Sadly, there won't be a fresh-hop or wet-hop category at this year's Great American Beer Festival. Since the fest takes place September 20-22 — about three weeks earlier than normal — organizers felt that the fresh-hop beers wouldn't be ready in time, since hops are typically harvested in late August and early September. Ironically, the hop crop in Colorado came in a little earlier this summer because of the hot weather, so many breweries have already brewed their fresh-hops beers and will have them ready in the next week or two. How do we know? Well, they've been posting their luscious pictures, like the one above.
Keep reading to see dozens of local craft-beer events into early September.
Wednesday, August 22
Hurricane Haze is back on tap at Co-Brew. This collaboration with Jagged Mountain Craft Brewery is a heavily dry-hopped NEIPA with mango, pineapple and toasted coconut.
For its latest Traveling One Barrel Wednesday release, Strange Craft Beer Company brewed a Brut IPA, an India pale ale fermented with Champagne yeast. This light session beer was also made with Hallertau Blanc hops and has a dry mouthfeel with an aromatic nose. The Brew on Broadway, Chain Reaction Brewing and Black Sky Brewery will also tap the beer.
Thursday August 23
Comrade Brewing taps Thunder Donkey IPA at noon. This 9.1 percent ABV double IPA was brewed with Galaxy, Citra and Simcoe hops, at a thunderous six pounds of hops per barrel.
Renegade Brewing hosts the next in its series of Beers + Banned Books events from 5 to 10 p.m. This one features One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest paired with, um, Fried Chicken Beer? "Like the Colonel, we're working on our secret recipe of 11 herbs and spices to put in the brew now, but we're confident we'll make a beer that would make even Nurse Ratched happy," the brewery says.
Friday, August 24
Join Cerebral Brewing for a triple can release starting at noon. The first beer is Secret Chat Room, a 7 percent ABV IPA brewed with "a generous amount of both malted and flaked wheat and hopped with heaps of Mosaic, Columbus and Simcoe," the brewery says. The second beer is Burner Phone, an 8 percent IPA "brewed with an exceedingly simple malt bill and hopped exclusively with Galaxy in the WP then hit hard in the DH with Galaxy and Mosaic. The final beer is International Waters, a 5.1 percent unfiltered pilsner made with a little bit of raw Colorado wheat and hopped with Sterling and Motueka.
The sixth annual New Kids on the Block beer fest returns to The Lobby from 8 to 11 p.m. to celebrate Colorado breweries under two years old. This year, the Lobby will also highlight several distilleries and eateries. The brewery lineup includes Alternation, Intrepid Sojourner, Banded Oak, Woods Boss, 14er Brewing, Burns Family Artisan Ales, Bruz Beers, New Image, Outer Range, Brewability Lab, Angry James and Green Mountain Beer. The distillery lineup consists of the Family Jones, the Block Distilling, Denver Distillery, Marble Distilling and Archetype Distillery. There will be food from Brewed Food, the Lobby, Culinary Quick Start, Mario's Ocean Club and the Whiskey Biscuit. In addition, there will be cocktail demonstrations, live music and lawn games. Tickets are $40 and are available at twoparts.com.
The Intrepid Sojourner Beer Project is tapping three beers aged in Squarrel barrels. They are Oaked Passionfruit IPA, the peppery Gratzer, and a Manhatten-esque Scotch Ale with luxardo cherries.
4 Noses Brewing hosts a double release starting at noon. The first beer is Pineapple Velvet, a milkshake IPA brewed with fresh pineapple, tropical hops and vanilla beans. It should be available in liquor stores in canned four-packs. The second beers is 4 Noses Oktoberfest, on draft and in six-packs. "It's deliciously balanced, malty, perfect for fall crisp marzen style beer that comes in at a casual 6.1 percent ABV," the brewery says.
Last week it was Oktoberfest. This week it's pumpkin beers at Odyssey Beerwerks in Arvada, which is getting into the spirit of the fall season a little early. Odyssey will tap its famed Fluffy Pumpkin Toasted Marshmallow Porter and Imperial Fluffy Pumpkin at 6 p.m. Brewed with ample amounts of roasted pumpkins, spices, vanilla and marshmallow, Fluffy Pumpkin is also available in canned six-packs. Imperial Fluffy Pumpkin was aged six months in whiskey barrels and will be sold in bomber bottles.
