Fresh-hopped beers are cropping up on tap around Denver, including the GABF award-winning Superdamp at Comrade Brewing and Hop Is My Co-Pilot, a beer from FlyteCo Brewing made with hops flown from Paonia to Denver within just a few hours of harvest.
But there are many more coming down the pike (see a few of the releases in the calendar below), and they're worth seeking out because they're only made for a brief time every year. You can also see a list on the Colorado Brewers Guild website.
Fresh hop (or wet hop) beers are made with whole cone hops rather than pellets, the industry standard. Typically, the hops are harvested in August or early September and then used within 24 hours — and much sooner in many cases — to preserve the highest amount of vegetal freshness from the oils.
Continue reading to see craft-beer events into early October.
Wednesday, September 16
Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project kicks off Peach Beer Week (previously known as Stone Fruit Harvest Weekend and Persica Day), its annual celebration of peaches, by showcasing all of its peachy favorites. "Fans of peaches, sour beers and Crooked Stave are invited to join Crooked Stave to discover the unique and complex marriage of juicy peaches and barrel fermentation," the brewery says.
Cerebral Brewing has four fresh beers available on tap and in cans to go. Lateral Thought IPA was brewed with Simcoe, Strata and Nelson hops for aromas of mango, Rooibos tea and pineapple. Controlled Airspace Double IPA was brewed with Citra, Mosaic, Lotus, Barbe Rouge, Taiheke and El Dorado hops for notes of fresh fruit cocktail and kumquat. Muscle Memory, a pale ale with Citra, Idaho 7 and Motueka hops, is one of Cerebral's flagship beers and will be available alongside Rare Trait, the brewery's flagship IPA.
WeldWerks Brewing in Greeley once again has Fit Bits, its 130-calorie hazy IPA, in cans. The beer, which only contains 5 grams of carbs per serving, is part of the trend of lower-calorie beers in Colorado. At 4.1 percent ABV, it was brewed with Citra, El Dorado and Sabro hops and has notes of papaya, mango and peach skins.
Thursday, September 17
Fresh-hop season is in full effect, and Jagged Mountain Craft Brewery will tap two (of a total of four this year) of them at noon. Sticky Icky Fresh Hop West Coast IPA is a palate-crushing brew made with Chinook and Cascade varieties from High Wire Hops in Paonia. Michael's Vine Fresh Hop Table Beer was made with local wild hops harvested in Wheat Ridge. Both will be on tap and available in Crowlers to go.
Luki Brewing releases Grammy’s Pumpkin Pie at 3 p.m. This seasonal brown ale was brewed with a "hand-blended spice blend from an old family recipe," as well as roasted butternut squash with brown sugar and lots of pumpkin purée, the brewery says.
Friday, September 18
The Post Brewing, which has locations in Denver, Boulder, Longmont and Lafayette, will tap its Oktoberfest Marzen at all four. "Made from almost 100 percent Munich and Vienna malt, this märzen is rich, full bodied and malt forward, while remaining highly quaffable," the brewery says. There will be $10 Giant Steins of Oktoberfest lager plus beer-steamed brats, fried cheese curds and crispy chicken schnitzel.
Cerveceria Colorado releases Poblano Pils Imperial Mexican Lager in its taproom next to Denver Beer Co. This beer was aged on smoked fresh poblano peppers "for a delightful bright pepper flavor" the brewery says. "The use of poblanos provides a fantastic flavor without much spice, and just a touch of smoke brings it all together." It will also be available in limited quantities in bottles to go.
Black Project Spontaneous & Wild Ales has four new beers on tap and in cans to go. Puzzle Palace is a blend of three base sour beers "sewn together into a tapestry of flavor and complexity," the brewery says. Wiretap is "a delectable royal court of tropical terpenes, stone fruit aromas and silky Madagascar vanilla bean." Anteus is "a swirling orb of rich jammy fruit and wild yeast funk." And Helix has flavors and aromas of "juicy, tart raspberry backed by waves of fresh, bright lemongrass."
New Image Brewing in Arvada busts out a new experiment in fresh hopping with Live Resin, a 7.8 percent ABV hazy IPA made with both Strata hops and Strata hop oils. "What’s really unique is the process we went through to make these fresh hop beers, something we’ve never seen done yet," the brewery explains. "Because of the nature of fresh hopping and the time between boil and dry hopping, it wouldn’t be doable to use fresh hops from the same pick on both the hot side and cold side; the freshness would be gone by the time you dry hopped. Enter our buds at Oast House Oils and their extraction technology. We took the same batch of fresh hops we were adding to the boil and had them extract the oils the same day so that the fresh hop oils on both sides of the brew were from the same picked batch! This means from boil to dry hop, we’ve absolutely saturated this beer with the same Strata fresh hops and are showcasing this beast. For Oast House it was also a first for them to try to cram all the fresh hops they could into their super critical CO2 extraction chamber to pull the freshest, densest oil that was then added to the brite tank to capture as much of the oil as possible." The beer will be available on tap and in cans to go.
Join Spice Trade Brewery & Kitchen, which transforms its taproom and patio into a German beer hall and the tapping of its Oktobefest Helles-style festbier. "This is our only beer all year long that you can order in a one liter German beer stein," the brewery says. There is also an German-themed food menu through October.
Copper Kettle Brewing taps a 7.5 percent ABV "German-inspired pale ale" at noon. "This kolsch-inspired imperial pale ale is hoppy and made with Loral European hops," the brewery says.
Barnett & Son Brewing in Parker hosts an Oktoberfest event under its tent. The brewery will tap its Oktoberfest Marzen and Dunkel Weizen beers. There will also be food, glassware, and stein-hoisting competitions.
Wild Provisions Beer Project in Boulder debuts Ranch Chores-Tequila, an oak-fermented table beer matured in a couple of 200-liter reposado tequila casks. "We selected these barrels to blend to highlight flavors of agave, peppers, strawberry and vanilla. Both delicate and structured with citric acidity, this beer is as comfortable paired with farm projects as it is with a meal when your work is complete," the brewery says. The beer will be available on tap in limited quantities and to go in bottles.
Greeley's WeldWerks Brewing brings back Froot Camp Strawberry Banana, a kettle-soured wheat ale brewed with "obscene amounts of strawberry and banana puree," the brewery says. In addition, WeldWerks will have fresh cans of Transmountain Diversion, a collaboration between WeldWerks and Casey Brewing & Blending. This Imperial IPA features Nelson Sauvin and Citra hops.
Saturday, September 19
Bierstadt Lagerhaus typically plays host to a huge Oktoberfest party each fall, but because of the coronavirus pandemic, this year's event will be muted — though still fun. The brewery releases its Marzen lager and will allow people to reserve a table (for up to eight people) and their own personal ten-liter keg, all for $120. The tables will be socially distanced in the brewery's expansive indoor and outdoor spaces and can be reserved for three hours at a time. "If you fail to finish the keg, we won’t judge you, but you can take it home, and we will have a keg tap available for you to purchase at our cost," Bierstadt says. "The keg is recyclable and single-use, with no need to return it. If you and yours do finish it and want another, we will judge you. We will judge you as being fine specimens of adulthood and a shining example to aspire to." There will be pretzels and sausage.
Our Mutual Friend Brewing would normally host its annual Gratitude Party today, a week before the Great American Beer Festival was scheduled to take place, with 2,000 people in attendance. But that's not happening for obvious reasons. Instead, the RiNo brewery will have a few special tappings and some additional outdoor seating, along with special Gratitude packs. Space is limited.
The big RiNo releases continue at River North Brewery, which brings back Quandary, its stellar Belgian-style quadrupel, in bottles. The 10.9 percent ABV beer will also be available at the brewery's Washington Street taproom.
Fresh Hop Juicy Banger IPA goes on sale at Station 26 Brewing. "Limited quantities of one of our favorite beers of the year," the brewery says.
Dos Luces Brewing, which specializes in the pre-Columbian alcoholic beverages known as chicha and pulque, will celebrate the many independence days that take place across Central America and Mexico in September by having a party and tapping its newest beverage, Imperial Pulque, Moctezuma III With Strawberry. Aged in tequila barrels, the 10 percent ABV, gluten-free pulque has aromas of apricot, vanilla and white pepper, the brewery says. It is available on draft and in bottles to go. Festivities will include a limited vertical tasting of two years' worth of Moctezuma releases. Tickets will be required; get yours at squaresite.com.
Odyssey Beerwerks in Arvada taps its Oktoberfest beer with an Od-toberfest party starting at 2 p.m. Arvada's mayor will be in the house, as will a pair of food trucks.
Join Westbound & Down Brewing in Idaho Springs for the annual release of Fruit Squad + Peaches, its barrel-aged golden sour ale re-fermented on Colorado-grown peaches from the 2019 late summer harvest. It is available on draft and in 750ml bottles to go.
Holidaily Brewing in Golden is throwing an all-gluten-free Oktoberfest. The brewery, which brews only gluten-free beers, will have fall beers on tap, along with gluten-free pretzels and beer cheese soup from Boulder-based Crestone Bakery, an Oktoberfest menu from Mikey G’s Food Truck, and Oktoberfest decor and music.
Tuesday, September 22
Counter Culture Brewery + Grille will note its anniversary with a beer-pairing dinner from 7 to 9 p.m. There will be five courses, including elote empanadas paired with the brewery's Mexican lager.
Novel Strand Brewing releases fresh cans of Kiwi, an IPA that celebrates New Zealand. From "a particularly unique growing region, New Zealand hops have flavors not found in hops grown elsewhere — and that we love," the brewery says. These include Motueka, Nelson Sauvin, Rakau, Riwaka and Waimea for "intense flavors of drippingly ripe tropical fruit, white grape funk, a gooseberry/kumquat pit stop, and that gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous Sour Diesel (the cannabis strain) dank finish that NZ hops are so good at providing." The brewery will also have three other canned beers to go, including a sour, a farmhouse ale and a German gose.
Wednesday, September 23
Denver Beer Co. teams up with Mermaids Bakery for a family-friendly beer-and-cupcake pairing that will take place on the brewery's extended patio for social distancing. Pairings include a coconut cupcake filled with buttery caramel, chocolate and buttercream with Pretzel Assassin Amber, and a chocolate cupcake filled with chocolate buttercream paired with Churro Stout.
Thursday, September 24
Every fall, when the Great American Beer Festival comes to town, Falling Rock Tap House serves as the unofficial meeting place and headquarters for beer lovers from all parts of the globe. But in 2020, the pandemic forced the cancellation of the festival (though there is an online version) and severe seating and operating restrictions for Falling Rock. So the beer bar is looking to pull off an alternative that it says will give people a little taste of the GABF atmosphere, but "done in as responsible of a manner as possible, and following all local guidelines." Introducing FRAFOGB (Falling Rock Alternative Festival of Great Beer), which will have four sessions (just like GABF) from September 24 through 27. The seated series of events will be spread out throughout Falling Rock's upstairs, downstairs and patio, and will include two different lineups of thirty two-ounce beers, poured in six flights of five each. There will also be food (see Falling Rock's website for details). "We will be pulling out all the stops in our cellar as well as bringing in some tasty treats in order to fill up the two lineups with exceptional beers. Help us continue the tradition of Falling Rock during GABF Week in this challenging year in a new way," Falling Rock says. Tickets are $100 per person, and tables will seat a specific number of people. Reservations are required — as are masks on your way to and from your table.
Friday, September 25
Call to Arms Brewing will inundate you with the freshness today as the brewery taps three different fresh hop beers, including More Like Bor-O-Phyll and Fresh Hop Janet Reno's Dance Party, both brewed with Strata.
Copper Kettle Brewing brings back Snowed In Coconut, a "velvety smooth oatmeal stout that is aged in bourbon barrels and made with fresh coconut flakes and chocolate," the brewery says. This seasonal beer will be available starting at noon on tap and in 19.2-ounce cans.
Falling Rock Tap House continues its Falling Rock Alternative Festival of Great Beer in lieu of the Great American Beer Festival this year. See Thursday for details.
Luki Brewing in Arvada taps Boardwalk Cream Nitro. "This light cream ale has a touch of lactose and vanilla that will remind you of nights at the carnival and boardwalk, funnel cakes and all," the brewery says. "Nitro adds a creamy texture that makes this 6.4 percent ABV beer reminiscent of a Nilla Wafer."
Over Yonder Brewing in Golden re-releases a fan favorite, Cream and Sugar, Please. This blonde coffee stout was brewed with cocoa nibs, lactose and cold brew from Launch, the brewery's neighbor. "This light coffee beer has all the flavor and aroma without the dark bitterness," Over Yonder says.
Saturday, September 26
Seedstock Brewing brings a taste of Munich to Colfax Avenue with an Oktoberfest-style event featuring the tappings of Special Hell, a Helles lager. "Its rich malty aroma is balanced by a slight cracker sweetness that, rather than filling you up, leaves you wanting more. After tasting a Special Hell for the first time at Germany's Andechs Monastery 10 years ago, Seedstock knew they needed to bring this deliciously subtly flavored beer to Denver," the brewery says. There will also be polka music. Come dressed in your lederhosen and dirndl.
Falling Rock Tap House continues its Falling Rock Alternative Festival of Great Beer in lieu of the Great American Beer Festival this year. See Thursday for details.
Friday, October 2
Aurora's Ursula Brewery hosts the annual release of Colorado Buckeye, its 10 percent ABV peanut butter and chocolate stout; it will be available on draft and in four-pack cans to go. This year, the brewery will also have a barrel-aged version and a coffee barrel-aged version.
Saturday, October 3
Join Hops & Pie as the beer-and-pizza joint safely celebrates its tenth anniversary with a crazy tap list, live music, and giveaways every hour from noon to 5 p.m.
O'zapft is! translates from German to English as "It is tapped," and serves as the traditional cry to start the annual Oktoberfest celebration in Bavaria. The saying is also the name of Strange Craft Beer Company's new festbier lager. To celebrate the beer and the occasion, Strange hosts a socially distanced, sit-down Oktoberfest event starting at 4 p.m. Reservations and tickets for tables of four or six people are available online; each attendee gets a commemorative liter Maß filled with O'zapft Is ( the tapping is live) and a plate of authentic German food.
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