Colorado beer calendar: Chocolate-y Yeti treats at Star Bar; rich Avery brews at Hops & Pie

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The Big Red F restaurant group has made a name for itself in the local craft-beer scene over the past two years: Boulder's West End Tavern is a great place to find rare and delicious craft brews, while Centro in Boulder and Lola in Denver dish out cans of Top Rope, a Mexican-style lager made just for them by Upslope Brewing.

Last July, a group of Big Red F staffers got the chance to spend three days in Chico, California, brewing with Sierra Nevada at the vaunted beer-maker's Beer Camp. The result is a 9 percent ABV lavender-honey IPA, suggested by Centro chef Ian Clark, called Pitch a Tent. The West End Tavern tapped the exclusive beer last week and still has it available on draft; Centro will have one keg of Pitch a Tent that it will tap on December 27.

Wednesday, December 14

The Yak & Yeti Brewpub will tap its Vanilla Porter at 4 p.m. as part of its Wednesday series of new beer tappings.

Thursday, December 15

Star Bar will be better than sex tonight when it pairs two foods that make people cry out with joy. The Beer and Chocolate Pairing Event, which starts at 6 p.m., will pair six Great Divide beers with six kinds of local handmade chocolate. The Chocolate Therapist's first pairing is Great Divide Oak Aged Yeti with dark chocolate peanut butter and sea salt; her second is Great Divide Grand Cru with Milk Chocolate amaretto cappuccino. Getting aroused? Check out the rest of the list on Star Bar's website. Tickets are $20.

Freshcraft will tap a keg of Upslope Brewing's 3rd Anniversary Ale tonight at 7 p.m. to honor the Boulder brewery's first three years. Upslope reps will be there to talk all things Upslope. The beer, a 7.4 percent ABV Baltic porter is described as having "hints of coffee, chocolate, and subtle smokiness."

Ale House at Amato's will team up with Breckenridge Brewing, Firestone Walker, Great Divide, Renegade, Upslope and Left Hand to celebrate the 12 Beers of Christmas and support the Starlight Children's Foundation (which helps kids with illnesses). The beer-tasting takes place tonight from 5 to 9 p.m. (on the rooftop patio. if weather permits) and includes samples of all twelve beers, plus a free pint. The cost is $10 if you bring and donate a new toy and $15 if you don't.

Rock Bottom Downtown Denver will release Hop Bomb, its double IPA, today at 6 p.m. Pints are free between 6 and 6:30.

Friday, December 16

Dry Dock Brewing will tap two firkins of Kaffir Lime Blonde today as part of its weekly Firkin Friday program, one at 3 p.m. and another around 7 or 8 p.m.

Saturday, December 17

Copper Kettle will release its Belgian Golden Strong Ale tonight at 5 p.m. The brewery has been aging the big beer for almost two months.

Renegade Brewing wants you to embarrass yourself at its Bad Sweater party, which will start at 7 p.m. tonight. You can drown those red faces, however, with the brewery's Raspberry Ale, which will be tapped for the first time.

Freshcraft will tap Coney Island Geektoberfest today as part of its Saturday Special Tapping Series, which runs through the end of the year. The beer is described thusly: "The most expensive kitchen sink beer ever produced. A blend of Captain Lawrence Brewing's Sour Brown Ale, aged in Port Barrels for over 2 years; Ithaca Beer Co.'s Nut Brown Ale aged in a combination of Bourbon barrels and barrels previously used to age Sam Adams Utopias; and from Shmaltz, 4 years of Jewbelation, Rejewvenator: Year of the Grape, and Human Blockhead."

Sunday, December 18

This month's Littlest Big Beer Fest at Hops & Pie will feature some of Avery Brewing's most loved, most sought-after beers on tap: Maharaja, the kingly hop bomb; Meph Addict, an espresso-infused, super-Belgian imperial stout; Rumpkin, the eBay-worth rum-barrel-aged imperial pumpkin ale; Old Jubilation, Avery's classic winter strong ale; and Avery IPA, a flagship. The fest begins at 2 p.m. Single pours and flights are available.

Monday, December 19

Roust the troops and converge on the Ale House at Amato's at 5 p.m. tonight for a "special, never before seen line-up" of Avery Brewing's entire three-part Dictator Series on tap: Kaiser, Czar, and Maharaja. All three will stay on tap till the kegs run dry.

Saturday, December 24

Make sure your shopping is done because Freshcraft will tap two excellent holiday ales today at 11 a.m.: The Bruery's 4 Calling Birds & Port Brewing's Santa's Little Helper. But enjoy them fast, because the restaurant will close up at 4 p.m. so the staff can spend some time with their families.

Saturday, December 31

Great Divide will help you uncork the new year tonight with its New Year, New Beer Midnight Toast. The party will be the first time that the brewery's latest beer, Nomad, will be tasted in the taproom; the beer, a pilsner, will be released in bottles in January. Great Divide will stay open late tonight and pour Nomad's for a midnight toast. Get there early.

Follow Westword's Beer Man on Twitter at @ColoBeerMan
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