Saturday, August 25
River North Brewery taps Single Cask Quandary: Rum Barrel at noon as part of its "taproom-only series of hyper-limited releases designed to showcase the essence of a single barrel." This one is the brewery's signature Belgian-style quad aged in a single Caribbean dark-rum cask. The beer is $12 per bottle, with a limit of four bottles per person. There will also be a small amount on draft.
Fiction Beer Company hosts a limited-edition Crowler release for three of its favorite hazy IPAs from the past year. DDH Logic Is Relative New England Style Imperial IPA was the first beer Fiction ever canned. "The double dry-hop treatment was given to our standard Logic Is Relative base with over four pounds per barrel of hops, including Citra and Summer," the brewery says. The second beer is Madame Psychosis, which is loaded with Citra, Idaho 7, Mandarina Bavaria and Mosaic hops. "Flavors of ripe papaya and mango with orange zest and peach skin," Fiction says. The third beer is HAL, a 2001: A Space Odyssey- inspired New England-style IPA that was double-dry-hopped with Galaxy, Lemondrop and Medusa hops.
Resolute Brewing in Centennial will take over the parking lot next to the brewery for a second-anniversary bash complete with live music from multiple bands, food from Ol' Skool Que, fun activities and beer stations. There will also be a host of vendors, including Craft Alley, Cream City Market, Shirts on Tap, Morgan Handmade Rations, Shaklee Corporation, the Rebels Project/Phoenix999, Brewery Boot Camp, Emma Paints Colorado and Yoga Pod DTC. Get tokens and tickets at squareup.com.
The First Annual Big Can Jam Beer Fest takes place from 1 to 5 p.m. at Zuma’s Rescue Ranch, in a rural section of Littleton. More than fifteen Colorado craft breweries will be Crowlering all of their beer and pouring out of their 32-ounce cans, "meaning they can bring some really exclusive beers," says Crowling Rental Company, which is hosting the event. Food trucks, live music, ranch tours and hayrides will add to the fun. All proceeds will benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association, Zuma’s Rescue Ranch and Young Americans Bank. For tickets, $35, and to see the list of participating breweries, check out eventbrite.com.
New Belgium Brewing brings Tour de Fat back to Denver, but this time it's just a festival and doesn't include the signature bike ride that the brewery did for years. The event starts at noon in Sculpture Park with comedic acts, shenanigans and lots of beer. "This year combines many favorite past ensemble acts like Sedan Halen, The Handsome Little Devils, Daredevil Chicken and KOLARS — plus our headlining act, Jamestown Revival," New Belgium says. Some proceeds from beer sales will benefit Bike Denver and the Denver Cruiser Ride. Tickets are $15 and available at eventbrite.com.
Sunday, August 26
River North Brewery continues its new monthly series of Hazy Sundays by tapping two new single-keg variants on Mountain Haze. The first is Azacca Mountain Haze, which was dry-hopped with Azacca hops, known for lending a burst of tropical stonefruit. The second is Loral Mountain Haze, which was dry-hopped with Loral hops, a more floral, earthy variety, "like an amped up noble hop," the brewery says.
Monday, August 27
Steuben's Arvada will set up New Terrain Brewing and Station 26 Brewing in an epic Battle for the Taps event running all week long. Each brewery will offer its two best suds on draft, and guests will vote for what brewery takes over the taps the following week. "Expect fun and games, swag giveaways, and plenty of beer."
Tuesday August 28
"We heard Starbucks was officially dropping the Pumpkin Spice Latte on August 28, so we thought we would get in on the action," says Comrade Brewing. The brewery will tap a limited amount of Pumpkin Spice Koffee Kream Milk Stout at 3 p.m. "Let’s celebrate the season of 'pumpkin everything' together."
Wednesday, August 29
The singularly tasty Chef and Brew Festival returns for its seventh year from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Exdo Event Center. Promoting "the notion that local craft beer is an ideal pairing for chef-driven food, the event brings together more than twenty of Denver’s best chefs and craft brewers in a competition to create the ultimate beer and food pairing," organizers say. "Guests will have the opportunity to taste unlimited samples of all of the dishes and all the beer and vote for their favorites." Judges' awards will be given for Best Dish, Best Beer and Best Pairing, and the Grand Prize will be selected by the attending guests. A portion of the evening’s sales will be donated to Project Angel Heart. Tickets are $49 or $69 for VIP; find them at chefandbrew.com.
Thursday, August 30
Polyjuice Potion "is for all you witches and wizards out there," says Lone Tree Brewing, which taps the glittery glitter beer today. The base beer is the brewery's Mood Ring Saison with blueberry juice and edible glitter added. "It may not change you into Crabbe or Goyle (or a human/cat hybrid) but it will make you feel like you have awesome magical abilities like the famous Dumbledore! (RIP)." It will be served along with Harry Potter Trivia night.
