Collaboration Fest is back. Do you have your tickets?EXPAND
Collaboration Fest is back. Do you have your tickets?
Westword file photo

Beer Calendar: Shirtless Putin, Carrot Flowers and the Eye of Ra

Do you have your tickets for the 5th annual Collaboration Beer Fest? If not, you'd better get them soon, because this will sell out. The event, which has become Colorado's marquee beer fest, takes place March 31 at the Hyatt Regency downtown, and it kicks off Colorado Craft Beer Week. This year’s festival boasts 123 collaboration projects from more than 200 breweries, 144 from Colorado and the rest from 42 states and six countries. Most are one-off brews that will be unique to the festival or only featured briefly at a brewery.

Examples include Ska Brewing and Ratio Beerworks, which teamed up to create a Norwegian White IPA using a Nordic farmhouse yeast strain; Upslope Brewing and Santa Fe Brewing, which used all Colorado and New Mexico ingredients, including huitlacoche, a plant fungus that grows on ears of corn; and Wibby Brewing and some members of Colorado media, which made a steinbier, an ale brewed with a 600-degree granite stone.

Tickets to the fest are $65 to $85 and are available at collaborationfest.com.

Keep reading for more craft-beer events through early April.

Beer Calendar: Shirtless Putin, Carrot Flowers and the Eye of Ra
First Draft Facebook page

Wednesday, March 21
First Draft Taproom & Kitchen hosts a tap takeover at 5:30 p.m. by Lafayette's Odd13 Brewing. Beer available includes Codename SuperDuperFan, Hop Hackin' Henry, Vincent Van Couch, n00b, Intergalactic Juice Hunter and the Economist with Apricots & Mangoes, a collaboration of First Draft and Odd13.

Call to Arms Brewing taps Belgian Waffle Fries, a Belgian blonde ale offering "subtle fruity esters with bready notes, a touch of clove, and a soft mouthfeel," the brewery says.

Banded Oak Brewing has tapped Imperial Brown Ale. Aged for six months in cabernet barrels, this deep-brown beer "has a big biscuit malt flavor with a prominent cab aroma," the brewery says. "The beer starts like a hardy, full-bodied beer and finishes like a clean, dry wine." The brewers created this beer after looking around the brewhouse and noticing all the partially used grain bags. In an effort to not waste grain, they combined everything into one batch.

The gang's all beer at Left Hand Brewing in Longmont, which is hosting Colorado Brewing History Night. The event, which starts at 6 p.m., includes a Colorado-inspired dinner, a flight of Left Hand beer, and "Brewed at Altitude: The History of Colorado Brewing," a lecture by Left Hand brewer Carl Rose, who'll pour out beery knowledge that starts with the pioneer brewers of the 1860s and concludes with the rise of of the craft-brewing movement. Tickets are $25, and all proceeds benefit an upcoming beer exhibit at History Colorado.

Beer Calendar: Shirtless Putin, Carrot Flowers and the Eye of Ra (3)
Call to Arms Brewing

Thursday, March 22
Call to Arms Brewing brings back Shirtless Putin Nuzzling With Dolphins in bottles and on draft at 3 p.m. This 11.7 percent bourbon-barrel-aged imperial Baltic porter was brewed with Sweet Bloom Coffee and "offers flavors of vanilla, oak, and chocolate-covered cherries," the brewery says. “You can’t un-see the imagery of a scantily clad Vladimir cuddling up to these friendly mammals of the sea,” adds the brewery's Chris Bell. “It’s a bold image fit for a bold beer.” Shirtless Putin Nuzzling With Dolphins was brewed with Czech Pils yeast and started as the brewery’s Shirtless Putin on a Horse. Seven different malts were blended and used in the original brew, along with the addition of Bravo hops. The beer was then aged in Four Roses bourbon barrels for months. Coffee was added as the finishing touch. There are only 400 bottles available.

Join Ratio Beerworks in celebrating the return of Stay Gold Spring Märzen Lager. The beer is Ratio's take on the classic Bavarian beer, which has "biscuit-y malt-forward notes and an extremely refreshing quenchable finish," the brewery says. "This Spring Märzen is brewed with a blend of Pilsner, Munich and Vienna malts adding a rich toasty backbone. [It was] fermented with a German lager strain for a crisp and clean finish, while showcasing German Hallertauer Mittelfrüh hops to add a balanced hint of bitterness."

