Colorado beer calendar: Renegade Brewing opens; AC Golden goes wild

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New Belgium Brewing celebrates its twentieth anniversary -- and two decades of spreading the word about better beer -- next Tuesday.

Founded in Fort Collins in 1991, the brewery has gone from the basement of a house to become the third largest craft brewer in the nation, and it now has plans to grow even bigger as it searches for a spot to build a second brewery on the East Coast. In the past ten years, the number of barrels of beer New Belgium brews has risen at an annual average of 15 percent (one year, it was only 3.6 percent; in another, it was closer to 40 percent). In 2010, it brewed 660,000 barrels.

So crack you favorite New Belgium beer this week -- whether it's Fat Tire or La Folie -- and wish New Belgium a happy birthday. Next year, it will be old enough to drink.

Here are some other events on tap for the next week:

Thursday, June 23

#BrewDEN, the craft beer meetup-and-greet group, will convene at Ale House at Amato's, 2501 16th Street, tonight at 6 p.m. The new pub, which is owned by the recently combined Breckenridge/Wynkoop Brewing group, has reserved some tables on its awesome rooftop patio for the occasion.

Friday, June 24

Star Bar, 2137 Larimer Street, which features an ever-rotating selection of awesome beers, will be the only place in town to try out three very small-batch brews from AC Golden Brewing, the feisty MillerCoors subsidiary that also makes Colorado Native. The experimental beers, which are also the first three ales that AC Golden has made (it typically has just made lagers), aren't available commercially anywhere else. They are: American Wild Ale, a sour beer aged for a year in French oak wine barrels and then pressed with merlot grapes; Barrel-aged Russian Imperial Stout, aged nine months in a whiskey barrel and weighing in at 13 percent ABV; and Belgian-style Saison, which was brewed with oats and wheat and fermented with three different Belgian yeast strains. The brews, along with Colorado Native, go on tap at 5 p.m.

Join Odell Brewing at the Falling Rock Taphouse today at 5 p.m. for a special tapping of Hiveranno, the recently-released "new American wild ale."

Saturday, June 25

The Colorado Brewers Festival returns to Fort Collins today and tomorrow with a slightly different format -- one that organizers hope will please everyone. (See "Beer drinkers can drink all day long again at the Colorado Brewers' Festival"). Sample sixty beers from thirty Colorado breweries and enjoy live music both days, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are $10, plus $1 for each four-ounce pour.

Sunday, June 26

Renegade Brewing, 925 West Ninth Avenue, opens its doors for the first time today at 2 p.m. in the Art District on Santa Fe, where it will be showing off its new brewery and tasting room and pouring three beers brewed by owners Brian and Khara O'Connell. Come toast the latest addition to Denver's craft brewing scene.

Tuesday, June 28

Great American Beer Festival tickets go on sale to members of the Brewers Association and the American Homebrewers Association. Tickets for the general public go on sale on Thursday, June 30.

Rock Bottom downtown, 1001 16th Street, taps the appropriately themed American Dream American Style IPA, today at 6 p.m., and as usual, the restaurant will be serving free pints until 6:30 p.m.

City, O'City, 206 East 13th Avenue, has a firkin of Left Hand Brewing's 400 Pound Monkey that has been monkeyed with by adding extra hops; tapping is at 7 p.m.

Thursday, June 30

Step right up and get your tickets for the Great American Beer Festival, the biggest, baddest brewfest of the year. No, seriously, get them. Soon. Tickets for GABF, which runs September 29 through October 1, go on sale today. And although it usually takes a few weeks to sell out, the three-day affair always does sell out. Get your tix at www.greatamericanbeerfestival.com.

Bristol Brewing, 1647 South Tejon in Colorado Springs, will release its seasonal Cheyenne Canon Ale/Pinon Nut Brown this evening. All proceeds from the sale of the beer will be donated to The Friends of Cheyenne Canon to help renovate the Helen Hunt Falls Visitors Center inside the park. Join Bristol for a hike in Cheyenne Canon at 5 p.m. and then meet for a beer at the brewery.

Friday, July 1

Hops & Pie hosts its monthly First Firkin Friday tonight with a doozy from Strange Brewing Company, which also makes Hops & Pie.P.A just for the North Denver pizza restaurant: Cherry Bomb Stout aged on cocoa nibs. If you haven't tried Cherry Bomb, it's one of Denver's most unusual brews, a Belgian-style wheat made with malts used for a stout and topped off with sour cherries. The firkin will be tapped at 6 p.m.

Great Divide gets patriotic with its Red, White & Brew triple-release beer party from 6 to 9 p.m. at the brewery and tap room, 2201 Arapahoe Street. Great Divide is re-releasing two seasonals that debuted for the first time in 2010 -- Rumble Oaked Aged IPA and Smoked Baltic Porter -- and introducing a new member of its Yeti clan of beers, Begian Style Yeti. Admission to the party is $20 and includes three drink tickets, one food ticket to the Basic Kneads Pizza truck, and live music from Casey James Prestwood and the Burning Angels. And if you show up in a star-spangled costume, you'll be entered in a contest to win one of three $25 Great Divide gift cards. Great Divide parties usually sell out, so get your tickets early.

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

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