Beer Man

Beer Calendar: Festivus, Star Wars Beers and a Gingerbread Invitational

Fireman Capital Partners, the Boston-based private-equity firm that owns Longmont's Oskar Blues Brewery, Perrin Brewing in Michigan, Florida's Cigar City and the Squatters and Wasatch breweries in Utah, is changing the name of the holding company that operates these breweries from Oskar Blues Holdings to CANarchy.

CANarchy "provides a platform for smaller craft breweries seeking high-level resources and experience to expand and compete in the increasingly competitive craft beer segment, while maintaining independence," the brewery says. "The platform is driven by individual brewery culture, giving brewers control of their businesses and brands, while providing additional resources and support to scale their operations.

"CANarchy’s strength in relationships with raw-ingredient producers extends focus on flavor innovation and beer quality," the company continues. "The platform provides capacity and access to brewing equipment to scale more efficiently and economically. With fifteen years’ experience, including the innovators of the 'Original Craft Beer in a Can,' CANarchy supports member breweries on can-line installation, maintenance and optimization to compete in the fastest-growing segment of craft beer. Finally, CANarchy provides brewers opportunity for expansion through already developed and supported national distribution networks."

Among its recent growth numbers, CANarchy points out that Dale's Pale Ale has grown by 9.6 percent year-to-date, while Cigar City's Jai Alai IPA has grown by 57.6 percent.

Continue reading for all of the best craft-beer tappings and events through December 23.

click to enlarge
Copper Kettle
Wednesday, December 13
Join Copper Kettle Brewing for another year of its advent-style series of firkin release, the 12 Firkins of Christmas. Things kick off today with Blackberry Berliner Weisse. After that, it's Gingerbread Latte on December 14, Bourbon Barrel Aurora Strong on December 15, and Key Lime Wit on December 16. Those will be followed by Imperial Smoked Porter, Passionfruit Charlie’s Golden Strong, Eggnog Stout, Mocha IPA, Imperial Cafe Con Leche, Basil Cherry Lager, Golden Stout and Christmas Spice Strong Ale.

105 West Brewing in Castle Rock will sell fifty mixed three-packs of 24-ounce cans out of the taproom starting at 2 p.m. Each pack will include the Sheriff Black IPA, French Saison and Colorado Oatmeal Stout.

click to enlarge
Dry Dock Brewing
Thursday, December 14
Comrade Brewing will tap two big beers for its holiday party, which starts at 5 p.m. The first is the 8.3 percent ABV Coconut Quit Stalin, which is the brewery's Quit Stalin Russian Imperial Stout with toasted coconut added. The second is the 7.5 percent ABV Grapefruit Superpower IPA, with grapefruit purée added.

Join Dry Dock Brewing at its original South Dock location for the release of 2017 Bligh's Barleywine, and enjoy a very special vertical tasting of vintages of the barleywine spanning 2012 to 2016. "Malty and complex, this big beer has a strong caramel backbone supporting oak and whiskey flavors with hints of dark fruits," the brewery 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."

4 Noses Brewing in Broomfield continues its series of experimental double IPAs with Experimental Version 4.0 at 3 p.m. This version is hopped with more than four pounds per barrel of Simcoe and Citra.

Friday, December 15
Westfax Brewing in Lakewood will celebrate the return of 99 Problems, or what it calls its "infamous" double IPA at 2 p.m. "This is not a day for moderation," the brewery says.

click to enlarge
New Image Brewing
Saturday, December 16
More than fifty breweries will fill the Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum from 4 to 7 p.m. for the sixth annual Denver [only] Beer Festivus, a holiday-themed beer fest pouring beers only from breweries located within Denver city limits. Attendees will be greeted with a welcome pour of Denver Pale Ale from Great Divide Brewing before making their way through the rest of Denver. “Trying to visit every brewery in Denver has become a lot harder in recent years,” says PJ Hoberman, co-owner of Two Parts, which created and hosts Festivus; the event has grown from nineteen to more than fifty breweries. “Festivus puts many of these breweries under one roof, allowing locals and visitors the opportunity to sip their way through our mecca of beer.” Tickets, $40 to $65, and more information can be found at In addition to the beer, there will be a silent disco, an ugly-sweater contest, Bad Santa, and a prize blimp dropping gift cards. Some proceeds will be donated to New Era Colorado Foundation, a multi-issue nonprofit.