Beer Calendar: Shirtless Putin, Carrot Flowers and the Eye of Ra (4)EXPAND
Ratio Beerworks

Friday, March 23
Ratio Beerworks brings back its surprising and excellent King of Carrot Flowers, a carrot juice and elderflower saison, at 5:30 p.m. First brewed in celebration of EatDenver's 2017 Harvest Week, the beer "defies convention and was crafted with culinary balance in mind. It has a cantaloupe orange hue, while exhibiting subtle fruit-forward citrus notes and nuances of pear, honey, coriander and vanilla."

Odyssey Beerwerks in Arvada taps Hibiscus Eye of Ra Belgian Golden Strong Ale at 2 p.m. This pink, 8.2 percent ABV beer is the brewery's classic Eye of Ra made with hibiscus petals. "The fruity and floral flavors the hibiscus contributes blends with the devilish yeast chosen to ferment this classic," the brewery says.

Based on its popularity near and far, it's hard to believe that Weldwerks Brewing is only three years old, but the Greeley brewery will celebrate that birthday with a three-day party starting today, Saturday and Sunday at 11 a.m. There will be food trucks, a photo booth and daily tours. As for beers, there will be fifteen different rare or exclusive brews tapped over the course of the weekend, including five Medianoche variants. Details are TBA.

Beer Calendar: Shirtless Putin, Carrot Flowers and the Eye of Ra (2)
Denver Beer Co

Saturday, March 24
Comrade Brewing and Casey Brewing and Blending are certainly two of Colorado's most wanted — which is why this collaboration, 2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted, is likely to be in high demand. The 7 percent ABV beer, named for the Tupac and Snoop Dogg tune, is a modified version of Comrade's highly regarded Superpower IPA that was aged in oak barrels with Colorado peaches and Casey's mixed-culture yeast strain, which was then dry-hopped. There will be three different versions on tap starting at 11 a.m. at Comrade Brewing, and one for sale in bottles (limit of two per person). Like Tupac and Snoop Dogg, this beer is West Coast forever; quantities are very limited, and the beer will not see distribution outside the brewery.

Fiction Beer Company hosts its first taproom-only can release at 1 p.m. with the release of two different beers — about 100 cases of each beer in sixteen-ounce four-packs. The first beer is Beta Capsule Double Dry Hopped New England Style Imperial IPA. Inspired by Ernest Cline's "Ready Player One," this beer was brewed with Vic Secret, Mosaic and Citra hops. "Notes of fresh peach, refreshing citrus, and tropical passion fruit complemented by a smooth mouthfeel and deceiving ABV," the brewery says. The second beer is the Falconer Dry Hopped Saison. Inspired by Helen Macdonald's H Is for Hawk, the Falconer is a traditional saison brewed with "a blend of yeasts to accentuate the fruit esters over the spicy phenolics. Complementing the natural fruit character from the yeast, we added serious doses of Motueka dry hops. Notes of fresh lemon zest, squeezed lime and tropical fruit combine with a crisp dry finish for a very refreshing start to the spring."

Denver Beer Co. hosts a Silent Disco party from 8 p.m. to midnight at its newly renovated Canworks location in the Sunnyside neighborhood to raise money for the brewery's 2018 nonprofit partner, Environmental Learning for Kids. The production facility will be transformed into an electric night filled with beer, food trucks, music, dancing, games and photo booth fun. Sound Off Colorado will bring three DJs with music from all genres. Tickets, $20, and more information are available at Denver Beer Co.'s website

You'll find a whopping three cookie beers for sale in Crowlers and on tap starting at noon at Something Brewery in Brighton. There's Mint Condition, a Thin Mint chocolate porter (one hundred Crowlers available); Cookie Monsta Vanilla Milk Stout, made with 108 pounds of Oreos (250 Crowlers available); and Samoa Monsta, an 8 percent ABV imperial porter brewed with thirty pounds of coconut, caramel, vanilla and chocolate (150 Crowlers available). Get there early, because these will sell out.

The Hops + Handrails Beer Fest & Rail Jam returns to Longmont's Roosevelt Park for its sixth year today and tomorrow, and this time, Left Hand Brewing is taking things up a notch with two days of samplings, live music and spring snow. Day one, from noon to 6 p.m., will feature a forty-foot-high, four-story snowboard ramp where riders will compete in a rail jam. "Skiers and boarders will throw down big air and their gnarliest tricks on the ramp, trick rails and keg wall in men’s and women’s categories," the brewery says. Guests will enjoy unlimited samplings of beer from more than 55 craft breweries, and later, music from Karl Denson's Tiny Universe. Day two, from noon to 4 p.m., will be a more family-focused "winter wonderland," with a hill for sledding and tubing. For the first time, entry for kids twelve and under is free. There will also be boards and instructors on site for the kids. Basic tickets to the beer fest and events are $40 each day on the brewery's website, but there are also various two-day packages. Proceeds will benefit the Left Hand Brewing Foundation and SOS Outreach.

Sunday, March 25
Call to Arms Brewing teams up with the Noshery and Bacon Social House to present a Sinful Sunday, full of beer, bacon, and doughnuts, starting at noon. Inspired by the brewery's Shirtless Putin Nuzzling With Dolphins, an 11.7 percent ABV bourbon-barrel-aged Baltic porter, the team has created a doughnut and bacon bar. For $15, you get a ten-ounce pour of the beer, a Noshery doughnut dipped on site, and a trip through the bacon topping bar, which includes Brown Sugar & BBQ Rub, Agave & Cocoa, and Guajillo Chili, Brown Sugar & Coffee. No tickets are needed, but supplies are limited.

Denver-based photographer Dustin Hall brings the art of photography and brewing together in “Discovering Colorado Breweries,” a 232-page coffee table book, featuring photographs of over seventy Colorado craft breweries. He'll be at Ratio Beerworks from 3 to 5 p.m. signing copies of the book. So come on out and chat with Dustin about the project while enjoying some great beer.

Beer Calendar: Shirtless Putin, Carrot Flowers and the Eye of Ra (5)
Oasis Brewing

Thursday, March 29
Oasis Brewing, which has been under construction in an old church just off of 32nd Avenue and Lowell Boulevard, hosts its grand opening starting at 5 p.m. Oasis was born in Boulder in the 1990s before closing up shop. But it has been resurrected and will be serving the five flagship beers it was known for back then: Scarab Red Ale, Tut Brown Ale, Oasis Pale Ale, Capstone ESB and Zoser Oatmeal Stout. The Hazel Miller Trio will play from 6 to 8 p.m., and there will be gyros available for purchase from the Stand, a longtime Boulder favorite.

Friday, March 30
Join Jagged Mountain Craft Brewery for the release of two different collaborations, both of which will available at Collaboration Fest as well. The first is Hurricane Haze, a "Southeast Coast Style IPA" brewed with Colorado Grown Root Shoot Malt, Toasted Coconut, Mango, Pineapple, and a ton of Citra, Mosaic and Azacca hops; it was done in collaboration with Co-Brew. The second is Lupulin Smoothie, a New England-style IPA brewed with Galaxy, Mosaic and Amarillo hops and finished Belgian yeast; this one was done in collaboration with Überbrew in Billings, Montana, which is know for its hoppy beers and many awards.

Saturday, March 31
Colorado's marquee festival, Collaboration Fest, returns for its fifth year to the Hyatt Regency, with more than 100 unusual or one-off collaborative beers from 150 breweries all over the state. Most Colorado breweries partnered with each other, but some teamed up with beer makers in other states or even other countries. The unique, can't-miss event, part of Colorado Craft Beer Week, is hosted by the Colorado Brewers Guild and Two Parts. General admission tickets are $65 and include all the beer you can drink from 4 to 7 p.m.; VIP tix are $85 and get you in an hour early, at 3 p.m. For tickets and the entire list of collaborations, go to collaborationfest.com.

Wednesday, April 4
Colorado breweries will celebrate the annual Colorado Pint Day again today, an event designed to support the Colorado Brewers Guild. Stop in at one of several dozen breweries, buy a beer and keep the glass, which was designed by artist Brendan O’Connor from Good Land Design. The artwork was inspired by the theme of 300 days of sunshine and 300-plus breweries in the state. One dollar from each pint sold will be donated to the Colorado Brewers Guild. Find the complete list of participating breweries on the Guild's website.

Friday, April 6
Finn's Manor hosts a 2 p.m. tapping for Make IPA Clear Again, a collaboration of hoppy specialists Comrade Brewing in Denver and La Cumbre Brewing out of New Mexico. There will be live music at 7 p.m. and the greatest hits from both breweries taking over the rest of the taps all day.

Come drink behind the scenes starting at 10 a.m. at Great Divide before the Colorado Rockies home opener. The open house is free and beers are $5, including the brand-new Heyday IPA, which hasn't yet been released. There will also be tacos and a cookie pairing from Good Sugar Baking.

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