Friday, August 31
Station 26 Brewing welcomes Phish fans this weekend as the band returns to Denver for its annual series of shows. To celebrate, the brewery will release two Phish-themed beers. The first is Palley’s Comet, a Vermont-style pale ale brewed with Apollo, Galaxy and Comet hops. The second is Divided Rye, a crisp and drinkable ale brewed with rye malt that's lightly dry-hopped. There are a limited number of Crowlers of each available for purchase before the shows. The beers should be on tap through the weekend.
Ursula Brewery in Aurora is releasing its Transparency Hazy/Juicy Pale Ale in cans for the first time. They'll be available in sixteen-ounce four-packs fro $12. In addition, the brewery is offering four-ounce flights of the four beer it entered in GABF competition for $12. Plus, brewers Chris and Dave will be hanging out from 3 to 6 p.m. "so you can drink the flight and talk to the guys who invented and made them," Ursula says. The beers are Transparency Pale Ale, a hazy beer made with Lemon Drop, Huell Mellon, Citra, and Manderina Bavaria Hops;
Ultimate Clarity, a hazy IPA with Mosaic, Citra and Huell Mellon hops; Melismatic, a Belgian-style Brett beer with Hallertau Blanc Hops; and Angel Of The Odd, a sour farmhouse beer with pomegranate, orange peel, ginger.
Oskar Blues is hosting release parties for its seasonal Ten FIDY Imperial Stout, a 10.5 percent ABV "black hole of burly malt flavor," the brewery says. One of those parties takes place in Longmont at the Tasty Weasel taproom in Longmont, where, for the first time, Oskar Blues will offer Ten FIDY flights featuring rare FIDY variants: Vanilla and Sugar Maple Wood Aged Ten FIDY; 2012 Ten FIDY; 2014 Ten FIDY; Java BA Ten FIDY; and 2018 FIDY. Chris Dismuke will be playing live music from 5 to 7 p.m.
Saturday, September 1
TRVE Brewing drops its "interstellar summer sendoff beer," Solid Hex at noon. The beer is a foeder-fermented saison with watermelon. It should see some limited distribution in cans.
Come try Ursula Brewery's yearly release of Colorado Buckeye Imperial Peanut Butter and Chocolate Stout, which will be in cans and on draft. The beer celebrates the start the college football season and the Ohio State Buckeyes. This year, Ursula will also release 375ml bottles of Woody Barrel Aged Buckeye and Urban Coffee Barrel Aged Buckeye in the taproom only.
Sunday, September 2
The wait is over. At noon, Comrade Brewing taps Superdamp, its back-to-back GABF silver-medal-winning, fresh-hop IPA. The beer is Comrade's flagship Superpower IPA wet-hopped with organic Chinook and Nugget from High Wire Hops in Paonia. The hops were put in the beer less than 24 hours after harvest. Sadly, Comrade won't have a chance to defend its title at GABF this year because there is no fresh-hop category as a result of the festival being held three weeks earlier.
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Monday, September 3
Join Briar Common Brewery + Eatery for its first Septemberfest from 3 to 6 p.m. Briar Common will release its newest beer, Earth to Marzen, in honor of the season. The brewery will also be grilling burgers and brats.
Banded Oak Brewing taps its seasonal Marzen. The 6.1 percent ABV beer "is brewed with rich German caramel malts and hopped assertively to provide a drinkable balance, welcoming the cooler winds of fall," the brewery says. It "celebrates the rye dryness of classic Marzens while shying away from the newer, sweeter" ones.
Friday, September 7
Tivoli Brewing celebrates Oktoberfest and its third anniversary with with a party starting at 5 p.m. and featuring music from Brothers of Brass, What About Jim and HomeSlice Band. There will also be German food from Little Reds Kitchen, a costume competition, a raffle, a stein-holding contest and that tapping of a Marzen beer. For more information and tickets, $20 each, go to eventbrite.com.
Saturday, September 8
Raise a stein, fill your maß, and head to Dry Dock Brewing's original South Dock location for Docktoberfest, an annual party celebrating the season. There will be music from Polka Folka, a stein-holding contest, German food and several beer tappings, including Docktoberfest Marzen Lager, Helles, Pilsner and Wheat Beer (the last three have all won GABF medals in recent years). German-themed attire strongly encouraged.