There will be no ugly sweater parties this year. No Santa pub crawls or awkward office outings, and no holiday-themed happy hours or tinsel-laden beer festivals. In fact, unless you are Mayor Michael Hancock, you might not even be traveling to see your family in another state — much less across town.
Which is why Colorado breweries have been spicing up their six-pack and twelve-pack offerings over the past few months to help beer lovers party at home. And the holidays are bringing out even more creativity with mixed packs so you can try a wide variety of fun stuff, not just the same old brewery flagships.
The goal is to provide something for everyone, or everything for someone (depending on your particular situation). Here are ten new mix-packs that go beyond the normal — and into the new normal.
The Milk Box
Left Hand Brewing
Left Hand Brewing has gone over to the dark side — or rather, the stout side. The brewery specializes in nitro beer and milk stouts, and its latest mix-pack capitalizes on the latter. The box includes three twelve-ounce cans each of Peanut Butter Milk Stout, Raspberry Milk Stout, Chai Milk Stout and Bittersweet Imperial Coffee Milk Stout. And like other breweries, Left Hand makes some of these — Chai Milk Stout and Bittersweet Imperial Coffee Milk Stout — available only in the mix-pack to give you one more reason to buy it.
Telluride Brewing introduced a new mixed twelve-pack this summer with a fun (if not entirely practical) marketing idea: You can convert the box into a fanny pack by cutting two holes into it for your belt. The best part about the Fanny Pack, though, is the beers, which rotate seasonally and have included Russell Kelly Pale Ale, Telluride Kolsch and even Move Me Brightly IPA, an experimental beer that uses hop terpenes.
Niwot's Bootstrap Brewing is diving into the hard-seltzer craze by becoming one of the only breweries to include a seltzer in its otherwise beery twelve-packs. The Party Pack, which the brewery says it started producing as a direct result of pandemic sales trends, includes two twelve-ounce cans of five beers (Insane Rush IPA, Lush Puppy Juicy IPA, Chillax Pineapple Gold, Stick's Pale Ale, and Wreak Havoc Imperial Red Ale). But it also includes two cans of Sparkalicious Hard Seltzer "made with real fruit and inspired by classic cocktail recipes." A rotating selection of the brewery's three seltzer flavors are included in every Party Pack.
Hop Mix Box
Upslope Brewing has finally released a hazy IPA, and the brewery is making fun of itself for being "late to the game" with its entertaining Facebook videos. But the new year-round beer is also the centerpiece of the Hop Mix Box, an unusual hops-heavy twelve-pack that also includes Upslope's IPA, Spruce Tip IPA and Citra Pale Ale.
Pack of Yetis
Great Divide Brewing
Great Divide Brewing almost always releases a special gift pack before the holidays, but this year's is a little different: It's a fancy box of three 19.2-ounce cans of Yeti Imperial Stout variations. The brewery has been introducing new Yetis on a quarterly basis and plans more next year. This five-pack includes Chocolate Cherry Yeti, S’mores Yeti and Big Yeti — a 13.5 percent ABV version that's exclusive to this package — along with a Yeti Brussels glass.
Snowed In Gift Box
Copper Kettle Brewing
Copper Kettle Brewing went big — really big — for its first holiday beer gift box. The set includes five variants of the brewery's Snowed In Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Oatmeal Stout series: cherry, vanilla, coconut, mocha and maple, as well as a custom Snowed In glass. And it will set you back a bit, as the gift box retails for $110 plus tax. Then again, these are big, 13 percent ABV beers and they come in huge 19.2-ounce cans.
Oskar Blues Brewing
Oskar Blues has sold plenty of different mix-packs over the years. In fact, it was one of the first breweries to do so. But this one is unusual in that it includes the Longmont brewery's three different Can-O-Bliss hazy IPAs, along with Pinner Session IPA (which had been off the market for a while). The pot-themed Can-O-Bliss IPA, Can-O-Bliss Resinous and Can-O-Bliss Double IPA are the other cans.
AC Golden Brewing/Molson Coors
For 25 years, Coors has been brewing a special German-style pilsner named for Adolph Coors's home town, Barmen, and served only at the brewery and in a handful of local bars. That changed in October, however, when Coors's pilot brewery, AC Golden, began canning Barmen Pilsner and selling it as part of the Trilogy Pack, which will only be around during the holidays. Each twelve-pack comes with four Barmen cans, along with four each of Coors Banquet and Batch 19. All three lagers are special to the Coors family and have only ever been brewed in Colorado. The Barmen can even comes with pouring instructions to help people get the foam right.
Dry Dock Brewing
The Booty Box is nothing new for Dry Dock, but the included beers are getting more interesting, and like some other breweries, Dry Dock uses the mix-pack to introduce new beers that aren't sold by themselves. The most recent Booty Box includes two flagships, Apricot Blonde and Hop Abomination IPA, but it also has three cans each of Sour Apricot and the brand-new (in cans anyway) Peanut Butter Cup Porter. In addition, Dry Dock donates 25 cents from every Booty Box to the Hunger Free Colorado nonprofit organization.
Belgian Style Abbey Series
One of the coolest mix-packs on the market, Bruz Beers' elegantly packaged four-pack includes one can each of its Belgian-style Single, Dubbel, Tripel and Quadrupel. Very few breweries make these styles, let alone all four, and packaging them together so that consumers can try them all is a stroke of genius. You can find the unique four-packs at either of Bruz's taprooms or in a select few liquor stores around the metro area.
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