Colorado beer calendar: casks, firkins and Leap Day Yeti

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Breckenridge Brewing released its Stranahan's Well Built E.S.B. this week to liquor stores around town, the first of what should be several quarterly releases of this barrel-aged beer. The beer is one of several delicious new brews that have hit shelves in recent days: Others include Deviant Dale's IPA tallboys from Oskar Blues, Olde Broale from Rockyard Brewing, B3K from Wynkoop Brewing and Dig from New Belgium.

Make Leap Day your excuse to try 'em all.

Wednesday, February 29

Great Divide Brewing will honor the once-ever-four-year gift that is Leap Day by leaping back in time with some vintage Yeti Imperial Stout on tap. They'll be pouring 2007 Yeti, 2010 Yeti and 2009 Oak Aged Yeti beginning at 2 p.m.

The Yak & Yeti has dedicated one of its tap handles specifically to Belgian-style beers made by head brewer Adam Draeger. The first of these, La Bhutan Citra, will go tap today at 4 p.m. It's a 6.4 percent ABV ale fermented with the Ardennes yeast strain and is loosely based on a strong Belgian blonde, but flavor-hopped with Citra hops. Oh, and if your birthday is today (Leap Day) and you show your ID, Draeger will buy your first pine, he says, "because technically you hear 'Happy Birthday!' four times less than the rest of us."

The Cheeky Monk on Colfax will tap its keg of Pliny the Younger today at 7 p.m. The rare triple IPA is made by Russian River Brewing in California. Get there early because the beer will likely be gone within minutes -- or close to it.

Thursday, March 1

Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar will add a briny twist to its annual Oyster Month by tapping a special Oyster Stout made just for the restaurant by Odell Brewing in Fort Collins. Jax, which has spots in Denver and Boulder, recently opened a third location in Fort Collins, and the proximity to Odell was too much to resist. The beer combines seven kinds of malts, TCZ hops, and 25 pounds of Emersum oysters, shells and all. Odell will host a release party and crab boil to celebrate the beer in its Fort Collins tap room today beginning at 2 p.m. The beer goes on tap at all three Jax Fish House locations on March 8 at 4 p.m.

Friday, March 2

Hops & Pie will celebrate First Friday in the Tennyson arts district with its annual Firkin First Friday, starting at 6 p.m. The newly-expanded restaurant will tap a cask of Mint Chocolate Yeti, Great Divide's Yeti Imperial Stout conditioned with mint.

Dry Dock Brewing in Aurora will tap two firkins of its latest cask-conditioned one-off beer, Roasted Marshmallow Graham Cracker Brown. One firkin will be tapped at 3 p.m. and another at around 7 or 8 p.m.

Saturday, March 3

Barleywines are one of the best beers to age, and Freshcraft has a keg of Great Divide Old Ruffian from 2008 that it will tap at 11 a.m. today. The beer-centered restaurant will also tap a keg of this year's version of the brewery's 10.2 percent ABV, hop-forward barleywine.

Star Bar will host a Firestone Walker tap takeover tonight beginning at 6 p.m. that includes DBA, Pale 31, Walker's Reserve, Velvet Merlin, Double Jack and the very rare Velvet Merkin, which is the Merlin aged in bourbon barrels. There will also be bottles of Sucaba.

Did you miss Copper Kettle's Battle of the Bitters release party last weekend. Never fear. The battle continues today when the brewery taps both British Best and ESB on casks operated by hand pumps -- UK-style. The brewery just got the hand pump and this will be the first time it uses it. The British Best Bitter Cask will go on from 6 to 8 p.m.; the ESB Cask will take its turn from 8 to 10 p.m.

Sunday, March 4

Hops & Pie will welcome Salt Lake City's Epic Brewing into the house today at 2 p.m. for its monthly Littlest Big Beer Fest. Draft selections include Big Bad Baptist Imperial Stout, Sour Apple Saison, Brainless on Peaches, and Smoked and Oaked Belgian Strong Ale; flights and single pours available. There will also be bottles of Hopulent IPA and Copper Cone Pale Ale

Saturday, March 10

Denver Beer Co throws down Big Easy-style today from noon to 4 p.m. with a crawfish boil. Tickets are $25 and include two beers, crawfish and all the fixings. The brewery points out that beads, beers, andles bon temps are guaranteed. Call the brewery at 303-433-2739 to reserve limited spots in the beer garden.

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