Like an out-of-control locomotive, the Great American Beer Festival is on its way to Denver. But the train is already beginning to jump the tracks at spots all over town, where delicious beers are being spilled with no regrets. Breweries, beer bars and restaurants have lined up all sorts of events for GABF week — September 21-27 — but they are already pulling out the stops two weeks in advance. In fact, you can find some of the hottest releases, tap takeovers and parties going on this week and next. Look below for all the carnage. All aboard.
Wednesday, September 9
Copper Kettle will tap a version of its Colorado LocALE — a hoppy pale ale made to support the political effort to prevent supermarkets from being able to sell full-strength beer — with fresh grapefruit added to bring out the citrusy hops. There will be a food truck, too.
Hops & Pie will tap the very rare Dogfish Head Choc(olate) Lobster today at 11:30 sharp. "Choc Lobster is a brew first brewed in 2012 that evolved from the DFH Super Small Batch program that they began at the pub to make weird one-off batches for their beer dinners," according to the Facebook page. "Choc Lobster was originally brewed to pair with a chocolate lobster bisque and white chocolate lobster salad slider. Choc Lobster is now brewed every summer with lobsters shipped from Sam's friends at Five Islands Lobster Co. in Georgetown, Maine. This scaled-up batch has a robust porter base and was brewed with live lobsters, which were added directly to the boil to cook off for the kitchen. Along with the lobsters, just over 6 pounds of dark cocoa powder were added to the whirlpool, along with a basil tea that was added to compliment both the chocolate and lobster."
Douglas County Libraries have teamed up with eight different breweries for a series of events and activities, as well as a passport program called the Great Douglas County Brew Tour. For the tour, participants can download a passport from the library district's website and then have their passport stamped at participating breweries: 3 Freaks in Highlands Ranch, Barnett & Sons in Parker, Elk Mountain in Parker, Grist in Highlands Ranch, Hall Brewing in Parker, Living the Dream in Highlands Ranch, Lone Tree Brewing in Lone Tree and Rockyard in Castle Rock. Once they have five stamps, they can bring the passport to any DCL location to receive a limited-edition Brew Tour pint glass. In addition, six of the breweries will tap a special beer made just for the library and host a beer author or event the same night. Tonight, you'll find a beer and chocolate pairing with the Chocolate Therapist at Elk Mountain. The library brew is an ESB.
Thursday, September 10
Euclid Hall Bar & Kitchen is once again hosting a series of "intimate" craft-beer dinners leading up to the Great American Beer Festival in late September. Each dinner will have a menu crafted to pair with the particular brewery, and a brewery expert will be on hand to discuss the beers. Each dinner begins at 7 p.m.; tickets are $55 per person and can be purchased at brownpapertickets.com. Tonight's dinner features beers from Dogfish Head Brewing in Delaware.
Head to Hops & Pie at 6:30 p.m. to hang out with Epic Brewing co-founder David Cole and brewmaster Kevin Crompton, who will be on hand to tap Big Bad Baptist, Fermentation Without Representation, Elder Brett and Brainless on Peaches.
Oskar Blues celebrates the seasonal return of its Ten FIDY imperial stout today at 4 p.m. at the Tasty Weasel Taproom in Longmont. Tender Belly will on hand with bacon. There will be a vertical tasting of Ten Fidy, live music and good vibes.
Denver Bicycle Cafe will host a New Belgium Tour de Fat (which takes place tomorrow in City Park) pre-party starting at 6 p.m. There will be prizes, beer and a New Belgium Costume Garage Sale. RSVP on the Facebook page and you'll be entered twice to win a 2015 Cruiser Bike, VIP passes and more.
Upslope Brewing in Boulder will release its award-winning Pumpkin Ale today at 5 p.m. at its Flatiron Park location. LuLu's BBQ will be on site. Sixteen-ounce cans of the beer, which is made with local pumpkins, will hit liquor stores next week.
Friday, September 11
Copper Kettle Brewing will tap its seasonal Imperial Pumpkin Porter today. The English style porter with pumpkin pie spices will be served, as always, in baby pumpkins, which is cool. Fire Truck Crepes will be on hand at 2 p.m.
