American Craft Beer Week is a beer drinker's paradise, a week that celebrates small (and a few not-so-small) independent brewers around the country.
There are a huge number of events going on this year in the Denver/Boulder area -- not to mention the rest of the state -- so not all of them are included below. I've mainly hit some of the highlights, but I'll continue to update the list as I hear of others.
Before the week starts, though, don't miss a couple of pre-ACBW activities during the next few days. Cheers!
Thursday, May 12
Upslope Brewing in Boulder hosts a grand reopening party with the band Acorn Project, after being closed for a month while it renovated its tap room, more than tripling its size. The brewery has also expanded its tap room hours; it's now open Tuesday through Thursday from 2 to 8 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 2 to 9 p.m. The remodel includes a custom concrete bar, five new tables, 24 more stools, two dartboards, two more draft lines, and an authentic beer engine.
Friday, May 13
Don't be bitter. Dry Dock Brewing's firkin Friday is back with a cask of Hop-eration: Geronimo -- a big IPA dry-hopped with Centennial hops; doors open at 3 p.m.
Saturday, May 14
Kyle Hollingsworth is known for his music. But the keyboardist for the String Cheese Incident is also a big-time home brewer and a regular at several Boulder-area brewpubs, where he's been known to perform, hang out, or wander into the back where the brewers are doing their thing. Today, Boulder Beer will release Hoopla, a dry-hopped pale ale that's brewed in conjunction with Hollingsworth. The party starts at 3 p.m. at the Boulder Beer Brewery & Pub, 2880 Wilderness Place in Boulder, when beer and music fans can try the beer and then meet Hollingsworth. There will also be party games and contests.
Sunday, May 15
American Craft Beer Week doesn't officially start until Monday, but Hops & Pie, 3920 Tennyson Street, will celebrate a day early with its monthly Littlest Big Beer Fest. This edition features two breweries -- New York State's Ommegang and Michigan's Jolly Pumpkin -- that specialize in Belgian-style beers. On tap: Ommegong's Witte, Rare Vos and Gnomegong, along with Jolly Pumpkin's E.S. Bam. There will also be three Jolly Pumpkin beers in bomber bottles. The fest runs from 2 to 6 p.m.; the beers are priced singularly, but flights are available.
The Denver Beer Co, 1695 Platte Street, which plans to open this summer, will host a neighborhood "Hop Swap" today, handing out American Cascade hop plants to Denver residents who want to grow them in their back yards. When the plants mature in the fall, Denver Beer Co's owners want these helpful farmers to bring the hops back so they can be used in pale ale that is hyper local. The Swap takes place from 1 to 3 p.m. The plants (there are 100 of them) can be reserved in advance www.facebook.com/DenverBeerCompany.
Monday, May 16American Craft Beer Week begins today and runs through May 22 with thousands of events all over the country. Full the full list, go the Brewers Association website. For some highlights from the Denver area, read on!
Join Westword's Beer Man (that's me), Ska Brewing and Brewers Association star Julia Herz as we kick off American Craft Beer Week at Old Chicago in LoDo, 1415 Market Street, by tapping Big Shikes Orange Blossom Imperial Pilsner. Ska brewed the limited release beer (it will only be available through June 5 -- and only at Colorado Old Chicago locations) especially for Old Chicago, and I helped (sort of). But they still named the beer after me, which means I'm going to drink more of it than anyone else. We'll toast and sign the Declaration of Beer Independence, which Herz created, at 5:30 p.m. After that, enjoy food, beer trivia, music and giveaways.
FreshCraft will kick off the week with a barbecue from 3 to 7 p.m. today and a bunch of big beers from Oskar Blues, including its barrel-aged Old Double Bastard barleywine, and several others. The OB staff will be on hand to talk beer and serve barbecue slathered with the brewery's own hot sauces.
Breckenridge Brewery & BBQ, 471 Kalamath Street, hosts a Firkin Tappin' from 4 to 6 p.m. today. Firkin is TBA.
Tuesday, May 17
The Cheeky Monk, 534 East Colfax Avenue, gets sultry tonight, tapping Friek, a cherry- and raspberry-infused sour beer from Odell Brewing and pairing it with samples from the restaurant's tabletop chocolate dipping fountain.
Representatives of Crabtree Brewing will be at Euclid Hall, 1317 14th Street, today from 4:30 to 6 p.m. to hang out, answer questions and drink some of the beers. Crabtree is working on a beer that will be specially made for the restaurant. In addition, chef Jorel Pierce and certified cicerone Ryan Conklin, both of Euclid, have created two pairing menus that will be served all week featuring beers from Odell, Stone, Dry Dock and others. The menus are $38 and $58 per person, respectively.
City, O' City, which hosts several firkin tappings every month, will break into a keg of Wake Up Dead imperial stout from Left Hand Brewing in Longmont at 7 p.m.
Wednesday, May 18
Ale House at Amato's, 2501 16th Street, hosts a firkin fest from 6 to 7 p.m. by tapping one firkin each from Breckenridge Brewing (which owns the Ale House) and Left Hand Brewing.
In the meantime, the Breckenridge Ballpark Pub, 2220 Blake Street, will be offering flights of its beers, three for $3, all day long.
Strange Brewing Company, 1330 Zuni, makes a beer just for Hops & Pie called Hops & Pie P.A. Today, the pizza joint returns the favor by bringing some pizza equipment to the Strange taphouse and grilling gourmet pies for the masses from 5 p.m. to close. There will be live music, and Strange will tap its Double Take Imperial IPA.
Copper Kettle Brewing, 1338 South Valentia Street, which is the Denver area's newest brewery, will be offering half off pints all day today (and $2 off growler fills tomorrow).
Thursday, May 19
Strange Brewing celebrates its one-year anniversary today; the brewery opened its doors during American Craft Beer Week last year. To celebrate, Strange will offer live music and food from the Steuben's food truck, which will be on hand. It will also tap 151, its anniversary Belgian trippel -- one with a special meaning.
Hops & Pie is offering a $30 dinner pairing some of its creations with hard-to-find beers from Funkwerks Brewing in Fort Collins; the main course is artisan flatbreads paired with the brewerys' signature saison. The dinner is $30 per person (no reservations taken) and it will be offered from 5 to 10 p.m.
Freshcraft, 1530 Blake Street, has a couple of cool beers on tap starting at 7 p.m.: Left Hand's Weak Sauce, brewed just for Colorado Beer Week and American Craft Beer Week, and Ska Brewing's Local Series #12, an export stout that was created by a homebrewing champ and aged in Merlot barrels.
Oskar Blues stages a Tap Takeover at Star Bar, 2137 Larimer Street, tonight from 7 to 9 p.m.
The Living Room, 1055 Broadway, is the unlikely site of a beer tasting tonight beginning at 7 p.m., when the 21-plus club hosts Stone Brewing, which will serve five of its beers paired with cheeses. Complimentary glasses will be given out and a DJ will keep things moving. Tickets are $30.
Breckenridge Ballpark Pub, 2220 Blake Street, will tap a new beer tonight at 7 p.m. called Trademark Tripel. The small-batch beer is a Belgian version of the brewery's Trademark Pale Ale. There will also be trivia.
San Diego's Green Flash Brewing, which is expanding distribution in Colorado, will be at the Falling Rock Taphouse with some specialty beers and Green Flash sales director Jim Kenny. The beer flows at 5 p.m.
Friday, May 20
Get vertical when Falling Rock Taphouse gets into its kegs of 2009 and 2010 Ten FIDY for a vertical tasting of this outstanding beer. Starts at 5 p.m.
Avery Brewing storms FreshCraft, 1530 Blake Street, today at 11 a.m., taking over the taps. The restaurant will pour fifteen of the Boulder brewer's beers, including several hard-to-find ones. (I hope there's Rumpkin!)
The Upslope Brewing tap room, which recently reopened after a renovation that doubled its size, rocks tonight with live music and grub from the Comida food truck.
The Bull & Bush, which is celebrating its fortieth anniversary this year, taps a new beer tonight, ABT 12, a "silky Belgian inspired dark ale of the Trappist persuasion." And at 11 percent ABV, it should make for a good night.
Saturday, May 21
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The Wynkoop hosts the expansive United Tastes of Belgium from 1 to 4:30 p.m. by bringing in three dozen beers from 22 breweries, including many specialty Belgian-style beers that are difficult to find anywhere else. There will also be cheese and chocolate. Tickets are $30 or $35 at the door.
Odell Brewing will hold a release party for Hiveranno New American Wild Ale at 4 p.m. today in its Fort Collins tap room. In addition to beer samples, there will be music by Constitution. The beer, part of the brewery's Single Serve series, "blends a traditional wild ale with bright American hop aromatics and soft oak tannins," Odell says. It combines Belgian wild yeasts to add funkiness to the American hops, then the whole thing is aged in wooden barrels.
Copper Kettle Brewing, on the Denver/Aurora border, will tap its highly anticipated Mexican Chili Chocolate Stout today at 4 p.m. There will also be food outside from Alvie's Eats food truck.