Paste magazine, which must have ten refrigerators in its office, has released yet another ranked list of craft beers, this time focusing on wild and sour ales — a difficult task that it describes as "venturing into a quagmire of conflicting styles and sub-styles — you’re just hoping to find your way out again, when all is said and done."
But when Paste did find its way out — ranking the top fifty beers out of 143 that it tried — ten Colorado beers came with it, including the one in the top spot: Black Project's Peacemaker, a blend of two spontaneously fermented beers that were aged in bourbon barrels that had also been used to age Colorado cherry wine.
The result is no surprise, as Black Project Wild & Spontaneous Ales has been building a name for itself nationwide over the past few years. In fact, Paste recounted the reaction of its own staff like this: "It was telling that while looking over all of the beers that were arriving for this tasting, multiple tasters pointed toward the Black Project label and said something to the effect of 'I’ve been hearing a lot about these guys.'" As for Peacemaker, they said it was "unique from pretty much anything else in the entire tasting."
The other beers to make the top fifty were Crooked Stave Petite Raspberry in fifth place; WeldWerks Brewing Peach Climacteric at eleven; Avery Brewing Apricot Sour in fifteenth place; Dry Dock Brewing's Maurea and Astraea at 22nd and 41st, respectively; TRVE Brewing's Ostar at 23; Upslope Wild Christmas Ale at 25; Epic Brewing's Sour Brainless on Peaches at 27; and Crooked Stave's Nightmare on Brett at 29.
Keep reading for the best local craft-beer events and tappings through August 19.
Wednesday, August 2
Great American Beer Festival tickets, $85 each, go on sale at 10 a.m. at Ticketmaster.com to the general public; they will sell out within minutes. The fest takes place October 5-7.
Join Goed Zuur, 2801 Welton Street, at 5 p.m. for some rare beer tappings and food offerings. The first beer is Casey Brewing & Blending's The Cut Danube Cherry. The Cut is Casey's Oak Theory — "their take on classic sour beers from Belgium in the Senne Valley, with raw wheat, aged hops, and aged in oak for nine to twelve months" — with whole Colorado cherries at more than two pounds per gallon; these are of the Danube cherry variety, which offer a sweet-tart flavor, the restaurant says. The second is Firestone Walker Brewing Company SLOambic, which is the California brewery's Sour Opal (an American "Gueuze" aged for two years), with blackberries from near San Luis Obispo.
Copper Kettle Brewing celebrates fruit this month by tapping firkins of fruit beer every Wednesday. Today's is Vanilla Lime Lager, a light, tart lager with hints of vanilla and freshly squeezed Key lime juice.
Lafayette's Odd13 Brewing will host three events to celebrate its fourth anniversary. The first, on Wednesday, August 2, is Barrel Day, where three newly packaged barrel-aged beers will be unveiled. They are: Sheriff Shane the Solera Cyborg, "a very rustic and oaky foeder-aged sour blonde"; a blend of a saison and a red sour that was aged in both bourbon and red-wine barrels with cherries; and Rum Barrel Aged Saint Newcole, a lower-ABV version of Saint Nicole Imperial Stout. On Friday, August 4, Odd13 will release two fresh IPAs in cans and on draft. The first is Alpha Twins Juicy DIPA, brewed with Citra and Azacca hops and lactose. The second is QDH Superfan. And on Saturday, August 4, the brewery will host the Main Event, an in-house beer fest featuring a huge lineup of new releases and re-releases. There are two ticketed sessions, at noon and at 5 p.m., to help control the madness (with only 100 tickets, $50 each, per session). Each ticket includes ten drink coupons (more drink coupons can be purchased there), custom glass, a Lyft discount and a charity donation. Food will be available for purchase. Go to eventbrite for more information.
