Beer Man

Beer Calendar: Ugly Sweaters, a Parade of Darks and Two New Breweries to Explore

A Boulder-based company making liquid cacao has scored some sweet deals recently with craft brewers around Colorado and in other states, too. Cholaca mixes up its own beverages from the organic cacao, coconut sugar and water, but the product also works well for breweries making chocolate beers. Breweries that have used it include Fate Brewing, Fort Collins Brewery, Zwei Brewing, Big Choice Brewing, Copper Kettle, Coopersmiths Pub & Brewing, Crazy Mountain, Shine Brewing and Oskar Blues, which added the cacao to its fantastic Death by Coconut cans this year.

The most recent brewery to incorporate Cholaca is Anheuser Busch InBev-owned Breckenridge Brewery in Littleton, which just released its second Nitro Series seasonal, Nitro Chocolate Orange Stout. Made with orange zest, Mandarina Bavaria hops and Cholaca, the 6 percent ABV beer is sold in four-packs. Breckenridge will host a Nitro Chocolate Orange Stout celebration from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday, December 10, with samples of the beer, culinary pairings and live music.

Wednesday, November 30
November has been Candy Cask Month at Copper Kettle Brewing, with each cask of beer coming with a sweet side of candy. "This week's Coconut Chocolate Porter is a dark, malty beer with chocolate and coconut characters," the brewery says of the final brew.

The 52nd One Keg Wednesday at Black Shirt Brewing "features version two of our popular Pearoir Porter — a pear-infused version of our Fourtrack Porter," the brewery says. "This particular version is made with pear water, allspice, star anise and juniper berries. It's fitting that we welcome the cold weather to Denver this week with a beer meant to comfort, soothe and warm you up."

Thursday, December 1
Cheluna Brewing, located inside the Stanley Marketplace, will host a soft opening at 5 p.m. today with five beers on tap. The La Loteria food truck will be outside the south entrance, and there will be live music.

"In the beer world, Russian imperial stouts are the pinnacle of craft, pushing equipment to its limits and forging a truly remarkable result. Salyut is our embodiment of that mission," says Odyssey Beerwerks, which will release Salyut, an 11 percent barrel-aged Russian imperial stout, today at 3 p.m. "We start in small batches with a layered and complex foundation of crystal and roasted malts balanced with a robust hopping schedule. We then fill spirit barrels from local distillers with this dark, silky liquid to draw out complimentary flavors and aromas. The result is Salyut, a beer brimming with distinct aromas of vanilla, tobacco and dried dark fruit held together by flavors of bitter dark chocolate, raisin and rich malt." Named for the Soviet Union's space program, the beer will be sold in three versions. Very limited quantities of Laws and Breckenridge bourbon barrel-aged Salyut will available in both 22-ounce bombers (at several liquor stores) and on draft. Additionally, several cases of a brandy barrel-aged version will be available only at the Odyssey Beerwerks taproom in Arvada.

Friday, December 2
It's time for the 2016 release of Wit's End Brewing's most popular seasonal, Ugly Sweater, a Belgian-style brown ale brewed with roasted pumpkin seeds, palm sugar "and world peace," the brewery says. Wit's End will tap the beer at 2 p.m. today and hold an Ugly Sweater party all afternoon; the winner will be selected at 7 p.m. In addition, Kelly from Honeycombe Custom Cakes & French Macaroons will be on hand for a holiday cookie and beer pairing.

Cerebral Brewing will tap its newest beer, Lens Flare, today at noon. The 6.1 percent ABV hoppy saison was brewed with wheat and rye, and then hopped with Simcoe, Southern Cross and Cascade. It has notes of lemon zest, soft pine and lingering resin, Cerebral says. The brewery will also re-release Strange Claw, an IPA made with Columbus and Citra hops. Burgerchief will be on hand with food.

Comrade Brewing will tap a new beer today called Resinator Pale Ale; the beer was brewed with "a light malt base of American pilsner and wheat malt" and "hopped with supercritical CO2 extracted Mosaic hop resin and dry-hopped with Mosaic and Amarillo," according to the brewery.

Kettle & Spoke Brewery, located at 2500 47th Street, Unit 12, in Boulder, will open its doors for the first time today at 5 p.m. People who ride their bikes get $1 off their first beer. The brewery will have limited hours to start with on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Saturday, December 3
"Ditch your neighbor’s ugly sweater party and check your holiday cheer at the door," says Bierstadt Lagerhaus, which is hosting the inaugural HO HO HO Slapdown today from noon to 4 p.m. in the attached Rackhouse Pub. Five Denver breweries — Bierstadt, Hogshead, Comrade, Little Machine and Barrels & Bottles — will go "toe-to-toe with exclusive seasonal beers that would smack even Santa right in the mouth," and you get to vote for the winner. Tickets, available at the door or in advance at, are $20, which gets you a five-ounce sample of each beer and the authority to cast your vote.

Zephyr Brewing will celebrate its second anniversary today starting at 1 p.m. There will be food from the Little Curry Shop next door, live music, giveaways and special tappings, including Black IPA at 1 p.m., Imperial Brown at 2, Peanut Butter Porter at 3, Pumpkin Ale at 4, and DCR at 5.

The Parade of Darks, a beer-focused holiday season fundraiser for Denver’s Metro Caring — is returning after a brief hiatus. Originally hosted by Wynkoop Brewing, the Parade of Darks is now organized by local beer guru Marty Jones and Metro Caring, a hunger-prevention organization. It will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. in the Turnhalle Room in the Tivoli Student Union building on the Auraria campus. The fest features more than fifty "holiday-minded and winter seasonal beers in the amber-to-opaque color categories," Jones says. The event will also feature gourmet chocolates and a silent auction. Tickets are $45 in advance and come with a commemorative one-ounce tasting glass and $30 in perks to Chipotle and Pizzeria Locale.

Thursday, December 8
Lone Tree Brewing will celebrate its fifth anniversary with a three-day party beginning today. There will be LTBC-themed trivia starting at 6 p.m., and the brewery will tap Imperial Peach IPA.

Jake's Brew Bar in Littleton will host an epic tap takeover with Seattle's Fremont Brewing today at 4 p.m. It will be tapping Bourbon Barrel Aged Dark Star; Bourbon Barrel Aged Dark Star-Coffee Edition; Bourbon Barrel Aged Dark Star-Spice Wars; and Coffee Cinnamon B-Bomb. And for hops fans, it will have Cowiche Canyon, Brother DIPA, Session Pale and Interurban IPA. There will also be some Fremont shwag and goodies.

Friday, December 9
Lone Tree Brewing continues its five-year anniversary celebration with a special tour from 5 to 7 p.m. today, during which brewery staff will discuss LTBC's beginnings, how the company has grown in the last five years, and what’s on the horizon. Lone Tree will tap its Patagonia Pale Winter Ale.

Keep reading for more beery events.

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Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes