Introducing a new beer in the middle of a global pandemic is probably not what most breweries had in mind when they designed their beers, bought the ingredients, commissioned artwork and made plans. But that's the way it goes these days, and since Colorado beer drinkers are sucking up booze during the pandemic like a golf course sucks up reservoir water, why not keep things rolling?
"These were planned months in advance, and since they’re all packaged beers that can go to off-premises accounts, we were not going to delay getting them out into the market," explains Great Divide Brewing marketing man Matt Sandy, talking about his company's new Margarita Gose and some of its other beers.
"Since we can’t roll these beers out to any great in-person fanfare, we’re releasing them as soon as they are ready and focusing on getting the word out through various channels while doing some small promotions around picking these beers up through our curbside to-go program," he adds.
Makes sense to me. Here are twelve brand-new canned beers from some of Colorado's best-known breweries that you should be able to find this month in Colorado liquor stores. Get them — and then go home.
For the 2020 version of its annual Experimental IPA series, Boulder's Upslope Brewing decided to go straight for the heady hops flavors of Nelson Sauvin, Strata and Sabro. But the brewers didn't stop there with this 6.5 percent ABV seasonal release. They also added Orange Blossom Honey for a touch of sweet citrus.
Feeling hazy? Guardians of the Grist is the latest release from Odd13 Brewing's rotating IPA series. Hopped with Ekuanot, Citra and Centennial for flavors and aromas of papaya, melon and citrus, this beer will see distribution throughout the Lafayette brewery's sales footprint in Colorado and other states.
Odell Brewing loves working with Colorado peaches, and its latest ode to the Western Slope specialty is Peach Stand Rambler, a 5 percent ABV blonde ale brewed with Palisade peaches. On the more tropical side, however, is a new special release called Mango Tree Shaker. This 8 percent ABV IPA is another winner in Odell's Tree Shaker series; the brewery complements those flavors with citrusy hops.
Left Hand Brewing
Brewed with pineapple and coconut along with tropical Sabro hops, Left Hand's latest Nitro beer was "inspired by the quintessential vacation cocktail," the brewery says. The addition of lactose "accentuates the super-smooth Nitro mouthfeel" in this 7.5 percent ABV beer. Although you will have to drink it on your own porch or in your own back yard, if you close your eyes, it just might capture the flavors of an island getaway.
Great Divide Brewing
For this brand-new 5.8 percent ABV beer, Great Divide packed in as much flavor as possible to come up with something that "captures the vibe of a poolside cabana," the brewery says. Partially aged in tequila barrels and enhanced with lime purée, makrut lime leaf and Himalayan pink salt, the result is tart and dry, with an abundance of citrus notes. Great Divide is also bringing back Roadie Grapefruit Radler and S'mores Yeti for the spring, and is making its Hazy IPA available in six-packs.
Denver Beer Co.
Fermented with lime juice and a touch of pink Himalayan sea salt "for a thirst-quenching, tart tickle," Denver Beer Co. says its new 5 percent ABV lime sour was brewed with wheat and Munich malts "for a clean and crisp finish." DBC recommends using it to make beergaritas — and we could all use one of those.
Good River Beer Company
Following up on its Here Fishy Fishy Hazy IPA from just a few months ago, Good River has another new beer for both liquor-store shelves and its First Avenue taproom. Horsethief Mango Blonde is an "easy-drinking, well-balanced and malt-oriented" 5 percent ABV blonde ale brewed with wheat, honey malts and mango.
Station 26 Brewing
Canned for the first time, Lemon Lavender Blonde is a popular spring seasonal at Station 26 Brewing, which is distributing the beer up and down the Front Range. Brewed with, yes, lavender flower and lemon, this 5.5. percent ABV blonde is "just the beer you need for socially distant porch chilling, yard work, or as a gift to yourself at the end of a long day," the brewery says.
For many years, Oskar Blues was known primarily for its hoppy beers, but the Longmont-based brewery has dedicated an immense amount of time, energy and thought to its lager program, as well. The latest major release along these lines is the 5 percent ABV Slow Chill, a nuanced take on an Old World classic. "Bready and soft notes from pilsner and Vienna malts are manipulated carefully throughout the boil to preserve this Helles’s subtle honey-like sweetness," Oskar Blues says. "Herbal, lemony noble hops complete a lager worthy of backyard savoring or pairing with any fresh-baked bread." Slow Chill will be available nationwide.
Dry Dock Brewing
The folks at Dry Dock Brewing have been busy. Not only did the Aurora brewery recently redesign its entire lineup of cans, but it also introduced its first low-calorie beer, joining a craft-brewing trend that started last year. In this case, the brewery is doing a 110-calorie, 4.5 percent ABV lager with three grams of carbs called Dayboard. "Brewed with Munich malts and Ekuanot hops, this light lager has a subtle malt character that’s balanced by just a hint of hops to keep it crisp and refreshing," the brewery says. It will be available in liquor stores and supermarkets.
Ska Brewing is also getting in on the low-cal action with AggroLite, an IPA with 99 calories, four grams of carbs and only 4 percent ABV. It's Ska's latest collaboration with the Aggrolites, a California ska/reggae band that has hung out with the brewers and appeared at Ska's anniversary party.