Beer calendar: Italian beers, Collaboration Fest and Colorado Craft Beer Week

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Bryan Jansing and Paul Vismara, who've been slinging suds at the Falling Rock Taphouse for years, will release their book, Italy: Beer Country The Story of Italian Craft Beer, in a couple weeks with a couple of launch parties. The fully-illustrated book covers the "story of the Italian craft beer movement from its improbable beginning to today's explosive growth." The first party takes place April 1 at 7 p.m. at Falling Rock, where you can buy a copy and try some Italian beers. The second is on April 6 at 1 p.m. at Backcountry Pizza & Tap House in Boulder. Here, you can hang with the authors and with Giovanni Campari, head brewer of Italy's award-winning Del Ducato brewery. Also on tap will be more than twenty sour beers from around the world including Del Ducato's Blueberry Nightmare and Brett Peat Daydream.

And finally, on April 8 at 1 p.m. at Falling Rock, enjoy Italian Beer Day by meeting the authors and charismatic Toccalmatto brewer, Bruno Carilli, who will be sampling beer from Toccalmatto, as well as Birrificio Italiano, Del Ducato, Loverbeer, Panil and Baladin.

Thursday, March 20

The Denver Bicycle Cafe will host a Beer and Blue Cheese night from 7 to 9 p.m., featuring four gourmet cheeses that were hand-picked by cheese expert Amy Combs to match a selection of four five-ounce Colorado craft beers. Combs will also discuss "what makes a blue, a blue." Tickets are $20 in advance, or $25 at the door.

West Flanders Brewing in Boulder is celebrating the NCAA basketball tournament with a series of oak-aged single-keg beers. Here's the lineup for the Hardwood Madness series: March 20 is Oak-Aged Recreational Smoke Porter; March 27 is Oak-Aged Canniption Pale Ale, made with toasted oak; and April 3 is Oak-Aged Third Kingdom IPA. The beers will tapped each Thursday at 5 p.m.

Friday, March 21

Epic Brewing will host Four Firkin Friday today from 4 to 10 p.m. as part of Colorado Craft Beer Week. Get a flight of all four or a full pour of any one of them for $5 (all of which benefits the Colorado Brewers Guild). The firkins are Sour Apple Saison with fresh ginger; Santa Cruz Brown with Novo Cascara (coffee cherry); Escape to Colorado IPA dry-hopped with Amarillo; and 825 State Stout with coconut.

World of Beer Cherry Creek, in Glendale, is celebrating its first anniversary today from 2 p.m. to close with a "nanobrewery" tap takeover featuring: Former Future, Denver Beer Co, Elevation Beer Company, Dry Dock, Odd13, Bull & Bush, Grimm Brothers, Wynkoop, Renegade, Fate, Telluride, Copper Kettle, Black Bottle, Lone Tree, Strange, Trinity, and Backcountry. WOB has also brewed a collaboration beer with Strange Brewing, a "mango golden," that they will tap.

Dry Dock Brewing in Aurora will tap its double IPA seasoned in a cask with green chiles today at 3 p.m. as part of its weekly Firkin Friday program.

Saturday, March 22

Collaboration Fest, hosted by the Colorado Brewers Guild and Imbibe Denver, takes place today from 3 to 7 p.m. at the Curtis Hotel. The inaugural event, which is part of the annual Colorado Beer Week, features at least forty different collaborative beers, made by breweries around Colorado, across the nation and even overseas. They include everything from an all-female cast of Colorado Springs brewers to a roundup of several current and former brewers for the Mountain Sun and Vine Street Pub breweries, to a pairing between Ska Brewing and some colleagues in Sweden. Tickets are $50 (plus fees) for general admission, and $80 for VIP. For tickets, more information on the event and for a list of many of the collaborations, go to imbibedenver.com.

It's halfway to Oktoberfest, so Lone Tree Brewing is celebrating Halfte Oktoberfest today from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., featuring its Weisen-style Oktoberfest beer. El Toro the Tot will be on site with food.

Sunday, March 23

Station 26 will hold its first Bluegrass Brunch today from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. with music from the Hayward Strangers and donuts from Glazed & Confuzed. They're also releasing a Coffee Vanilla Porter just for the occasion.

Freshcraft will host a tapping for Fish and Ted's Excellent Collaboration at 1 p.m. This beer, a Belgo Rye IPA, part of Colorado Craft Beer Week, was brewed by Chris Fish of Telluride Brewing and Ted Rice of New Mexico's Marble Brewing. Both will be on hand.

Monday, March 24

Stapleton Tap House will host the brewers from the Wynkoop today at 6 p.m. as they tap their Barrel-Aged Barleywine. This special English-style Barleywine was aged for a year in old whiskey barrels, and has flavors of figs, fruitcake, raisins, and tobacco.

Tuesday, March 25

Upslope Brewing will host a Belgian Pale Ale Barrel Aged Fruit Beers Release Party at its original Lee Hill taproom today. Their brewers have aged their limited release Belgian Style Pale Ale in red wine barrels with a variety of fruits, including cranberries, blackberries, raspberries and blood oranges. The beers will be flowing all day with Burger Radio Food Truck joining the party at 5 p.m. Upslope will also be pouring its core lineup, along with Ferus Fluxus, a Wild Belgian Pale collab with Crooked Stave.

Wednesday, March 26

March is "What the firk??" Cask Month at the Copper Kettle, as the brewery taps some "crazy combinations that will make you think twice about the makings of a great beer." Today's beer, tapped at 3 p.m., is Imperial Red Saison,which mixes the grain bill from Naja, Imperial Red IPA, New Zealand hops, and a Belgian farmhouse yeast strain. There will be a food truck on hand at 4:30.

Freshcraft will host a 7 p.m. tapping for a blackberry saison collaboration between Epic Brewing and Elevation Beer Company. Also on draft will be Elevation Apis IV, Kolsch and Epic Big Bad Bad Baptist, Escape to Colorado IPA.

Historian's Ale House will continue its Battle of the Breweries series today, which it is doing in honor of Colorado Craft Beer Week. At 5 p.m. each day this week, two different breweries tap a keg of their choice; the first to blow their keg wins. Each customer that buys a pint of either beer will receive a raffle ticket. Historian's will raffle off prizes from both brewers every half hour. Tonight's battle features Grimm Brothers Brewhouse versus Elk Mountain Brewing. Tomorrow is Tivoli versus Echo, followed by Diebolt and Gravity on Friday.

For more events later in March and in April, turn the page. Thursday, March 27

The Colorado Brewers Guild will continue its annual Colorado Craft Beer Week celebration today with the New Kids on the Block festival, an '80s theme event that celebrates breweries that are less than two years old. New Kids starts at 8 p.m. at the Lobby and is presented by Denver Off the Wagon, Imbibe Denver and PorchDrinking.com. Tickets are $25 and are available at imbibedenver.com. They include unlimited beer tastings, '80s jams, a beer-themed buffet and costume contest. Participating breweries include Black Bottle Brewery, Big Choice Brewing, Brewery Rickoli, CAUTION: Brewing, Elevation Beer Company, FATE Brewing, Former Future Brewing, Front Range Brewing, Our Mutual Friend Malt & Brew, Prost Brewing, Station 26 Brewing, TRVE Brewing, Verboten Brewing, West Flanders Brewing, Westminster Brewing and Wild Woods Brewery.

Renegade Brewing released its first bomber in the Conviction Series last week to liquor stores, and the brewery will celebrate tonight with a release party. Sunday Morning is a coffee-infused American strong ale; it will be available for purchase at a discount at 6 p.m. Novo Coffee will be on hand with samples of the coffee used in the brew.

Ska Brewing will take over the taps at 7 p.m. tonight at the Denver Bicycle Cafe. There will be a variety of beers, plus free schwag and a brewery rep to talk with.

Friday, March 28

Get a sneak peak of Great Divide's new 20th Anniversary beer, a Belgian-style golden strong ale brewed with Viognier grape juice, from 5 to 7 p.m. tonight at Cheba Hut downtown. The beer was brewed to honor Great Divide's second decade (there will be a huge party in June). In addition, enjoy the brewery's spring seasonals, which are just coming out again: Rumble Oak Aged IPA (which used to be a July release) and Chocolate Oak Aged Yeti (which just won a gold medal at GABF).

Saturday, March 29

Join Odyssey Beerwerks and Awd aRT for a Saturday afternoon of craft beer and beer craft. Awd aRT's Amanda Willshire will be showcasing her latest spring-themed bottlecap creations at the brewery starting at 3:45 p.m. There will also be a food truck on hand and live music at 6 p.m. from Ash Ganley.

Copper Kettle Brewing will release Naja Imperial Red IPA on draft today during taproom hours, starting at noon. The American Red IPA is "full of intense hop flavor," the brewery says and loaded with 110 IBUs. While this release is draft only, Copper Kettle plans to make Naja one of its seasonal bomber releases later this year. CKrêpes & CKatering will be at the brewery starting at 2 p.m.

River North Brewery is bringing back one of its original barrel-aged brews, Wine Barrel Aged J. Marie, today at 1 p.m. as part of Colorado Craft Beer Week. The beer was aged for nine months in Chardonnay barrels, which the brewery says lends dry notes of oak and fresh pear to this farmhouse ale. The beer will be on tap and in bottles throughout the day. Bombers are $15, and there's a two-bottle limit.

Todd and Candice Alstrom will be at Freshcraft today from 1 to 5 p.m. for their montly Beer Advocate Social. Freshcraft plans on tapping a rare keg or two for the crew.

Left Hand Brewing in Longmont will hold its second-annual Hops & Handrails Beer Fest & Rail Jam today from noon to 6 p.m. -- the closing event of Colorado Craft Beer Week. The family-friendly hybrid winter event features 35 Colorado's craft breweries alongside a snowboard competition featuring a thirty-foot-high high ramp and some of Colorado's best riders showing off their airs, grabs, spins, and flips. There is also a kids zone. Tickets to the beer fest, which runs from 1 to 3 p.m., are $30. Tickets to just the Rail Jam are $10. Proceeds benefiting SOS Outreach and the Left Hand Brewing Foundation. There will be prizes. Participating Breweries: 300 Suns, Avery, Backcountry, Big Choice, Bootstrap, Boulder Beer, Breckenridge, Bristol, Cannonball Creek, Crooked Stave, City Star, Crow Hop, Denver Beer Co, Dry Dock, Echo, Eddyline, Elevation, Fate, Gravity, Great Divide, Grimm Brothers, Kannah Creek, Left Hand, Loveland Aleworks, New Belguim, Odell, Oskar Blues, Pumphouse, Renegade, Revolution, Rockyard, San Luis Valley, Ska, Trinity, Twisted Pine, Upslope, Wynkoop.

Tuesday, April 1

The Wynkoop Brewing Company's Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout will return to cans today for a short time. The extra-small batch is being released in honor of April Fool's Day, when the idea for the beer -- made with bull testicles -- was first hatched two years ago. The brewery has been making it periodically since then, but has decided to limit its release to April 1 each year. Get it in two-packs.

Tuesday, April 8

Ernie's Bar & Pizza will host an unprecedented tap takeover today featuring thirty beers that were brewed by women at breweries in Colorado and across the country. The event benefits the nonprofit Pink Books Scholarship Fund, which helps pay for women to go to brewing school. Many of the brewers will be on hand to talk about their beers, which will remain on tap through April 11.

Boulder Beer Company will party like its 1979 today when it taps the first kegs of its 35th Anniversary Imperial Black IPA at Marlowe's in Denver during the Craft Beer Conference taking place here this week. "Dark black in color with a big all-around hop presence, Boulder 35 remains a well-balanced big IPA with a smooth roasted malt flavor," the brewery says. There will also be other Boulder Beer libations on tap from 9:30 p.m. until after midnight, along with live music from Gipsy Moon. The event is open to the public, however, all CBC badge holders will receive two free beers from Boulder Beer.

Wednesday, April 9

Join Denver Beer Co for a good old-fashioned pizza party tonight at 6 p.m. when the brewery welcomes in two of the city's best pizza trucks, Basic Kneads Pizza & Brava! Pizzeria. There will also be live music from Modern Whiskey Market.

Breckenridge Brewery has teamed up with SweetWater Brewery in Atlanta, Georgia, on a special collaboration beer that will be tapped today at Ale House at Amato's while the Craft Beer Conference is in town. The beer, called O'Tay, is a dry-hopped red wheat wine ale and will available elsewhere later this month in Colorado. Brewed with red wheat malt from the Colorado Malting Company and malted Buckwheat and Mosaic hops, it's a tribute to the friendship between Breckenridge head Todd Usry and Sweetwater chief Freddy Bensch, who "used to pal around Colorado in the early days of craft beer." Amato's will also host a tap takeover by Breckenridge and SweetWater. "The night will also honor the late Curtis McArthur of SweetWater Brewery with a toast at 4:20 p.m. Brewer friends of McArthur, Upslope Brewing Company and Crooked Stave, will be in attendance with a few of their beers to pour as well," the brewery says.

Thursday, April 10

Breckenridge Brewery and Sweetwater Brewery of Atlanta, Georgia, will embark on a pub crawl to seven Denver bars today that are serving O'Tay, a new collaboration beer that was brewed by the two companies (see above). Follow @BreckBrew and @SweetWaterBrew on Twitter and Instagram to locate the crew and join the crawl. The bars are Scruffy Murphy's, the Lobby, Star Bar, Lucky Pie, Blake St. Vault, Pour House, and the Strata Bar at the Hyatt Regency.

Saturday, April 12

Grimm Brothers Brewhouse, which will begin canning one of its beers. Little Red Cap, in April, will hold a party today to celebrate the new 12-ounce package. The Loveland brewery is selling the GABF award-winning alt-style beer in six-packs. The can-release party will feature Little Red Cap beer can chicken as well as a canned food drive benefiting House of Neighborly Service.

Sunday, April 13

Denver Beer Co will team up with the Real Dill for round three of Beers & Spears, its beer-and-pickle paring pickle party (yes, I said "pickle twice"). This time, the pairing will include three beers paired with three pickles, as well as fried pickles from Big Country Bar B Que. Oh, and there will be a spicy-pickle eating contest, too (the winner gets a growler of beer and a jar of pickles.) Tickets are $15.



's Beer Man on Twitter at @ColoBeerMan and on Facebook at Colo BeerMan

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