Beer calendar: Belgian pales, barrel-aged beers and Colorado Craft Beer Week

The Mountain Sun group of pubs in Boulder and Denver have always been quirky (they don't take credit cards, for instance), but the clear, oversized mason jars they use instead of growlers have long frustrated fans who want to take their beer to go. Mountain Sun's delicious beer goes flat fast in these jars, which leak easily and aren't well-protected from light. Finally this week, Mountain Sun, Southern Sun and Vine Street Pub introduced an alternative: double-walled stainless steel containers finished in matte black and laser-etched with the Mountain Sun logo. But you need to hurry to grab yours, because each location is only selling 48 of them (for now) at $35 each (empty) or $50 with beer.

For this week's craft-beer events, turn the page.

Wednesday, March 13

River North Brewery will tap an experimental variation of its Quandary quadrupel today as part of its weekly Wayward Wednesday series. Fermented with Scotch ale yeast, this variation is slightly lower in alcohol than the regular Quandary. There will also be a new food truck in the house, Doner King, serving Turkish/German food.

Copper Kettle Brewing will tap a firkin of Barrel-Aged Old Ale today as part of its weekly cask program. Hours are 3 to 9 p.m.

The Cheeky Monk Belgian Beer Cafe on Colfax will tap Victory Brewing's Oaked Aged Old Horizontal Barleywine tonight at 6:30 p.m. This is the first time the Philadelphia brewery has sent kegs of the beer to other states. Cheeky Monk will also tap Victory's Session Saison, which is new to the brewery's lineup. Customers can keep the glass.

In Colorado Springs, the Brewer's Republic, in cooperation with the Focus on the Beer blog, will dedicate an evening to some of New Belgium's limited release beers. The event, which runs from 4 to 11 p.m., will include two IPAs, Ranger and Rampant, the brewery's newest offering. There will also be four beers from the Lips of Faith Series, Cascara Quad, Heavenly Feijoa Tripel (a collaboration with Dieu du Ciel in Belgium), Fall Wild Ale and Biere de Mars, as well as a keg of Frambozen and La Folie and Transatlantique Kriek in bottles.

Thursday, March 14

Upslope Brewing will bring back its Belgian Style Pale Ale in style today with a release party from 5 to 7 p.m. in Boulder. The beer debuted last spring as Upslope's second-ever seasonal canned beer (and landed on Westword's list of the "Ten best new Colorado beers of 2012"). Anyone who shows up will be allowed to walk into the back and grab a can straight off of the canning line. The beer will also be available on draft and for sale in six-packs -- and Belgian Style Pale Ale will also hit liquor stores in about two weeks. The Cheese Louise food truck will be on land, and there will be live music from Kort McCumber in the tap room.

Saturday, March 16

Last September, Drew Watson of Hops & Pie bought five first-use Maker's Mark bourbon barrels and distributed them to some of his favorite local breweries -- Renegade, Odell, Great Divide, River North and Oskar Blues -- each of which filled one up with a special brew. Watson will tap all five of those specially prepared barrels at Hops & Pie today for his Littlest Big Barrel Aged Beer Fest. The brews include Great Divide's Hibernation, Oskar Blues Ten FIDY, River North Avaraice and a pumpkin porter from Renegade. And then there is Odell's beer: The brewery barrel-aged its Mountain Standard black IPA and then blended it with its brand new Lugene chocolate milk stout. "That's a mind-blower," Watson says. The event starts at noon; single pours and flights will be available.

Monday, March 18

Colorado Craft Beer Week begins today, and we've highlighted a few events for each day, but not all them. To find information on the rest, check out the CCB web site.

For more information about Colorado Craft Beer Week, see our weekly Colorado Beer Calendar or to the festival's web site.

The Wynkoop Brewing Company will kick off Colorado Craft Beer Week today at 5 p.m. by tapping the first all-female collaboration brew in state history, a Belgian-style brown ale called "Ellegance." The project, which was coordinated by the Wynkoop's Bess Dougherty, involved eight woman who work for seven different breweries around Colorado. The goal was to bring attention to women in the industry and to inspire people to get into the industry or to become homebrewers.

