Last year, it seemed like Fort Collins was invading Denver. Odell Brewing opened its beautiful two-story brewery and taproom in the River North Arts District in May, and New Belgium teamed up with the Source Hotel on the Woods, a rooftop restaurant and beer-aging cellar that opened in August. The ground-floor brewery portion of that facility began turning out beer two weeks ago. In addition, Red Truck Brewing, a Canadian company that bought Fort Collins Brewery in 2016 and rebuilt and rebranded it as Red Truck last August, has also purchased a piece of property in RiNo, with plans for a second location there in 2020.
But Denver is launching a counter-attack in 2019. Prost Brewing, which was founded in Denver in 2012, opened a taproom in Fort Collins in 2016, and the company will begin brewing on its pilot system there sometime this month. Meanwhile, Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project, which was actually founded in Fort Collins in 2010 before moving to Denver in 2011, will make its grand homecoming in late January or February when it opens a new taproom in the Exchange, a commercial development at 216 North College Avenue in Old Town.
The 3,000-square-foot drinking hall will have twenty taps that will pour a wide range of sour and wild ales, along with "clean" beers, like the IPAs, porters and pilsners that the brewery has been making of late. Eventually, Crooked Stave plans to add a small pilot brewhouse there for other specialty beers.
Keep reading for all of this week's craft-beer events.
Wednesday, January 9
Four small breweries will tap Red Brut IPA at 3 p.m. as part of their combined Traveling One Barrel Wednesdays program. Brewed by Strange Craft Beer Company, the beer boasts "balanced fruit and dry notes," and will be available at Strange, Black Sky Brewery, Chain Reaction Brewing and the Brew on Broadway.
Head to the Grateful Gnome Sandwich Shoppe & Brewery for the release of its newest beer, Petite Barleywine. It's got "heavy notes of prunes and raisins with a warm, slightly boozy finish," the brewery says. "At 8.6 percent ABV, it drinks deceptively smooth. No adjuncts, no oak, just a good ol' fashioned Barleywine."
First Draft Taproom & Kitchen taps Sierra Nevada Resilience Butte County Proud IPA at 5:30. The beer was made to support the victims of California's devastating Camp Fire, and 100 percent of the proceeds will be donated to the Camp Fire relief efforts. The beer is a 6.8 percent IPA.
Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project will mark its eighth anniversary with four days of special releases, tappings and more. Today, the brewery will debut new sixteen-ounce cans of T'Oats McGoats, a hazy, New England-style IPA brewed with Mosaic, Azacca, Mandarina Bavaria and Motueka hops, along with oats (not goats). Crooked Stave will also tap Gino Imperial Stout, which was brewed in collaboration with Omnipollo and features banana, toasted coconut, chocolate, vanilla, kiwi and strawberry; the Crooked Lemonhead, a golden sour conditioned with lemon zest and dry-hopped with Lemondrop hops; and the much-anticipated Eighth Anniversary Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout Porter, brewed in collaboration with Evil Twin. In addition, the brewery will have some bottles for sale, including Mama Bear's Sour Cherry Pie with cinnamon, and L'Brett d'Raspicot Sauvignon Blanc.
Great Divide Brewing begins a new series of limited-release, draft-only beers, each of which will be tapped at 5:30 p.m. on Thursdays at both taprooms. The New Year New Beer series begins with Great Platte Porter, a barrel-aged porter brewed in collaboration with Good River Beer Company. Aged in Breckenridge Distillery bourbon barrels, the 7.8 percent ABV beer was then infused with cherry purée to give it "a hint of tartness," Great Divide says. "The final product is roast-y with notes of chocolate and touches of bourbon and wood." Reps from both breweries will be at Great Divide's original Arapahoe Street location. In addition, the breweries have teamed up with Cheers to Rivers and the Colorado Water Trust to offer a reusable Klean Kanteen steel pint glass; for $10, you get the glass and a pour of the beer. A portion of proceeds goes back to the charity.
