Beer Man

Beer Calendar: Festivus, Firkins and Rum-Barrel-Aged Death by Coconut

One of the tiniest breweries in Colorado has been getting more attention from beer circles recently for its farmhouse-style saisons and oak-aged wild ales. Atom Brewing, which operates out of a small building on Jeff and Christina Porn's property in Erie, opened last April and only occasionally releases one of its bottled beers. But the brewery just hinted on Facebook about a couple more that are on the horizon. The first, called Two Unions, is a 7 percent ABV farmhouse ale brewed with grape must and aged in wine barrels. It was named for two couples who both got married recently. "Utilizing a combination of neutral oak and freshly emptied red wine barrels, we married a golden base beer with Riesling must," Atom says. "Aged for over four months and then bottle-conditioned for another four months. Notes of dried apricot, rose petals, and honey present themselves in this beer fermented with wild yeast and lactobacillus." Stay tuned to Atom's Facebook page for details on when the beer will be released and where you can get it.

Here are this week's craft-beer events:

Wednesday, December 14
Platt Park Brewing will tap a firkin of its traditional 5.5 percent ABV ESB that was dry-hopped with an extra pound of English Noble hops.

Dry Dock Brewing will release its always-anticipated whiskey-barrel-aged Bligh’s Barleywine today at the North Dock production facility in Aurora. "Malty and complex, this 10.5 percent ABV beer has a strong caramel backbone supporting oak and whiskey flavors with hints of dark fruits," Dry Dock says. "The nose wafts of coconut, toffee and a smooth hint of alcohol. The flavor and aroma meld, becoming one after just a single sip. This beer is ready to drink, but also ages with the best of them." The beer will also be released on Friday at the South Dock location. Fewer than 200 cases will be distributed in Colorado.

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 shots and Top Rope specials, plus swag 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 continue 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 twelve Firkins of Xmas will receive a free festive T-shirt to show off after the first of the new year," the brewery says.

In the spirit of the holidays, Shine Restaurant & Gathering Place in Boulder will release its first-ever bottles today of Kali Chocolate Porter. This imperial chocolate porter is made with Cholaca liquid cacao and aged one year in a Colorado whiskey barrel. "It will be flowing through the taps as well as in limited bottles for purchase," the brewery says.

Thursday, December 15
Renegade Brewing will tap O'Connell's Dry Irish Stout today at 5 p.m. The beer will be served in a twenty-ounce mug, and the first 25 people to order one get to keep the glass.

Platt Park Brewing will tap a new seasonal beer today called Nature's Sweater. A dark traditional English barleywine with American hops and a hint of dark fruit, it weighs in at 10.9 percent ABV.

Homegrown Tap & Dough's Arvada location will turn over its taps to Boulder County's Crystal Springs Brewing Company today at 5 p.m. for a tap takeover featuring several beers.

Wild Woods Brewery in Boulder will welcome back its 11 percent ABV Black Smoke Imperial Stout today at 5 p.m. Brewed with a small amount of beechwood-smoked barley, the roasty stout has notes of chocolate, coffee and a hint of smoke. "Sure to warm you up now that winter has finally arrived," the brewery says. "Try a pour in the tap room, and stay tuned for details about a couple barrel-aged versions to follow."

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." Tacos El Huequito Family Food Truck will be on hand.

Dry Dock Brewing will release its always-anticipated whiskey-barrel-aged Bligh’s Barleywine today at its original South Dock location in Aurora. "Malty and complex, this 10.5 percent ABV beer has a strong caramel backbone supporting oak and whiskey flavors with hints of dark fruits," Dry Dock says. "The nose wafts of coconut, toffee and a smooth hint of alcohol. The flavor and aroma meld, becoming one after just a single sip. This beer is ready to drink, but also ages with the best of them." Fewer than 200 cases will be distributed in Colorado.

Beryl's Beer Company will tap Jingle Beans today at 3 p.m. The roasty dry stout was infused with coffee beans from Logan House Coffee and pears. "The deep roast stout complements the brightness of the pear and complexity of the coffee," the brewery says. "If you missed it last year, this is your chance."