Centro Latin Kitchen in Boulder will welcome reps from Post Brewing today, who will celebrate the release of Townie Ale and Howdy Beer in cans from 4 to 6 p.m. There will be live music, food specials, giveaways and $1 cans of Howdy and Townie.
Comrade Brewing is releasing Superdamp, aka Fresh Hop Superpower, today at noon. The award-winning beers was brewed with organic Colorado hops from High Wire Hops in Paonia, that were put into the beer less than 24 hours after they were picked. The 6.8 percent ABV Superdamp has an intense, resiny mouthfeel and citrus flavor with a subtle note of green hops.
Diebolt Brewing will kick off a three-day birthday celebration today that includes live bluegrass from That Damn Sasquatch on Friday night along with a beer pong tournament and beer releases. Saturday night will feature original live music from Hello Bourbon and the release of Bourbon Barrel aged Commodore. There will also be a corn hole tournament and special Sunnyside Wheat firkins. On Sunday, Diebolt will turn on the TV for the Broncos game and serve up beer floats, mimaisons and red beers.
Longmont's annual Oktoberfest celebration returns today and tomorrow to Roosevelt Park and will feature nine Longmont breweries this year, along with ten live bands (featuring the Pimps of Joytime). The breweries are: Left Hand, Oskar Blues, Pumphouse Brewery, 300 Suns, Grossen Bart, Long’s Peak Tap House, Shoes & Brews, Skeye Brewing, and Wibby Brewing. There will also be a location parade celebrating the art and creativity of Longmont, and an attempt to grill the world's longest wiener (which will be more than 300 feet long). The all-ages celebration runs today, from 4 to 10 p.m., and tomorrow, from noon to 10 p.m. There is a suggested donation of $5.
The Thirsty Lion will host a New Belgium Tap Takeover today through September 18, featuring flights of six New Belgium beers for $10. The beers are Fat Tire, Snapshot Wheat, Trippel Belgian Ale, Pumpkick, Spiced Ale, Ranger IPA and Lips of Faith Le Terrior. And on September 18, from 3 to 5 p.m., the Thirsty Lion will have a GABF ticket raffle.
Good River Beer, which went into business this month without a taproom (all of its beer is contract-brewed for now), will host its first beer-release party, along with a Great American Beer Festival ticket raffle, at Brava! Pizzeria today. Founded by Adam Odoski, Preston Hartman and Eric Zarkovich, Good River will be serving Gunny Black Lager, a 5.5 percent-ABV traditional schwarzbier, named for the Gunnison River; Fu Fighter, an 8.9 percent-ABV Belgian golden strong ale named for the Futaleufu River in Chile; and Class V, an 8.3 percent double IPA named for Colorado’s whitewater rapids.
Saturday, September 12
Gravity Brewing in Louisville will celebrate its three-year anniversary today, starting at 1 p.m. There will be live performances by Jazz Ram and Full Belly, as well as hourly tappings of barrel-aged and small-batch beers. Those beers include Turbo Fest Imperial Oktoberfest at 1 p.m., Brett Wit at 2 p.m., and many others throughout the afternoon and evening.
The traveling Tour de Fat rolls into Denver's City Park today for New Belgium Brewing's signature bike ride, concert and party. The daylong event is free, but donations and proceeds from beer sales go to Denver-area non-profits — this year, it's BikeDenver and The Denver Cruisers. The fun ride, which covers the park and parts of northeast Denver, is typically a showcase of wild costumes. Back at the park, there will be a series of bands and other kinds of entertainment. According to the brewery, some of that includes: "co-headliners Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds – who recently performed on The Today Show – and The Suffers, a ten-piece band from Houston recently featured on the Late Show with David Letterman, who will bring the redefined sound of Gulf Coast Soul to the Mile High City. Brewing education, a bicycle revival, rideable art bikes, a 'Thousand Person Dance Contest' to win a New Belgium cruiser bike, yo-yo performers, vaudeville acts and a fashion show are also in the mix. In addition, Tour de Fat’s Le Tigre Grande variety tent ups the ante, adding more entertainment options from past years." This Tour de Fat will also mark the one hundredth time that someone has decided to swap out their car for a bike and live for one year, car-free. "Each swapper is awarded a stipend to buy his or her own commuter bike. Car-for-Bike swappers are chosen after submitting an application describing why they are ready to give up their vehicle for the gift of two wheels. This year, the Car-for-Bike swapper in Denver will be New Belgium’s 100th bicycling hero! We’d love to hear from interested swappers. Apply at - NewBelgium.com/Events/Tour-de-Fat/CarTrader," the brewery says. For times, details, bands, registration and all of the other information on Tour de Fat, go to the website.
