February comes pre-loaded with two beer-friendly holidays: Mardi Gras and Valentine's Day (or Anti-Valentine's Day, as the case may be). But the shortest month of the year is also special in Colorado because of Stout Month, which was started by the Mountain Sun Pub 25 years ago and is still going strong today. And while Mountain Sun, Vine Street Pub and the company's other associated restaurants and breweries will have different stouts on every day, numerous other breweries get into the spirit as well, tapping stouts of their own. You can find many of them in our weekly Beer Calendar, which posts every Wednesday. But for the ten best February events, keep reading.
Pliny the Younger Tappings
It's that time of year again — time to stand in line to sample one of the West Coast's most storied, most sought-after beers, Russian River Brewing's Pliny the Younger Triple IPA. This hop bomb was at one time ranked atop the list of best beers in the country, but has fallen a few notches over the past few years as styles and tastes changed across the country. It is still a fantastic beer, though, and well worth seeking out. Pliny will first be tapped in California and then make its way over the Rockies to Colorado in mid- to late February, when very limited amounts will be tapped at places like Falling Rock Tap House, Freshcraft and Lucky Pie. Stay tuned to our weekly beer calendar for tapping dates once they are announced. Here's a message from Falling Rock about this year's Pliny the Younger arrival. UPDATE: Falling Rock will tap Pliny the Younger on Saturday, February 17 at 1 p.m., Sunday, February 18 at 1 p.m., and Saturday, February 24 at 1 p.m. To get some, follow the instructions on Falling Rock's web site.
Thursday, February 1, through Wednesday, February 28
All Mountain Sun Pubs and Brewery locations
The Mountain Sun Pub company, which owns the Vine Street Pub in Denver and four other locations in Boulder and Longmont, will celebrate a quarter-century of stouts with its 25th annual Stout Month celebration. Over the next 28 days, the pubs and breweries will tap at least 31 Mountain Sun stouts and barrel-aged stouts, including 48 Smooth Chai Stout, Addition Imperial Coffee Stout, Bourbon Barrel-Aged Addition Imperial Coffee Stout, Nihilist Russian Imperial Stout, Dark Harvest Pumpkin Stout, Chocolate Dip Stout, Space Odyssey Stout, Bourbon Barrel-Aged Oatimus Prime Imperial Oatmeal Stout and Chocolate Thunder Bourbon Barrel-Aged Imperial Chocolate Milk Stout. In addition, stouts from more than thirty other Colorado breweries will rotate through their tap boards. Mountain Sun, Southern Sun, Under the Sun, Vine Street, and Longs Peak Pubs will also host special events, concerts, tastings, giveaways and gatherings to pay homage to the great stout. Stay tuned to their Facebook pages for details and specific beer offerings.
February 3, February 10, February 17
Two Peak Launch Project
Two22 Brew; Peak to Peak Tap & Brew; Launch Pad Brewery
Three small Aurora breweries — Two22 Brew, Peak to Peak Tap & Brew and Launch Pad Brewery — in collaboration with American Craft Beer Radio, have teamed up for the Two Peak Launch Project, a three-part series of "Aurora Dessert Blonde Stouts." The first release is today at Two22 Brew, and it features Coffee & Donuts Blonde Stout made with raspberry and cold-brewed vanilla coffee. The second release, on February 10 at Peak to Peak, is White Chocolate Blonde Stout, which was the top-voted employee brew at Peak to Peak's Anniversary Party. The final yet-to-be-named beer will be served at Launch Pad Brewery on February 17. Each brewery will have a unique piece of glassware that if collected as a trio will come together in one epic design.
Saturday, February 10
Rauchbock Parka Party
Bierstadt Lagerhaus/Rackhouse Pub
Smoke ’em if you got ’em at the Rauchbock Parka Party, which takes place outdoors at Bierstadt Lagerhaus and the Rackhouse Pub from 2 to 8 p.m. Bierstadt will tap its newest lager, a smokey German-style rauchbier. But the mini-fest will also feature a few pop-up partners in River North, all of whom can bring the smoke. There will be hand-rolled cigars by Palma Cigars & Bar Las Palmas, a whole smoked pig by Owlbear Barbecue, a Mezcal tasting by Finn's Manor, and s'mores from the Preservery. Oompah music will be provided by Rick Borger & the Average German Band. Bierstadt says, "Bring your coat and drink beer in the elements or sunshine because: Colorado."