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of their favorite ’90s punk-rock band, Face to Face, the owners of Big Choice Brewing in Broomfield are hosting a vinyl listening party for the first three Face to Face album reissues: Don’t Turn Away, Face to Face and Big Choice. "After the listening party, patrons are welcome to listen to any vinyl they bring in on our turntable. Be sure to bring your favorite ska and punk-rock albums," the brewery says. Big Choice will also tap Chill Out Peppermint Stout kegs.

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 past 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 make 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. The brewery will tap rare experimental beers 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. The staff will also 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, boasting 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 at noon today 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 doughnut gurus at Glazed and Confuzed will get the band back together today for their third annual doughnut-beer collaboration. "The 2016 edition of 'Donut Panic' is a Strawberry Wit based on the classic strawberry doughnut," 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 re-creating the doughy mouth-feel of a doughnut touched by the sweetness of strawberry icing." To brew it, Fiction used 400 pounds of strawberries, several dozen doughnuts and strawberry glaze. Fiction opens at noon today and will host a beer-and-doughnut 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.

Lost Highway Brewing brings back its winter seasonal, Liquid Pajamas, today at 7 p.m. At 12 percent ABV, it will keep you warm at night, just like your real pjs. It was brewed with wheat, rye, barley and eight pounds of powdered cocoa.

Cellar West, a brand-new Boulder brewery at 1001 Lee Hill Drive, #10, will host a soft opening/bottle release from noon to 7 p.m. today. The soft opening will give the brewery time to test out its operation; Cellar West will hold a grand-opening party on December 31. The brewery will begin selling two beers today: New Life, a blonde ale aged for three months in stainless steel with a wild yeast blend and dry-hopped with Simcoe, Nelson Sauvin, Amarillo, Columbus; and Westfield, an oak-fermented, bottle-conditioned ale. Cellar West only sells 500 ml bottles and doesn't pour anything on draft, though it does offer free tasters before you buy. Customers can drink their beer on site or take it with them, but they can't take opened bottles. For much more information on prices, beers and details, go to Cellar West's website.

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 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.

Sunday, December 18
Fiction Beer Company will debut its second new beer in a can today: Logic is Relative, a 7.9 percent ABV Imperial IPA that will available in four-packs and also on tap. Brewed with Amarillo, Citra, Summer and Mosaic hops, this New England-style IPA is "big, juicy and highly drinkable," Fiction says. Logic is Relative takes its name from author John Irving and will hit liquor stores soon after the taproom release.

Thursday, December 22
Christmas has come early to the Parry's Pizza location in Highlands Ranch, which will tap New Belgium Brewing's Clutch and Russian River Brewing's Pliny the Elder today.

Friday, December 23

Black Shirt Brewing will celebrate saisons with Celebrating the Saison today, when the brewery will line up all of its saisons side by side, "sip by sip, tulip by tulip. Aromatic, peppery-spiced and effervescent, each saison has its own unique characteristics," Black Shirt says. Stringbender Saison will be available in six variations: regular, foeder-aged, dry-hopped Foeder-aged, and three aged in Buffalo Trace bourbon barrels, each for a different amount of time. Flights and pours will be available all day, but you can guarantee access to all of them with a $35 VIP ticket, available for slots at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.; that ticket gets you a six-ounce pour of each foeder saison paired with gourmet cheeses, a discussion with brewers about saisons, foeders and the history and future of Black Shirt, a tour of the brewhouse and cellar, and a 500ml bottle of each foeder beer to take home. There are only thirty tickets available for each time slot. There will also be a limited number of the bottled versions for sale in the taproom.

Sunday, December 25
Merry Christmas! Alpine Dog Brewing will be open today from noon to 8 p.m. for its third annual Holiday Party. The brewery will release its bourbon-barrel-aged Russian imperial stout, The Dyatlov Pass Incident, which was aged for the last year in Breckenridge Distillery barrels. There will be food from the Casablanca Mediterranean Food Truck and service-industry discounts.

Friday, December 30
Deviant Dale's — formerly a year-round beer — is now a seasonal for Oskar Blues, and the rich imperial IPA makes its return today at the brewery's Tasty Weasel taproom in Longmont.

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