Thursday, August 3
It's IPA Day, and Freshcraft is celebrating by tapping numerous hoppy ales in a variety of styles. The tap list will include (but isn't limited to): Russian River Blind Pig; Outer Range The Steep; Green Flash Spanish Trampoline;
Station 26 Juicy Banger; Odell Myrcenary and IPA; Melvin Brewing Legend of Drunken Master; Stone Brewing RuinTen with Orange Peel & Vanilla Bean; Ska Brewing Modus Hoperandi; Ratio Beerworks Antidote; Victory Beer Dirt Wolf (Nitro).
Despite saying it wouldn't package any "clean" (non-wild or -sour) beers, Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project will host a can release this afternoon to celebrate the release of three non-wild beers: Von Pilsner, IPA and Trellis Buster, a fantastic hazy double IPA. The brewery released its first-ever canned beers just last month, all of them fermented with wild Brettanomyces yeast.
Bierstadt Lagerhaus will tap its Vienna Lager, a seasonal beer brewed to coincide with the Velorama Bike Race, which takes place August 11-13. There will be live music starting at 5 p.m. and Rackhouse Pub specials.
Locavore Beer Works, 5950 South Platte Canyon Road in Littleton, celebrates IPA Day by tapping 2 Fingers Tropical IPA along with an all-new collaboration with First Draft Taproom & Kitchen called the Hank Dazy IPA.
Friday, August 4
Factotum Brewhouse will tap its first sour beer, Cassis Sour, at 3 p.m. Made with cassis (black currant) berries, the beer melds sweet and sour flavors. There's only one keg, so get there fast.
Come taste the sunshine when Freshcraft taps a special one-off firkin of Station 26 Brewing's Arnold Palmer at 5:30 p.m. It's the brewery's Lemondrop Wheat infused with tea.
Cerebral Brewing is bringing back a small batch of Cheat Code IPA for sale in Crowlers; the beer recently ranked in Draft magazine's list of the fifty best IPAs. "Heavily hopped with some of our favorite intensely fruity hops — Galaxy, El Dorado, Mosaic, and South African N1/69" — Cheat Code is 7.2 ABV and has "notes of grapefruit, melon, guava and a hint of pineapple," the brewery says. "We feel this batch is head and shoulders above the previous version and can't wait for you to judge for yourselves." Only 200 Crowlers will be sold; they cost $14 each, with a limit of three per person. Basecamp Provisions will be outside from 3 to 10 p.m.
Odd13 in Lafayette, which is celebrating its fourth anniversary all week, will roll out two fresh IPAs available in cans and on draft. The first is Alpha Twins Juicy DIPA, brewed with Citra and Azacca hops as well as lactose. The second is QDH Superfan.
Saturday, August 5
More than fifty breweries will be pouring session beers (5 percent ABV or less) as part of the fourth annual Sesh Fest, which starts at 3 p.m. at the Highland Masonic Center. Tickets are $30, though there are a variety of packages and discounts for groups. There will be live music and yard games. Sesh Fest benefits the Colorado Brewers Guild. Get tickets and more information at seshfest.com.
The Bull & Bush will host its 46th Anniversary Party with a concert by the Samples at 9 p.m. Other details are TBA. Tickets, $19.71 (the year the Bull & Bush was founded), are available at the brewery's website.
Comrade Brewing taps An Imperial Christmas at noon. This is the brewery's Pro-Am beer for the Great American Beer Festival, meaning it was brewed with a home brewer using that person's award-winning recipe. Comrade teamed up with Marc Svitak, gold-medal winner at the 2017 Big Beer, Belgians and Barleywines Festival in Breckenridge, to make An Imperial Christmas. At 10 percent ABV, it is brewed with honey malt, Patagonian Crystal 70, Victory and a touch of wheat, for a rich malty base. Then Valencia orange peel, Colorado wildflower honey, grains of paradise, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger were added.
De Steeg Brewing taps several small-batch barrel-aged beers at 2 p.m. as part of its Summer Barrel Release Party. Samples are $2 each, and full pours are available at menu price.
