Governor Jared Polis gave the all-clear to cities and counties that want to lift mask mandates as of May 16, which means that businesses will be the ones making the decisions about whether to require patrons and staff to continue that safety practice. In other words, they will have to fight their own battle with customers who feel strongly one way or another.
A number of craft breweries immediately announced their intentions on social media, including Burns Family Artisan Ales, FlyteCo Brewing, Woods Boss Brewing, Cerebral Brewing and Baere Brewing; for the time being, all of these Denver outfits will continue to require employees and visitors to wear masks.
Others have dropped the mask requirement for those who are fully vaccinated, including Grimm Brothers Brewhouse in Loveland, Very Nice Brewing in Nederland, Something Brewing in Brighton, Landlocked Ales in Lakewood, Six Capital Brewing & BBQ in Aurora and TRVE Brewing in Denver. "Fully vaccinated customers are no longer required to wear a mask when visiting our Taproom and Bier Hall. Non-vaccinated customers are encouraged to continue to wear a mask," Grimm Brothers says.
Confused about which spots have which policies? Call and ask in advance — and bring a mask just in case. If you don't like the policy, move on to a different brewery. And always be respectful to employees: They've been through a lot.
Continue reading to see craft-beer tappings and events through May.
Wednesday, May 19
Cerebral Brewing drops cans of Double Brain Fog Double IPA, an 8.1 percent ABV collab with Humble Sea Brewing in Santa Cruz, California. It was brewed with Citra, Mosaic, Galaxy and Sabro hops. Humble Sea may also have some of its beers available at Cerebral.
New cans: Dry Dock Brewing's Franconian Lager has been a taproom favorite since the brewery unveiled it last year at its South Dock location. And now it is in cans as part of Dry Dock's limited Cut & Run Series — cans that are only sold out of the taproom. The series highlights "the finest and most favored beers that are piloted at South Dock," the brewery says. "Brewed from Weyermann Floor Malted barley, Franconian Lager underwent an extended decoction mash, fermented with our house lager yeast, and lagered for ten weeks. Deep notes of dough and toasted malt give way to a light noble hop aroma."
Thursday, May 20
Denver Beer Co. brings its annual Neighborhood Hop Swap event to its new South Downing Street location from 5 to 7 p.m. The brewery gives away traditional hop rhizomes for Denverites to grow in their own backyards. The hop rhizomes are free to anyone willing to give them water, sunshine and a little love to grow throughout the summer season. DBC will give away 100 baby hop rhizome starters on a first come, first served basis. This year, representatives from Yakima Chief Hops, one of the country's premier suppliers of premium hops, will be on hand to answer questions and provide hop growing tips. Once the hops mature in the fall, Hop Swap participants bring their hop harvest back to the brewery, where they are used in a true “local” brew. Hop Swap farmers have the opportunity to help DBC make a pale ale with their own hops. Once the beer is ready for drinking, Hop Swap farmers are invited in to pick up a complimentary growler.
Recently tapped: Prost Brewing is pouring a brand-new double India pale lager, which weighs in at a healthy 8.3 percent ABV. "Sweet caramel malt flavor, balanced by pine and stone fruit hop characteristics. "If German lagers could produce a Northwest IPA, this would be it," Prost says. The brewery's Maibock is also on tap.
Friday, May 21
Strange Craft Beer Company celebrates its eleventh anniversary with a weekend of collaborative beer releases, food trucks and fun. "Hard to believe, but we survived the worst of it and managed to circle the sun an 11th time," Strange owner Tim Myers write. "I gotta tell ya, this one is special to me, because without your support we wouldn't have made it. Too often in the last year it looked like the end. But we're here! And we will be better than ever." The eleven collaborations were made with breweries far and wide, including Joyride, Chain Reaction, Black Sky, Bonfire, Westbound & Down, Guanella Pass, Cannonball Creek, Barrels & Bottles and more.
Odyssey Beerwerks is also celebrating a big birthday this weekend, honoring eight years in Arvada. There will
be music, a food truck, commemorative T-shirts and special beer tappings, including a Toadally Odsome Double IPA (a collab with Mountain Toad Brewing in Golden) and a reappearance of Clan Warrior Scotch Ale.
Call to Arms Brewing has teamed up with the irreverent Boulder underwear company Shinesty Threads on Tropical Tongue Punch, a hazy 6.7 percent ABV IPA that was brewed with "an obscene three hundred pounds of hand-processed fresh pineapple," the brewery says. It was also brewed with Riwaka and dry-hopped with lots of Sabro hops. It is available on tap and to go in four-packs of 16-ounce cans.
Little Machine Beer Company taps Widget Dry Stout, a dry Irish stout that was built for drinking dark beer in the summer. It is also on nitro for a creamy mouthfeel.
New Image Brewing goes balls out with Hands Down Balls Out Gnarly, its latest collaboration with Black Project Wild & Spontaneous Ales. For this hazy triple IPA — yeah, it's 11.5 percent ABV — the breweries "pushed the limits and upped the ante," New Image says. "With each of our collabs, we keep pushing each other to go to even more wild places to push each release further and further, which is how we ended up brewing a double mashed, double decocted triple IPA with Incognito Citra, plus Idaho Gem, and some of their spontaneous stock blended into the whirlpool. The result is arguably our most intricate and complicated IPA brewed to date."
Like a lot of breweries, Over Yonder Brewing had to skip its anniversary last year because of the pandemic, so the Golden beer maker will celebrate both its first and second birthdays with three days of beer releases, art markets and tons of live music. The party lasts all weekend.
Saturday, May 22
River North Brewery brings back Project: First Ascent Double IPA, this time with Talus, Citra and Simcoe hops. This clear West Coast IPA will be available in both taprooms in cans and on tap.
Westfax Brewing releases Is That A Light Or A Train, a collaboration with Baere Brewing. The brewery describes the 6.8 percent ABV red IPA as "old school malty and sticky." It was brewed with Columbus, Chinook, Simcoe, Nugget, Ekuanot and Mosaic hops. The brewery also has Straight Outta Colfax, an 8.5 percent ABV hazy double IPA made with Strata, Cashmere and Simcoe hops lending notes of pineapple, peach candy, mango and tangerine. Both are available in cans to go. Dude Bro Taco will be outside with food.
Denver Beer Co. brings back its popular early-morning Beer, Bacon & Coffee Fest today and tomorrow at all three of its taprooms in Denver and Arvada. For $50, you can try seven specially crafted breakfast-themed beers, endless bacon from Tender Belly, bottomless mugs of coffee, a breakfast burritos made by the brewery's new DBC Eats offshoot, and a Denver Beer Co. coffee mug. All that is required of you is to wake up, roll down to Denver Beer Co. and enjoy ... Then go home and take a nap. Best day ever," the brewery says. The event runs from 8:30 to 11 a.m.; find tickets and more information on DBC's web site.
Odyssey Beerwerks continues its eighth anniversary celebration with live music, food trucks and special beer tappings, including Fluffy Orange Creamsicle, a cream Ale with toasted marshmallow, vanilla and orange; and 2021 Salyut Barrel-Aged Russian Imperial Stout, made with orange and chocolate.
As vaccination momentum decreases in Colorado, WeldWerks Brewing is teaming up with the Weld County Department of Public Health and Environment to host a walk-in vaccination clinic from 1 to 5:30 p.m. at the brewery. Any takers will be rewarded with one free draft pour and a can of the limited-edition “I Got Vaccinated” 16-ounce beer. Oh, and if you're already vaxxed, bring in your card today for a free can as well; the beer is a version of Juicy Bits Hazy IPA. "WeldWerks hopes to encourage more vaccinations in the state so that we can more quickly return to pre-pandemic times," the brewery says.
MainStage Brewing in Lyons will open its doors for the first time at 11 a.m., though it won't yet have any of its own beers on tap. The brewery, a product of former Upslope head brewer Sam Scruby and Left Hand's Eric Kean, will have "a spectacular list of our favorite craft beers from around the state while we continue the construction process on our brewery space," according to a Facebook post.
Sunday, May 23
Denver Beer Co. continues its Beer, Bacon & Coffee Fest at all three taprooms in Denver and Arvada. For $50, you can try seven breakfast-themed beers, endless bacon from Tender Belly, bottomless mugs of coffee, breakfast burritos by the brewery's DBC Eats offshoot, and a DBC coffee mug. "All that is required of you is to wake up, roll down to Denver Beer Co. and enjoy... Then go home and take a nap. Best day ever," the brewery says. The event runs from 8:30 to 11 a.m.; find tickets and more information on DBC's website.
Friday, May 28
4 Noses Brewing in Broomfield celebrates its seventh anniversary with four days' worth of beer releases and tappings, extra food trucks and more. Some of the new beers include: Hop Cannon New England Style India Pale Ale, Puffed Jasmine Rice Lager and Mango Mosaic New England Style IPA.
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