Tickets for the twentieth annual Big Beers, Belgians and Barleywines Festival go on sale in just a week, on September 4, and the three-day brew-ha-ha, which takes place January 9-11 at the Beaver Run Resort in Breckenridge promises to include plenty of celebrations worthy of the past two decades.
For starters, some of the featured brewmasters from over the years, including early pioneers such as Adam Avery of Avery Brewing and Brian Dunn of Great Divide Brewing, as well as more recent participants, like Phil Leinhart of Brewery Ommegang and Cory King of Side Project Brewing, will be returning "to share stories and pay tribute to the fest, according to organizers. In addition, several alumni will lead educational seminars, including John Mallett of Bell’s Brewery, who will be discussing “Malt: The Dark Side"; Jeffrey Stuffings, of Jester King Brewery, who will lead an Experimental Brewing Seminar; and Steven Pauwels, of Boulevard Brewing, who will discuss technical and philosophical innovations in Belgian beer styles.
There are also new ticketing options this year, and a VIP Lounge for VIP ticket holders. The VIP Pass includes seats at the Traditional Brewmasters’ Dinner, featuring Neil Fisher of WeldWerks and Troy Casey of Casey Brewing and Blending plus "unprecedented access" to the Brewers Reception, amongst other benefits.
For more information and to buy tickets, starting at 10 a.m. on September 4 (or on September 3 for VIP packages), go to BigBeersFestival.com.
Keep reading to see craft-beer events into early September.
Wednesday, August 28
Chef & Brew, a food and beer tasting and competition that stands out as one of Denver's best, returns to Exdo Event Center with more than thirty dishes from local chefs and around forty beers. Judges will pick a winner while attendees will choose a fan favorite. Tickets, $50 to $70, are at chefandbrew.com.
Black Shirt Brewing will tap Red Evelyn Red Rye Double IPA in honor of the founders' grandmother. The once-a-year release has always been a special occasion for the brewery.
Friday, August 30
Here we go: It's Oktoberfest season, and Little Machine Beer Company is tapping Marzen Attacks Festbier, a 5.8 percent ABV German-style Marzen.
Jagged Mountain Craft Brewery taps its favorite German brews: Snowmelt Maibock and Four Pass Pilsner, which is crips, light and clean, the brewery says.
Just in time for the Phish concerts this weekend, Fiction Beer Company is tapping Olfactory Hues IPA (inspired by the PHISH song "Lawn Boy"), a 5.9 percent ABV beer. "The song is very much about dank, earthy scents, which inspired us to create a highly aromatic IPA that is a true olfactory experience," the brewery says. "We wanted an earthy evergreen hop aroma so we chose Chinook, Simcoe and Warrior hops for bittering, as well as aroma and flavor. With such strong forest aromas in the boil, we dry hopped with Mosaic and Azacca hops to create a balanced and complimentary fruity character. Hop-forward aromas of evergreen forest floor with notes of tropical fruit. An underlying bitterness that is not sharp or biting."
Cerebral Brewing releases three beers in cans at noon. Forbidden Idol: Zombie Tiki Sour DIPA is a 9 percent ABV beer hopped with Citra, Sabro and Galaxy in the whirlpool and then mixed with pineapple, passion fruit, guava, blood orange, lime, almond, vanilla and lactose. Hollow Fang is a 7.4 percent IPA hopped with Citra, Galaxy and Nelson. And Tactical Maneuver is a Helles that was fermented in a wooden foeder.
Ratio Beerworks brings back the King of Carrot Flowers, a carrot juice and elderflower saison at 5 p.m. First introduced in celebration of EatDenver's 2017 Harvest Week, King of Carrot Flowers "bursts forth in an illuminated, ripe cantaloupe orange hue, while exhibiting subtle fruit-forward citrus notes and nuances of pear, honey, coriander and vanilla," the brewery says. "This vibrant, expressive, dry saison showcases the versatility that can occur between beer and food."
Fluffy Pumpkin Toasted Marshmallow Porter returns to Odyssey Beerwerks at 5 p.m. The seasonal beer is brewed with roasted pumpkins, spices, vanilla and marshmallow; it will be available on draft and in twelve-ounce six-packs to go. Its bigger, badder cousin, Whiskey Barrel Aged Imperial Fluffy Pumpkin also makes an appearance; weighing in at 10.5 percent ABV, the beer will be sold in both 22-ounce bombers and in sixteen-ounce four-packs — the first of a series of beers that will be releases in this format. There will be table-side magic from Brandon K. Parker from 6 to 8 p.m. and smoked meats from Taste of Texas BBQ.
Coda Brewing in Golden celebrates its one-year anniversary all weekend long with live music and 22 different beers, including "a bunch of old favorites and a ton of new barrel-aged fruited sours like Palisade Apricot, Pineapple, Blueberry and Raspberry and dry hopped versions of our open oak fermented sours and solera sours," the brewery says. There will also be can releases and other fun.
Saturday, August 31
Station 26 Brewing brings back its third annual Phish Dicks weekend in honor of the band playing in Denver. The brewery will tap You'll Never Get Out of This Haze, a Vermont-style hazy pale ale, in four-packs of specially designed sixteen-ounce cans. Rastasaurus will play from 1 to 4 p.m., and Basic Kneads will serve pizza. Then on Sunday, Bottlerocket Hurricane will play music and the G Wagon Denver will have food.
Friday, September 6
Tivoli Brewing celebrates its sixth anniversary from 5 to 10 p.m. with a party featuring live music from Velvet Compass and Guerrilla Fanfare, Oktoberfest stein-holding contests, Gelande Quaffing and other beer games, Tivoli beers on the quad and other fun. Tickets are available at eventbrite.com.
Little Machine Beer Company taps Tangerine Crushsicle Creamsicle Beer a 5.7 percent ABV beer made with real tangerine and real Madagascar vanilla beans. "It's orange and pairs well with a crushing defensive line," the brewery says. Oh, and the Broncos open the season soon.
New Image Brewing in Arvada will release Double Dry Hopped East Coast Transplant at 11 a.m. This version of the brewery's flagship IPA has a "new look, the same insane hop level, and ... all that sweet, sweet hop aroma and flavor you could want," the brewery says. It will be on draft and in cans to go.
Wiley Roots Brewing in Greeley will release two rare beers today. Vanilla Anonym is a imperial stout aged for eighteen months in Breckenridge Distillery Bourbon barrels with Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Beans. The 12 percent ABV beer is $15 per twelve-ounce can (see the brewery's Facebook page for a price explanation). The second beer is Nelson Sauvin Funk Yo Couch, a version of the brewery's award-winning mixed-culture Brettanomyces saison that was dry-hopped with Nelson Sauvin hops.
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Saturday, September 7
With the openings of Flytco Brewing and Empourium Brewing on Tennyson Street in northwest Denver, the strip is now packed with five breweries. Four of them will participate in the Tennyson Street Brewery Crawl and Silent Auction from 2 to 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $40 and include one beer at each brewery on the tour, a dinner buffet at the end from local restaurants, and a silent auction. The crawl kicks off at Call to Arms and then proceeds south to De Steeg at 2:50 p.m., Empourium at 3:40 p.m. and Flyteco at 4:30 p.m. for the dinner and silent auction. The event benefits Education First, helping underprivileged kids.
Diebolt Brewing hosts a can release party for Aumakua, a cloudy wheat beer brewed with Li Hing Mui (sour plum) and Liliko'i (passion fruit). There will be "Hawaiian Reggae" music from Eli Mac and food from Stokes Poke. Proceeds will benefit the Ocean Conservancy.
"Put your Lederhosens on and get ready to fill up your stein," says Dry Dock Brewing, which will host its annual Docktoberfest Celebration at its South Dock location on Hampden Avenue. The day will be full of German food from Wing Hut, music by Polka Folka, and the special release of Docktoberfest Marzen, along with other German beers. There will also be a stein holding contest at 2 p.m.
Sunday, September 8
It's time to enjoy what your garden yielded this season, and Strange Craft Beer Company is hosting a party and potluck from 1 to 6 p.m. to do just that. Make your favorite dish from your garden or "bring your extras and swap with your fellow beer drinking green thumbs," the brewery says. To stay on theme, Strange will tap Zora, a pale ale made with rosemary, and a basil infused version of its Kriek.