River North Brewery will tap Single Cask Quandary: Kentucky Bourbon at noon. This is the brewery's Belgian-style quadrupel aged in Kentucky bourbon barrels. There will only be a very small amount on draft and an even smaller amount — about five cases' worth — for sale in bottles. One per person; $12.
Lost Highway Brewing has made the complete transition from its original spot on East Colfax Avenue to 12741 East Caley Avenue, Unit 140, in Centennial, where it has a larger production space and taproom. Although it opened to the public in June, Lost Highway didn't start brewing in the location — under the direction of former Dad & Dude's Breweria head brewer Brian Connerty — until mid-July. To celebrate, the brewery will host a family-friendly grand-opening party with tours, a cornhole tournament, beer stein painting, live music, face painting and the release of several beers: Peach Berliner Weisse, Saison, Barrel-Aged Grave Robber Fraud Quad and a Barrel-Aged Liquid Pajamas.
Odd13 Brewing in Lafayette toasts its fourth anniversary with the Main Event, an in-house beer fest featuring a huge lineup of new releases and re-releases. There are two ticketed sessions to help control the madness (there are only 100 tickets, $50 each, per session) — one at noon and one at 5 p.m. Each ticket includes ten drink tickets (additional drink tickets can be purchased at the event), Lyft discount, gratuity, custom glass and a charity donation. Food will be available for purchase. Go to Eventbrite for more information on the first session, from noon to 4 p.m., and the second session, from 5 to 9 p.m.
Come celebrate 24 years of great beers with Avery Brewing in Boulder, starting at 3 p.m. The anniversary party will include dozens of cellared and classic beer offerings, as well as all of Avery's core beers, food from the restaurant and "family fun." Live music starts with the Hop Pickers at 3:30 p.m. and also includes Head for the Hills at 5 p.m and Monophonics at 6:30 p.m. As with many beer festivals this season, there are three ticket tiers. Food and beer can be purchased à la carte throughout the event. The $15 Music Lover ticket includes entry to the festival to enjoy the music. The $30 Base Layer ticket includes live music, a custom glass, a welcome beer and two drink tickets. The $55 Aficionado ticket is the Base Layer ticket plus four additional beer tickets and a food voucher. Proceeds will go to American Rivers, a nonprofit that protects wild rivers, restores damaged rivers and conserves clean water for people and nature. Buy tickets at twoparts.com.
Outer Range Brewing in Frisco, which is building a reputation as a destination for lovers of New England-style IPAs, will release a beer in cans at 11 a.m. in the taproom only. Rustic Ways DIPA will be available in four-packs for a whopping $18; one case per person. There will be live music on the patio from Ken Lee from noon to 2 p.m., and food for sale from Whole Foods.
Monday, August 7
The Post Brewing in Lafayette brings its restaurant friends and family together at 6 p.m. "to cook, eat, drink and play" at the sixth annual Jack’s Benevolent Bash, a fundraiser that is pricey but well worth it. For the dinner, guest chefs have collaborated on a six-course menu with hand-picked beers from The Post, Avery Brewing and Bru Handbuilt Ales, all served in the Post’s scenic back yard and to the tunes of Adam Bodine. This year’s featured chefs and brewers include Brett Smith, Shelley Katz and Jimmy Giesler, of the Post; Hosea Rosenberg, of Blackbelly Market; Ian Clark, of Bru; and Chris Blackwood, from Avery. Tickets are $100 per person and can be purchased in person at the Post or over the phone at 303-596-2033. All proceeds benefit the Autism Society of Boulder County and the Jack Ferrigno Send a Kid to Camp Grant. Brett Smith, chef/owner of the Post, created the Jack Ferrigno Send a Kid to Camp Grant in 2012 "in honor of his dear friend John Ferrigno's son Jack, who had autism and passed away due to a seizure disorder when he was only eight years old," the Post says. "Over the last five years, they have raised over $100,000 to send over 200 developmentally challenged kids to fun, confidence-building summer camps."
