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

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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 nightout.com, 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.

Saturday, December 10
River North Brewery will debut a new series of huge beers today that are designed to be aged up to ten years. Appropriately named the Decennial series, it is the brewery's most ambitious project to date. Sold only out of the taproom, the beers are all above 15 percent ABV.  They are God Complex Quadrupel, Shadowman Imperial Stout and Father Time Old Ale. All three will be on tap and in bottles to go: $12 each, limit six per beer per person. "Reserve a bottle and taster of each by purchasing an advance ticket. Please note you do not need a ticket to attend the event and enjoy beers," the brewery says.

Our Mutual Friend will celebrate its fourth anniversary today with a party and the release of several bottles: Year Four Golden Brett Ale Aged on Damson Plums; Sahti Collaboration with the Populist; 2016 American Wild Ale; Thanatoid BA Russian Imperial Stout; and 24FPS Golden Sour. A portion of sales will be donated to LYRIC : Learn Your Rights in Colorado.

Ratio Beerworks will wave its wand and bring back Genius Wizard Russian Imperial Stout and barrel-aged Genius Wizard today at noon. "This big bad Russian Imperial Stout will warm your bones, conjuring rich chocolate rye and molasses notes, while rounding out with a smooth viscous, roasty finish," the brewery says. "One of the first beers brewed at Ratio and now the centerpiece of our winter seasonal lineup, Genius Wizard brandishes its might, weighing in at a bold 11.5 percent." The barrel-aged version, meanwhile, has been aging for eleven months in bourbon barrels; it will be available in 375ml bottles for $12. You can get a special package deal, which includes two bottles of BA Genius Wizard, a ten-ounce pour of 2016 Genius Wizard and a commemorative glass for $30.

Station 26 Brewing will celebrate its third anniversary today with live music, food and special tappings. There will be special firkins at 1, 2 and 3 p.m., along with a Bourbon Barrel Aged BarleyWayne tapping at 4 p.m., and a Bourbon Barrel Aged Dark Star Imperial Stout tapping at 5. The brewery will also release bottles of its Third Birthday Beer, a triple IPA brewed with Belgian candi sugar and hopped with Zeus, Cascade, Amarillo, Simcoe and Citra. There will be live music from Boogie Mammoth at 7:30 p.m. and wood-fired pizzas from Basic Kneads Pizza all day.

Black Project Spontaneous & Wild Ales will release two special beers today. The first is Oxcart: "Three years in the making, Oxcart is our first 100 percent spontaneous/coolshipped blend of 1-, 2-, and 3-year old barrel-aged beer," the brewery says. "Similar in method and in the style of the great, traditional Gueuze of Belgium. Notes of hay and stonefruit, with complex layers of funk. Some sweetness carries through each sip along with pleasant yet assertive acidity, ending with a dryness on the back of the palate. This beer is expected to age for many years, but is ready to drink now. Complexity will only continue to develop with time in the bottle." Bottles are $30, with a limit of three. The second beer is Peach Rye Whiskey Dreamland, which was recently named one of the best beers in American by Draft magazine. "This time, using 100 percent whole fruit from Palisade — fifty pounds per barrel of perfectly ripe Cresthaven peaches from our family-owned orchard were added directly to the beer, allowing a secondary fermentation inside of a wet Laws Whiskey House Secale Rye Barrel. Intense peach on the nose with a soft, round mouthfeel and beautiful acidity." Bottles are $26, with a limit of one per person. Adelitas Cocina y Cantina will be on site serving breakfast tacos, and there will be Corvus Coffee to keep you warm.

Odd 13 Brewing in Lafayette will release cans of Codename: Holidayfan Triple IPA today, in the taproom only.

Lone Tree Brewing's fifth-anniversary celebration culminates with the Fifth Anniversary Soiree at 4 p.m. Jessie’s Smokin’ Nola will be on-site serving lunch, dinner and passed appetizers. The official anniversary brew, Toasted Coconut Brown Ale, will tap at 4 p.m., along with a Tequila Barrel-Aged Hop Tree IIPA, Coffee IPA and Chocolate Peanut Butter Porter.

Tuesday, December 13
Yak & Yeti Restaurant and Brewery in Arvada will host the first of a new series of beer dinners today at 7 p.m. The Thali Beer Dinner is a five-course "beer and food experience," the brewery and restaurant says. "Thali is a style of Nepalese food, sort of like tapas, with many different small plates and a range of flavors designed to hit every sense of your taste." You also get to keep the glass, chat with brewmaster Jeff Tyler
and hear explanations of each course and beer pairing.

Friday, December 16
The Star Wars lovers at Wit's End Brewing will bring back their Star Wars-themed beers today at 2 p.m. in honor of the latest movie in the space opera, Rogue One, which comes out today — and there will be a few dedicated to the various sequels and spinoffs. They include Kylo Red Ale; Luke Ryewalker, a farmhouse-style rye saison; the First Porter, an English-style robust porter; and Rogue Quadron, a Belgian-Style quad. The brewery will be handing out a few prizes for the best costumes or even for fans "rocking a sweet T-shirt." And Tacos El Huequito Family Food Truck will be on hand.

Saturday, December 17
The fifth annual Denver Beer Festivus takes place today from 4 to 7 p.m. at Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum and features beers made only by breweries within Denver's city limits. There will be 55 of them this year, new and old, large and small, independent and corporate-owned. "This special holiday-timed beer fest is the pinnacle celebration of Denver’s amazing growing craft-beer scene and the culture that comes with it," says Two Parts, which hosts the festival. "We start by asking every single brewery in Denver’s city limits to attend. Then we drizzle on some light references to the Seinfeld-created holiday by encouraging attendees to air their grievances, participate in Feats of Strength and pay some respect to the Festivus pole. At the end of it all, this is just a big party designed to get Denver to raise a glass to the brewers and the beer they create." Tickets are $40, or $60 for VIP.

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