ale (and Jumpseat's big brother). "This beer receives a second dry hopping just a couple of days prior to packaging. The second charge contains more Citra along with New Zealand Kohatu," the brewery says. "In case you aren't familiar, Kohatu is an interesting new hop out of New Zealand that is known for creating dry hop flavors ranging from funky pineapple to 'Hawaiian Punch." The 750-ml bottles of this beer will be $28 and are also very limited.