Time is marching on — into March — and the state's breweries are just upping their game each month. As spring approaches, you can find a pair of major festivals, including Collaboration Fest — which has become the state's defining event — along with some smaller mini-fests at a handful of great breweries. There are also anniversary celebrations, a collaboration between two of Colorado's most sought-after beer makers, and a beer-and-snow party that's like nothing else. So make sure you've got your calendar cleared. Here are the ten best craft-beer events in March. For many more, check out our weekly Beer Calendar, which goes online every Wednesday.
Winter Craft Beer Festival
29th Street Mall, Boulder
Now in its fourth year, Boulder's Winter Craft Beer Festival returns to the 29th Street Mall in Boulder (in the covered and heated portion of the underground parking structure) from 1 to 5 p.m., with beers from more than fifty breweries and cider makers, most of them local. And this time around, the festival's organizers made a point of only inviting independently owned breweries. Tickets are $45 at the fest's website, and some proceeds will go to support the nonprofit Community Cycles. “The world of craft has become murky and confusing. So we will only be inviting independent brewers to this year’s fest," says co-founder Ross Bowdey. "We don’t care how big the brewery is or where they come from, but we want to help the independent brewers continue to grow."
Westfax Second Anniversary
Westfax Brewing, Lakewood
Westfax Brewing, which makes its home right next to Casa Bonita in Lakewood's art district, will celebrate its two-year anniversary with events starting at 2 p.m. and lasting through Saturday. The first is the release of Concussion Protocol, a Belgian-style quadrupel. It is also the two-year anniversary of the Sha-WING Food Truck, which will be on hand Friday and hosting a wing-eating contest at 7 p.m. The contest is $10 to enter, and there will be a maximum of ten participants; the winner will receive gift cards and free beer. Then on Saturday, Westfax will tap a new beer every two hours. The first up is Double Urban Lumberjack New England-Style IPA at 2 p.m., followed by Double Dry Hopped Urban Lumberjack at 4 p.m., and Blood Orange 40 West IPA at 6 p.m. The brewery will also pour its rare Blueberry Sour, Funk Blooty for $12 each, which includes a special anniversary glass, in limited quantities. Vendors include Crisp Barber Shop offering hot shaves and beard trims, Goorin Brothers Hat Shop and the Comida food truck.
Cool Beans Coffee Festival
Ratio Beerworks brings back its Cool Beans Coffee Festival — "a grand celebration of beer, coffee and coffee beers" — from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The brewery has teamed up with its neighbors at Novo Coffee "to showcase the diversity of flavors that can emerge from differing coffee bean varieties, various levels of roasts, and how all of those flavors can be highlighted or enhanced when infused in an array of beer styles," Ratio says. For $30 at nightout.com, attendees get six four-ounce tasters of coffee-infused Ratio beers; one full pour of a coffee beer; a bloody beer made with Ratio's Domestica American Standard Ale and the Real Dill's Blood Mary mix; pour-overs and coffee demonstrations from Novo, Huckleberry Roasters and Method Roasters; doughnut holes from Glazed and Confuzed; bacon from Bacon Social House; and a limited-edition commemorative Ratio coffee camper mug.
Day of Dorks
The Wynkoop's annual Day of Dorks returns from noon to 4 p.m. to celebrate nerdiness and dorkiness with some of the geekiest beers around. "Teaming up with over thirty breweries, we'll be pouring up some of the geekiest and whitewhaley craft brew in all the land," the brewery says, including Beryl's, Black Bottle, Black Bottle, Blind Faith, Chain Reaction, Diebolt, Elevation, Firestone Walker, Great Divide, Horse & Dragon, Intrepid Sojourner, Odyssey Beerwerks, Renegade, Ska, Spice Trade, Verboten and Westbound & Down. Nerd attire is suggested but not required. The Wynkoop will be collecting pens, pencils, notebooks and other supplies for local schools. Tickets, $30, are available at eventbrite.com, and include a glass and snacks, along with unlimited pours. "To miss out would be highly illogical," the brewery says.
Second Anniversary Birthday
New Image Brewing, Arvada
To celebrate its second anniversary, New Image Brewing will release three special beers. The first is One More Time, a double-dry-hopped IPA with Citra, Mosaic and Columbus. Next up is Galaxy Double Dry Hopped East Coast Transplant, an even more absurd version of the beer New Image is most known for. And finally, there's Two, the official second-anniversary beer and the brewery's first-ever barrel-aged bottle release. Two is a rum-barrel-aged version of Dyad Kombucha Sour Ale that was dry-hopped with Nelson Sauvin. The beer has been aging for more than a year. For the party, New Image will have live music from three bands from 1 to 9 p.m.