Saturday, February 10
10,000th Brew Party
Tommyknocker Brewery, Idaho Springs
Tommyknocker Brewing gathered current and former employees and brewers early last month for a daylong event during which the 23-year-old beer maker whipped up its 10,000th brew, a collaborative Baltic Porter. To celebrate, the brewpub will tap the beer, while the renowned Rapidgrass Quintet will perform live. There will also be food and drink specials. The beer will be on hand at Collaboration Fest as well, taking place March 31.
Saturday, February 10
Mardi Gras Rumpus
Call to Arms Brewing
Call to Arms Brewing is "blending tradition with innovation" for its Mardi Gras Rumpus, a festive soirée from noon to 9 p.m. offering special beers, New Orleans-style food from Rolling Smoke Food Truck, and Mardi Gras-inspired sweets from Copia Confections and Good Sugar Baking. There will also be the World’s Tiniest Mardi Gras Parade down Tennyson Street; led by the Mile High Brass Band, the 4 p.m. parade features mini-floats from Avery Brewing, Bierstadt Lagerhaus, Call to Arms, Mountain Sun Pub & Brewery, Station 26, Little Machine Beer, Beryl’s Brewing and Goldspot Brewing.
Wednesday, February 14
Anti-Valentine's Day Party and Beer Release
Copper Kettle Brewing
"Valentine's Day is lame, new Snowed In flavors are not." That's the word from Copper Kettle Brewing, which hosts an anti-Valentine's Day party along with the release of Cherry Cordial Snowed In, a one-time-only, single-keg tapping of a cherry version of the brewery's imperial oatmeal stout. It will not be available in bombers, Crowlers or growlers. There will also be anti-Valentine's coloring sheets, mad libs, and cards.
Saturday, February 17
Bristol Brewing, Colorado Springs
Bristol Brewing brings back the fourteenth annual Firkin Rendezvous, a celebration of Colorado cask ales, from 2 to 5 p.m. (or 1 to 5 p.m. for VIP ticket holders). At least thirty Colorado breweries will be on hand with beer that has been conditioned in small casks called firkins. Some will be traditional, some will be weird. "The cask conditioning of ales is a traditional British style of brewing that originated centuries ago when publicans lived above their pubs and made a life’s work out of tending their beers," Bristol explains. "Cask ales are fermented, conditioned and served in a single cask, the ‘firkin’ being the British cask size most commonly used." Tickets are $45 for general admission and include a commemorative glass and buffet lunch; VIP tickets are $65 and get you in an hour early, in addition to a glass, lunch and a T-shirt. The event benefits the Colorado Brewers Guild.
Saturday, February 17, and Sunday, February 18
Seventh Annual Beer, Bacon & Coffee Festival
Denver Beer Co
"Come warm up and indulge all of your vices" at the seventh annual Beer, Bacon & Coffee Fest, says Denver Beer Co, which is hosting the early-morning event, starting at 8 a.m. "All that is required of you is to wake up... and roll down to the brewery. Afterward, you are free to take a nap." Tickets are $40 and include a big breakfast burrito from the Mighty Colorado Burger, coffee from Coda Coffee and as much Tender Belly bacon as you can eat. You will also receive a souvenir Denver Beer Co coffee mug to fill with beer.
Saturday, February 24, and Sunday, February 25
Sixth Anniversary Party
River North Brewery
River North Brewery will celebrate its sixth anniversary with a party featuring the brewery's Anniversary Ale 6, which is described as "a superstout like none other," available on tap and in bottles to go. River North will also have its Double Dry Hopped Mountain Haze on tap and in Crowlers to go. There will be food from Matt's Snack Shack and rotating kegs all weekend, along with other fun activities.