Beer Man

Beer Calendar: Christmas Parties, Holiday Ales and Barrel-Aged Brews

Everyone needed a beer in 2016. Luckily, there are 5,005 breweries in the United States, so finding one isn't really an issue. That was just one of the things that the Boulder-based Brewers Association — the trade group representing small and independent craft breweries — mentioned in its look back at the year this week. Here are some of the other points that the association made:

 - Of those 5,005 breweries (compared to 10,000 wineries), 99 percent are small and independent.

 - IPAs account for roughly 25 percent of craft volume, but more sessionable styles, including golden ales, pilsners and pale lagers, are up 33 percent, totaling nearly 5 percent of craft.

 - The world’s two largest brewers, Anheuser-Busch InBev and SABMiller, merged into "a multinational conglomerate two and a half times the size of the U.S. beer market" last year, but not without the BA taking part in the discussion. The group says it advocated for "fair competition for the nation’s small and independent craft brewers and access to market ensuring [that] beer enthusiasts get to continue to choose from a vast variety of options."

 - Craft-beer export volume increased by 16.3 percent, totaling 446,151 barrels worth $116 million. More than 100 small and independent craft brewers export their beer internationally.

Now, here are this week's craft-beer events.

Wednesday, December 7
TRVE Brewing will release Jewel Throne today in bottles. The beer is a golden mixed-culture ale aged on 1.5 pounds of Colorado apricots per gallon of beer. There are less than 1,000 bottles of Jewell Throne "going out in the wild," though, the brewery says.

Black Shirt Brewing will tap its Buffalo Trace Bourbon-Barrel-Aged Saison today at 11 a.m. for its One Keg Wednesday series. This beer spent 21 weeks in the barrel — and is a sneak peek into BSB's upcoming event, Celebrating the Saison, which takes place on December 23.

This from Bierstadt Lagerhaus: "The weather outside might be cold, but that makes for the perfect occasion to break out some Brewer's Tea — on brew days only this winter (starting today), you can come down to the tasting room at Rackhouse Pub and drink like brewers do — fresh, hot wort and whiskey to cure what ails you."

Thursday, December 8
Lone Tree Brewing will celebrate its fifth anniversary with a three-day party beginning today. There will be LTBC-themed trivia starting at 6 p.m., and the brewery will tap Imperial Peach IPA.

Caution Brewing in Lakewood will host Dead Dog Chocolate for a chocolate-and-beer-pairing event from 5 to 8 p.m. For $20 per person, you will receive four pieces of local, craft chocolate, each matched with a Caution beer, including Mole Tamale paired with Honey Matrimony American Brown ale; Fig Balsamic Truffle paired with Hold the Door Baltic Porter; Peppermint and Nib Bar paired with Card Your Mom Belgian Saison; Pumpkin Spice Brownie paired with TIM pumpkin-curry spiced ale. Reservations are not required.

Upslope Brewing brings out the Christmas Spirit at 5 p.m. today with the release of Lee Hill Series Volume 10: Wild Christmas Ale With Cranberries. "Aged for eleven months in Leopold Bros. Maryland Style rye whiskey barrels and re-fermented with 500 pounds of cranberries, this 9 percent ABV sour ale is both naughty and nice," the brewery says. "Candied orange, rye whiskey spice and a touch of oak open up to an assertive cranberry tartness and a light semi-sweet chocolate finish." There will also be an ugly sweater contest, food from Farmer Girl and love music from Steve Selinsky. The event takes place at Upslope's original Lee Hill taproom in Boulder.

Jake's Brew Bar in Littleton will host an epic tap takeover with Seattle's Fremont Brewing today at 4 p.m. It will be tapping Bourbon Barrel Aged Dark Star; Bourbon Barrel Aged Dark Star-Coffee Edition; Bourbon Barrel Aged Dark Star-Spice Wars; and Coffee Cinnamon B-Bomb. And for hops fans, it will have Cowiche Canyon, Brother DIPA, Session Pale and Interurban IPA. There will also be some Fremont shwag and goodies.

Friday, December 9
TRVE Brewing will tap a new beer today. Ancient Bole is a mixed-culture saison fermented in wooden foeders using a "solera" method and dry-hopped with El Dorado, the brewery says. "Hazy-straw hued, balanced acidity, and clocking in at 5.3 percent ABV. Ancient Bole will ... be available in limited quantities year-round."

