The Boulder-based Brewers Association fired a new volley Tuesday in the escalating war between independent craft breweries and corporate mega breweries by unveiling a new seal that breweries can add to the labels on their bottles and cans in order to distinguish themselves. The seal, which reads "Brewers Association Certified Independent Craft," was created as a way to educate beer lovers about which beers are independently produced, the not-for-profit trade group says.
"Independence is a hallmark of the craft brewing industry, and it matters to the brewers who make the beer and the beer lovers who drink it," the BA writes. "A recent study commissioned by Brewbound and conducted by Nielsen found that 'independent' and 'independently owned' strongly resonated with the majority (81 percent) of craft beer drinkers. Increasingly, they are looking for differentiation between what’s being produced by small and independent craft brewers versus Big Beer and acquired brands.
"Beer drinkers, especially Millennials, expect transparency when it comes to their food and beverages. That transparency and underlying ownership can drive their purchase intent," the BA continues.
Any of the nation's 5,300 small and independent American craft brewers — as designated by the BA — can used the seal for free if they sign a license agreement, regardless of whether or not they belong to the organization.
Reaction by breweries online was mostly supportive of the idea, though some questioned the need for the seal and pointed out that many small breweries won't be able to afford to redesign their labels.
Now, here are best craft-beer events and tappings through July 10.
Wednesday, June 28
In honor of Tau Day, Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project is releasing a collaboration beer brewed with Hawkshead Brewery. Key Lime Tau is a golden ale aged in oak with fresh lime peel, lemongrass and lactose. "Tau is the symbol for a mathematical constant superior to 2*Pi. Key Lime Tau is the key lime pie-inspired ale brewed on each side of the Atlantic in collaboration with Hawkshead Brewing in the UK," Crooked Stave says. It will be available on draft and in 375 ml bottles beginning at 5 p.m.
Black Project Wild & Spontaneous Ales will tap Radio Flash at 4 p.m. The mixed-culture saison "starts with isolated microbes from our spontaneous solera using a method to inhibit souring bacteria, allowing the coolship captured yeast that has matured in the solera for over three years, to produce unique aromas and flavors," Black Project says. "Although it's not sour, the solera yeast creates an amazingly complex and nuanced profile that is light, refreshing, and incredibly expressive with notes of hay, lemon, and pepper."
Copper Kettle Brewing will tap a firkin of Kriek on a Leash, which was brewed with corn and tart cherry purée, at 2 p.m. The Mama Said Eat food truck will be in the house.
Stir Cooking School hosts a Cooking With Beer workshop at 6:30 p.m., when students will learn how to incorporate "beer's delicious flavor into dishes that can be made at home, from appetizers to dessert and everything in between," the school says. The menu includes Great Divide beer cheese soup; beer-battered onion rings with homemade tartar sauce; beer-marinated baby back ribs with beer BBQ sauce; German-style fried potatoes and dark-chocolate stout cupcakes with buttercream frosting. The class is $75 per person and can be paid for online at Stir's website. And because the cooking school serves liquor, you'll be able to enjoy beers while you cook.
Thursday, June 29
The Crafty Fox will host a small tap takeover by Arizona Wilderness at 5 p.m. The stellar Phoenix-area brewery doesn't really distribute in Denver yet, but it looks like they are feeling their way around. Beers on tap today will include Coffee Gose, Big Guy Rye, Olive Blossom Saison, and Bear Wallow Berliner Weiss.
Highland Tap & Burger will welcome Westbound & Down Brewing from Idaho Springs for the tapping of a new beer, Milo’s Mosaic SMaSH (single malt, single hop), a 5 percent ABV pale ale made with Maris Otter malt and Mosaic hops. Milo is "a simple, sharp, clean-drinking summer ale with a punchy mosaic hop aroma," says the brewery, adding that the beer was brewed in memory of Milo, a dog owned by a friend of the brewers. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the beer will be donated to the CSU Flint Animal Cancer Care Center, which took care of Milo.
In celebration of fifteen years of the original craft beer in a can, Oskar Blues is launching new sixteen-ounce Dale’s Pale Ale cans exclusively to bars and restaurants – "an homage to our core belief that a keg is a can, is a keg, is a can, is a keg," the brewery says. Stoney's Bar & Grill hosts a kick-off party for the can launch from 6 to 10 p.m. with free tattoos, games, giveaways and music. The series of three trippy-looking cans were designed by avant-garde illustrator McBess (mcbess.com). They represent the outdoors, music and craft beer.