Hops & Pie hosts a little Christmas and Cold Weather Beer Fest starting at noon. Beers on tap include: The Bruery 10 Lords a Leaping, Copper Kettle Snowed In Mocha, 4 Noses Cinnamon Stout Crunch and Bourbon Barrel Aged Reciprocal, Firestone Walker XXI Anniversary, Little Machine That's My Yam, Port Brewing Santa's Little Helper, Prairie Christmas BOMB, AleSmith Noel, Ommegang Winter Is Here, Rogue Santa's Private Reserve, Oakshire Ill Tempered Gnome, Two Roads Holiday Ale, Brouwerij Huyghe Delirium Noel, and the Dogfish Head/BeerAdvocate collab Puddin' Wine.

Intrepid Sojourner Beer Project and Spice Trade Brewing have gotten together with Inland Island Yeast Lab, Root Shoot Malting and Savory Spice Shop for a Christmas collaboration beer called Gingerbread Helles Bock. But because the gingerbread men and women who gave their lives for the beer deserve a good sendoff, the companies are also hosting their first Gingerbread Invitational, which will include three other infused beers, live music from Weatherbee and the Gnarbillys, food from Karma Food Truck, and gingerbread decorating. "Most of our vendors will be building gingerbread houses that we want you to vote on," Intrepid Sojourner says. The winner will be announced at 9 p.m. and receive the Inaugural Gingerbread Invitational trophy. A food drive will benefit the Denver Inner City Parish Food Pantry.

Spangalang Brewing is excited to announce two new beers made in collaboration with Rivers and Roads Coffee. Both collaborations were brewed with a different coffee roasted by Rivers and Roads co-founder Michael Keen. "Riverwalker is an American Stout blended with a single-bean Ethiopian coffee, and our most recent version of Espresso Nightwalker features the Rivers and Roads single-bean Kenyan coffee from Embu County," Spangalang says. Keen will be on hand in the evening to talk about Rivers and Roads. The brewery will be selling a limited number of Espresso Nightwalker bottles.

Wit's End Brewing loves Star Wars, so the brewery — now located inside Strange Craft Beer Company — will tap three Star Wars-themed beers to coincide with the release of the latest movie. Here are the beers, along with descriptions from Wit's End:

1) The Last Jed-IPA. "Breathe. Just breathe. Now, reach out. What do you see? As always, we see beer! We took a clean American-style IPA malt base, and blasted it with hops from around the galaxy, like Nugget, Chinook, Centennial, Mosaic, Citra, and Denali. Will there be another Jedi IPA pun-themed beer in the future? Who knows, we have to wait for the next title to come out. What we do know is that this beer possesses just the right amount of bitterness, and some amazingly complex spicy notes, with a cornucopia of citrus and tropical fruit flavors that would satisfy even the most critical fanboy or fangirl."

2) Stay On Target Southern English Brown Ale. "If Gold 5 tells you this, you might get shot down by Darth Vader, but when we say it, rest assured, we’re just talking about one of our latest beers that celebrates the space opera that has guided our lives. A nod both to the tradition southern England style brown ale (a certain movie studio is also in southern England), as well as the Target hop. Malty sweetness gives way to a slight peppery spicy character with just a touch of citrus. So whether you are descending on the Death Star, or sitting on your catch watching A New Hope for the 1000th time, grab a pint of Stay on Target, and, stay, er, never mind, we won’t say it."

3) Kyber Kristallweizen Pale Kristall Weizenbock. "Well, since we could not make a lightsaber after discovering kyber crystals were not real, we did the next best thing, named a beer after it! Much like the heart of a star where this mythic crystal comes from, we harnessed the power malted wheat and created an elegant bright pale weizenbock for a more civilized age. Clean cotton candy like sweetness from the malt, and lots of fruity and spicy character from the yeast. These beers are filtered or fined in order to clean up flavors, and in the bock version, it has a welcomed warming alcohol quality that balances it out. Sure Samuel L. Jackson got a purple blade, but ours is gold and won’t block lasers…at least we don’t think so?"

Mockery Brewing is excited to announce the return of its very first bottle release, Schizophrenic Narcoleptic, which it describes as "a bigger, badder version of our Export Coffee Stout aged twice as long in artisanal vanilla-extract barrels that resulted in a harmonic melding of roasted grains, smooth cold-brewed coffee and a semi-sweet dessert-like finish." The beer goes on sale at 2 p.m.

