Outspoken, brash, passionate. Chris Black has never minced words when it comes to beer, and for twenty years, he's been telling it like it is at Falling Rock Tap House, the LoDo bastion of craft beer. Beginning June 2, Black and Falling Rock will begin a ten-day birthday celebration of two decades' worth of "no crap on tap." There will be numerous beer tappings, events, food, stories and special beers that Black brewed over the past few weeks and months in collaboration with at least a dozen breweries across the United States.
Black helped create the craft-beer culture in Denver, endlessly promoting small breweries in Colorado, the U.S. and abroad. He's relentlessly eschewed big brewers and introduced beer lovers to the best of the best — making Falling Rock an international beer destination. "One of the absolute best things about this celebration is spending time with the people," Black says in a blog about the anniversary online. "Brewers, owners, brewery representatives, fellow publicans, regulars who are a massive reason we are here, friends from around the country and around the world are coming in to celebrate with us. We can’t thank you enough for all of the love and support."
For more details about the celebration, read below, or go to Falling Rock's website or Facebook page.
Here are the best craft-beer events in Denver and beyond through June 24.
Wednesday, May 31
It's saison cask month at Copper Kettle Brewing, which will tap its tart Black Currant Saison at 2 p.m. Mama Said Eat will be outside with food.
Great Divide Brewing's Barrel Bar kicks off summer with a reveal party from 6 to 9 p.m. for the new artwork on its cans of Denver Pale Ale. The First Friday event, taking place at the brewery's RiNo location, celebrates "art, beer and Denver." Last year, Great Divide revamped the recipe for its venerable Denver Pale Ale, refocusing its distribution to Denver only and pledging to create an artist series for the cans, which will change each year. The newest showcases a piece by John Vogl of the Bungaloo. "The new Denver Pale Ale cans will be available alongside other Great Divide brews and different Denver Pale Ale firkin tappings," the brewery says. You can also check out a Denver Pale Ale collaborative art project, live screen printing, commemorative merchandise, raffles, games, live tunes, food trucks, and artwork submissions for series No. 3. The E-Tuk circulator will be giving rides throughout the rest of the neighborhood for the evening "so you can start your RiNo First Friday adventure with us and head out from there," says Great Divide. Admission is free; a portion of sales will benefit the RiNo Art District.
Falling Rock Tap House will celebrate two decades' worth of "no crap on tap" with a ten-day party packed with numerous beer tappings, events, food, stories and special beers that owner Chris Black brewed over the past few weeks and months in collaboration with at least a dozen breweries across the United States. Things kick off June 2 at 5:30 p.m. with a dual tapping: "Reprising their role from ten years ago, Dry Dock Brewing will be sailing in with Chris’s homage to Mr. Hoppy, the beer he planned on tapping to kick off the 10th Anniversary. We are also thrilled to welcome our friends from San Diego as we tap into the Alpine/Green Flash/Cellar 3 brew – We Were Here First," Falling Rock says. "This was the first of the anniversary beers Chris brewed, a big, amazing and truly unique collaboration." Other anniversary beers are coming from Epic, Ecliptic, Upslope, Sierra Nevada, Comrade, Odell, Spangalang, New Belgium, Crooked Stave, Avery and Bristol. More details and stories about Black, Falling Rock and Colorado beer history will be rolled out on Falling Rock's web page.
Fermaentra Brewing taps its newest offering, Pau Hana, a wheat beer brewed with "ridiculous amounts" passion fruit, blood oranges and pink guava. It provides "lush tropical aromas and flavors reminiscent of the classic Hawaiian POG drink. Pau Hana is slightly tart, super bright, and very refreshing," Fermaentra says. The brewery highly encourages Hawaiian-wear; best in show wins a free Crowler at 9 p.m. Tacos With Altitude will have food.
Factotum Brewhouse will tap a barrel-aged version of the Tart Cherry Pale that it released last fall. Brewed with 420 pounds of tart Michigan cherries, this beer was then aged in a Chardonnay barrel over the winter.
Join Crooked Stave for the release of 2016 L'Brett d'Blueberry — a golden sour ale that was aged in oak barrels with Washington blueberries — at 5 p.m. in the taproom at the Source. "We uphold the time-honored traditions used to make spontaneous Belgian lambic through embracing natural fermentation with the microflora native to our brewery," Crooked Stave says. "For our Harvest 2016 release, we've selected unique barrels to balance the heavy-handed addition of Washington blueberries, expressing the Pacific Northwest terroir from which our fruit is sourced, and a quality that reflects the skilled stewardship of our partner farmers." L'Brett d'Blueberry will be available on draft and in 750ml cork-and-cage bottles. This beer will sell out.
Jagged Mountain Craft Brewery will tap a beer dedicated to the memory of Mike Sadler, a former punter for the Michigan State Spartans who died in a car accident in 2016. Sadler, who was known for a fake punt/trick play called "Hey Diddle Diddle" and for his humorous Twitter feed, was volunteering as a coach at a kicking camp in Wisconsin and was set to begin law school at Stanford before the accident. For the beer, Jagged Mountain brewmaster Adam Glaser has infused rose petals as a reference to Sadler's role in winning the 100th Rose Bowl in 2014. Some proceeds will benefit the Michael Sadler Foundation, which holds events across the country.
Prickly Pear Gose returns to Copper Kettle Brewing at 2 p.m. Fans voted it Best of Show at the brewery's sixth-anniversary celebration. "Slightly sweet and salty, this is a perfect summer brew for the patio," Copper Kettle says. The Basecamp Provisions food truck will be parked outside.
Join Freshcraft at 5:30 p.m. for a special tapping of Odell Brewing's annual cellar-series beer, Brazzle, a sour golden raspberry ale aged in oak barrels with wild yeasts and 300 pounds of golden raspberries. Others also on draft: Odell Friek and Odell Myrcenary.
Halfpenny Brewing in Centennial will release a new beer every Friday this month. For June 2, it's SMaSHed Hallertau Mittelfruh. That will be followed next week by Hefeweizen, then New England IPA, then SMaSHed Sorachi Ace.
TRVE Brewing will release this year's bottled version of Red Chaos at noon. The beer was aged on more than three pounds of tart Montmorency cherries from the Western Slope per gallon of beer. It has "medium-high acidity with a huge cherry pie aroma and flavor," the brewery says. There are 54 cases that will be available in the taproom, and only a very limited distribution outside of it. There will be a limit of one case per person at TRVE.
Falling Rock Tap House continues its ten-day twenty-year anniversary celebration at 5:30 p.m. by tapping Ecliptic Falling Asteroid from Ecliptic Brewing in Portland. For more information about the beer and the history between Falling Rock owner Chris Black and Ecliptic, go to Falling Rock's web page.
The Larimer, a new brewery that is making beer at Crazy Mountain Brewery in Denver while searching for a permanent home, will release its latest can at noon at Crazy Mountain. Regulators IPA is a 6.6 percent ABV hazy New England-style IPA. "Brewed with raw oats, wheat and lactose sugar, and triple dry-hopped with Mosaic, Citra and Amarillo," it has very low IBUs and "a juicy citrus blast of hop aroma and flavor." Regulators IPA will be on draft and available in six-packs to go all day. A portion of sales will be donated to Rocky Mountain National Park.
Kick off the summer season with Denver Beer Co.'s annual Sun Drenched Music Fest, which takes place from 2 to 10 p.m. in the parking lot of the brewery's Canworks production facility in the Sunnyside neighborhood. Named for the brewery's hoppy wheat beer, Sun Drenched offers special beer pairings, sand volleyball and other beach games, food trucks, ice cream from Little Man and, or course, live music all day long. Performers include: Pimps of Joytime, Magic Giant, Coambient, Chemistry Club and K-Law. Tickets, $35, are available at denverbeerco.com.
Fiction Beer Company taps a beer that the brewery has been waiting two and a half years to make. Awaken the Intellect Cream Ale was "fermented with coffee whose beans were bourbon barrel-aged, then roasted and cold-brewed just for Fiction Beer by Copper Door Coffee Roasters," the brewery says. The Colombian coffee beans were aged by Copper Door in a bourbon barrel for three weeks before they were roasted. The result is a beer with "aromas of oak, vanilla, dark fruit, cedar and coconut." There is also a subtle aroma that is "similar to a freshly finished glass of bourbon." Copper Door will be on site for the release, pouring samples of the coffee used in this brew and talking about coffee roasting and the processes used to make these beans.
Goldspot Brewing is hosting Bikes and Bocks all day, celebrating the brewery's first lager, a bock, that it brewed with James Kunz from Laws Whiskey House. In addition, Bike Mechanic will be there to give tune-ups; a beer and a tune-up is $15. Ride your bike to the brewery and get $1 off your first beer. Live music starts at 8 p.m.
Platt Park Brewing will celebrate its third anniversary with a luau all day. The brewery will tap several new beers and various favorites; more details TBA. There will also be a ticketed Brewer Cellar VIP lunch; $30 will get you lunch (roasted pig with all the fixins) and a pour of an exclusive beer from the cellar.
Ursula Brewery also marks its third anniversary, with live bands, a pig roast, and the 11 a.m. bottle release of its new sour beer, Angel of the Odd. More details TBA.
Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout — a beer with plenty of balls — returns to Wynkoop Brewing with a morning soiree from 10 to 11 a.m., where you can indulge in a free pint and conversation with head brewer John Sims and head chef Eric Hulme. The 8.6 percent ABV foreign-style stout was brewed with roasted, chocolate, caramel and smoked malts, East Kent Goldings hops and, uh, freshly roasted bull testicles — about three balls per barrel.
After a two-year sabbatical, Unified Theory is returning to River North Brewery. The oak-aged double witbier will be available on draft and in bottles to go. "Big citrus notes collide with dry vanilla and oak, breaking all the rules with a flavor combination that just plain works," the brewery says.
Cellar West Artisan Ales in Boulder debuts its latest bottled beer, Grey Muse, an example of a grisette, which the brewery calls "a storied Belgian style scarcely made today." Although historical accounts differ, Cellar West follows the story of Yvan Da Baets, owner of Brussels' Brasserie de la Senne, who suggest that "the beer was made in a region with a lot of stone quarries, and it would quench the thirst of those workers, who came back from work covered with grey dust.," Cellar West says. Regardless of origin, the grisette is a beautiful, low ABV beer made with wheat and late hopping. Cellar West's version, at 4.9 percent ABV, was made with wheat from Troubador Maltings and then bottle-conditioned. It will be available on draft and in 500mL bottles.
CANCELLED: Nighthawk Brewery in Broomfield hosts its Second Annual Funk & Farm Fest from 1 to 5 p.m. The party, which is a celebration of grisette, saison, and farmhouse beers, will pour beers from breweries from around the state, including: Crooked Stave, Trinity, Atom Brewing, Barnett and Son, Bruz Beers, Cerebral Brewing, Our Mutual Friend, The Post Brewing, Wiley Roots, Nighthawk and the Follow the Light Project. Tickets include a commemorative glass, food from Nighthawk's pizza kitchen and lots of beer.
For 2017, the Oskar Blues Burning Can Festival has merged with the Lyons Outdoor Games, "creating the perfect weekend for lovers of adventure, beer, music and camping," Oskar Blues says. The daylong fest takes place at Bohn Park in Lyons and includes more than 200 different canned craft beers from sixty breweries. "To start the day, you can take on a trail running relay with your best buds, take a mountain bike on the local single track, or laugh with the kids in a huge KidZone. There is also dog jumping, a slackline competition, or BMX dirt jumping and lots of love music. For more information, go to lyonsburningcan.com.
Pints for Prostates will be at Ratio Beerworks from 1 to 4 p.m. to raise money for the organization, which helps raise awareness about prostate cancer and also hosts the Denver Rare Beer Tasting every year during the week before the Great American Beer Festival. $1 from every beer sold in between will benefit the group. In addition, the Prostate Conditions Education Council will be giving free tests, a $75 value.
Falling Rock TapHouse continues its ten-day-long twenty-year anniversary by tapping an anniversary beer that Falling Rock owner Chris Black made with Odell Brewing. The IPA was brewed with all Colorado ingredients, including malt from Root Shoot Malting Cascade, and Chinook hops from Colorado Hop Company. It also has an experimental hop, called 472, with notes of lime and coconut. For more details, go to the Falling Rock web page.
"To commemorate the longstanding tradition of drinking on, off, and all around the stage," Shakesbeer will return for the summer with a new script at Ratio Beerworks. The free performance of A Midsummer Night's — Dram (a sixty-minute adaptation of the Bard's A Midsummer Night's Dream) begins at 7:30 p.m. and will be performed by the Wit's Shakesbeer group; actors imbibe before and during the show. "Lambic pentameter...Vienna-style verse — frankly, few things fit together like theatre and beer," the group says.
Last year, Falling Rock Tap House owner Chris Black sat down with Epic Brewing owner Dave Cole and his team to talk about an anniversary beer and decided to make something big and barrel aged "We started off with the idea of a Belgian Quad while drinking beer (late) one night...because Kevin had never made one," Black writes in a blog post about the beer. "Then we decided that we would barrel-age it for six to eight months." For the rest of this story and more on Falling Rock's ten-day-long twentieth anniversary celebration, go to the beer bar's website.
Wednesday, June 7
Free beer alert! From 5 to 7 p.m., Pizzeria Locale in Highland Square will host an Elevation Beer Company happy hour. Each guest can snag one free flight of beer from the Poncha Springs brewery; no food purchase needed.
Thursday, June 8
Renegade Brewing brings back its 5:00 Bangkok-style Ale at, of course, 5 p.m. This is the brewery's regular 5:00 Afternoon Ale session ale brewed with lemongrass and ginger. With the purchase of a pint between 5 and 10 p.m., you'll also get a limited-edition glass and a six-pack of beer to go.