Friday, June 30
Ursula Brewery is finally releasing Lazy Brewer, its "lazily brewed" hazy, New England-style IPA again. The beer will be available in 22-ounce bombers ($10 each with a limit of four per person) and on draft. Ursula brewed this beer last year as a way to poke fun at the recent conflicts between breweries and beer fans who don't like hazy IPAs and those who do. "She's hazy, juicy, fluffy, and all the other buzzwords haters hate," Ursula says.
Copper Kettle will also get hazy, tapping its latest take on a New England-style IPA. This one "features the bright and aromatic Azzaca hop for a spicy, critusy kick," Copper Kettle says.
Strange Craft Beer brings back its quenching Watermelon Hefe, a German-style wheat beer, made with 660 pounds of organic hand-cut watermelon, on tap and in bottles. "Bright and crisp, this easy-drinking wheat brew is perfect for a hot summer day," the brewery says, adding that it is like "a watermelon in a glass."
Extra extra, read all about it! Weldwerks Brewing in Greeley will start selling crowlers of its new Extra Extra Juicy Bits, a double dry-hopped, Double IPA version of Juicy Bits, at noon. Brewed with more than ten pounds of Citra, Mosaic, and El Dorado hops per barrel and weighing in at 8.4 percent ABV, Extra Extra is the brewery's "most ambitious hoppy beer yet. With notes of tangerine, pineapple, passion fruit, mango, peach, and grapefruit, Extra Extra Juicy Bits is bursting with so much fruit juice character that it makes you question whether or not actual fruit was added." Crowlers are $16 each and extremely limited.
Saturday, July 1
Locavore Beer Works in Littleton brings back its annual Freedom Fest from 11 a.m to 11 p.m. The party will be bumping with live music all day long (see the brewery's Facebook page for details), food from Robert's Italian Restaurant, giveaways, swag and, of course, beer. In particular, Locavore will use the occasion to tap its summer favorite, Jolly Farmer, a watermelon wheat ale brewed with 200 pounds of watermelon in each batch. In addition, Locavore will unveil another new beer just for the event: Beezy Does It is a "braggot" beer, putting it in the mead family with other beverages made with half honey and half malt. "Ours is modeled after a pilsner — light, flavorful and refreshing," the brewery says. "One hundred and sixty pounds of orange blossom honey from Clark’s Apiary in Longmont gives this a great floral nose with sweet grain and hints of citrus."
Great Divide Brewing and WeldWerks Brewing worked together to brew All the Buzzwords, a "kettle-soured session New England-Style IPA" that, yes, contains many of craft brewing's latest buzzworthy beer styles, all in one collaboration. The beer "opens with a tart aroma that gives way to a large fruity hop presence that includes bright notes of citrus, peaches, and guava," Great Divide says. "Pouring a hazy golden hue, the tartness shares the spotlight with the hops in this approachable kettle sour." The 4.5 percent ABV beer is available at both Great Divide locations, in the Ballpark neighborhood and River North.
Ratio Beerworks takes over the taps at Ace Eat Serve from 6 to 9 p.m. for a "pop-up punk ping pong-palooza. Beers on tap will include: Domestica American Standard Ale; Dear You Citra French Saison; Rented World Session IPA; Repeater Extra Pale Ale; and New Wave Strawberry Berliner Weisse. There will be a set of ping pong tables reserved for the event and punk music playing from the Ramones, the Clash and more.
Epic Brewing is planning to can its CitraLush New England-Style IPA sometime soon, but in the meantime, the brewery is releasing bomber bottles of the beer starting at noon in the taproom.
Alpine Dog Brewing is releasing a limited run of Blueberry Blonde Ale to celebrate the Red, White and Blue(berry). It will go on tap at 3 p.m. with the brewery opens.
Independence Day will rock at Declaration Brewing, which kicks things off Saturday with three hot dog eating contests (starting at 5 p.m.), live music from Rob Wivchar from 4 to 6 p.m., a comedy show and a beer release.
Head to Lafayette for Odd13 Brewing's latest taproom-only can release at noon. This time around, it's Lupulin Amnesiac, a "zero IPU" double IPA, meaning that no hops were added to the kettle during brewing — only afterward during the dry-hop. "We piled in crazy amounts of Galaxy and Denali during active fermentation and in the dry hop to create huge passionfruit, pineapple and peach flavors and aromas," the brewery says. Four-packs of the beer cost $11 each, with a limit of two cases per person, and there likely be a line.
