In normal times, this would be American Craft Beer Week, an annual celebration of the nation's independent craft breweries. Created by the Brewers Association trade group and marketed from coast to coast, in the past the sudsy week has been a time for special releases, fun events and brewery openings. This time around, however, American Craft Beer Week is much more muted. But the BA is still noting the dates by encouraging people to head out to their local brewery and pick up beer to go. After all, most breweries, like bars and restaurants, are suffering significantly as the pandemic has forced them to close to the public for the foreseeable future.
In that light, here are two suggestions for breweries to visit that typically fly a little under the radar. Both are scrappy, family-owned operations with devoted regulars and creative beers.
Golden City Brewery was founded in 1993 by Charlie and Janine Sturdavant as Golden's "second largest brewery." These days, the brewhouse and taproom are run by the Sturdavants' kids, Tamara and Derek, who also serves as head brewer. Lately, he's been turning out some unusual creations, including Churro Stout and Watermelon Patch Sour.
In Denver, Chain Reaction Brewing is also family-run — in this case by cousins Zack and Chad Christofferson, who opened the brewery in 2014. Over the past few years, Chain Reaction has become a neighborhood staple and destination for trivia, comedy and other activities. The owners are currently spending a good amount of time refinishing tables, power-washing the patio and undertaking other projects so that the place is in tip-top shape when it eventually opens again. Beers? These guys like to play around. Try the lavender lager, the cantaloupe milkshake IPA or their flagship pink peppercorn, orange peel and coriander saison.
Keep reading to see craft-beer releases into mid-May.
Wednesday, May 13
Station 26 Brewing will release cans of Stimulus Package Double IPA. "Clear, classic and dank, with strong notes of grapefruit and citrus," this 8.7 percent ABV beer was brewed with Azacca, Cashmere and Idaho 7 hops in the kettle and then dry-hopped with Citra and Cryo Mosaic during fermentation, the brewery says.
Copper Kettle Brewing brings back its much-loved Cherry Basil Blonde Ale at 2 p.m. Brewed with "loads of sweet cherry and fresh basil," this blonde ale is available to go in Crowlers and growlers.
Ohm Brewing in Golden has bottled up another round of its Bourbon Barrel Aged Third Rail, the brewery's first barrel-aged beer. The Stupid Awesome Bus will have sandwiches to go with your beer.
Tivoli Brewing has a new beer available in cans. Roadrunner Red is a collaboration with Metropolitan State University of Denver and its Beer Industry program. "This provides us advanced quality analysis and control of our brews, student beer collaborations, and the ability to positively influence future brewers," the brewery says. "Roadrunner Red is the first of many collaborations: a modern twist on the classic German-style Altbier, this malty and crisp red ale is brewed with El Dorado hops and honey malt, making it a hoppier take on the German classic."
Thursday, May 14
Hit up Jagged Mountain Craft Brewery starting at 2 p.m. for the release of I'm So Lonely DDH New England IPA, a brand-new beer made with Azacca and Vic Secret hops. "Big notes of fresh pineapple, passion fruit and peaches," the brewery says. It will be available in Crowlers to go.
Coal Mine Avenue Brewing, Dos Luces Brewing and Raíces Brewing, along with brewery-in-planning Jade Mountain Brewing, release Travesura at 3 p.m. The four "Latino-owned and inspired breweries" originally came together to make this beer for Collaboration Fest, which was supposed to have taken place in April. Since the festival was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, however, the breweries are releasing Travesura now during Craft Beer Week. The beer name comes from the Spanish word for "mischief": the imperial cream ale is darkish color but has a light flavor. "Each sip will have you believing that you just sensed a new flavor," the beer makers explain. It was made with blue and purple corn, cacao shells, a touch of cinnamon, coffee beans and Tianjian dried chiles.
Gunbarrel Brewing in Boulder is rolling out two of its biggest, baddest Belgian beers at noon — and in very limited quantities. The first is Truth Hurts, a 12 percent ABV Belgian dark strong ale that was aged for "many moons" in Woodford Reserve Bourbon barrels. "Smooth and dangerous with complex stone fruit esters and notable vanilla, dried fruits and bourbon character," the brewery says. The second beer is Tell Me Lies, a 12.5 percent ABV Belgian quadrupel. This candy-like beer was aged in maple bourbon barrels from Vermont and has notes of figs, vanilla and maple syrup. It is available in sixteen-ounce cans.