Lone Tree Brewing
continues its five-year anniversary celebration with a special tour from 5 to 7 p.m. today, during which brewery staff will discuss LTBC's beginnings, how the company has grown in the last five years, and what’s on the horizon. Lone Tree will tap its Patagonia Pale Winter Ale.

Saturday, December 10
River North Brewery will debut a new series of huge beers today that are designed to be aged up to ten years. The appropriately named Decennial series is the brewery's most ambitious project to date. Sold only out of the taproom, the beers are all above 15 percent ABV. They are God Complex Quadrupel, Shadowman Imperial Stout and Father Time Old Ale. All three will be on tap and in bottles to go: $12 each, limit six per beer per person. "Reserve a bottle and taster of each by purchasing an advance ticket. Please note you do not need a ticket to attend the event and enjoy beers," the brewery says.

Our Mutual Friend will celebrate its fourth anniversary today with a party and the release of several bottles: Year Four Golden Brett Ale Aged on Damson Plums; Sahti Collaboration with the Populist; 2016 American Wild Ale; Thanatoid BA Russian Imperial Stout; and 24FPS Golden Sour. A portion of sales will be donated to LYRIC : Learn Your Rights in Colorado.

Ratio Beerworks will wave its wand and bring back Genius Wizard Russian Imperial Stout and barrel-aged Genius Wizard today at noon. "This big bad Russian Imperial Stout will warm your bones, conjuring rich chocolate rye and molasses notes, while rounding out with a smooth, viscous, roasty finish," the brewery says. "One of the first beers brewed at Ratio and now the centerpiece of our winter seasonal lineup, Genius Wizard brandishes its might, weighing in at a bold 11.5 percent." The barrel-aged version, meanwhile, has been aging for eleven months in bourbon barrels; it will be available in 375ml bottles for $12. You can get a special package deal, which includes two bottles of BA Genius Wizard, a ten-ounce pour of 2016 Genius Wizard and a commemorative glass for $30.

Station 26 Brewing will celebrate its third anniversary today with live music, food and special tappings. There will be special firkins at 1, 2 and 3 p.m., along with a Bourbon Barrel Aged BarleyWayne tapping at 4 p.m., and a Bourbon Barrel Aged Dark Star Imperial Stout tapping at 5. The brewery will also release bottles of its Third Birthday Beer, a triple IPA brewed with Belgian candi sugar and hopped with Zeus, Cascade, Amarillo, Simcoe and Citra. There will be live music from Boogie Mammoth at 7:30 p.m. and wood-fired pizzas from Basic Kneads Pizza all day.

Black Project Spontaneous & Wild Ales will release two special beers today. The first is Oxcart: "Three years in the making, Oxcart is our first 100 percent spontaneous/coolshipped blend of 1-, 2-, and 3-year old barrel-aged beer," the brewery says. "Similar in method and in the style of the great, traditional gueuze of Belgium. Notes of hay and stonefruit, with complex layers of funk. Some sweetness carries through each sip along with pleasant yet assertive acidity, ending with a dryness on the back of the palate. This beer is expected to age for many years, but is ready to drink now. Complexity will only continue to develop with time in the bottle." Bottles are $30, with a limit of three. The second beer is Peach Rye Whiskey Dreamland, which was recently named one of the best beers in American by Draft magazine. "This time, using 100 percent whole fruit from Palisade — fifty pounds per barrel of perfectly ripe Cresthaven peaches from our family-owned orchard were added directly to the beer, allowing a secondary fermentation inside of a wet Laws Whiskey House Secale Rye Barrel. Intense peach on the nose with a soft, round mouthfeel and beautiful acidity." Bottles are $26, with a limit of one per person. Adelitas Cocina y Cantina will be on site serving breakfast tacos, and there will be Corvus Coffee to keep you warm.