The Falling Rock Taphouse will attempt a feat never before accomplished: turning over all eighty taps to beers brewed in Colorado. Falling Rock will close at 5 to being the process of switching all the taps. The party will then start at 7 p.m. Tickets are $4 at http://cobeerweekopeningceremony.eventbrite.com. Here is the list of beers so far: Avery Uncle Jacob's Stout, Backcountry Brewery, Big Choice Brewing, Black Bottle, Bonfire Brewing, Bootstrap, Boulder Brewing, Bristol, Bull and Bush, Carver Oatmeal Pale Ale, Caution Brewing, City Star Brewing, Colorado Cider Company, Crabtree, Copper Kettle, Crazy Mountain Cara De Luna, Crooked Stave, Dry Dock, Echo Nocturnal Black Imperial IPA, Elevation, Equinox, Ft. Collins, Funkwerks, Great Divide, Grimm Brothers Snow Drop, Hall Brewing Company, Hogs Head on CASK, Left Hand Brewing on CASK, Lone Tree Brewing, New Belgium, Odell Brewing, Oskar Blues Barrel Aged Chub, Pagosa Brewing, Prost, Redstone Meadery, Renegade Elevation Triple IPA, River North, Ska, Strange, Telluride Brewing, Tivoli, Tommyknocker Rye Porter, Upslope Foreign Stout, West Flanders, Wynkoop Ellegance Women's Collaborative Brew

Denver Beer Co will re-release one of its most asked-about beers at 5 p.m.: Kaffir Lime Wheat. The 4.9 percent ABV beer was inspired by a trip to Thailand and was one of the first beers that the brewery ever made.

Lucky Pie Pizza & Taphouse in LoDo will break out three brews from Elevation Beer Company today at 4 p.m.: Oil Man Bourbon Barrel Stout, Third Base Belgian Tripel (for the first time) and First Cast IPA. The first twenty people to order one of these Elevation beers on tap gets a free pint glass from the brewery.

Tuesday, March 19

All week, Oskar Blues Homemade Liquids and Solids will also be turning over all of its taps -- 44 in this case -- to Colorado craft beer. Each night of the week starting around 5 p.m., there will be representatives from three to five Colorado craft breweries in-house to do pint/schwag giveaways and talk beer.

The West End Tavern in Boulder will celebrate Colorado Craft Beer Week with various special tappings and guest appearances. Tonight at 6 p.m., the tavern will tap Telluride Brewing's Bridal Veil Rye Pale Ale and Fishwater Double IPA; Tommy Thacher, owner of Telluride Brewing, will be on hand to talk.

For more craft beer events in March, turn the page. Wednesday, March 20

The Lobby American Grille is hosting a couple of events for Colorado Craft Beer Week, including a Dry Dock Beer Dinner tonight featuring dishes from executive chef Nate Gravina paired with Dry Dock's Dark Saison, HMS Bounty Old Ale and Vanilla Porter. One course will also be served with a beer cocktail that includes Apricot Blonde and Disaronno. Tickets are $45 per person (before tax and gratuity). Reservations are required.

Thursday, March 21

Wit's End Brewing will hold a special horizontal tasting of its One series, in which owner Scott Witsoe made three versions of the same beer, but with a different hops variety each time. The brewery saved kegs of its Columbus and Tettnang versions, which it will tap today alongside the newest version, Cascade. You can sample all three.

Ernie's Pizza will cede 24 of its 30 taps today to Renegade Brewing, Great Divide, Crooked Stave, Crazy Mountain, Dry Dock and Strange Brewing as part of Colorado Craft Beer Week. The tap takeover runs from 5 to 7:30 p.m. and gives guests the chance to meet and greet brewers and brewery reps; some of the beers should be rare ones that are only available in the breweries' tap rooms.

Friday, March 22

Our Mutual Friend Malt & Brew will release one hundred bottles of its Winter Warmer today at 2 p.m. in the taproom only. The bottles are hand-dipped in wax and numbered. It is the first time OMF has bottled a beer. The release is being held to celebrate and conclude the winter season and to make way for a new spring seasonal. There is a limit of two bottles per person. RSVP at http://www.facebook.com/events/354624267983726/

Wit's End Brewing will roll out a keg of its golden strong Dim Mak, which it had saved for Colorado Craft Beer Week. They'll tap the beer at 2 p.m.

The Rackhouse Pub will tap AC Golden Brewing's much sought-after Hidden Barrel Apricot Sour today at 4 p.m. The brewery only bottled 100 cases of the beer, and this is the first time it has been put on draft anywhere. Representatives from AC Golden will be on hand from 4 to 7 p.m. to talk, pour beer and give away glasses.

Legends & Rarities, which takes place from 6 to 9 p.m. at Star Bar, celebrates the old guard of the Colorado craft-brewing world: the behemoths, the forerunners, the legends. It is the first of a two-part celebration hosted by Imbibe and Denver Off the Wagon; the second part takes place tomorrow at the Lobby and highlights the youngest beer makers in the state. Ten breweries will each pour two beers: one legend (something that brought the brewery from infancy through to today) and a rarity (something that makes the brewery desired by even the most devout beer geeks). Brewery reps from Avery, Boulder Beer, Breckenridge, Great Divide, Left Hand, New Belgium, Odell, Oskar Blues, Ska and Wynkoop will be on hand. And to keep the theme of oldies but goodies going, Mid Life Crisis will perform rock-and-roll classics starting at 9:30. Tickets are $30.

Great Divide will tap a very small amount of an unexpected treat that made itself available this week for Colorado Craft Week. It's a version of the brewery's Hades Belgian-Style Strong Golden Ale that was aged with brettanomyces yeast. "Four years ago, we took a little bit of Hades that had already been fermented (with its normal strain of Belgian yeast) and we added some brettanomyces for a secondary fermentation," says head brewer Taylor Rees. "We tasted the beer a few times over the four years, but just recently we really started to see the brett take hold of the beer. We were pleasantly surprised by the result -- this Hades has an elegant brett character with some light sourness and tartness. The nose is crisp and fruity, and the beer finishes very dry and makes you want another sip. We wish we had made more." There is less than a keg's worth of the beer, so Great Divide will only pour sample sizes to make it last longer.

As part of Colorado Craft Beer Week, Twisted Pine Brewing in Boulder is making things hot by challenging anyone to eat a ten-inch cheese pizza smothered with Ghost peppers and drink the the brewery's pepper-infused Ghost Face Killah beer inside of five minutes. It costs $15, but anyone who is successful gets a special GFK T-shirt and their face immortalized on the Twisted Pain Wall of Fame.

Saturday, March 23

River North Brewery will release its eighth barrel-aged beer today at 1 p.m. The beer, Barrel Reserve 2013, is a blend of several whiskey-aged beers and is the most complex beer that River North has produced. It will be on tap and sold in bottles to go; only 120 cases were produced. Some should hit liquor stores later this month.

So, you've done the beer and chocolate thing, the beer and cheese pairing, and maybe even beer and bacon. But you probably haven't done beer and pickles -- at least not yet. As part of Colorado Craft Beer Week, Denver Beer Co and the Real Dill will host Beers & Spears in the brewery's new Barrel Room space. A ticket will get you three beers and three pickles, including one made just for the event. There will also be a spicy pickle-eating contest: winner gets a growler of beer and a jar of pickles.

Check out the very newest of the new breweries in the metro area tonight at The New Kids on the Block Party, hosted by the Lobby New American Grille; it is the second part of a two-part party hosted by Imbibe and Denver Off the Wagon. The fun starts at 9 p.m. with beers from breweries that have been open less than two years. Wear your best '80s outfits or concert T-shirts to get into the NKOTB (the band, if you remember them) feel of things. Tickets cost, yes, $19.86.



's Beer Man on Twitter at @ColoBeerMan and on Facebook at Colo BeerMan

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