"After laying waste to Austin and Seattle, Grampage is coming for Denver," says Grandma's House, which has the final word on all things elderly and beer-related. On the eve of Grandparents Day (Saturday, September 12), pub crawlers will meet at the brewery at 2 p.m. and then hit several neighborhood drinking spots: Bear Creek Distillery, Declaration Brewing, Fermaentra, Platt Park Brewing, and Former Future, before returning to Grandma's House. "Dressed as the crotchety old men/women we are deep down. Possibly stopping on a bench every few blocks to catch our breath. Telling any young people we encounter how we disapprove of their life choices. Some of us may see that light at the end of the tunnel. But when all is said and done, Denver will no doubt respect their elders."
The Denver Flea — a combination craft show, beer festival and party — will take over Sculpture Park today and tomorrow. It includes 150-plus vendors, a food truck row, six bars, live music, yoga, lawn games and the tapping of Fleak Out!, a collaboration beer made by the Flea and New Belgium Brewing in Fort Collins. There will also be other special New Belgium tappings. Here's the beer schedule for Saturday: Fleak out at 1 p.m.; Le Terroir at 3 p.m.; and Fleak Out again at 5 p.m. On Sunday, you'll find Fleak Out at 1 p.m., followed by NBB Love Apple Felix at 3, Wild Wild Dubbel at 5. And as always, those who RSVP in advance will get a free New Belgium beer upon arrival. For more information and details on the Flea, go to their web site.
River North Brewery will release Big City Quad, a Belgian-style Quadrupel aged in two types of whiskey cocktail barrels — Manhattan and Boulevardier — today at 1 p.m. Big City Quad will be available on draft and in bombers-to-go for $15 each, half-case limit). This beer was aged for eight months in the two kinds of barrels, then blended back together.
Golden City Brewery will host Goldenfest today at the brewery. "For more than 15 years, Golden City Brewery has been supporting the local, mostly volunteer fire department through #GoldenFest," the brewery says. "In 2001 our event was already scheduled for September 12. Gathering on that day brought home to us how truly important it is that we support our first responders in any way we can. Last year we raised over 4k for the fire fighters, and they used the money to purchases much needed equipment. They will get large donations for specific items, but not the smaller amounts with which they can use as they see fit." GCB will be selling printed pint glasses for $10, full of beer, soda, or five ounces of Golden City Winery’s Riesling or Hard Cider, and the entire $10 will go to the fire department.
The Post Brewing in Lafayette will celebrate the release of Howdy Beer and Townie Ale in cans for the first time today from 4 to 6 p.m. There will be live music, specials on food, swag and giveaways, and $1 Howdies and Townies in cans.
The second annual Lafayette Brew Fest takes place from 1 to 6 p.m. today at Lafayette Florist, 600 South Public Road. There is no entrance fee, but four-ounce pours cost $2, using tokens; the tasting cups have four-, eight-, and twelve-ounce lines so attendees can purchase the size they want. Sixteen breweries will be there: The Post Brewing Co., Front Range Brewing Company, Liquid Mechanics Brewing Company, Odd13 Brewing, Oskar Blues, Boulder Beer, Beer by Design, Shine, Crystal Springs Brewing, J. Wells, West Flanders, Elevation Beer Co., Wild Cider, Kokopelli, Oasis, and Wonderland. There will be music from Chris Daniels and the Kings and food from local restaurants and food trucks like Schnibs Pretzels, Lunada Eatery and Cantina, Suburban Wiener and Blue Parrot Restaurant. For more information, go to the event website.
Sunday, September 13
The Post Brewing will throw a party at Lola Mexican Fish House from 4 to 6 p.m. to celebrate the release of its first two canned beers, Howdy Beer and Townie Ale. There will be live music, food specials, giveaways and swag. Plus, cans of the two beers will only cost you a buck a piece.
Today's Bluegrass Brunch at Station 26 Brewing starts at 11 a.m. and includes beer, live music from Prairie Road, doughnuts from Glazed and Confuzed Doughnuts, and barbecue from Rolling Smoke BBQ. Free admission.
Avery Brewing will welcome back Rumpkin, the fifth bottled iteration of its game-changing barrel-aged pumpkin beer. Brewed with pumpkin spices and aged in fresh rum barrels, this 18 percent ABV brew is more like a fine port or brandy. Bottle sales begin at 11 a.m. Each twelve-ounce bottle costs $12; there is a one case limit per person. There will be rare beers on draft starting at 11 a.m.
Monday, September 14
Lost Highway Brewing will release its LostOberFest today at 3 p.m. The beers is a 6 percent ABV traditional-style Oktoberfest beer.
Odell Brewing in Fort Collins will release Mountain Standard Double Black IPA today in its taproom and later, on store shelves. Brewed with handpicked Colorado hops, this 9.5 percent ABV beer balances that bitterness with roasted malt character.
Wednesday, September 16
Copper Kettle will tap its traditional fresh hop beer made with hops grown by John, a brewery customer who is also Brew Club Member #9. Food Truck TBD
Lost Highway Brewing celebrates the season by tapping its Pumpkin Ale today at 3 p.m.
Douglas County Libraries have teamed up with eight different breweries for a series of events and activities, as well as a passport program called the Great Douglas County Brew Tour. For the tour, participants can download a passport from the library district's website and then at least five of the participating breweries: 3 Freaks in Highlands Ranch, Barnett & Sons in Parker, Elk Mountain in Parker, Grist in Highlands Ranch, Hall Brewing in Parker, Living the Dream in Highlands Ranch, Lone Tree Brewing in Lone Tree, and Rockyard in Castle Rock. There, they can get their passport stamped; once they have five stamps, they can bring the passport to any DCL location to receive a limited-edition Brew Tour pint glass. In addition, six of the breweries will tap a special beer made just for the library and host a beer author or event the same night. Tonight, you'll find Ed Sealover, author of Mountain Brew: Colorado’s Colorful Craft Breweries at Barnett & Son. The library brew is a Dunkel Weizen.
Thursday, September 17
The Brewtography Project will launch a Kickstarter campaign today at 4 p.m. at Baere Brewing with the goal of publishing Discovering Colorado Breweries, a coffee-table photography book dedicated to the Colorado craft brewing industry. Brewtography founder Dustin Hall will be on hand to talk about the project and to show off his excellent work capturing breweries and their environs for the past two-and-half years at locations all over Colorado. Hall's prints will be hanging throughout the brewery and available for sale. Baere will also tap a collaboration beer it made with Hall, The F/Stops Here, a stout aged in Law's Whiskey barrels. The brewery will donate $1 from the sale of each pint to the Kickstarter campaign.
Euclid Hall Bar & Kitchen is once again hosting a series of "intimate" craft-beer dinners leading up to the Great American Beer Festival in late September. Each dinner will have a menu crafted to pair with the particular brewery and a brewery expert will be on hand to discuss the beers. Each dinner begins at 7 p.m.; tickets are $55 per person and can be purchased at brownpapertickets.com. Tonight's dinner features beers from Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project in Denver.
Enjoy beer and cheese at Denver Bicycle Company today at 7 p.m. with an event featuring beers from some GABF winners. Pair five-ounce beer pours with Whole Foods cheese while discussing and learning from our cheese expert, Nate Cougill. Get tickets, $20, at Imbibe.
Friday, September 18
Bring your dirndl and lederhosen to the Copper Kettle tasting room for the brewery's annual party and tap release. They'll be releasing their Marienplatz Märzen, a traditional German festbier with rich and toasty character, starting at noon. 5280 Sliders will be on hand.