Wednesday, August 9
Lonely Planet's new book, Global Beer Tour - A Guide To Beer Tasting At The World's Best Breweries, includes a passage about Black Shirt Brewing. To celebrate, the brewery will host two speakers who will share their fondest memories of beer and travel. The first is Christopher Pritts of Lonely Planet. The second is Marty Jones of Marty Jones Ideas & Ink, a local journalist turned beer evangelist, publicist and promoter. Hostel Fish is also part of this event, so if you show the bartender your Hostel Fish key card, you'll get ten percent off your first round of drinks. Everyone else who buy a pint will be entered into a giveaway for items that include the book.
Thursday, August 10
For the first time ever, 4 Noses Brewing in Broomfield has canned its Peachopotamus, an ale brewed with peaches from Palisade. The beer is part of the brewery's Ad Hoc Series. 4 Noses will be celebrating all day, selling draft pours and four-packs to go.
Renegade Brewing will pay homage to its flagship beer, Redacted Rye IPA, from 5 to 10 p.m. With the purchase of a pint you'll receive a limited Redacted pint glass while supplies last and a six-pack to go, while supplies last. Tell the brewery your best "I wish I could redact that," and be entered into a contest to win shwag and beer.
The Save the Ales festival, a fundraiser for Conservation Colorado, returns to Mile High Station from 6 to 10:30 p.m. with dozens of local breweries on hand. "Raise a glass with friends while helping us raise funds to protect, conserve and ensure a future with plenty of clean water for all Coloradans. Because no water means no beer," the organization says. "Your Save the Ales ticket purchase will help Conservation Colorado educate citizens on how to be stewards of water, collaborate with lawmakers to protect water at the policy level, and encourage people to stand up for the basic human right to clean, healthy water for all." Tickets range from $30 to $65. To buy them and to find out more info about the festival and the organization, go to conservationco.org.
Friday, August 11
Double Dry-Hopped Rare Trait returns to Cerebral Brewing for Crowler sales only. "We took our house IPA and doubled the dry-hop rate to seven pounds per barrel with Citra, El Dorado, Azacca and Mosaic," Cerebral says. "It tastes even better than it sounds, with notes of over-ripe peaches, mango, guava and passion fruit." The brewery will release a limited number of Crowlers, three per person at $16 each, until they run out. Basecamp Provisions will be out front starting at 3 p.m.
Ursual Brewing's Nautical Buzz Coffee IPA is making a return for the end of summer. "We've tasted through another group of coffees this year and we've decided on a natural process Ethiopian Yirgacheffe," the brewery says. Logan House Coffee used the beans to create "a wholly unique cold brew that is intoxicatingly fragrant, deeply sweet, and very berry forward." Bomber bottles are $10.
To kick off its three-day-long third-anniversary shindig, Liquid Mechanics Brewing in Lafayette is releasing Batch 3 of its Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Porter in 22-ounce bombers. There will only be 180 bottles available. This Imperial Porter has been aging in bourbon barrels since 2015, the brewery says. "We chose the best two barrels out of five to blend and put into these bottles. This is a super-rare treat."
Education on Tap is a beer festival hosted by CU South Denver (10035 South Peoria Street in Lone Tree), now in its fifteenth year. Formerly known as Art & Ale, the fest now has a new look and a new purpose: Proceeds will benefit the CU South Denver Community Education Fund. There will be about twenty breweries there — both craft and mega-brewers — along with a variety of food, from McDonald's as well as local restaurants. In addition, there will be live music and lawn games. Tickets range from $50 to $100. Get them on the Education on Tap website.
Saturday, August 12
Denver Beer Co. raises a glass to its sixth anniversary by hosting a block party off Platte Street starting at 11 a.m. and continuing throughout the day and night. There will be beer, food trucks, live music, games, a photo booth and more. The family-friendly event is free to enter.
