We lost a lot of movie stars in 2016, but we also lost a lot of beers — beers that we were used to seeing on tap handles and on liquor-store shelves around town. They included not just all of the packaged beers from Wynkoop Brewing and Twisted Pine, but many of Avery Brewing's famed high-alcohol beers, like the Beast, the Kaiser, Mephistopheles and the Czar. New Belgium also dumped some of its regular lineup, including Snapshot Wheat, Slow Ride Session IPA and Shift Pale Lager.
And now we have our first casualty from 2017: Old Ruffian, Great Divide Brewing's award-winning barleywine. "We know that many people, including myself, will surely miss Old Ruffian,” brewery founder Brian Dunn says in a statement. “In order for us to continue to innovate, we sometimes have to put great beers into retirement to open up capacity and to push ourselves as a brewery."
Old Ruffian will be replaced in Great Divide's lineup by six-packs of the first edition of the new Hop Disciples Rotating Hop Project IPA, which will showcase a different hop variety each year. "The inaugural release features Idaho 7, which shows up punching with aromas of orange zest and stone fruit complemented by a hint of black tea leaves," the brewery says.
Here are this week's craft-beer events.
Wednesday, January 11
First Draft Kitchen & Taproom will host a tap takeover today at 6 p.m. from Cerebral Brewing. Beers on draft include Rare Trait, Secret Chat Room, Remote Island and Lens Flare.
Hops & Pie will tap Ratio Beerworks' Barrel-Aged Genius Wizard today at 11:30 a.m. The chocolatey, roasty Russian imperial stout was aged for eleven months in bourbon barrels.
January is Coffee Cask Month at Copper Kettle Brewing, which will tap a new firkin each Wednesday that has been infused with some sort of coffee. Today's beer, tapping at 2 p.m., is Kenya Nyeri Ndimaini Cream Ale made with beans from Pablo's Coffee. It's a "light, super-juicy and sweet roast made with notes of cherry, tamarind and chocolate," the brewery says.
Thursday, January 12
Our Mutual Friend will tap the 2017 version of its Winter Warmer today at 4 p.m. The 9.6 percent ABV strong ale will be on draft and available in Crowlers to go.
Ale House at Amato's will host a four-course East versus West beer-pairing dinner with Victory Beer Brewing (representing the East Coast) and Firestone Walker (fighting for the West Coast). Tickets are $45 per person, or $80 for a pair.
Friday, January 13
Platt Park Brewing will throw a Ski Waxing Party today at 4 p.m. with Rocky Mountain Ski Tunes. For $15, you get a pint, wax and light edging. The brewery will tap a firkin of Oatmeal Stout.
Saturday, January 14
Baere Brewing starts the new year right today with a dual bottle release party starting at noon. The first beer is Raspberry Table Sour Batch 2, a bottle-conditioned beer sold for $14 per bottle. The second beer is Four Grains in the Membrane, a 14.9 percent ABV barrel-aged strong ale with Brettanomyces. "It was one year ago when we sat down with our good friends over at Laws Whiskey House to discuss how to make a beer which would take a stab at representing our wacky friendship," Baere explains. Inspired by Laws Four Grain Bourbon, Baere made a brew with the same four grains — barley, wheat, rye and corn — which was fermented in steel tanks and then aged in Laws bourbon barrels, "sneaking three strains of Brettanomyces into one of them." The three were later blended. There are now more than 100 cases of 375 mL bottles available, at $12 a bottle.
Diebolt Brewing will ring in the new year with four different barrel-aged versions of its Imperial French Saison (bourbon, brandy, cabernet and rye whiskey); the 10 percent ABV base beer has notes of spice, candied citrus, burnt sugar and coffee, the brewery says. All four will be available in 22-ounce bottles to go and on tap. You can also pre-purchase bottles on Diebolt's website. The brewery is offering $60 packages (limited to twenty people) that include a bottle of each version, a three-ounce taster of each, and a 4 p.m. tour with owner Jack Diebolt, where you will taste a Brett-fermented beer out of the barrel.
On the second Saturday of every month, Bierstadt Lagerhaus fills its fässer — a wooden barrel — with one of its Keller lagers directly from the lager tank. The unfiltered lager will change each time depending on what brewers Bill and Ashleigh think is tasting particularly good. It's on until it's gone.
Black Project Wild & Spontaneous Ales will host a release for the extremely limited Cygnus Montmorency Cherry today at noon. The beer began as Oxcart, a spontaneously fermented beer made using malted barley, unmalted wheat, and oats, then hopped with a blend of young and aged hops. The beer was then aged in oak barrels for one to three years and re-fermented for two months on 2.5 pounds per gallon of Montmorency tart cherries. "The initial aroma is sweet cherry pie with a light effervescence and a tingling sour finish," Black Project says. "The body and mouthfeel is complex, with layers of funk, hay, and acidity. Fruit character dominates the aroma and flavor but may diminish over time, so enjoy please enjoy fresh." Only one hundred 750ml bottles, at $34 each, will be available.
The Crafty Fox will host a limited tapping with Green Flash Brewing, of San Diego, and Telluride Brewing today at 6 p.m. Green Flash beers include: Le Freak, Oculus Sauvage with Black Currants, Divine Belgique, Ideal Belgique and Blanc Tarte Barrique. Telluride Brewing beers include: Face Down Brown, Ski in Ski Stout, Freakyfish Belgian DIPA, Freakycab and Fiswater Project.
New memberships for the 2017 River Norther Society at River North Brewery go on sale to the public today at noon. Find all the details on the brewery's website. In addition, River North will release two barrel-aged beers today: Single Cask Mr. Sandman, an American imperial stout aged in a single Kentucky straight-bourbon barrel; and Whiskey Barrel Aged J. Marie, an imperial saison aged in whiskey barrels.
Odd13 Brewing in Lafayette will release its latest taproom-only cans today at 1 p.m. This time around, it's Hop Hackin' Henry, an IPA designed "to showcase piney hops. Simcoe, Chinook and Eureka combine to create aromatics similar to what lumberjacks must smell every day," the brewery says. Six-packs will go for $11. There is a maximum of two cases per customer.
Monday, January 16
Denver Beer Company is releasing the latest beer in its bomber series today at the original Platte Street taproom, Four Sheets, an 11 percent Belgian-style quandrupel. The brewery will be giving out free samples of the beer from 5 to 6 p.m. Four Sheets was brewed with "a variety of crystal malts that yield a delightful malt profile with layers of caramel and toffee flavors, Denver Beer Co says. "The Belgian yeasts contribute a fruity complexity reminiscent of plums and raisins that mellows out the high alcohol content."
Friday, January 20
The five breweries that were involved in brewing Makin' Noise: A Pussy Riot Beer will all tap their creations today, Donald Trump's inauguration day. The beer, which was entirely brewed by women, is an imperial saison, but each brewery made it with a different ingredient. "This beer works to combat the hate and oppression while also lending support and solidarity to the fight for equality," says the organizers of the protest brew, Bess Dougherty and Kelissa Hieber. "We believe in this beautiful community, and we feel it is necessary to work together to protect it.We believe in an America that celebrates its diversity, an America that protects and supports anyone regardless of sexual orientation, gender, identity, race, religious views or immigration status." A portion of the proceeds will be donated to five different charities.
Goldspot Brewing will tap its version, made with strawberries. For every pint sold, $1 will be donated to One Colorado, a GLBTQ advocacy organization; there will also be a food truck and live music at 7 p.m. Brewability Lab will tap Makin Noise, with acai, at 3 p.m. A portion of the proceeds will go to Parillume’s SHINE Soirées: "free monthly events open to the community that celebrate the triumph of the human spirit in the aftermath of sexual violation," Brewability says. Black Sky Brewery will tap the beer, made with peppercorns, and donate $2 from every pint sold to Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains. 3 Freaks Brewing in Highlands Ranch will tap its version, with lavender; $1 of each pint will be donated to Conservation Colorado. The fifth brewery, Lady Justice, doesn't have its own taproom and is looking for a location, which will be announced soon.
Caution Brewing will celebrate its fifth anniversary with a two-day party starting today at 3 p.m., when the Lakewood brewery will tap Comacho 2020 American Strong Ale and other beers. There will be music from the One And Only Jon Ham from 7 to 10 p.m., along with swag giveaways and other shenanigans.
Saturday, January 21
Sloan's Tap & Burger will host an after-party for the Women's March on Denver today at 3:30 p.m., featuring the tapping of two beers made by women: Makin' Noise, A Pussy Riot Beer; and Kaffeina. Organized by Sloan's Tap owner Juan Padro and bottle-cap artist Amanda Wilshire, the event will also include conversations with several women in the community who fight for human equality. They include: Amanda Moore-McBride (dean of the graduate school of social work at the University of Denver), Bess Dougherty (co-creator of the Pussy Riot beer project), Laura Bond (principal of Laura Bond, Ink. and former music editor at Westword), Bridgette Brown (Crafty Ladies Beer Club), and Wanda James (CEO of Simply Pure dispensary and president of the Cannabis Global Initiative). Proceeds from the sale of the beers will go toward Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains.
Lowdown Brewery + Kitchen will hold its third annual barrel-aged-beer festival, pouring fourteen rare barrel-aged beers from nine different breweries. There will be two sessions, one on Saturday and one on Sunday. Tapping begins at 11 a.m., with a full food menu, including brunch, until 3 p.m.
Fermaentra Brewing will release the latest two bottles in its barrel-aged series today: Red Wine Barrel Aged Canticle, a Belgian dubbel; and Chardonnay Barrel Aged Saleos, a Belgian golden strong ale. Both are suitable for aging, the brewery says, and both "present a unique twist upon the base beer, as aspects of the wine barrel have intertwined with the fruity esters of the Belgian brew." Each 375ml bottle costs $10; there is a limit of four per person. The beers will also be on draft.
Caution Brewing will celebrate its fifth anniversary today starting at noon, when it taps its first Belgian Citric Sour Ale and other beers. The Lakewood brewery will also feature live music from the Amazing T Strickland from 7 to 10 p.m., plus swag giveaways.
Nighthawk Brewing in Broomfield will celebrate its two-year anniversary all weekend long with a variety of special beer releases and other fun and games.
Cannonball Creek Brewing in Golden will celebrate its fourth anniversary today and tomorrow with a variety of tappings, food and music. Today the brewery will tap its anniversary beer, Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Almond Chocolate Stout, along with other special beers. Roaming Bull Brasserie is preparing Belgian-style mussels and frites from noon to 5 p.m., and Rolling Dough will be on hand from 5 to 11 p.m. Gold Mine Cupcakes will also be around. There will be live music by Ol' Hickory from 7 to 10 p.m. Proceeds from this event benefit Clothes to Kids of Denver.
Sunday, January 22
Cannonball Creek Brewing in Golden will continue its fourth-anniversary celebration today by tapping its anniversary beer, Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Almond Chocolate Stout, and other beers. There will also be a brunch-inspired menu from Rolling Dough and live music from Midnight Shakedown from 1 to 4 p.m. Proceeds from this event benefit Environmental Learning for Kids.
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Friday, January 27
The owners of Black Project Spontaneous & Wild Ales will celebrate their third year of owning a brewery today and tomorrow with a series of new beer releases, paired food tastings, and an onsite public cellar release that begins at 2 p.m. when the brewery will pop bottles of previous releases. The pairings will begin at 6 p.m. when Brewed Food will be in the house with a special menu ($25 per person; thirty tickets available. The first pairing is Oxcart with a Kimchi Pancake, pickled cucumber, and blueberry barbecue sauce. To see the rest, go to Black Project's Facebook page.
Sanitas Brewing in Boulder is doing a Winter Warmer Weekend starting today and running through Sunday. The tap room is featuring some bigger beers "that have been aged and amped up with fun additions of spice and fruit," Sanitas says. They include: Devil's Sword, Rye Grand Cru, Rye Abbey with Cherries, Cinnilla Stout, Coffee BIPA and more. There will also be a taco-tasting flight from McDevitt Taco.
Saturday, January 28
River North Brewery will re-release its Barrel Blonde today at noon. The beer is a Belgian-style blonde ale that was aged in whiskey and cocktail barrels. It will be available only in the taproom in bottles and on draft. There will also be New Mexican street food by Roadrunner.
The owners of Black Project Spontaneous & Wild Ales will celebrate their third year of owning a brewery today with a series of six new new beer releases every hour on the hour starting at 3 p.m. There will be food by Waffle Up and Haystack Mountain Goat Cheese.