The Mighty Beer Run, described as "an interactive race that will challenge runners, walkers and crawlers to earn their beer from start to finish," takes place today in RiNo today. Beginning at Ratio Beerworks, each racer has two hours to complete the course, which includes four stops: at Ratio, Stem Ciders, Zephyr Brewing and Beryl’s Beer Company. There will be a post-race party starting at 8 p.m. back at Ratio Beerworks with food trucks Tickets range from $24-$34. Get info at www.mightybeerrun.com.
Loveland Oktoberfest returns to Grimm Brothers Brewhouse today, from 3 to 9 p.m., and tomorrow, from noon to 9 p.m. It will feature beer from seven Loveland craft breweries, including Verboten, Loveland Aleworks, Crow Hop, Big Beaver, Buckhorn, Big Thompson, and of course Grimm Brothers. There will also be food from Gunter’s Bavarian Grill, The Road Grill, Bottlecap BBQ, and Styria Bakery. Live local music will begin on Friday evening with a polka band from the CSU Music Department called Neue Polka Colorado. Saturday’s lineup will feature Denver polka band Steve Rock’s Tanzkapelle and local favorites Cable Ten and Harvestmen. "Wear your dirndl and lederhosen for the best dresses contest at 2 p.m. on Saturday and hold those steins high for the stein hoisting contest at 4:30," Grimm says. "Other games will be run by the Loveland, Big Thompson Kiwanis Club and include hammerschlagen, Loveland Mobile Mini Golf, corn hole, carpet ball, ladder ball, washer toss, and more. All money raised from playing games will go directly to Kiwanis Club.
Odell Brewing in Fort Collins will release Isolation Ale today in its taproom. This 6.1 percent ABV winter seasonal has a sweet, caramel-y note with a crisp hop finish. It will be available on store shelves through December.
Saturday, September 19
Zwanze Day returns to Denver today at Crooked Stave's original Barrel Cellar (not the location inside the Source). This is the day that Belgium's famed Cantillon brewery sends a special beer to only a few select locations around the world, who are all asked to tap it at roughly the same time. Crooked Stave is the only Denver outlet. This year's beer is a stout fermented with wild yeast. Doors will open at 10:30 a.m., with tickets sold on a first-come, first-served basis. Zwanze will be tapped at 1 p.m. and last call will be at 3 p.m. Only the first 150 people will get a pour. Tickets are $20 and include a glass of beer, a Zwanze glass and a pour of another Cantillon beer. Total attendance will be capped at 300 people, so the latecomers can get a glass and a pour of another Cantillon beer for $15.
Our Mutual Friend will thank its patrons today with Gratitude 2015, "a celebration of friendship and the beer made possible by it." All pours are $4, and there are plenty of beers on tap as well as a few new ones for sale in bottles (Gratitude 2 Blueberry Sour, 24FPS Golden Sour Ale, and American Wild Ale). The tap list includes the above three beers, as well as Bad Motorfinger Imperial Porter aged in LAWS Rye Barrel, Bad Motorfinger Imperial Porter aged in LAWS Bourbon Barrel, Bad Motorfinger Imperial Porter, Ellipsism, Strong Ale, Conjoined twins (50/50 Grady Twin Blend), Proletariat, Segale Rye Pale Ale, IPA, Cherry Gose, Colorado Pale PR3, Coffee Stout, Dad's Smoking Brown. There will also be beer and merchandise giveaways, live music from Two Tone WolfPack, Hotel Bar, & Hello Mountain, and food from Patikim Filipino food truck and more.
Lone Tree Brewing will host its fourth annual Oktoberfest today (coinciding with Munich's world-famous events). It will include a traditional Fest Halle tent with added beer stations. Activities will include beer stein racing, stein hoisting, chicken dancing, live music, assorted German fare, more food, and of course, lots and lots of beer. One of those beers will be Lone Tree's Oktoberfest. "This event is open to all ages and well-behaved dogs. A barrel tapping will take place at 11 a.m. Once the barrel has been tapped there will be plenty of glass mass’s and beer for all. Watch for event updates on the band, food and contest times on Lone Tree’s Facebook page. Parking is limited and alternate modes of transportation are encouraged," the brewery says.
First Draft, the newly-opened pay-by-the-ounce beer bar and restaurant, will hold its own Oktoberfest today and tomorrow, from 10 a.m. to close, featuring more than thirty Oktoberfest beers. "We're bringing in every Oktoberfest we can find from US craft breweries, and giving you the opportunity to taste each one and find the one you like the best," the establishment says. "We'll even have rating cards so by the end of the weekend we'll know which Oktoberfest beer Denver likes the best." The kitchen will be cooking German sausages, pretzels, and more. The beer list includes: Odell Oktoberfest, Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest, Prost Marzen, Oskar Blues Oktoberfest, Boulder Beer Dragenhosen, Lagunitas DoppelAlt, Breckenridge Autumn Ale, AC Golden Oktoberfest, Goose Island Oktoberfest, Grimm Father's Daughter, Left Hand Oktoberfest and Victory Festbier.
Locavore Beer Works in Littleton will hold is first Oktoberfest celebration today and tomorrow. The brewery will have a five-beer lineup of German-style brews: Marzen, Schwarzbier, Dortmunder, Hefeweizen and Dunkleweizen. Rocky Mountain Catering will be serving a bratwurst, a knockwurst, potato salad, braised cabbage and apple strudel for $15.
South Park Brewing in Fairplay will celebrate its first anniversary today and tomorrow with an Oktoberfest party. Tents will be set up in the parking lot in front of the building at noon both days. They will feature outdoor beer garden pouring three limited-release German-style lagers. A limited number of half-liter German steins commemorating the first anniversary will be available. German style food including beer brats, sausages and all the fixings. A DJ will be playing a variety of German style music Saturday and all day Sunday. There will be live music by the Denver based band Rock Ridge Ramblers Saturday evening. A bounce castle will be available both days for the kiddos.
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Sunday, September 20
Avery Brewing will hold a bottle release for No. 30 in its acclaimed Barrel-Aged Series. Vallum was brewed with Cabernet Franc grape must and allowed to age in Cabernet Sauvignon barrels. The wild yeast that were already living on the grape skins then fermented most of the beer, meaning this wild ale was 100 percent spontaneously fermented. Bottles on sale at 11 a.m.; $12 per bottle.
Monday, September 21 to Sunday, September 27
Please see our separate Great American Beer Festival Week Calendar.
Wednesday, September 23
Douglas County Libraries have teamed up with eight different breweries for a series of events and activities, as well as a passport program called the Great Douglas County Brew Tour. For the tour, participants can download a passport from the library district's website and then at least five of the participating breweries: 3 Freaks in Highlands Ranch, Barnett & Sons in Parker, Elk Mountain in Parker, Grist in Highlands Ranch, Hall Brewing in Parker, Living the Dream in Highlands Ranch, Lone Tree Brewing in Lone Tree, and Rockyard in Castle Rock. There, they can get their passport stamped; once they have five stamps, they can bring the passport to any DCL location to receive a limited-edition Brew Tour pint glass. In addition, six of the breweries will tap a special beer made just for the library and host a beer author or event the same night. Tonight, you'll find Randy Mosher, author of Tasting Beer, at Grist. The library brew is a Southern English Brown Ale.
Wednesday, September 30
Copper Kettle Brewing will tap its traditional German Märzen, "donned with pumpkin pie spices for a yummy pumpkin lager," the brewery says. Pavy's Food Truck out with gourmet sandwiches.
Douglas County Libraries have teamed up with eight different breweries for a series of events and activities, as well as a passport program called the Great Douglas County Brew Tour. For the tour, participants can download a passport from the library district's website and then at least five of the participating breweries: 3 Freaks in Highlands Ranch, Barnett & Sons in Parker, Elk Mountain in Parker, Grist in Highlands Ranch, Hall Brewing in Parker, Living the Dream in Highlands Ranch, Lone Tree Brewing in Lone Tree, and Rockyard in Castle Rock. There, they can get their passport stamped; once they have five stamps, they can bring the passport to any DCL location to receive a limited-edition Brew Tour pint glass. In addition, six of the breweries will tap a special beer made just for the library and host a beer author or event the same night. Tonight, you'll find Dan Rabin, author of Notes from the Tap Room at Lone Tree Brewing. The library brew is a Pumpkin Ale.