Friday, May 15
Call to Arms Brewing releases a special barrel-aged project that's been over a year in the making. Coo Coo Ca Cha Tequila Barrel-Aged Sour with Pink Guava "boasts a peach-tinted hue and offers the perfect margarita-like balance of tequila and tart and tropical fruit," the brewery says. The 8.9 percent ABV beer will be available starting at 3 p.m. in twelve-ounce cans to go, either as singles, two-packs or four-packs.
Coloradans can find CBD these days in just about anything — from butter and lotion to snacks and sodas. The combination of its purported health benefits and the trendiness of all things cannabis/hemp has made CBD products extremely popular. But if you want CBD in your beer, then Epic Brewing's latest IPA is definitely NOT the beer you should try. As part of a series of satirical beers, Epic is now selling CBD Free IPA. "CBD has countless benefits. It’s an anti-inflammatory, anti-depressant, sleep aid, acne treatment and more," the brewery explains. "And studies into its healthful qualities are ongoing. It’s good for your heart, for your brain, for your soul. This beer does none of that. It’s just beer, albeit a dank one." Brewed with large amounts of Grüngeist, Citra and Motueka hops, the 9 percent ABV IPA has flavors of stone fruit, orange and pineapple. It's available today at the brewery and will be distributed at selected retailers around Colorado.
Odyssey Beerwerks will release a new version of The Odyssey of Flyte Belgian Golden Strong Ale, which is made in collaboration with FlyteCo Brewing. The 8.2 percent ABV beer has added Asian pears, which lend a "subtle fruit sweetness and delicate spiciness to the original," the brewery says. The Odyssey of Flyte was first brewed for the canceled Collab Fest and was designed to call attention to how close the two breweries are to one another — just three miles separate them — despite one being in Arvada and one being in Denver. The beer is available in four-packs to go.
4 Noses Brewing releases two new beers in cans to go. The first is a collaboration with Outer Range Brewing called How to Train Your Nelson, a New England-style IPA brewed with Nelson Sauvin and Styrian Dragon hops. "The tropical aroma of the beer blends beautifully with notes of white grapes, creating a clean light finish. Then to round it all out, this beer has a fluffy mouthfeel that brings it all together," the brewery says. The second is Howls for Heroes, a West Coast IPA brewed with Styrian Wolf Hops (of course); $3 from every four-pack of this one will go to Feed the Frontlines Boulder Fund.
Westbound & Down Brewing in Idaho Springs reopens today for to-go orders from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily except Tuesdays. Order online or from the window at the rear entrance for a selection of Westbound & Down and Buffalo favorites. Fresh new four-packs and limited bottles will be available.
Saturday, May 16
No need to get dressed for part two of Denver Beer Co.'s Beer Bacon Coffee Fest, which is now coming to your kitchen. Just like the real fest in the days of yore, you can order the following for pick-up or delivery: three Crowlers of breakfast beer (Blueberry Muffin Princess Yum Yum Kolsch, Caramel Macchiato IPA and Golden Graham Cracker Blonde Ale), two breakfast burritos from The Mighty, one pound of Tender Belly Bacon, one bag of Coda Coffee, and two new green DBC coffee mugs. Each two-person bundle is $75.
Friday, May 22
Fan Fiction New England Style Double IPA returns to Fiction Beer Company with a new twist: The brewery took the original recipe and doubled the amount of Mosaic in the dry hop. The beer, a recurring collaboration with the CO:NE IPA & HAZY HAZE) Facebook fan page, is also brewed with malted oats, malted wheat, Root Shoot Malting’s gold medal-winning Genie Pale malt, Galaxy and Citra hops. "The beer showcases a soft mouthfeel and citrus flavor, from the use of oats and tropical hops. Orange, mango, pineapple, and lemon balance a hoppy aroma full of grassy and tropical notes," the brewery says. Fan Fiction is available in four-packs.
Saturday, May 23
Woods Boss Brewing will release cans of Contour Lines v2, the second version of this New England-style IPA series, done in collaboration with Craft Alley and Beer Drop. With notes of orange and pineapple, the beer is available in four-packs of sixteen-ounce cans.
Lady Justice Brewing and Lady Gang Music have teamed up to create an American Pale Lager in celebration of the release of "Git It," a single off of Lady Gang's upcoming album, Full Throttle. Made with prickly pear and pineapple to represent the desert and the ocean, the beer will be available in cans and Crowlers. Lady Gang will be at the brewery to hand out purchased beer to go and will perform a live-stream concert at 3 p.m.
Goldspot Brewing brings back Grassroots IPA in Crowlers. "This beer is jam-packed with Lemondrop and Idaho 7 hops for notes of dank lemon, and at 5.5 percent ABV, it's a beer you can drink all day," the brewery says.
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