The Denver outlet of North Carolina's Thirsty Monk is launching a new sour and barrel-aging program, which it calls the Woodshed. Head brewer Brian Grace, who spent time at Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project and Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales in Michigan before joining Thirsty Monk, will use two wooden foeders and a selection of other wine and spirits barrels to create "black, red and golden base beers to be inoculated with wild yeast and bacteria before the addition of fruit and eventual blending and bottle conditioning," Thirsty Monk says.
The first release out of the Woodshed will be a pluot and blackberry Dark Strong-Based Sour. It was aged in California red-wine barrels before resting in a foeder that previously held Moscato.
“What is most exciting about the project for me is that there will be a house character that I hope will be appreciated by sour beer enthusiasts,” Grace said in a statement from Thirsty Monk. “I am the most proud when people tell me they can identify that a beer is from a specific brewery because it holds a unique character that can only be found in beers from those cellars."
Keep reading to see craft-beer events and tappings through December 20.
Wednesday, December 4
The four breweries involved in Traveling One Barrel Wednesdays will tap Robust Porter at 3 p.m. Brewed by Chain Reaction Brewing, it's a cross between a stout and a brown porter, with roasty cocoa notes and a caramel and malty sweetness. Grab a pint at Chain Reaction, Dead Hippie Brewing, Black Sky Brewery or Strange Craft Beer Company.
Thursday, December 5
Falling Rock Tap House hosts It’s Beginning to Taste a Lot Like Christmas, a cellar-raiding holiday beer party starting at 5:30 p.m. Available brews include N’Ice Chouffe 2016; Dogfish Head Puddin’ Wine 2017; Great Divide Hibernation 2018; Lost Abbey Santa’s Little Helper 2011; St. Bernardus Christmas Ale; Cellar West Christmas Ale; and Destihl Cranberry Criek.
Comrade Brewing will tap a brand-new beer at noon. Bushwhacker Double IPA, at 8 percent ABV, was brewed with Pure Idaho Malt and hopped with Sultana, Mosaic, Citra LupuLN2 Cryo Hop Pellets, Citra and Ekuanot.
Upslope Brewing in Boulder gets into the holiday spirit from 5 to 9 p.m. at its original Lee Hill location with an ugly sweater party and the annual release of its highly sought-after Wild Christmas Ale. This time, the brewery has taken its regular Christmas Ale and matured it in oak casks with our house sour culture for one year before racking it onto more than 1,000 pounds of Colorado-grown red plums to re-ferment for eight weeks. It has "aromas of mellow oak, orange peel, and baking spices, backed by deep, juicy plum flavor and a pleasantly tart finish," the brewery says. Try it on tap or take some home in 19.2-ounce cans. You can also buy verticals of previous versions of Wild Christmas Ale with cranberries, black raspberries and Balaton cherries.
Friday, December 6
The Empourium Brewing Company on Tennyson Street taps Cotton Headed Ninny Muggins, a winter warmer made with 120 pounds of raw maple syrup straight from Vermont. Little Reds Kitchen will be serving up an Elf-themed holiday menu, including "the four main food groups." Bring in a new and unwrapped toy for this First Friday to be donated to Toys for Tots and get your first pour of Cotton Headed Ninny Muggins free.
Jagged Mountain Craft Brewery taps Mount Olympus at noon. This collaboration is the result of head brewer Alyssa Thorpe's visit to Dallas to team up with Celestial Beerworks. Sitting at 8 percent ABV, this double IPA was brewed with Sabro and Strata hops.
Cerebral Brewing will also debut its first-ever winter warmer, Winter Halo, a 9.2 percent ABV ale brewed with a wide variety of malts, wheat, oats, CTZ and Kent Goldings hops and ginger and cinnamon. It will be available on draft and in four-packs to go. Cerebral will also have new cans of Time Crystal, a 6.8 percent ABV IPA made with Galaxy, Simcoe and Strata hops; and Tactical Maneuver Foeder Helles.
Copper Kettle hosts the release of Cafe Con Leche starting at noon. The 5.6 percent ABV beer is a milk stout made with rich coffee and vanilla, and will be available in six-packs and on draft.
TRVE Brewing will beef up its annual holiday program, TRVE Gives a Shit, by adding some new activities. In addition to the sweater sale/auction (in which all proceeds go to charity), there will be a coat drive (bring a coat, get a beer), a TRVE-themed holiday photo booth, coal for everyone (of course), and a visit from Krampus. The mayhem starts at 7 p.m.
Purpose Brewing & Cellars in Fort Collins will release a new beer at 1 p.m. that was aged in the legendary pH1 barrel that has traveled between several breweries. It was one of the original nine barrels that Purpose owner Peter Bouckaert, the former brewmaster for New Belgium, sourced for New Belgium’s sour beer program in 1998. In 2000, Bouckaert sent these barrels away and since then pH1 has traveled to Russian River and Rare Barrel before it found its way back to Bouckaert at Purpose Brewing in October of 2017. This particular beer was brewed with Riesling grapes and has been resting in pH1, "and with the additional time, you'll notice a fruity bouquet backed by a sharper tartness that we've not seen before," the brewery says. It will be available on tap and in a very limited number of bottles to go.
Saturday, December 7
Our Mutual Friend Brewing will celebrate its seventh anniversary with some new and favorite beers, packaged releases and an Anniversary Double IPA. More details are TBA.
You'll find sea creatures and New England beers at TRVE Brewing starting at noon as the brewery welcomes in their homies "from the spooky state of Maine to the Queen City of the West. High Roller Lobster Company is air-mailing some "fresh-as-hell sea creatures so they can dole out some of the best lobster rolls in the country," TRVE says. In addition, TRVE will tap six beers from craft-beer darling Bissell Brothers.
Celebrate "the official birth of our community multicultural brewery with a ribbon-cutting with Mayor Michael B. Hancock and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Denver," says Raices Brewing, which is hosting a grand-opening celebration. There will be live music, beer, food trucks and activities all day long. Raices will also tap its first American stout, Musa, a champagne-like beer called Celebración, and holiday-inspired brews.
Join Burns Family Artisan Ales for a candlelit intimate evening release of the 2019 Buche de Noel Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout. Aged ten months in a Breckenridge Bourbon barrel, this year's Buche de Noel "is a holiday keeper," the brewery says. "Clocking in at 15.5 percent ABV, it'll warm your winter bones — perfect for sipping under a warm blanket or cellaring." The beer will be on tap and available for sale in 750ml starting at 6 p.m. "A slice of the holiday cake confection that our beer gets its name from is yours for the asking during the release, until it is gone. Christopher Ryan will lighten up the evening with a free concert."
Station 26 Brewing throws down for its sixth anniversary with a party featuring bottles of Sixth Anniversary Belgian Triple, a beer that comes in two variants, one fermented on wine grape must, and the other fermented on blackberries and mulberries. The beer will also be served on draft in specially-designed Sixth Anniversary glassware. Something Vinyl Club will be spinning live vinyl from 7 to 10 p.m. Basic Kneads will have food.
Denver Beer Co. brings back Graham Cracker Porter Grand Cru to both of its taprooms. "We took an imperial version of our 2018 GABF Gold Graham Cracker Porter and aged it in whiskey barrels along with chocolate, coconut, vanilla, and coffee," the brewery says. It will be in bombers and on tap.
Lone Tree Brewing is celebrating its eighth birthday with a charity event from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. that supports Buddy’s Builders, a local nonprofit that builds doghouses to protect outdoor dogs from the elements. There will be three specialty firkins (tapping at noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.) along with three other beers, Carrot Cream Ale, Horchata Stout, and four-packs of Barrel-Aged Wee Heavy. There will also be a silent auction from 2 to 6 p.m., live music, and barbecue from Ol’ Skool Que.
Sunday, December 8
"The time has again come to ditch your neighbor’s ugly sweater party and check your holiday cheer at the door," says Bierstadt Lagerhaus and the Rackhouse Pub, which will host its fourth annual HO HO HO Slapdown. Seven Colorado brewers "go toe-to-toe with exclusive seasonal beers that would smack even Santa right in the mouth. It’s your one chance this year to cast a vote for something that doesn’t suck. You get awesome beer, and the winning brewer walks away with bragging rights and a sweet-ass trophy." Of course, Bierstadt, which counts the votes, has also won every year...so there's that. Tickets are $25 and include five-ounce samples of each beer, and a vote. Buy tickets at the door or evenbrite.com. Participating breweries are Bierstadt, Cannonball Creek, Comrade Brewing, Barrels and Bottles, Little Machine, Call to Arms and Westbound and Down.
Wednesday, December 11
Black Shirt Brewing taps a brand new West Coast-style IPA called Pants Can Dance. Brewed with Citra, Galaxy and Centennial hops, the 7.2 percent ABV beer "is a bold and bright IPA boasting lovely aromatics, a melange of citrus notes, and a 'bittersmooth' finish," the brewery says. It was named for a friend of the brewery who suffered a severe ankle injury but was eventually able to dance again.
Thursday, December 12
Craft brewing darling Toppling Goliath, a maker of coveted beers in Iowa, will begin limited distribution in Colorado with a kickoff party at Hops & Pie at 11:30 a.m. Available beers include: King Sue, Pseudo Sue, Pompeii, Dorothy's, Double Dry Hopped Light Speed and Dragon Fandango.
Friday, December 13
Ratio Beerworks brings back one of the best parties of the year when it releases 2019 Bourbon Barrel-Aged Genius Wizard Imperial Stout. "This unique event will transport attendees to a mystical new world featuring an immersive art installation by Spectra Art Space," Ratio says. Attendees will also have the first chance to get their hands on this year's rendition of the beer, along with four variants: BA Vanilla Coconut Genius Wizard, BA Maple Pecan Genius Wizard, Espresso Coffee Genius Wizard and BA Mayan Chocolate Genius Wizard. There will also be a stunning lineup of bites from Smok, Tavernetta, Super Mega Bien, Work & Class, Yuan Wonton and Voodoo Doughnut. Tickets are $45 at nightout.com and include four-ounce pours of all five beers, along with one full pour of 2019 Genius Wizard, a bottle of 2019 Bourbon Barrel-Aged Genius Wizard to go, and commemorative Genius Wizard glassware. The party starts at 7 p.m.
Wit's End Brewing, located inside Strange Craft Beer Company, brings back its holiday favorite, Ugly Sweater Belgian Winter Ale, brewed with palm sugar and roasted pumpkin seeds. Wear your ugliest sweater for the release as there will be a contest (winner announced around 8 p.m.)
Copper Kettle Brewing's 12 Days of Firkins is back for its annual holiday run beginning today. The brewery will tap a new firkin each day. Today's is Gingersnap Snowed In. There will also be a "Create your own Ornament" event at the taproom this day starting at 4 p.m.
Ursula Brewery in Aurora taps its new Barrel Aged Coffee Cake Stout at 3 p.m. "This beer has hints of cinnamon, vanilla and orange zest," the brewery says. Wear an ugly sweater for $1 off your first beer.
Avery Brewing in Boulder releases the latest treat from its longstanding Barrel Series. Imperial Stoutwork Orange was aged in bourbon and whiskey barrels with fresh orange peel, cacao nibs and cardamom to make it reminiscent of "those chocolate oranges you get around the holidays — the ones you break open on a table and the chocolate splits into little wedges." It will be available on draft and in bottles to go.
Saturday, Denver 14
"Whether you’re a Festivus alumni or you’ve new to the scene," the organizers of the eighth annual Denver Beer Festivus (Two Parts) invite you to don your ugliest sweater and prepare your list of grievances for one of the best beer fests of the year. Every brewery within Denver’s city limits (some seventy-plus) were invited to share their favorite brews. This year, the event takes place at Major Studios, 3881 Steele Street, from 3 to 6 p.m. For the beer list and tickets, $45 to $60, go to twoparts.com.
The Gingerbread Invitational is back at the Intrepid Sojourner Beer Project/Next Stop Brew Co. for its third year, featuring the annual release of Gingerbread Bock (a collab for Spice Trade Brewing), special guest taps, a holiday beer and cookie pairing with Good Sugar Baking, a small craft market, and, of course, a gingerbread cookie decorating station.
Call to Arms Brewing hosts two events today, one nice and one naughty. The first is the brewery's fifth annual Holiday Market, from noon to 6 p.m. "Inspired by the German Christkindl markets and what has become a Tennyson Street festive favorite," CTA says the market features "lights a-twinklin', decorations galore, artisanal gift vendors, delicious food, and special beer releases." As the skies darken," however, things take a turn for the creepy with the brewery's first Krumpusnacht after-party from 7 to 10 p.m., "featuring Santa's less jolly demonic counterpart. The evening includes a costume contest procession, DJ, general mischief, Krampus debauchery, and real live Krampus entertainers to terrify you," Call to Arms says.
Hops & Pie celebrates the great state of Maine by tapping beers from Bissell Brothers, Peak Organic and Oxbow, and serving up chef/co-owner Drew Watson's banging Clam Chowdah and Lobster Grilled Cheese (while they last). The tap list includes: Bissell's The Substance, Engram and Precept; Oxbow's Moon Rocks and Infinite Darkness; and Peak's Sweet Tarts Blueberry and Fresh Cut.
Denver Beer Co. and Cervezeria Colorado will tap a few limited-edition holiday brews at their Toy Drive & Ugly Sweater Parties, which run from 11 a.m. to midnight at DBC's Denver and Arvada locations, and at Cerveceria Colorado, which is next door to the Denver tap room. Anyone who wears a sweater and brings in a toy gets a a free second beer with the purchase of their first. Toys will be donated to Denver Santa Claus Shop. The holiday beer at Cerveceria (where there will also be piñata smashing and churro cake is Ponche Villa, a a warm, spiced Christmas punch made by simmering typical Mexican fruits with cane sugar and spices; this version is a Vienna lager brewed with pear, apple, orange zest, cinnamon, raisins, clove, and piloncillo.
4 Noses Brewing in Broomfield unveils three barrel-aged bottled beers as part of its annual holiday release event, starting at 11 a.m. Single Barrel Select BMF Imperial Stout was aged in a Colorado Rye Whisky barrel, giving it notes of vanilla and a slight spiciness. Columbian Rum BMF Imperial Stout was aged in Columbian Rum casks and bottle-conditioned with blackstrap molasses, giving it oak and spice flavors that are balanced by chocolate and coffee. Toasted Coconut Bourbon BMF Imperial Stout was aged in Colorado Bourbon and second-use Port barrels; "the toasted coconuts accentuate the barrel character and bring forward some intense depth to this already complex imperial stout," the brewery says.
Thursday, December 19
Comrade Brewing kicks off its holiday party at 4 p.m. by tapping five different versions of its Quit Stalin Russian Imperial Stout (they will not last long). Coffee Maple Quit Stalin, Blueberry Nuttyness Quit Stalin, Strawberry Pop Tart Quit Stalin, Coconut Quit Stalin, and Bananas Foster Quit Stalin. Ugly sweaters encouraged; Christmas cookies will be provided.
Friday, December 20
Would you rather be on a beach somewhere instead of shoveling your car out after yet another snowstorm? That's the question that forms the basis of Little Machine Beer Company's July in Christmas party, where you can forget about winter from 7 to 11 p.m. "We're cranking up the heat to 80 degrees. Everyone in beach attire will get a free beer. And we're re-releasing customer favorite Concrete Paradise Pineapple IPA," the brewery says. "Bring your friends to be your backup singers during Karaoke starting at 8 p.m., and Bad Santa will be on site for photo ops and free lap rides." There will also be palm trees, summertime games and kiddie pools.
Denver Beer Co. releases a limited number of Crowlers of Cinnamon Toast Crunch Graham Cracker Porter at both of its locations in Denver and Arvada. This is DBC's classic Graham Cracker Porter with cassia cinnamon and brown sugar. The 5.6 percent ABV beer will also be on tap.
Saturday, December 21
Hops & Pie hosts one hell of a Stout and Holiday Beer Fest starting at noon when it taps: WeldWerks Medianoche #18706, Ratio Genius Wizard, Cerebral Safe Word and Winter Halo, 4 Noses Coconut Barrel Aged Stout, Westbound & Down Vanilla Absence, Copper Kettle Mocha Snowed In, Firestone Walker Mole Merkin, Strange Gingerbread Man, Port Brewing Santa's Little Helper, Brouwerij Huyghe Barrel Aged Delirium Noel, Southern Tier Old Man Winter, and Fremont Chocolate Vanilla Maple Dark Star.
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