Come one, come all to the second annual Call to Arms Brewing Tennyson Street Holiday Rumpus & Market, which will be chock-full of beer, vendors, food and other delights. Vendors at the German-style market include: Soul Salve, Il Porcellino Salumi, XO Gift Co., Wicked Kitten, Natanael Roberts Photography and more. There will be food from Prosit sausages, Cake Denver and Mas Kaos Pizzeria + Taqueria. As for the beers, you'll find Sweet Bloom Coffee Roasters Oats & Hose Oatmeal Porter, a brand-new and wildly hoppy Holiday IPA, a hybrid one-off Baltic Gluhwein (a Baltic Porter with plums, cloves, and orange zest). Live music from the Alcapones from 4 to 7 p.m.; also, bring in food and clothes for Metro Caring and Denver Clothes to Kids and get $1 off your beer.

Freshcraft will tap Stone Brewing's winter spiced Mocha Stout, Xocoveza, today starting at 1 p.m., including a nitrogenated version "that takes the 11." Additionally, Freshcraft's kitchen has "taken Mexican hot chocolate spicing inspiration and run with it. We'll be serving a beer-infused hot chocolate we're calling Xoco Mocha as well as Tres Leches cake with Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream's Xocorosa ice cream (both fried & non-fried versions). The ice cream will also be available for purchase separately, and it's worth coming out for all on its own. If you are a fan of beer, chocolate, spice, ice cream and/or fun events, you should be here this Saturday! No tickets necessary."

Bierstadt Lagerhaus hosts its second Second Saturday today, when the brewery fills a Fässer (a wooden barrel) with one of its Keller lagers directly from the lager tank. "The unfiltered lager will change each time depending on what [brewers] Bill and Ashleigh think is tasting particularly good," Bierstadt says. In addition, the Rackhouse Pub, which serves as Bierstadt's tasting room will celebrate its first anniversary with food, drink and a giant beer pong tournament at 4 p.m. You should play giant beer pong.

Baere Brewing will have a bottle release today, as well retail vendors on site for holiday shopping. They include: Nature Studio; Hazel and Co; Grandma Pam; GG handmade cards; Krieger Furniture and more. Beers for sale in bottles include Baere-liner Weisse and Ceribruin. Beers on tap are: Sour Brown, Juniper Table Sour and Holiday Table Sour.

Grab your ugliest holiday sweater and head up to Bruz Beers today for a holiday beer release, a sweater contest, prizes, photo ops and food from the Arepas food truck. Party from 6 to 10 p.m.

Alpine Dog Brewery and Level 1 are throwing a rad '80s ski party today starting at 7 p.m. and screening Level 1's latest ski film, Pleasure, at 8:30. There will also be special beer releases, '80s music and giveaways like Level 1 gear, special edition glassware from Alpine Dog and more. Mile High Cajun Food Truck will be on site with the soul food. There is also an '80s ski gear costume contest.

Black Shirt Brewing will host its own Ugly Sweater Party at 8 p.m. tonight. There will be lots of beer, food from Roaming Bull Brasserie, music by DJ Details and prizes for the ugliest sweater.

Odd 13 Brewing in Lafayette will release cans of Codename: Holidayfan Triple IPA, in the taproom only, today at 1 p.m. "Codename: Holidayfan is an amped-up version of Codename: Superfan. We dialed the ABV up to 10 percent, hopped at a rate of 6.5 pounds per barre1, and tripled the Citra in the dry hop to create a super juicy hop bomb," Odd 13 says. There are only 350 cases, so there is a limit of one case per customer; they cost $12 for a four-pack and $72 for a case.

Lone Tree Brewing's fifth-anniversary celebration culminates with the Fifth Anniversary Soiree at 4 p.m. Jessie’s Smokin’ Nola will be on site serving lunch, dinner and passed appetizers. The official anniversary brew, Toasted Coconut Brown Ale, will tap at 4 p.m., along with a Tequila Barrel-Aged Hop Tree IIPA, Coffee IPA and Chocolate Peanut Butter Porter.

Sunday, December 11
Station 26 Brewing brings back its monthly Bluegrass Brunch today at 11 a.m. There will be lots of beer, live music from Chain Station, doughnuts from Glazed and Confuzed and barbecue from Turn-In BBQ.

Monday, December 12
Briar Common Brewery + Eatery, which just opened in October, will begin its Brettanomyces program by releasing 902-Bravo, a straight brett-fermented single hop beer, at 6 p.m. They are giving away four-ounce tasters with a paired bite from the kitchen to anyone who can join.