TRVE Brewing releases its fifth anniversary beer, Vol. 5., at noon. "As per tradition, the beer is a culmination of a year of hard work and dedication of the brewery staff," TRVE says. "As we’ve used five different saison strains this can be considered a mixed-fermentation beer... Light dry hopping contributes some subtle flavors typically not representative of dry hopping, but more than anything the saison comes through."
New Image Brewing in Arvada will release its Vemont Pale Ale, Paul, for the first time in cans; it is a New England-style pale ale that was dry-hopped with ninety pounds of Simcoe, Centennial and Columbus hops. "Celebrate the official shotgun toast with the brewers at 5:30 p.m. on the patio," the brewery says. Four-packs will be available for $12 per person with a one-case limit per patron.
New Kids on the Block, "the rad-tacular ’80s dance party and new-breweries beer festival" returns for its fifth year from 7 to 10 p.m. Sponsored by The Lobby (2191 Arapahoe Street) and porchdrinking.com, the festival highlights local breweries that are two years old or younger. This year, that mighty list includes 14er Brewing, Banded Oak, Bierstadt Lagerhaus, Brewability Lab, Briar Common Brewery + Eatery, Call to Arms, Cellar West Artisan Ales, Cerebral Brewing, Cheluna Brewing, Holidaily Brewing, Little Machine, Maxline Brewing, New Image, Outer Range Brewing, Resolute Brewing, Seedstock, Something Brewery, Spangalang, The Intrepid Sojourner Beer Project, and WestFax Brewing. Each will pour two beers, which will help fuel you for the dance party that will rock all night with a live DJ and prizes for the best ’80s outfits. Small-bite munchies will be provided by the Lobby, Briar Common and the Rackhouse Pub. Tickets are $35 at nightout.com or $40 the day of the event.
Saturday, June 10
Banded Oak Brewing celebrates its one-year anniversary on Broadway with a party from noon to 11 p.m. The brewery will tap three previously unreleased beers and maybe a surprise or two from head brewer Chris Kirk. In addition, Atomga, the twelve-piece band that Banded Oak named its imperial stout after, will be playing. And finally, Areyto will be on hand serving authentic Puerto Rican food.
Alpine Dog's Ski Naked Saison has evolved into a new version of the beer, Ski Naked Wild Saison, which was brewed as "a mixed-culture farmhouse ale this time around, adding an aromatic strain of...Brettanomyces to primary fermentation along with our house saison yeast. The result will be a dry, robustly aromatic saison with big tropical fruit notes and earthiness," the brewery says.
"Warmer days are upon us, which means it's time to cool down" with New Wave, Ratio Beerworks' kettle-soured strawberry Berliner weisse "brewed with patio sessions in mind," the brewery says. The bright-pink beer was brewed and fermented with more than 300 pounds of real strawberries.
Dry Dock Brewing brings back its A-Town Funk Fest for a second year, and this time, Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project and Wing Hut have been invited for a sour-beer-and-food-pairing event. Guests to that part of the fest will get seven beers from Dry Dock and Crooked Stave, including a collaboration made just for Funk Fest, all paired with dishes from Chef Josh Prater and his team. The pairing sessions are at 1 p.m., 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. There will also be music, games and other beers on tap. For the pairing menu, go to Dry Dock's Facebook page.
Sunday, June 11
Station 26 Brewing's monthly Bluegrass Brunch returns at 11 a.m., with lots of beer, tunes from Cosmic Mesa, doughnuts from Glazed and Confused and barbecue from Turn-In BBQ.
Tuesday, June 13
Cedar Creek Pub, at 2100 North Ursula Street in Aurora (next door to Ursula Brewing), will host a "Haze Craze" tap takeover, when hazy New England-style IPAs from at least ten breweries will be poured. On the list so far: Ursula, Outer Range, Odd13, Weldwerks, Fiction, Cerebral, New Image, Liquid Mechanics, Wiley Roots and Coronado Brewing. There will be pints or blind tasters available.
Thursday, June 15
Hogshead Brewery will roll out four consecutive days of cask ales starting Thursday in order to celebrate its fifth anniversary. There will be beer tappings, music, a pig roast and an English breakfast. More details TBA.
Friday, June 23
TRVE Brewing will throw its annual Bacchanal at the Hi-Dive today and tomorrow. The brewery will take over the taps and has flown in bands from around the country to help celebrate the occasion. For today, the band lineup includes Eternal Champion, Spirit Adrift, In the Company of Serpents, 908, and Rottstrotter. Tomorrow, you can expect to see Ash Borer, Vastum, Of Feather and Bone, and Glacial Tomb.
Saturday, June 24
Big Choice Brewing is moving from its Broomfield home of five years to a larger new brewery in Brighton, but the owners want to say goodbye to the old location with style, so they're hosting one last party at 7270 West 118th Place, "from noon until whenever." There will be lots of beer and plenty of stories from staff and regulars. More details TBA.