Debate the debate -- and hops -- at Star Bar in this week's beer calendar

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Denver is in a frenzy over both tonight's debate and next week's beer-soaked Great American Beer Festival . And sometimes the two obsessions even come together!

To check out all the GABF-inspired events, go to our Great American Beer Festival 2012 Calendar of Awesome, which we're updating regularly. (The regular beer calendar will return in two weeks.) And in the meantime, here's a beery way to avoid the debate:

Wednesday, October 3

Tired of debating politics? How about hops? While the major party presidential candidates are duking it out at the University of Denver tonight, Star Bar will host the BIG Hops Debate. "We thought it would be more fun to answer a much more pressing question: Which Colorado brewery makes the best hoppy beer?" explains Star Bar owner Justin Lloyd. "To be a part of the solution, you have to be part of the process. Grab a brew, avoid traffic, watch the debate, and help answer the really important questions." Here are the Can Tenders: Avery IPA, New Belgium Ranger, Renegade Ryeteous, Oskar Blues G'Knight, Gubna and Deviant Dale's, and Ska Modus Hoperandi. On the taps: Avery's Ale to the Chief and DuganA, New Belgium Colorado Fresh Hop, Great Divide Colorado Fresh Hop and Hercules, and Wynkoop Belgorado. Cans are $3 to $5; drafts are $3. Get a taster of all thirteen for $20.

Fire on the Mountain Buffalo Wings will host a debate watching/heckling party tonight at 7 p.m. featuring half-price pints of Avery's Ale to the Chief, a pale ale first brewed in 2008 in honor of the presidential election and re-envisioned this year.

Great Divide taps Fresh Hop Pale Ale today at 2 p.m. in the taproom. "This lupulin-laced beauty has all the aromatic goodness of its hundreds of pounds of whole-cone Centennials, Cascades and Simcoes," the brewery says of the seasonal beer.

Thursday, October 4

Odell Brewery takes over an amazing 21 taps at Lucky Pie in Louisville (NOT DENVER) today at 5 p.m., pouring everything from old favorites like 90 Schilling and Levity Amber; seasonals like Mountain Standard and Isolation; recent, rare releases like Pond Hopper, Deconstruction and the Meddler; and taproom-only specials like Haven and Hale Peach Ale, Fall Harvest Wit, Wooden Elephant and Nibs and Beans

Friday, October 5

Denver Beer Fest, the nine-day sudstravaganza around the Great American Beer Festival, kicks off today when Mayor Michael Hancock returns to Denver Beer Co at 4:30 p.m. to tap the pumpkin beer that he sort of helped brew on September 19. The beer is made with pumpkins from Denver Urban Gardens.

Breckenridge Brewery will celebrate Denver Beer Fest by kicking off a new monthly tradition that will also honor the city's First Friday arts events. The brewery is launching Firkin First Fridays at 5 p.m. today by tapping into a rare, unique five-gallon cask.

Hops & Pie will tap a cask of Dry Dock Brewing's whisky-oaked Wee Heavy strong ale as part of its monthly First Firkin Friday program. The tapping is at 6 p.m.

Saturday, October 6

Copper Kettle will tap a new, fresh-hop beer today, Hoppa, that will replace Fresh Hop #9, a beer with a different recipe; all of the hops in this one came from Arvada Hop Farms. Copper Kettle is open from noon to 10 p.m. today, and Jesse's Smokin' NOLA will be out with Cajun cuisine from 5 to 9 p.m.

Odell Brewing will release its sixth Woodcut brew, an oak-aged American ale featuring Mosaic hops -- a new hops variety -- today at its Fort Collins taproom. Woodcut No. 6 is the first dry-hopped offering in the series and is the result of more than a year of collaboration between Odell and the Mosaic hop farmers, the brewery says. The tapping party will include live music and local food.

Chipotle Mexican Grill will present Cultivate Denver today from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; it's a free, all-day festival in the Meadow at City Park that celebrates "food, music and ideas and works to raise awareness of the impact that food has on society." There will be cooking demonstrations, seminars by celebrity chefs, a kids' area, and live music from Best Coast, Group Love, Okkervil River, Tennis and Zach Heckendorf. There will also be an Artisans' Hall and Brewers' Hall offering Colorado food (including an item from Chipotle's new Asian concept restaurant, ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen, in Washington, D.C.), along with wine and beer from Del Norte, Boulder Beer Company, Great Divide, Avery, Oskar Blues, Odell, Breckenridge Brewing, Left Hand, New Belgium and Ska. All proceeds from beer and wine sales will be donated to Food Family Farmers Foundation, which features chef Ann Cooper's The Lunch Box program, which helps transition school lunchrooms from processed foods to made-from-scratch meals.

Sunday, October 7

Strange Brewing will tap two different fresh-hopped beers today, Get Fresh Pale and a fresh-hopped IPAphany.



's Beer Man on Twitter at @ColoBeerMan and on Facebook at Colo BeerMan

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