Tuesday, December 13
TRVE Brewing will tap a new beer today called Black Celebration. It is a dark mixed-culture 6.8 percent ABV ale aged on more than 3.2 pounds of Colorado-grown sweet cherries per gallon, the brewery says. "Immense flavors of dark chocolate and cherries combine with a medium acidity and velvety carbonation to create the perfect beer for your winter solstice celebrations. Crimson bordering on black with an incredibly metal pink head." Black Celebration will see very limited distribution in Colorado, Massachusetts and North Carolina.

Can you survive the twelve firkins of Christmas? That's what Copper Kettle Brewing wants to know, because the Aurora brewery is bringing back its twelve-day-long parade of cheery holiday beers starting today and running through December 24. Today's cask is Basil Cherry Blond, followed by Cranberry Helles tomorrow and Rum Eggnog Stout on Thursday. Holiday Spice Ale will show up on Friday. For the full list, go to Copper Kettle's Facebook page. "Survivors of the 12 Firkins of Xmas will receive a free festive T-shirt to show off after the first of the new year," the brewery says.

Yak & Yeti Restaurant and Brewery in Arvada will host the first of a new series of beer dinners today at 7 p.m. The Thali Beer Dinner is a five-course "beer and food experience," the brewery and restaurant says. "Thali is a style of Nepalese food, sort of like tapas, with many different small plates and a range of flavors designed to hit every sense of your taste." You also get to keep the glass, chat with brewmaster Jeff Tyler
and hear explanations of each course and beer pairing.

Wednesday, December 14
The Post Brewing Company in Lafayette will host a release party today from 5 to 6 p.m. for Top Rope Mexican Lager, which is now in cans. There will be $1 Top Ropes, $3 tequila shot and Top Rope specials, and shwag giveaways. Brewmaster Bryan Selders will be on hand to drink and chat.

Can you survive the twelve firkins of Christmas? That's what Copper Kettle Brewing wants to know, because the Aurora brewery is bringing back its twelve-day-long parade of cheery holiday beers. The twelve firkins started on Tuesday and continues today with Cranberry Helles followed by Rum Eggnog Stout tomorrow and Holiday Spice Ale on Friday. For the full list, go to Copper Kettle's Facebook page. "Survivors of the 12 Firkins of Xmas will receive a free festive T-shirt to show off after the first of the new year," the brewery says.

Friday, December 16
The Star Wars lovers at Wit's End Brewing will bring back their Star Wars-themed beers today at 2 p.m. in honor of the latest movie in the space opera, Rogue One, which comes out today — and there will be a few dedicated to the various sequels and spinoffs. They include Kylo Red Ale; Luke Ryewalker, a farmhouse-style rye saison; the First Porter, an English-style robust porter; and Rogue Quadron, a Belgian-Style quad. The brewery will be handing out a few prizes for the best costumes or even for fans "rocking a sweet T-shirt." And Tacos El Huequito Family Food Truck will be on hand.

Halfpenny Brewing in Centennial will tap Wee Heavy tonight at 7 p.m. The brewers have made this beer as a holiday gift for their friends and family for the last several years, but decided to make a version for the taproom this time. The 9.4 percent ABV beer has "flavors of brown sugar and dried fruit that makes a great winter warmer on chilly nights," Halfpenny says. There will also be an Ugly Christmas Sweater contest starting at 7. (Oh, and you can also try the brewery's Schwarzbier, which recently won a gold medal in the lager category at the All Colorado Beer Festival.

Boulder Beer Company has spent the last several months — including a three-week closure — overhauling its taproom and its menu and is ready for a Grand Reopening Celebration today from noon to 7 p.m. To do it, the brewery will tap rare experimental beers throughout at various intervals throughout the day, ending with its fourth barrel-aged Dude Series release – Later Dude, at 6 p.m. Later Dude is a 9.8 percent ABV Wheat Wine aged in Breckenridge Distillery whiskey barrels. Beer cocktails made with Breckenridge Distillery spirits and Boulder beers will also be on the drink menu. In addition, they will be passing out samples all day from the new food menu, which showcases smoked meats from a new smoker as well as vegetarian-friendly appetizers. Boulder Beer also reveals that it will finally be open on Sundays.

