The annual Craft Brewers Conference kicks off this weekend in Nashville, home of hot chicken, hot country and some of the hotter breweries in the southeastern U.S. The industry-only event, hosted by the Boulder-based Brewers Association, features dozens of seminars, informational sessions and other beer geekery, in addition to a major trade show with 700 brewery-related vendors from all over the country. Several plane-loads of Colorado brewery people will be on their way out over the next few days, including the Colorado Brewers Guild and reps from New Belgium, Odell and Odd13 Brewing, who are all giving presentations of their own.
The World Beer Cup, one of the most prestigious awards competitions in the world, also takes place in Nashville (it's a biennial event). In 2016, 1,907 brewers from 55 countries entered 6,596 beers, which were judged by an elite international panel of 253 judges from 31 countries. Jon Howland and Tor O'Brien, of Louisville's 12Degree Brewing, won the Champion Brewer/Brewmaster award in the Small Brewpub Category at the last World Beer Cup in 2016; Joyride Brewing will host a watch party on Thursday, May 3 (see below) to stream this year's event live.
Keep reading for all of this month's craft-beer events.
Wednesday, April 25
Platt Park Brewing taps Pop Tart Porter at 3 p.m. as part of its 11th Tap small-batch project. This robust porter was brewed with brown sugar and Cinnamon Pop-Tarts. There is only one barrel, so it will go fast.
Spice Trade Brewing and the Yak & Yeti Restaurant in Arvada are hosting a Thali Beer Dinner from 7 to 9 p.m., where five courses of Nepalese, Indian and Tibetian food and beer from both Spice Trade and guest brewery Cheluna Brewing will be served. Guests will get explanations of each pairing from Spice Trade's Jeff Tyler and Cheluna's Javier Perez, along with a Spice Trade specialty beer glass. Tickets, $52, are available at Eventbrite.
Friday, April 27
If you've been to a beer festival recently, then you have seen or heard of the Squarrel — a new kind of square barrel that some breweries are beginning to use instead of traditional casks. Although the vessels aren't quite as romantic as traditional wooden barrels, they are stackable and use less wood. At 6:30 p.m., the company that makes them will be at Intrepid Sojourner Beer Project to pour flights of the brewery's French saison aged in three different Squarrels with escalating degrees of toasted American oak. Square up.
Heart Tattoo is a blackberry-infused version of Ratio Beerworks' classic Handwritten Belgian Wit. "Think fruit smoothie with a kick," the brewery says. "This easy drinking summer seasonal showcases brilliant blackberry flavors on top of the blank canvas that is our Belgian Wit base." In honor of the return of Heart Tattoo, Ratio is hosting a party featuring temporary tattoos and special tappings of other Handwritten variants.
Copper Kettle Brewing is turning seven, and the brewery is celebrating with a three-day party. Today is the release of Maple Snowed In, available on draft and in bomber bottles. The Acoustic Mining Company will be playing from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Dough Boy Pizza and We Chef Kitchen will have food. On Saturday, there will be a beer showdown among brewery staff, who have made four new beers. The winner, chosen by the crowd, will go on to be brewed as a taproom long-term feature. Various sours will also be released. Strings and the Box will be there with music, while El Gallo Blanco and the Wing Wagon Grill will have food. And on Sunday, wear your jammies to a hangover brunch featuring a Cafe Con Leche beer and food from Mama Said Eat.
Cerebral Brewing releases three beers on tap and in cans at noon. The first is Gamma Knife, a 6.4 percent ABV IPA brewed with flaked oats and hopped with the hyper-focused combination of Galaxy and Huell Melon. The second is Double Dry Hopped Cheat Code, an amped-up 7.9 percent version of this double IPA; it was brewed with wheat and oats and then hopped with copious amounts of Galaxy, El Dorado, Mosaic and N1/69. And finally, Cerebral introduces Affordable Luxury, a 6.1 percent hoppy saison brewed with oats and rye, hopped with Cashmere, Mosaic and XJA2/436, and fermented with a rustic blend of saison strains.
Saturday, April 28
Long Table Brewhouse will opens its doors in Park Hill at 2 p.m. The new brewery features a sunlit interior and a wraparound patio in the middle of a residential neighborhood. There will be at least four beers on tap, including an IPA, a blonde and a helles. The Farm to Table food truck will be there as well.
Bruz Beers brings back its Belgian Brew Fest from 1 to 4 p.m., pouring ten local breweries in addition to a special guest from out of town: Brewery Ommegang. The fest will be held sun or snow in the garden next to the brewery. There will be food trucks and live music. Tickets, $48, are available at ticketsauce.com.
Spring has sprung at Factotum Brewhouse, which will tap Grapefruit Strawberry New England Style IPA at noon. "The subtle hoppiness of the whole-cone hop mixes perfectly with a small addition of grapefruit and huge heaping of strawberries," Factotum says. "It creates a beautiful beer that is meant to be enjoyed by IPA lovers and skeptics alike."
14er Brewing, which is building out its space in RiNo, will release White Out Stout on Snow Peak in four-packs at 1 p.m. This golden stout was brewed with "an absurd" amount of chocolate, coffee and coconut, the brewery says, and is "an ultimate attack on the senses." Buy a four-pack for $14 and get a free taster of the beer on nitro.
Inspired by "the nostalgia of the most cherished days of our grade-school careers," the crazy crew at Call to Arms Brewing is debuting a new Rumpus event as part of its series: the Tennyson Street Field Day Rumpus. From 2 to 4 p.m., watch as a team of pro brewers compete in a variety of industry-inspired field day events against a team of pro drinkers. Games include modified dodge ball, relay races, musical kegs and more. DJ Psychonaut will be spinning from 1 to 5 p.m., while Rolling Smoke BBQ will be on hand all day. Other vendors will also be in the house.
Four breweries in the west Denver area have created a West Side Brewery Bike Loop running the last Saturday of each month during the summer. Westfax, Joyride, Hogshead and Seedstock Brewery will have punch cards offering a free beer, $1 off a pint and other stuff. Go to the Facebook page for details.
Cannonball Creek Brewing in Golden will host its friends from Amalgam Brewing for the release of Explorations v1 - Experimental IPA, a collaborative beer. "We teamed up to create a beer that honors each other's methods and philosophies, embracing experimentation over staunchly sticking to trends or style guidelines," the breweries say. Explorations was brewed with Southern Hemisphere hops, flaked rice, and a blend of British ale and white-wine yeasts. "Assertive notes of tropical fruit and pineapple juice are balanced by a soft mouthfeel, a modest hop bitterness, and an inviting dry finish." The 6.3 percent ABV beer will be available at noon on tap and in Crowlers. The Dumpling Deli will be serving up fresh, made-to-order eats.
Six Parry's Pizzeria locations in Colorado will host their seventh annual Big Ass Tap Takeover from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. in conjunction with Avery Brewing. The celebrated annual event is the largest tapping in one day of Avery beers, and Parry's will pour as many as 45 different brews among its participating locations. They include everything from staples like White Rascal to highly sought-after brews like Tweak. Mix and mingle with the Avery crew, including Adam Avery himself, enjoy delicious eats and enter raffles. Participating Parry’s are in Castle Rock, Greenwood Village, Highlands Ranch, Johnstown, Longmont and Northglenn. See the Parry's Pizzeria & Bar website for locations and details.
Sunday, April 29
The Rackhouse Pub and Bierstadt Lagerhaus are teaming up with Sushi-Rama for a Sushi Sunday rice lager pairing from 3 to 6 p.m. Bierstadt originally made the 1910 Historical St. Louis Style Rice Lager for a historical lager fest hosted by Urban Chestnut Brewing in Missouri. To brew it, Bierstadt used an old recipe that called for 40 percent rice, 40 percent 6-row barley and 20 percent 2-row barley. "We used 550 pounds of whole white rice that we milled on a home brew mill and macro lager yeast," says Bierstadt brewer Ashleigh Carter. "It was the first time we have ever brought another yeast into the brewery, but it was more accurate for the times. We decided on this recipe because, to be honest, a lot of the old lager recipes on the list were pretty much like the beer we make now (all malt, traditional), and if we were going to participate, then we wanted to do something not like we normally do." For $10, the light and clean beer will be paired with the similarly light and clean Negi-Hama Roll (yellowtail) and Tekka-Maki Roll (tuna). Sushi-Rama will also bring other items for purchase separately.
Thursday, May 3
Join Joyride Brewing, which will be streaming the World Beer Cup ceremony live from Nashville from 6 to 9 p.m. The feed comes courtesy of the Brewing Network. "There will also be a webcam in our taproom that will stream back to the ceremony, so we'll have a chance to raise a cheers to everyone in attendance," Joyride says. "Come cheer on Joyride and other Colorado breweries as we compete for gold against the entire world."
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Friday, May 4
Odell Brewing is releasing a new year-round beer called Colorado Lager. "This crisp, clean lager is brewed in Colorado and only available in Colorado," Odell says. The Odell crew will be at Rhein Haus in Denver from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., giving away swag.
Saturday, May 5
Cerveceria Colorado, a brewery project from Denver Beer Co, will open its doors at 11 a.m. with nine beers on tap, all of them honoring the traditions, cuisine and culture of Mexico. Located next to the brewery's original spot on Platte Street, Cerveceria Colorado is both a beer bar and a statement: "Cerveceria Colorado believes beer is inclusive, collaborative and celebratory. Cerveceria Colorado is here to build bridges, not walls, in our communities," owners Patrick Crawford and Charlie Berger say. In addition to the beers, there will also be Mexican games, Mexican food trucks, a Tres Leches cake tasting, piñata smashing and a photo booth.The opening lineup of beers includes Lupulo Cacao, a chocolate pale ale; Senor Pina, a pineapple blonde; Venga, a traditional Mexican lager that you can try Chelada style with rimmed salt and a lime wedge; Barrica Reserva, Tequilla barrel-aged saison; Churro Stout, a milk stout aged on vanilla beans and cinnamon; Cocolimon, a kettle sour with zested limes and shredded coconut that was created in collaboration with Cerveceria de Colima in Colima, Mexico; Nopalito, a wheat beer with nopal created in collaboration with La Cirquera from Querétaro, Mexico; and Poblano Pils, a smoked Mexican lager aged on smoked fresh poblano peppers.
Alternation Brewing will hrow a Cinco de Mayo fiesta starting at noon and featuring food from the Vegan Van, along with a day filled with beer releases and live music. The biggest release is For the Animals, an almond-milk stout made with lactose-free milk, almond meal and organic almond extract from Savory Spice Shop. "This revolutionary beer mimics the intense creamy finish of traditional lactose additions through high mash temperatures, an extended boil, and a low attenuating yeast strain," the brewery says. "The result is a beautiful stout with a nutty aroma and creamy finish suitable for all beer lovers." One dollar from each taproom sale will be donated to the Humane League, and there will be live music from Genghis Stoetzer and Ben Hammond.