Call to Arms Brewing has joined forces with its craft-beer-aficionado friends from the band Pick & Howl to brew a new Black IPA made with two Australian hops: Ella and Enigma. "Hop-forward with fruit notes layered under heavy pine aromas," the beer has a "nice malt character with tons of coffee on the nose and some light chocolate present," Call to Arms says. It taps at 3 p.m., followed by a performance from Pick & Howl at 6 p.m.
"Making its long-anticipated return after two long years," the Schwibby Schwarz returns to Wibby Brewing in Longmont at 11:30 a.m. "Despite its opaque color, this black, smooth, well-balanced lager drinks surprisingly smooth," Wibby says. "The oats used during the brewing process create an enjoyable, creamy mouthfeel." (And don't forget: it's smooth.)
The three-day Big Beers, Belgians and Barleywines Festival returns to the Beaver Run Resort in Breckenridge, where some of the best brewers in the nation will convene to ski, soak in hot tubs, renew acquaintances, speak in seminars and see who can handle the most high-ABV beers. And you can still join them. Tickets for the majority of the events taking place during the nineteenth annual Big Beers fest are still on sale, including the commercial tasting on Saturday, which features more than 400 big beers from breweries all over Colorado, the nation and the world. In addition, there are tickets to two different special beer-pairing dinners — one starring Dave Thibodeau of Ska Brewing and Lasse Ericsson of Sweden's Nynäshamns Ångbryggeri, and the other with Adam Avery of Avery Brewing and Bryan Selders from Dogfish Head. Seminars this time around will address the impact of water on beer, yeast health, Brettanomyces, ancient Nordic styles, foraged ingredients, beer and food pairings and a variety of other topics.
Join Cerebral Brewing at noon for a double can release. The first beer is Airplane Mode, a 6.8 percent ABV IPA. "The second of our In Flight series and a new approach to our IPAs...brewed with even more oats and a touch of raw wheat, then hopped with staggering amounts of Galaxy, Mosaic and Citra," Cerebral says. The second beer is Bird of Paradise — Pineapple, Peach & Tangerine, a 5.2 percent smoothie-style sour made with Lactobacillus and a clean American strain, then conditioned on lactose, pineapple, peach and tangerine.
Platt Park Brewing taps the first in its new Plattsmosphere series of rotating New England-style IPAs. For Plattsmosphere: Mission 1, the brewery used 6.6 pounds of Citra, Cascade and Huell Melon hops. "It has tones of honeydew melon, grapefruit and mango," the brewery says. Platt Park came up with the idea when local artist Pat Milbery was painting a mural inside the brewery composed of black and gold hops set in outer space. "Someone yelled out the word 'Plattsmosphere,' and we knew we had to use it."
The family behind Seedstock Brewery has been making a special imperial stout for the past twenty years, but only for their personal stash. This year, however, they decided to release it at the brewery. Seedstock Imperial Stout, at 9 percent ABV, is "mysteriously black with a thick, tan head. It has rich, roasted malt flavors of dark chocolate and dried fruit, and finishes dry and warm," the brewery says.
Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project continues its weekend-long eighth-anniversary celebration by tapping beers from some of its friends. The beers include Fremont Bourbon Barrel Aged Dark Star, Hill Farmstead Florence, Old Nation Boss Tweed, and a yet-to-be-determined Cantillon beer.
Avery Brewing will release a new year-round IPA called Hazyish IPA at the taproom at 11:30 a.m. This beer has been "on tap under a few different names and variations over the past year, but no matter the name, it's been a bestseller," Avery says. "Hazyish is a juicy and hazy IPA with low bitterness, an expressive aroma of four different hop varieties (Amarillo, Azacca, Mosaic and Simcoe), and a creamy mouthfeel." Buy a pint of Hazyish and keep the glass all day today. Buy a six-pack to take home and get an extra can free.
Irish Blessing Oak-Aged Coffee Stout returns for its annual run at Boulder Beer Company at 5 p.m. The brewery will give you your first pint free from 5 to 5:30 p.m., then there will be live music from Juice o' the Barley and a whiskey sampling from Tullamore Dew.