Saturday, December 17
The fifth annual Denver Beer Festivus takes place today from 4 to 7 p.m. at Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum and features beers made only by breweries within Denver's city limits. There will be 55 of them this year, new and old, large and small, independent and corporate-owned. "This special holiday-timed beer fest is the pinnacle celebration of Denver’s amazing growing craft-beer scene and the culture that comes with it," says Two Parts, which hosts the festival. "We start by asking every single brewery in Denver’s city limits to attend. Then we drizzle on some light references to the Seinfeld-created holiday by encouraging attendees to air their grievances, participate in Feats of Strength and pay some respect to the Festivus pole. At the end of it all, this is just a big party designed to get Denver to raise a glass to the brewers and the beer they create." Tickets are $40, or $60 for VIP.

Fermaentra Brewing served some of its barrel-aged beers during the Great American Beer Festival, but it saved a tiny amount to be bottled. The brewery will release those beers, which are both good for cellaring, today in bottles; there are only 100 of each. The first is Meristem Russian Imperial Stout aged in a Heaven Hill bourbon barrel; it has "flavors of vanilla, dark cocoa, espresso and a hint of maple," the brewery says. The second is Quixotic Belgian Quadrupel aged in a Laws Whiskey bourbon barrel; "flavors of burned sugar, vanilla, and rich caramel from the barrel have intertwined with the fig, plum and candy notes of Quixotic for a uniform profile reminiscent of crème brûlée with dark fruit," Fermaentra notes. Both beers will be on draft as well. Bottles cost $10, with a limit of two per person.

Hops & Pie will unwrap the Christmas-beer version of its monthly Littlest Big Beer Fest today noon by tapping some holiday treats. They include: Odd 13 Codename Holidayfan; Delirium Noel; Against the Grain's Bo & Luke; Fantome de Noel; Evil Twin's Christmas Eve at a NYC Hotel Room; Strange Craft Gingerbread Man; Perennial Coffee Abraxas; Ratio Young Pilgrims; Port Brewing's 2015 Bourbon Barrel Aged Santa's Little Helper; Dry Dock's Cranberry Tart, Chocolate Covered Cherry Porter and Nitro Egg Nog Cream Ale; Lost Abbey Gift of the Magi; Jackie O's Full Allotment; Upslope Christmas Ale; Pipeworks' Hey, Careful Man, There's a Beverage Here; and Fremont Bonfire.

Fiction Beer Company and the donut gurus at Glazed and Confuzed will get the band back together today for their third annual donut-beer collaboration. "The 2016 edition of “Donut Panic” is a Strawberry Wit based on the classic strawberry donut," the brewery says. "The goal was to create yet another beer with a flavor and texture profile that beer geeks and beer novices can appreciate, while also recreating the doughy mouth-feel of a donut touched by the sweetness of strawberry icing." To brew it, Fiction used four hundred pounds of strawberries, several dozen donuts and strawberry glaze.  Fiction opens at noon today and will host a beer and donut pairing with sprinkled-rim glasses. Oh, and for the first time, Fiction will sell Donut Panic in cans; six-packs will be available in the taproom and in liquor stores.

Oskar Blues has created a very limited amount of rum-barrel-aged Death by Coconut, which it will release today at noon at its Tasty Weasel tasting room in Longmont, along with some rum-barrel-aged Ten Fidy. "To give more beer lovers a chance at the limited beer, we'll be limiting purchases of cans to twelve 19.2-ounce cans of each beer per person. Chances are that we will run out of cans of these two cult-classic beers," Oskar Blues says. For more specific information about the release, go to the Oskar Blues Facebook page. Cans cost $12.50 each.

You asked for it, and Liquid Mechanics Brewing in Lafayette did it. The brewery aged its Peanut Butter Porter in bourbon barrels. "This is everything you love about the Peanut Butter Porter, but with hints of bourbon and oak to round it out. This is a very limited-release experimental beer. We will have it on tap for you to try and you can leave with up to two Crowlers," the brewery says. Liquid Mechanics anticipates being able to fill only 200 Crowlers with the 10 percent ABV beer.

Four Noses Brewing in Broomfield will release several new beers today. The first is Lil Fugger 2, an IPA brewed with traditional English Pale Ale malt called Golden Promise, along with Simcoe, Amarillo, Citra and Nelson Sauvin hops. It is dry hopped with AU Galaxy blended with a small amount of Amarillo. The second beer is Double Dry-Hopped Bout Damn Time. There will also be some barrel-aged beers.

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Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes