Big Shikes night at Old Chicago kicks off American Craft Beer Week in Denver

The debut of Ska Brewing's Big Shikes Orange Blossom Imperial Pilsner packed the house at Old Chicago's Market Street location last night as beer bloggers, brewers and just plain fans turned out to celebrate American Craft Beer Week.

The annual celebration -- which includes thousands of events across the country -- is put together by the Boulder-based Brewers Association, and two of the trade group's top representatives, Julia Herz and Andy Sparhawk, were on hand to read the Declaration of Beer Independence and toast the craft-beer industry.

Big Shikes itself, which I (kind of) helped Ska head brewer Thomas Larsen put together in February, attracted accolades for being a big rich beer that felt like a much lighter one. Based on a traditional pilsner recipe, it's spiked with orange blossom honey and carries about twice as much alcohol as the typical pils.

Brewed for Old Chicago, which is running a Craft Beer Mini Tour, Big Shikes will just be available at the restaurant group's 26 Colorado locations and only through June 5.

Over the past year, several Colorado brewers have produced special, limited-edition releases for Old Chicago, including Tommyknocker, Breckenridge, Boulder Beer, Oskar Blues and now, Ska.

Anyway, thanks to all who came out. It was a blast. Oh, and stay tuned for the an epic taste-off between Big Shikes and Wynkoop Brewing's Patty's Chile Beer, the beer named after my boss.

Follow Westword's Beer Man on Twitter at @ColoBeerMan.

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