The fourth annual Lowdown Brewery + Kitchen Barrel Aged Beer Festival begins at 11 a.m. with several barrel-aged beers from Lowdown, along with selections from Elevation Beer Company, Ratio Beerworks, Dry Dock Brewing, River North Brewery, Baere Brewing, Little Machine Beer, Black Project Spontaneous and Wild Ales, and Lagunitas. Admission is free.
Yakima Nectar, a citrusy, piney West Coast IPA returns to Alpine Dog Brewing at noon. It's "loaded with your favorite classic hops: Centennial, Chinook, Cascade and Columbus," the brewery says.
The West Side Brewery Bus Loop returns for its monthly route. This year, there will be two buses running continuously between Little Machine, Joyride, Zuni Street and a fourth guest brewery each month (it's Briar Common today). Start at whichever brewery you choose and ride the loop all day for only $5. Complete the loop at all four breweries and get a coupon for a free beer on your next visit at one of the four. Tickets can be purchased at your starting brewery. There are also themes; today's is 1980s/’90s.
New Image Brewing will release bottles of Proceed in Good Faith starting at 11:30 a.m. The beer was made after Molly's Spirits in Lakeside gave New Image a Laws Whiskey House barrel so that the brewery could make something special. New Image aged its Dyad Kombucha beer in that barrel for over twenty months, then blended it with fresh Dyad and mangoes to create Proceed in Good Faith. Coming in at 7.5 percent ABV, this barrel-aged blended sour is only going to be available at the taproom and at Molly's.
Sunday, January 13
Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project continues its weekend-long eighth-anniversary celebration with a Little Man Ice Cream pop-up and beer floats.
It's been a hoppy new year at Comrade Brewing, which will tap a few double dry-hopped variants of its famed Superpower IPA at 4 p.m., along with Grapefruit Superpower.
Great Divide Brewing taps Wood Werks #4 at 5:30 p.m. at both taprooms as part of its New Year New Beer series. The beer is a barrel-aged saison that "highlights the spicier side of the style," Great Divide says. "The addition of spelt and rye further accentuate this earthy, spicy component." After brewing, the beer was aged in a mix of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon barrels for ten months, to "round out the overall character of the beer. The final product will be bready, earthy, and spicy with a luxurious mouthfeel with a hint of vinous character."
Friday, January 18
Westbound & Down Brewing will use the Denver barrel cellar it runs with Amalgam Brewing to release bottles of Barrel Aged Absence Imperial Stout and two separate variants; these are the first "clean" (meaning not wild or sour) beers that the Idaho Springs brewery has sold in bottles. "Absence is a blend of our five favorite bourbon barrels from two separate brews," the brewery says. "Expect a soft and sticky mouthfeel from a long boil, high starting gravity and large portion of flaked oats used in the grist. We have the base blend and two separate variations. One variant was aged on whole Madagascar bourbon vanilla beans for an additional three weeks prior to packaging and the other was aged on toasted coconut, toasted in our very own kitchen in Idaho Springs." All three beers were packaged in 750ml bottles; there will be some on draft as well. The release takes place at 3 p.m. in the Cultural Center, at 6381 Beach Street, in Denver.
Back on December 21, 2018, Zuni Street Brewing cooked up its 200th batch of beer, GingerGrass Ale. That beer will be tapped today as part of the brewery's 200th Batch Bash, when Zuni Street will also open up the naming rights to its new tank. Do you want to bid on it? "We will hold a live auction in the brewhouse, naming rights to the highest bidder. The money from your winning bid will go to the charity of your choosing and we will get to work on lettering the tank," the brewery says. "Tank names must be appropriate and a character count will be negotiated. The auction starts at 7 p.m. The Stella Blue Food Truck will be outside.
4 Noses Brewing is excited to introduce the Inherited Oak series, a new line of barrel-aged golden sours matured for multiple years in neutral red wine barrels and re-fermented on various fruits. "Our first release will feature Balaton cherries, known for their prominent tart cherry pie flavor, complementing pie-spice phenols and pleasant acidity in the base beer," the brewery says. "Neutral red-wine barrels exude subtle vanillin, which rounds the mouthfeel." The beer goes on tap at noon; the Little Big Sandwich Truck will be on hand.