Inspired by the famous German holiday markets, the Third Annual Tennyson Street Holiday Rumpus & Market returns to Call to Arms Brewing from noon to 9 p.m., with sixteen local artisans and food purveyors, along with holiday-inspired music and beer (think Gluhwein Baltic Porter, the brewery says). Vendors include: XO Gift Co., Mrs. Clever Clogs, Women's Partnership Market, Bare Bones BARKtique,  Beautycounter, Cozy Home Creations, Soul Salve, Tee Roy Tees, Berkeley Park Running Company, Stone Lotus of Boulder, Tennyson neighbors Valhalla Cakes, Copia Confectionery, and MAS KAOS Pizza. There will also be custom ugly T-shirts from Humble Monster Screen Printed Goods and a live polka band from 3 to 6 p.m. And finally, the brewery is hosting a clothing drive with Clothes to Kids of Denver; bring a coat or a pair of shoes in exchange for a $2 beer.

Great Divide Brewing will release Lemongrass Colette at both taprooms. The beer is part of the brewery's Local Knowledge series of limited-release taproom-only beers sold on tap or in six-packs. "The addition of spelt adds a layer of spicy complexity to the malt component which provides a nice backdrop for the lemongrass to make a showing," Great Divide says. "The lemongrass is highly fragrant, but blends well into the beer to provide a refreshing variation on a Great Divide classic. This beer rounds at 7.3 percent ABV."

Bruz Beers, which specializes in Belgian-style beers, will tap its Gingerbread Dubbel at 3 p.m. The seasonal release is brewed with Belgian yeasts, and it won't last long.

New Image Brewing will release Double Dry Hopped East Coast Transplant on tap and in cans. The beer is a hopped up version of the brewery's flagship New England-style IPA. The beer was brewed with 6.5 pounds of Simcoe, El Dorado and Citra hops per barrel and then dry-hopped. There are no limits, but quantity is limited.

4 Noses Brewing in Broomfield hosts a tapping and bottle release for Cinnamon Crunch Stout, starting at 11 a.m. The brewery added forty pounds of the cereal after fermentation. It will be sold in 500-ml bottles.

Odd13 Brewing brings back its best beer from 2017 for a special taproom-only can release starting at noon. Codename: Holidayfan is "the most ridiculous Codename variant that we have ever produced," the brewery says. It is a triple IPA coming in at 10 percent ABV, and is "surprisingly crushable." But Odd13 will also release cans of Intergalactic Juice Hunter 2.0, an IPA with tons of Galaxy hops. Odd13 is experimenting with different versions of this hazy, New England-style IPA and hopes to release its favorite as a year-round beer in 2018. "In this version, we are using a different yeast that we use in several other IPAs," the brewery says.

Tuesday, December 19
Briar Common Brewery + Eatery taps a new beer at 4 p.m. Sour Seoul is a kettle sour beer with a spicy kick. "We like to call it a 'kimchi ale,'" the brewery says. "Tasting notes of bright Asian pear with just enough heat to create an addiction, we are super-excited about this one! A 32-ounce Crowler and a limited-edition Sour Seoul baseball tee will be available together for $30 this night only."

click to enlarge
Black Shirt Brewing
Thursday, December 21
Do you like Black Shirt Brewing's Frontman IPA? Then you'll love Frontmaniac Double Dry Hopped IPA, an amped-up version of the brewery's flagship hoppy beer. Not only that, but Black Shirt is releasing it in four-packs (limit of one case per person). "Frontmaniac is brewed with oats, wheat and a blend of yeasts for a fuller and softer texture on the palate," the brewery says. "Bursting with tropical fruit notes, bright citrus characters and dark field grass, the palate is rich with these same hop characters and a rounded but firm bitterness."

Freshcraft hosts a Winter Solstice party with Surly Brewing at 7 p.m. Enjoy the darkest day of the year with Surly Abrasive, Surly Darkness 2017, Surly Damien and Surly Coffee Bender. There will also be bottles (on-site only) and pours available of Surly Barrel Aged Pentagram.

Ursula Brewing in Aurora releases the Sacred Fire Wee Heavy (both regular and rye barrel aged) in honor of the Winter Solstice. Ursula describes it as "silky and smooth, with a huge toasted-marshmallow quality." The beer will be available all day, but the festivities — and food and fire — will start at 5:30 p.m.

Cedar Creek Pub in Aurora gets dark with Surly Brewing. The bar taps the brewery's Darkness and Damien at noon, along with a few other dark surprises include Ballast Point's High West Barrel Aged Victory at Sea.

click to enlarge
The Chai-pple Donut.
Glazed & Confused
Saturday, December 23
Donut Panic, Fiction Beer Company's annual collaboration with Glazed & Confuzed Donuts returns to the brewery. This year's doughnut beer is Chai-pple Pie Oatmeal Stout, which was brewed with vanilla, cinnamon, Chai spices and, of course, doughnuts. The base beer is a "chewy, rich and smooth oatmeal stout," the brewery says. The inspiration for the beer was the Chai-pple Donut from Glazed & Confuzed, which was recently named one of the fourteen best doughnuts in the country by Zagat. Fiction will release the beer on tap and in a limited number of Crowlers. There will be doughnut pairings and a food truck.

Station 26 Brewing taps the latest in its milkshake series of fruited, flavored IPAs at 1 p.m. Blackberry Milkshake will be available in Crowlers (but only in a limited amount). Pints will be pouring until it's gone.

River North Brewery opens up its cellar for an end-of-the-year Cellar Sale starting at noon. There will be limited bottles available numerous beers, including barrel-aged ones. For the list, go to the brewery's Facebook page.

Monday, December 24
Are any breweries open on Christmas? Yep. Alpine Dog Brewing, for one, will bring back its fourth annual Christmas Day Party starting at 11 a.m. This year, the brewery will serve an Imperial Porter aged in Dominican rum barrels with Madagascar Vanilla beans and Cacao Nibs. At noon, they will also tap a firkin of French Toast Red, made with maple, vanilla, and cinnamon. Bottle release details and Christmas treats are TBD.

Saturday, December 30
Just in time to ring in the New Year, Fermaentra Brewing will release bottles of its decadent, 11.8 percent ABV Bourbon Barrel Aged Meristem Russian Imperial Stout ($12 for a 375-ml bottle). This version is "thicker and bolder than its predecessors, as it reveals richer flavors of carmelized brown sugar, milk and dark chocolate, coffee, vanilla, oak and that unique Laws Whiskey House Small Batch Bourbon character from the barrel in which it was aged," the brewery says. "We think it’s our finest barrel aged imperial stout yet and recommend letting it slightly warm up from cold storage, as the noted flavors really unfurl as you approach the higher 40s to mid 50s in beer temperature. Enjoy now or cellar for the years to come." The beer won't be on tap.

Sunday, December 31
Epic Brewing brings back its Coast to Coast New Year's Eve Party, where you can celebrate the new year four times starting at 9 p.m.  Each hour, Epic will count down the minutes to 2018 from East Coast to West Coast and serve up a themed small plate buffet of bar fare from major cities served along with a special beer pairing. DJ Eerie will keep the night going by spinning tunes for each city celebration: New York, Chicago, Denver and Portland. Tickets, $60, for the entire shindig are available at

Ratio Beerworks will ring in the New Year with special release firkins (including a champagne-y firkin, and a special variant take on Genius Wizard Imperial Stout), late night snacks, dance partying and a balloon and keg drop at midnight. The Mystery Sisters DJ Duo will be spinning punk and dance vinyl tracks. Finally, right before midnight, the brewery will pop a magnum of a special Ratio beer and hand out free tasters.

Fiction Beer Company hosts its fourth annual New Year's Eve Party starting at 7 p.m. There will be specialty tappings (TBD), live music from the Dollhouse Thieves at 9 p.m., a beer that was brewed just for toasting the new year, a covered heated patio and complimentary New Year's party favors.

Depravity, Renegade Brewing's stellar Imperial Peanut Butter Cup Stout will make it's annual appearance on New Year's Eve day once again. Quantities are limited, and there is a one case per person limit. Live screen printing will be provided by Indy Ink; the first thirty people get a free Depravity t-shirt. The Ham Bone Thieves will be in the house playing music later in the evening playing hits from your favorite musicians we lost in 2017.
KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes