Beer Calendar: Two New Breweries, Sesh Fest and Great Divide's Barrel Bar

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Craft Beer. It's just a fad. Or maybe not. Earlier this week, the Boulder-based Brewers Association reported that American craft breweries sold 12.2 million barrels of beer during the first half of 2015, up from 10.6 million barrels during the same period last year. In addition, as of June 30, there were 3,739 operating breweries in the United States, a whopping 699 more than there were on the same date in 2014. Together, they employ an estimated 115,469 full-time and part-time workers. And there are another 1,755 breweries in the planning stages.

“Industry growth is occurring in all regions and stemming from a mix of sources, including various retail settings and a variety of unique brewery business models,” said BA economist Bart Watson in a statement. “The continued growth of small and independent brewers illustrates that additional market opportunities and demand are prevalent, although competition in the sector is certainly growing and the need for brewers to differentiate and produce world-class, high-quality beer is more important than ever.” 

Wednesday, July 29
Launch Pad Brewery in Aurora officially opened its doors last Friday with a cream ale, lavender lemon saison, pale ale, American wheat, Belgium golden strong, imperial stout and a double IPA on tap. Owners David Levesque and Henry Rusch chose the launchpad theme because they are located near Buckley Air Force Base. You can check the place out today and tomorrow starting at 3 p.m.; on Friday at noon; and on Saturday and Sunday at 11 a.m.

Saison Month wraps up today at Copper Kettle Brewing, which will tap a firkin or Cucumber Saison at 3 p.m. The Cluck Truck will be on hand with food at 4 p.m.

Factotum Brewhouse guest brewers Joe and Toni brewed Storm Trooper Session Ale, a "delightful and simple beer with an abundance of Galaxy hops," which will be served today at 6 p.m., when you can meet the brewers. The Tony Guacamole Food Truck will be on hand.

Thursday, July 30
As part of Brews for a Cure, Factotum Brewhouse will donate 40 percent of every full pour of beer sold from 4 to 10 p.m. today to support the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Light the Night Walk fundraiser; there's a $5 suggested donation at the door. There will be live music, silent auction items and food from 5280 Sliders and Sugar Crystal's. Currently on tap at Factotum: an Irish Dry Stout, Black IPA, Irish Red Ale, two American IPAs, Biere de Garde and a Session Ale.

Elevation Beer Company will take over the taps at Barrels & Bottles in Golden today at 5 p.m. Elevation will have thirteen taps with the following beers: 2014 False Summit, 2014 Fanboy, 2014 Wildflowers, 2014 Senorita, 2014 Arête, 2015 Raspberry Gulch, 2015 Signal de Botrange, 2015 Fanboy, 2015 Third Base, 8 Second Kolsch, First Cast IPA, 7437 Double IPA, Little Mo Porter, Apis IV.

Friday, July 31
The Great Divide Barrel Bar will host a grand opening today at noon, ushering in the next phase of the 21-year-old brewery's growth. The taproom, located on a corner of Great Divide's massive new warehouse and packaging facility in RiNo, has sixteen taps — the same number as the brewery's existing taproom on Arapahoe — and room for about forty people inside and a hundred on the patio. The grand opening will feature tours of the new canning line and limited offerings of some specialty and barrel-aged beers. The new facility is set on five acres along the South Platte River that Great Divide bought two years ago, and "right next to what will soon be a new City of Denver park, with picturesque views of the Rocky Mountains and the Denver cityscape," the brewery says. "The first phase of the brewery’s expansion is a 65,000 square=foot building which includes the Barrel Bar, a new packaging facility with a state-of-the-art KHS canning line, warehouse space, and room to store 1,500 barrels between the barrel aging room and a negatively pressurized sour room. The second phase is anticipated to commence early in 2016 and will include a new brewery, a larger taproom, a beer garden, and restaurant." The Barrel Bar will be open Sunday through Tuesday, from noon to 8 p.m., and Wednesday-Saturday, from noon to 10 p.m. Free tours will be offered daily on the hour from 3 to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and and Saturdays and Sundays from 2 to 6 p.m. No reservations required.

Blue Moon Brewing will celebrate its twentieth anniversary and the lunar blue moon tonight with a multi-event party starting at 6 p.m. The main part is a series of rooftop concerts at four LoDo locations: Jackson's (1520 20th Street), Lodo’s (1946 Market Street), Hayter’s & Co. (1920 Blake Street) and Sports Column (1930 Blake Street). Then, at 7:30 p.m., doors open to The Sandlot (2161 Blake), inside Coors Field, where Big Data and special guest Robert DeLong will take the stage at 8:30. There, fans can enjoy Blue Moon's top brews alongside food pairings. Tokens earned at the four rooftop concert events will be redeemable for exclusive samples of Blue Moon's 20th Anniversary Ale. To attend, you need to RSVP to one of the parties at Eventbrite.

Elk Mountain Brewing in Parker will celebrate its fifth anniversary today at noon and through the weekend. It's hosting a crawfish boil and having a jambalaya cook off; No 9 Coal Band will also perform.

Odell Brewing will celebrate the release of its newest Cellar Series brew, Piña Agria — a sour ale brewed with pineapple — today through Sunday in its Fort Collins taproom. Guests can enjoy samples of the brew, local food truck pairings, and live music by Keys and D’s on Sunday. Beginning in August, the beer will be available on store shelves. The recipe for Pina Agria "was inspired by Odell Brewing’s Maintenance Manager and home brewer, Matt Bailey, and his admiration for the balance of tart citrus and fruity sweetness pineapple contributes to food and beverage recipes," the brewery says. "Bailey’s brainchild evolved into a small, five barrel batch on the brewery’s pilot system and eventually a full Cellar Series release. Brewed with pineapple juice, Piña Agria is also fermented with the yeast and cultures Bailey hand selected from his favorite Friek barrel. The final brew is tart, slightly funky, and full of bright pineapple character."

Saturday, August 1
The second annual Sesh Fest, featuring beers that weigh in at 5 percent alcohol by volume or less, will take place from noon to 4 p.m. today at Sculpture Park. Hosted by Imbibe Events and the Colorado Brewers Guild, the event is a fundraiser for the Guild, which represents most of Colorado's breweries. Why have a low-alcohol-beer fest? "Coloradans are known for being outdoorsy. One favorite summer activity is day-drinking outside in a park, on top of a 14er or on the river," the Guild says. "When planning to drink for several hours, one wants to enjoy something light, refreshing and full of flavor." Tickets are $25 and on sale now at www.seshfest.com, where you can also find the list of participating breweries.

River North Brewery will release a new barrel-aged version of its Quadruple today at 1 p.m. Quad XO is an Abbey-style quadrupel aged in Chardonnay barrels for a year and a half. The beer will be on tap and available in bottles to go; only 135 cases were bottled. Bombers will cost $15 with a half-case limit at the release.

Join Alpine Dog Brewing, Mockery Brewing and Renegade Brewing for their Inaugural Summer Brew Crawl. Start at Mockery Brewing at 2 p.m. and then bike to Alpine Dog for a few rounds. Then pedal to Renegade to enjoy their new patio. Participation is free.

Deep Draft Brewing has held two Sunday soft openings so far and will open officially at noon today. The new brewery has a Belgian golden, a pale ale, an amber and a hefeweizen available. 

The Basic Kneads food truck, which was one of the first to begin serving breweries five years ago, will celebrate its fifth anniversary today outside Station 26 Brewing, which will release a special beer. Bring your swimsuit, because there will be water balloon tosses, abartender/pizza chef dunk tank, a cornhole tournament and live music. All four Basic Kneads ovens will be on hand.

Sunday, August 2
The Post Brewing Company will host Jack’s Benevolent Bash from 1 to 4 p.m. today at the Koenig Center at the University of Colorado in Boulder. The event benefits the Autism Society of Boulder County and the Jack Ferrigno Send a Kid to Camp Grant, which was created by Post chef Brett Smith, "in honor of his dear friend John Ferrigno's son Jack, who had autism and passed away due to a seizure disorder when he was only eight years old," according to the Post. Over the last three years, the organization has raised $75,000 "to send more than 150 developmentally challenged kids to fun, confidence-building summer camps." Tickets cost $100 per person at www.autismboulder.org and include beers from the Post, Avery, Wonderland, Odd 13, Liquid Mechanics, BRU and Industrial Revolution, and food from a variety of big-name local chefs, including Hosea Rosenberg of Blackbelly Market, Ian Clark of BRU and many others. There will be live music from the Adam Bodine Trio. Radio personality Bret Saunders will emcee, and there will be a raffle. 

Thursday, August 6
No, it's not pumpkin season. It's not even close. Still, Dry Dock Brewing will will debut the 2015 version of Imperial Pumpkin Ale at noon today in the Canoe Room at North Dock in Aurora. The beer will be available in bombers and on draft.

Friday, August 7
The Bull & Bush will celebrate its 44th anniversary, as it always does, with music from the Samples at 9 p.m. and lots and lots of beer. Tickets are $19.71 (the year the Bull & Bush was founded) and are available at bullandbush.com.

Jensen Cummings (formerly of TAG, Row 14 and Slotted Spoon) was one of the first chefs in Denver to become both a sommelier and a Cicerone (the beer world's equivalent). Now he's started a new project along with a collective of chefs and brewers called Brewed Food and will hold a series of beer and food pairings at brewery taprooms over August and September, typically pairing one dish with two styles of beers. The first takes place from 4 to 7 p.m. tonight at Crooked Stave. It includes Char Siu Hampshire Pork Belly / Saison yeast won bok, barrel aged hoisin BBQ with Vieille Artisanal Saison and HopSavant Amarillo. It costs $8.

Copper Kettle will tap Bourbon Barrel Aged Berlinerweisse today at noon. "This tart, refreshing German wheat has been aged in bourbon barrels for a couple months, and has notes vanilla, coconut, and lemon," the brewery says. Tony Guacamole Food Truck will be on hand.

Colorado is famous for a lot of things, but startup companies and craft beer are at the top of the list. Bootstrapped Brews, which takes place today from 5 to 9 p.m. at the McNichols Civic Center Building, combines the two Twenty-one startups will brew 36 beers for this event and donate all the proceeds to charity. "Bootstrapped Brews was created by a group of Denver startups to provide a communal event celebrating ingenuity, great brews and to support charitable causes," the organization says. "This year, Bootstrapped Brews is proud to support Promise Ranch and the amazing work they do to empower Colorado children with physical, intellectual and developmental disabilities." To register, go to bootstrappedbrews.com/register.

Saturday, August 8
Denver Beer Co will mark four freakin' years today with a birthday party from 2 to 10 p.m. The Freakin' Four Years event is a block party with a full lineup of music, food trucks and beer.

Avery Brewing will celebrate its 22nd anniversary today with a giant bash from 4 to 8 p.m. Since it's the first anniversary party in the brewery's new digs, Avery founder Adam Avery "is digging deep into his cellar and is pulling out rare and vintage beers to share," the brewery says. Tickets are $40 and include six brews, a commemorative glass and live tunes. Each drink ticket is good for a twelve-ounce pour of beers that are less than 8 percent ABV or an eight-ounce pours of beers 8-12 percent ABV, or a four-ounce pour of beer that are 12 percent or higher or aged in barrels. There will be barbecue available.

Sunday, August 9
Euclid Hall Bar & Kitchen celebrates its fifth anniversary today with a special five-course meal paired with beer and whiskey from to rising stars in Denver's booze world: TRVE Brewing and A.D. Laws Whiskey House. Euclid Chef Jake Grant prepared the menu with includes 
beef, chicken and duck liver preparations with pickled, grilled and fried onions paired with Laws Four Grain Straight Bourbon; grilled peaches paired with TRVE Black Cascade; and Buffalo Tongue French Dip, herbed aioli, shaved tongue, pâte choux paired with TRVE Grey Watcher. The dinner starts at 4 p.m. and costs $75 per person. For reservations and details, go to brownpapertickets.com.

Saturday, August 15
Cannonball Creek Brewing in Golden and Call to Arms Brewing, which just opened last week, have brewed the second beer in their Peace & Assist collaborative project, this time in conjunction with Bery's Beer Company in Denver, which will host a tapping party beginning at noon today. The series is a cheeky play on the cease-and-desist letters that have become commonplace in the past few years in the craft-brewing industry concerning beer names and trademarks. In addition to Peace & Assist Collaboration Brew No. 2, Beryl's will tap several other special beers throughout the day. There will also be food trucks, live music and outdoor games.

Friday, August 21
The Cook Street School of Culinary Arts hosts will host its $99 Bites N' Brews class at Alpine Dog Brewing today from 6 to 9:30 p.m. "The Cook Street chefs believe beer is just as delicious as wine in cooking and they guide students through a menu catered directly to a selection of craft beers. A complete meal with beer is included with each class," the class description reads. Sign up in advance.

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.

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

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