New Image Brewing will host the third edition of the Arvada Patio Society, featuring beers from four Arvada breweries served in festival style in the alley behind the expanded New Image patio. The other breweries there are Odyssey Beerwerks, Spice Trade Brewing and SomePlace Else Brewery. Come meet the brewers, try their beers, ask questions and explore what Arvada has to offer.
Liquid Mechanics Brewing has been turning out great beer for three years in Lafayette. To celebrate its birthday, the brewery hosts an outdoor music fest with five bands that will be playing all day long, starting at 2 p.m. Headliners include Judge Roughneck playing ska and reggae, and Last Men on Earth, a ’70s/’80s/’90s tribute band. Inside the brewery, there will be sixteen beers on tap, including the brand-new Imperial Hop Nectar and Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Porter Batch 3. There will also be food trucks. Entry is free.
Every year, Call to Arms Brewing and Cannonball Creek Brewing join forces to support a young, up-and-coming Colorado brewery and celebrate the spirit of collaboration and camaraderie. While some breweries "send cease-and-desist letters, we aim to bring peace while assisting our brothers and sisters in arms," the two breweries say. This year's partner for Peace & Assist IV is Cellar West Artisan Ales, which opened last December 1001 Lee Hill Drive in Boulder. Founded by Zach Nichols, formerly of Sanitas Brewing, Cellar West specializes in "distinctive, barrel-fermented beers that celebrate people, place, and purpose." The event runs from 1 to 9 p.m. and includes three versions of Peace & Assist No. 4: the base version, brewed with raw and malted rye and fermented in oak with the Cellar West wild yeast culture; a variant made with fresh cucumbers and cardamom; and a dry-hopped version (Amarillo and Hallertau Blanc) that will be available in bottles as well. There will also be other beers from Cellar West, along with offerings from Call to Arms and Cannonball Creek. Boulder's Stone Lotus food truck will be on hand, and there will be live music from Chunky Whiskey.
Sunday, August 13
Bluegrass Brunch returns to Station 26 Brewing at 11 a.m. with beers, barbecue from Turn-In BBQ, doughnuts from Glazed and Confuzed, and music from Ran Off the Rooster.
To wrap up its third-anniversary weekend party, Liquid Mechanics Brewing in Lafayette is hosting a release for its Imperial Hop Nectar in cans. It's an amped-up version of the brewery's 5.3 percent ABV hazy Hop Nectar IPA. The brewery will open a little late today, at 2 p.m., and will begin selling six-packs for $11.99 each at that time.
Friday, August 18
Join Odyssey Beerwerks in Arvada at 7 p.m. when it rolls out the barrel — of its German-style Marzen Oktoberfest beer — for Arvada mayor Marc Williams. That first keg is a firkin, and you can get your first pint free while it lasts. There will also be music from Polka Folka.
Saturday, August 19
Join Our Mutual Friend Brewing for the bottle release of Saison Trystero at 2 p.m. "Fermented with our house yeast and bottle-conditioned for two months, this Provision Saison has a complex yet dry malt profile, balanced hop bitterness, and wonderful citrusy aroma," OMF says. "We've designed it to be a reliable mainstay at the dinner table, on the porch with friends, or anything you can think of, for that matter." Each 750-ml corked-and-caged bottle is $11, and the first fifty customers get a free OMF corkscrew/bottle opener.
Black Shirt Brewing makes many special beers, but there is one that stands out every year because of its special meaning to brothers and brewery co-owners Chad and Branden Miller. Red Evelyn Imperial Red Rye IPA is typically brewed in the early spring and released in August to honor the Millers' grandmother Evie, who helped raise the boys in the town of Westcliffe. (Last year's version came out in December because the first batch didn't come out right). But the beer is also special because it is one of the best, most underrated double IPAs in the state. Brewed with wildflower honey, Belgian candi sugar and five kinds of hops, Red Evelyn takes five months to make because of the specialized processes that the Millers use. Uncannily balanced for such a big beer, it offers flavors and aromas of pine, caramel, grapefruit, spice and flowers. Black Shirt changes up the details of the release each year, sometimes offering Red Evelyn in bottles or Crowlers or just on tap, but there is usually a party to go along with it. In this case, there will be a party again, though the details are TBA.
Resolute Brewing in Centennial wants to party, so the brewery is shutting down the parking lot next to its building for a first-anniversary bash starting at noon. Resolute will kick things off an hour earlier, at 11 a.m., with its first ever (taproom-only) bomber release — a Belgian dark strong ale with peaches. This anniversary ale is limited, but there is no bottle limit — and while you can drink it fresh, Resolute says it was designed to age well, too. For the party, there will be a Big Wheel racing course that allows up to six trikes at a time. There will also be a beer tent overlooking the track — where Resolute will have other special releases on tap — as well as music, life-sized games, and a pig roast from Ol' Skool Que. At 5:30 p.m, the party moves indoors, with live music from Timber and more beer. Other details are TBA.
Beer festivals are a great way to get a taste of a wide variety of breweries without having to go to each one, and the Parker Brewfest, running from 2 to 5 p.m. in the gazebo area at Parker's O'Brien Park, will deliver this year with 39 breweries (and one cider house), nearly half of which hail from Parker, Littleton, Centennial, Aurora, Highlands Ranch and other south Denver suburbs. Some of the remaining breweries are from the northern suburbs or from beer companies that are making beer at other breweries but don't have locations yet. Hosted by the Cherry Creek Valley Rotary Club of Parker, the festival raises money for charities — 100 percent of the proceeds will benefit various groups, including Parker Task Force for Human Services; Douglas County Student Support Center; Crisis Center; Project Sanctuary; End Polio Now; ShelterBox; Rotary Water Project; and Project C.U.R.E. Tickets for the fest are $40 in advance from parkerbrewfest.com or $55 for VIP tickets, which get you in one hour early, at 1 p.m. In addition to beer, there will be food from Cheffin's Cheesesteak's, Sokare and Golden Toad, as well as music from the Dollhouse Thieves.
The third annual Wheat Ridge Brewfest and BBQ Bash takes place in the area behind Colorado Plus Brewpub from 2 to 8 p.m. There will be live music, plenty of pork, and beer from Strange Craft, Green Mountain Beer, Brewery Rickoli, Black Bottle Brewery, Hogshead, Odyssey Beerwerks, Three Barrel, Lone Tree Brewing, 14er Brewing, Horse & Dragon, WestFax, Tivoli and more. Beer costs $2 per token; food is $10.
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Wednesday, August 23
Prost Brewing will kick off its five-day-long fifth-anniversary party with music from DJ Sam and specialty sausages from Widermeats & Eats. There will be more music, beer tappings and food through Sunday.
Thursday, August 24
Prost Brewing continues its week-long fifth-anniversary party by tapping its Barrel-Aged Dunkel. There will be food from Seasoned Swine and music from Polka Folka.
Friday, August 25
Prost Brewing continues its week-long fifth-anniversary party at 5 p.m. by tapping a single firkin of its Keller Marzen bier. Music from Steve Linsky Reverbnation.
Saturday, August 26
Resolute Brewing, which was founded by a group of Columbine High School grads, has put together the Reflection Garden on Tap Beerfest and 5K as a way to have a blast in Aurora. But proceeds will be used to construct a memorial in honor of the "victims, survivors, and heroes" of the 2012 Aurora theater shooting. The memorial will become a part of the Reflection Memorial Garden inside the ten-acre Aurora Municipal Water-wise Garden at the northwest corner of Alameda Parkway and Chambers Road. The 5K course takes runners on a scenic stroll through nearby parks and neighborhoods, finishing in the Water-wise Garden, where celebrations kick off with the beer fest. There will be fifteen breweries on hand, along with two food trucks, live music from Brushfire, life-sized games, sidewalk chalk artists and more. For details and registration, go to evenbrite.com.