Barley, water, hops and yeast. They are the four basics of beer -- unless, of course, you're gluten-intolerant. Then barley is off the table. Which makes it hard to drink beer.
In the past few years, however, a couple of companies across the country have begun making gluten-free beer, including Boulder's New Planet Brewing -- which uses sorghum and brown rice instead of barley -- and which just added a pale ale, Off Grid, to its lineup of Tread Lightly, a lighter ale, and 3R Raspberry Ale.
And two other local breweries are experimenting with gluten-free beer as well. Strange Brewing Company made a test batch of gluten-free beer in March that could be available in the tap room soon, and Denver Beer Co, which plans to open this summer, is also planning to try out a gluten-free brew.
But for those who are lucky enough to still enjoy their gluten, here's an amazing list of beer-related activities going on over the next seven days.
Wednesday, April 13
TAG restaurant, 1441 Larimer Street, hosts the latest in its series of fantastic Beer vs. Wine dinners at 6:30 p.m. This one will pit brewer Bill Eye and his Dry Dock Brewing beers against wines selected by irreverent but ever-game master sommelier Doug Krenik. Both will be trying to pair their beverages with a menu conceived by TAG's Troy Guard. Will agave-roasted Culver duck go better with Dry Dock's Docktoberfest or Acustic Cellars' Acustic? You be the judge! Tickets are $75
Colorado Beer Week continues at the Cheeky Monk, 324 East Colfax Avenue, with an event pairing four beers from Rogue Brewing with fresh Oregon oysters overnighted from the coast. It's $25 for your first dozen oysters and a pint.
Looking for a firkin good time? Head over to Freshcraft, 1530 Blake Street, from 5 to 8 p.m. for the tapping of three unusual casks, including one of the first-ever Stone Brewing firkins to make it to the Mile High City. Here's the rundown: Week Sauce from Left Hand Brewing; dry-hopped Colette Farmhouse Ale from Great Divide Brewing; and a double-dry-hopped version of Stone's Sublimely Self Righteous Ale.
Falling Rock, 1919 Blake Street, offers some hard-to-find beers from New Belgium, including Ooh-La-La, a vintage keg of La Folie, and a 2009 Fall Wild Ale.
Thursday, April 14
Free beer! The downtown Rock Bottom Restaurant, 1001 16th Street, will tap Snake Spit Ale today at 6 p.m. and pour complimentary pints until 6:30 p.m. Snake Spit is a black India ale with big hops and 6.6 percent alcohol by volume.
Alaskan Brewing's Smoked Porter will make you a man, so imagine what four different vintages could do. Falling Rock will host a vertical tasting of the brewery's most heralded beer (from years 2000, 2003, 2006, 2009) today in the basement beginning at 6 p.m. Tickets are $30 and are available through www.CoBeerWeek.com.
FreshCraft gets on board the beer cocktail trend tonight with five different beverages, all made with beers from Odell Brewing in Fort Collins. Beginning at 7 p.m., customers can vote on their favorite one, and the winner will end up on the restaurant's permanent menu. Here are two examples: 90 Fizzy Barrels is one-third 90 Shilling, one-third 5 Barrel, and one-third prosecco; Elevated Greed is two-thirds Levity, one-third Myrcenary, along with blood orange, cherry syrup and orange bitters.
Boulevard Brewing brewmaster Steven Pauwels will visit the Cheeky Monk, 534 East Colfax Avenue, today at 6:30 p.m., where he will give suggestions on how to pair four Boulevard beers (Tank 7, Double-Wide IPA, Dark Truth Stout and a chocolate ale) with some of the Monk's menu items. Tix are $50 and available at www.thecheekymonk.com.
City, O'City hosts Boosenfud, it's firkin dinner pairing four Great Divide beers -- Hoss, Collette, Scotch Ale and Yeti spiced with chipotle peppers -- in eight firkins and a paired menu. Dinner starts at 5 p.m.
Friday, April 15
Colorado Beer Week wraps up with a send-off from New Belgium Brewing, which will have at least one of its highly-regarded Lips of Faith beers at three different bars, Stoney's, FreshCraft (which will have Le Terroir and an accompanying pickle menu) and Star Bar. Reps from New Belgium should be on hand after 6 p.m. to talk beer.
Saturday, April 16
Colorado Craft Beer Radio debuts on AM 760 today from noon to 1 p.m. Hosted by AM 760 producer John Turk and Gary Valliere, the show will focus on all things beer-related.
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Sunday, April 17
Steven Pauwels, the award-winning brewmaster at Boulevard Brewing in Kansas City, will be at City, O'City today from 1 to 3 p.m., to host a complimentary beer and cheese pairing -- and it will likely be the best beer and cheese pairing you've ever been seen: Pauwels is known nationwide for his skill in this endeavor and has won a beer-and-cheese pairing contest two years in a row at the annual Big Beers, Belgians and Barleywine Festival in Vail.
Hops & Pie's monthly Littlest Big Beer Fest runs from 2 to 6 p.m. today and features a full lineup of Left Hand beers, on cask (a firkin of Stranger pale ale), on tap (Week Sauce Porter, a rare coffee-infused porter) and in the bottle (Good JuJu, a ginger-added spring seasonal, and TNT Weizen Dopplebock).