Westfax Brewing in Lakewood is releasing its first-ever sixteen-ounce cans starting at 2 p.m. The first is its flagship Urban Lumberjack Hazy IPA, which was brewed with six hop varieties: Citra, Azacca, Eldorado, Amarillo, Simcoe and Mandarina. The second is Just Brut It, a "crisp, light, dry" Brut IPA with tropical fruit notes including melon and white grape. There are only one hundred cans of each beer; the original artwork on these cans as created by local artists Drawing from Nature and Noelle Phares Art.
Anheuser-Busch InBev created a stir recently when it posted a now-deleted Facebook ad for Wicked Weed Brewing, one of a dozen U.S. breweries that AB InBev has purchased in the past eight years; in it,
the maker of Budweiser appeared to be saying that it was now introducing sour beers to the New World despite the fact that brewers have been making them here for decades. "After centuries of development in and around Belgium, sour beers have arrived in the United States. In addition to standard ale yeasts, sour beers make use of “wild” yeasts like Brettanomyces and Lactobacillus: microorganisms that consume sugars to create uniquely tart, sometimes funky flavors. Often, heavy doses of fruit are added to these beers after they’ve gone through initial fermentation," the ad read. Many craft breweries shared that post with a chuckle or a sigh. But Wiley Roots Brewing in Greeley is taking things a step further. At noon, it releases (on draft and in cans) Beer Flavored Beer, a German-style helles lager that pokes a little fun at AB InBev. Its tagline reads as follows: "After centuries of development in and around Belgium, lager beers have arrived in the United States. In addition to standard ale yeasts, lager beers make use of "lager" yeasts like Saccharomyces and Saccharomyces: microorganisms that consume sugars to create uniquely crisp, sometimes enjoyable flavors. Often, heavy doses of rice or corn are added to these beers before they've gone through initial fermentation."
Ratio Beerworks is excited to announce the bottle release of its 2018 Bourbon Barrel-Aged Coconut Vanilla Genius Wizard Imperial Stout. The beer, which first appeared at the brewery's December Genius Wizard party, "is brewed with copious amounts of base malt, specialty grains with the addition of molasses, then barrel-aged for twelve months to produce subtle sweet vanilla and oak-forward flavors," Ratio says. There are only one hundred bottles available, and they will go on sale at noon. A small amount will be on draft.
River North Brewery hosts its once-a-year release of Whiskey Barrel Quandary starting at noon. The beer is "aged in only the finest Colorado bourbon and whiskey barrels, with classic notes of figs and dates layered atop oak and spirit," the brewery says. It will be available on tap and in bottles to go.
Join Cerebral Brewing for the release of its acclaimed Here Be Monsters Imperial Stout. Aged for seventeen months in freshly dumped Four Roses bourbon barrels, this 14.4 percent ABV beer was brewed with Maris Otter and copious amounts of English Chocolate and Crystal malt. Cerebral will also tap Vanilla Here Be Monsters (draft only), which was conditioned on a blend of Madagascar Bourbon and Ugandan vanilla beans. Although doors open at 10 a.m. for the bottle release (but not to the general public until noon), people will line up much earlier. The brewery will begin handing out tickets at 8 a.m.; for more details, the rest of the rules and other information about price limits, go to Cerebral's Facebook page.
Prost Brewing invites customers to check out its new look in the taproom along with "a new, updated image for ourselves," as part of its Grand Grand Rebranding Party at 3 p.m. While the brewery says it will continue to focus on German-style beer, it will have a new logo, new merchandise and new glassware.
Denver Beer Co. brings its two-day Beer, Bacon & Coffee Fest back to Olde Town Arvada today and tomorrow from 8:30 to 11 a.m. "Come warm up and indulge all of your vices at...this early-morning blast," the brewery says. "All that is required of you is to wake up, roll down to Denver Beer Co. and enjoy some of Denver’s best beer, bacon and coffee. Then go home and take a nap." Tickets are $40 on the brewery's website, and the event is expected to sell out beforehand. The price of admission includes a big breakfast burrito, unlimited coffee and bacon, a souvenir coffee mug and all the “breakfast inspired” brews you can drink in 2.5 hours.
Come celebrate six years with Cannonball Creek Brewing in Golden, which will host a two-day-long birthday party featuring special tappings, food trucks and live music on both days.
Verboten Brewing in Loveland will host an inaugural Stout Fest from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., featuring a whopping twenty housemade stouts on tap. These will be small-batch releases, barrel-aged releases, and crazy taproom-only releases. Tickets are $35 and include unlimited tasters with a commemorative glass. Or, for $25, you can get a ten-taster punch card and a glass.
Wednesday, January 23
The Post Brewing in Boulder hosts a four-course beer-pairing dinner — and not just any dinner. This one features bison, an animal that is an integral part of Colorado's history. The Battle of the Brewmasters (Bison Edition) begins at 6 p.m. and includes a four-course meal showcasing three cuts of bison (bison short rib tamale, for example), each paired with a beer from both the Post and 4 Noses Brewing in Broomfield; brewmasters Nick Tedeschi (The Post) and Brandon Boldt (4 Noses) will host. Afterward, you can vote to see which pairings were the best. Tickets are $50 and available at eventbrite.com.
Great Divide Brewing taps Chocolate Cherry Yeti at both of its taprooms in honor of the beer's February bottle release. A big hit during Yeti Awareness Week in 2018, Chocolate Cherry Yeti, at 9.5 percent ABV, will become part of the brewery's seasonal Yeti series. In the meantime, though, Great Divide says it has "tweaked the hop bitterness for this special release and then added sweet and sour cherries and cacao. The roasty malt backbone of Yeti melds perfectly with the cherries and cacao to make this one smooth sipper."
Call to Arms Brewing loved its Majestic Wolf Lamp Oak-Aged Blended Belgian Sour with Blackcurrants so much the first time it was released that the brewery decided to bring it back. Coming in this year at 8.6 percent ABV, "this complex, jammy blend offers notes of boysenberry and blackcurrant with a pronounced-yet-balanced sour finish," the brewery says. "Majestic Wolf Lamp is stunning, with a beaming magenta hue, and exudes pure farm-stand blackberry jam." The beer will be sold in 750mL bottles; there are only 150 available.
Co-Brew, a brewery and homebrew shop in Broadway, will host the folks from the Fort Collins-based Squarrel Barrel Company for a wood and beer class. You can learn about barrel history, wood chemistry 101, and best practices and guidelines. The class is free, but reservations are required.
Saturday, January 26
So you like stouts? River North Brewery has the party for you. "Once again, we will raid the cellar and fill our taps with our biggest and darkest brews, with Crowlers available of anything on draft," the brewery says. Beers available at the annual SuperStout Party, starting at noon, include Anniversary Ale 6, Coconut Mr. Sandman, 2018 Rum Barrel Mr. Sandman, 2018 Decennial II Shadowman, 2018 Barrel Aged Double Avarice,
2018 Barrel Aged Nightmare Fuel, 2017 Barrel Aged Mr. Sandman, Chai Mr. Sandman, Mr. Sandman XO,
2018 Barrel Aged Avarice, 2017 Fancy Effing Stout, and 2017 Vicennial II Barrel Aged Shadowman.
Tuesday, January 29
On this day in 1964, Stanley Kubrick released his final black-and-white film, "a theatrical version of an impending nuclear holocaust," says Strange Craft Beer Company, which has been brewing a beer named Dr. Strangelove since it opened in 2010. To honor this satirical comedy, the brewery will host a $15 vertical tasting of the potent barleywine, where versions from 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017, along with Barrel-Aged 2015, will be poured. Strange will also air the movie Dr. Strangelove at 6 p.m.