The West End Tavern in Boulder will once again feature IPAs all month with its annual Jul-IPA Festival. There will be special tappings, beer specials, an ongoing silent auction and prizes, as well as mini-satellite taprooms every Tuesday and Thursday night at 6 p.m. with breweries like Denver Beer Co., Crooked Stave, Crazy Mountain, Sanitas Brewing, Elevation Beer Company, Epic Brewing, Telluride Brewing and Avery.
105 West Brewing in Castle Rock is tapping a new IPA every Monday and Wednesday throughout the month of July, starting at noon today with a session IPA. Each one will stay on until it's gone, but some will last longer than others, so if you want to try a specific beer, get there on the day of to be sure. Here's the tapping schedule after today: July 3 is Full Metal Jacket (Glazed Donuts) IIPA; July 5 is Raspberry Full Metal Jacket IIPA; July 10 is White IPA; July 12 is Blueberry Full Metal Jacket IIPA; July 17 is Coffee Hopped and Loaded IPA; July 19 is Jelly the Elder IIPA; July 24 is Denali IPA; July 26 is Grapefruit Rocky Juice NE IPA; July 31 is Every IPA we Have Left. In addition, 105 West will have three other IPAs — Hopped and Loaded IPA, Rocky Mountain Juice NE IPA, and Black IPA — on tap all month.
Monday, July 3
Freshcraft is celebrating Independence Day on July 3 since it will be closed on the Fourth. The craft beer-centered restaurant will tap a keg of WeldWerks Brewing's Juicy Bits at 11 a.m. and will have burgers, dogs and Independence Day specials on some drinks and beers.
Tuesday, July 4
Sure, it was invented by the British (sort of) on their way to India, but the IPA is the most American of beers. So, join U-Turn BBQ in Lafayette, which will debut its third beer, a session IPA. Until now, the drive-thru barbecue joint and brewery had kept things very simple, with just a dark beer and a light beer. But they've not added a third beer, which they promise will also be light and refreshing. Your first beer is free all day.
Since battle berries (also called Aronia berries) "are a super food" with 400 percent more antioxidants than blueberries, Grimm Brothers Brewhouse in Loveland will tap Battle Berry Wheat to help runners in the Loveland Liberty 5K replenish their nutrients "and quench their thirst all in one healthy fermentation." The tart nature of the Aronia berry "plays well with the soft subtle notes of wheat, leaving a lingering tart-bitterness on the palate that craves another sip," the brewery says. "We tripled the production this year and put it into cans so that you can enjoy this nutrient-rich beer wherever your Colorado adventures may take you."
Gunbarrel Brewing, which just opened two weeks ago in Boulder, will host a Fourth of July party featuring Texas-style barbecue from Pepperbelly Barbecue, beer-garden games like corn hole and plenty of beer.
Thursday, July 6
Join Black Shirt Brewing at 6 p.m. when it taps a rare collaboration firkin. Dyadic Rational ESB, which was three years in the making, was put together with Elevation Beer Company in Poncha Springs. You can also catch a free show in the beer garden from Elk Tongue, a “psychedelic desert rock" band.
Friday, July 7
Freshcraft will tap another First Firkin Friday cask from Station 26 Brewing at 5:30 p.m. This time around, it's a lightly tart, 4.1 percent ABV gose brewed with pink Himalayan sea salt and fermented on watermelon puree. "The cask received a healthy addition of fresh English cucumbers and chopped mint leaves, brightening an already vibrant and refreshing beer. Last time, Freshcraft kicked the firkin within an hour.
Join Ratio Beerworks for the return of Major Nights Lime Gose, a summer seasonal that "blends tart, savory, acidic flavors into one beautiful easy drinking summer classic," the brewery says. Major Nights Lime Gose, which was originally called The Knew Schmew, was a collaboration with Denver band, The Knew. "This mildly tart, mildly salty, traditional German-style wheat beer, received the “dry hop” addition of nearly 400 hand zested limes. Major Nights is an explosion of unique savory flavors brought on by the use of coriander and red gold Hawaiian sea salt, as well as the bright refreshing tartness of fresh limes."
Lone Tree Brewing will host its annual Brews for CancerBlows dinner featuring CancerBlows Coffee IPA, which was brewed in collaboration with Broken Compass Brewing. The dinner consists of five course from Chef Paul Worley paired with five beers. There will be live music by the H2 Big Band and trumpet players from the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Proceeds from this event will go to CancerBlows and The Ryan Anthony Foundation. To make the beer, the breweries used Kenyan Thaita AA roast from Denver’s Boxcar Coffee. "This beer’s light grain bill — comprised of 2-row malt, biscuit malt, crystal malt, and oats — makes way for bold and juicy Mosaic hop additions and lightly roasted, fruit-forward coffee," Lone Tree says. "Lactose is added to convey a coffee-and-cream mouthfeel." Attendees will get welcome goblets of this beer during a private tour of Lone Tree Brewing with Head Brewer Josh West. Tickets are $70 and can be purchased at squareup.com.
Saturday, July 8
After two and a half years in the River North neighborhood, Zephyr Brewing is moving — although the brewery hasn't revealed the new location yet. To mark the occasion, Zephyr plans to host "one helluva moving party," the brewery says. "Although RiNo will always be our true home, we have received an opportunity that we cannot pass up. Details on our new locations (yes, more than one) will be announced shortly." Get $2 off each beer before 7 p.m. (when the Rockies play). There will be games, raffles, food and live music.
Bruz Beers is celebrating its one-year anniversary with a full day of festivities planned, including a car show from 7 to 10 a.m., a farmers' market starting at 10 a.m., live bands (including Denver Meatpacking Company) from 4 to 10 p.m., numerous special beer releases all day, yard games and the Park Burger food truck.
Goldspot Brewing will host its first ever farmers' market from noon to 5 p.m. Drink beer while you shop for fresh local produce and goods, "grown and made by folks you know," the brewery says. Vendor list TBA.
Great Divide Brewing will host a giant block party from 2 to 6 p.m. at The Square on 21st, the newly-created temporary urban green space on 21st Street between Larimer and Lawrence streets; the party takes place around the same time as Great Divide's annual anniversary party, but the brewery doesn't want to call it its 23rd anniversary party this year because the format will be different, a spokeswoman says. In the past, Great Divide held anniversary block parties on Arapahoe Street but moved them to its five-acre property in River North a few years ago. This one returns to the Ballpark neighborhood, and will have three different ticket structures. "The city of Denver and the Ballpark Neighborhood Association have supported Great Divide since day one,” Great Divide founder Brian Dunn explains. “With this in mind, we want to celebrate where it all started." There will be lots of live music, lawn games and lots of beer, depending on what kind of ticket you buy. There are $6, $12 and $46 options. You can buy them and find details of the ticket categories at GreatDivide.com.
Bierstadt Lagerhaus will tap its monthly Second Saturday Fässer, when it pours one of its unfiltered, naturally carbonated lagers directly from the lager tank. Today's beer is Vienna Lager. It taps at noon.
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Fort Collins Brewing will say goodbye after fourteen years with a day-long party in its tasting room. "We will be pouring outrageous pint deals, discounted merchandise and food specials all day long," the brewery says. Fort Collins Brewing was bought out by Canada's Red Truck Brewing in June; Red Truck plans to shut down the brand and reopen in August under the Red Truck name and brand.
Sunday, July 9
The Bluegrass Brunch returns to Station 26 Brewing, featuring bluegrass tunes from Wood Belly, barbecue from Turn-In BBQ, doughnuts from Glazed and Confuzed and, of course, lots of beer.
Monday, July 10
East meets west when Cho77 hosts Ratio Beerworks for a special Dim Sum Beer Dinner. Cho77 Chef Ryan Gorby and Ratio co-owner Jason zumBrunnen will present a five-course dinner "celebrating their innovative take on both tradition cooking and brewing techniques," Ratio says, with seatings at 5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. Pairings include: Red Chili Pork Dumplings, Crunch Shallots, Chinese Vinegar and Chili-Soy with Dear You French Saison; Lamb & Lentil Dumpling, Paneer and Cilantro Yogurt with Domestica American Standard Ale; and Cobia Poke, Strawberry, Cucumber and Crispy Rice Cake with Handwritten Belgian Abbey Ale. Tickets, $49, and more information are available at nightout.com.
Tuesday, July 11
Pizzeria Locale will host a Crazy Mountain Brewing happy hour from 5 to 7 p.m. at its restaurant in Highland Square. Each guest can snag one free flight of Crazy Mountain beer — no food purchase necessary.