Colorado beer calendar: Open beery holiday treats at local breweries

Holiday beers are on tap all around town, and you'll find some good ones right at the source -- at the breweries that make them. Some of the wintery wonders you can try include Ugly Sweater at Wit's End Brewing, Winter Spice Ale (with star anise, vanilla soaked in rum, ginger and allspice) at Copper Kettle, Yule Fuel 2010 at the Bull & Bush, Blitzen at Rock Bottom downtown, Ginger Bread Man, which went on tap Wednesday at Strange Brewing, and Radiator at Renegade Brewing, which also goes on tap Friday. Thursday, December 1

Rock Bottom downtown Denver will cash in on winter's arrival today by tapping its annual holiday beer, Blitzen Old Ale, at 6 p.m. They'll give away free pints of this 7.3 percent ABV beer between 6 and 6:30 p.m. (be patient; it's usually a crazy scene) and $0.25 from each pint sold after that will benefit Denver's Parade of Lights.

Friday, December 2

Hops & Pie will celebrate its monthly First Firkin Friday (timed to coordinate with the Tennyson art district's First Friday events) with Oskar Blues. Details TBA.

Renegade Brewing, located in the Art District in Santa Fe, will tap a new beer on First Friday as well. Radiator is a 9 percent ABV warmer made with cinnamon, nutmeg, orange peel and brown sugar. It will warm you like a radiator.

Saturday, December 3

Every Saturday at 11 a.m. for the rest of 2011, Freshcraft plans to tap a rare or special beer. It'll kick off the Saturday Special Series with Russian River Supplication, a brown ale aged in pinot noir barrels with sour cherries, brettanomyces yeast, and lactobacillus and pedicoccus bacteria. On December 10, Freshcraft will tap Avery The Beast Grand Cru Ale, followed by Coney Island Geektoberfest on December 17.

Asher Brewing, at 4699 Nautilus Court, in Boulder will celebrate its second anniversary today from noon to 10 p.m. Bonnie & The Beard will be playing at 7 p.m. and Salt Box will be serving food from 4 to 8 p.m. Colorado Craft Beer Radio, AM 760, will be also there from noon to 1 p.m. for its first Boulder broadcast ($1 off pints while they are there). Tours of the all-organic brewery and cornhole will also be available.

The Wynkoop Brewing Company will get into the holiday spirit from 1 to 4:30 p.m. with its annual Parade of Darks fundraiser, showcasing darker-style beer, including some made just for the season. More than seventy beers will be featured, from stouts and sours to Belgians and barleywines. All proceeds from ticket sales will go to Metro CareRing, a downtown Denver food pantry. Tickets are $25 or $30 at the door if the event is not sold out. Find them at www.wynkoop.com.

Avery Brewing will tap is season Mephistopheles' Stout at 6 p.m. today in the Boulder taproom. :This coal-black demon is amazingly complex," the brewery says. "Velvety with a bouquet of vine ripened grapes, anise, chocolate covered cherries, and a double espresso finish." And, if you are in to that kind of thing, the brewery will also host a vertical tasting of Mephistopheles from 2009, 2010, and 2011 that includes meats, cheeses, and chocolates from Cured on Pearl Street. Tickets are $20 and won't be available until today at 11 a.m. There will also be a lesson on beer pairing from Avery taproom manager, Phil.

Renegade Brewing will tap its second new beer in two days when it unveils Elevation, an 11 percent ABV double IPA made with only one kind of hops: Summit. And stay tuned, because a portion of this beer is aging in a Wild Turkey barrel for release this summer.

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