Colorado's craft breweries will kick off one of the most interesting, most unusual weeks of the year on Saturday, when Collaboration Fest gets the ball rolling for Colorado Craft Beer Week. Sure, you might say that every week is craft-beer week in Colorado, but this one is a little different. For starters, it's a chance to try dozens and dozens of one-off specialty collaborations — and not just at the festival. Breweries all over the state will also be tapping their collaborations at various points. But the week will continue with a variety of other opportunities, as well, including various seminars on tasting beer, beer dinners and Colorado Pint Day, when you can get a cool glass with chipmunks on it and help support the Colorado Brewers Guild at the same time.
Colorado Craft Beer Week runs March 31 through April 7. Some events are listed below — and many will be added over the next few days — but you can also find information at coloradobeer.org, the official site for Colorado Craft Beer Week. “Craft beer is not just about the liquid in the glass,” says the Guild's Steve Kurowski. “It is a part of our state’s DNA through community, entrepreneurial spirit, jobs and building the local economy.”
Here are our picks of the best craft beer events and tapping through April 7:
Thursday, March 29
Oasis Brewing, which has been under construction in an old church just off 32nd Avenue and Lowell Boulevard, hosts its grand opening starting at 5 p.m. Oasis was born in Boulder in 1991 before closing up shop ten years later. But it has been resurrected and will be serving the five flagship beers it was known for back then: Scarab Red Ale, Tut Brown Ale, Oasis Pale Ale, Capstone ESB and Zoser Oatmeal Stout. The Hazel Miller Trio will play from 6 to 8 p.m., and there will be gyros available for purchase from the Stand, a longtime Boulder favorite.
Friday, March 30
Join Jagged Mountain Craft Brewery for the release of two different collaborations, both of which will available at Collaboration Fest as well. The first is Hurricane Haze, a "Southeast Coast Style IPA" brewed with Colorado- grown Root Shoot Malt, toasted coconut, mango, pineapple, and a ton of Citra, Mosaic and Azacca hops; it was done in collaboration with Co-Brew. The second is Lupulin Smoothie, a New England-style IPA brewed with Galaxy, Mosaic and Amarillo hops and finished Belgian yeast; this one was done in collaboration with Überbrew in Billings, Montana, which is know for its hoppy beers and many awards.
Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project will release a new non-sour beer in cans at noon in its taproom at the Source. Do You Even Zest?! is a limited-release citrus double IPA "loaded with an immense amount of hops and freshly tested citrus," the brewery says. "Our team meticulously zests fresh citrus for each and every batch, which begs the question, do you even zest?"
This year marks the seventieth anniversary of Denver's Sister City relationship with the town of Brest, France. To celebrate, Renegade Brewing is tapping a sister-city beer that it made in collaboration with Brest's Brasserie Du Baril. Sister Cities Saison is a French saison aged in Chardonnay barrels. Starting at 5:30, you can get a pint, a commemorative glass and a sweet or savory crepe for $15.
Get a sneak preview of some of the collaboration beers that will be poured at the 5th Annual Collaboration Beer Fest, which takes place tomorrow, with a Collab Fest Preview Party at Finn's Manor, starting at 8 p.m. Enjoy Magnetic North White IPA from Ratio Beerworks and Ska; Dry Hopped Malt Liquor from Lone Tree Brewing and Cannonball Creek; and Amici Nasum Saison from Great Divide Brewing and 4 Noses Brewing.
Saturday, March 31
Colorado's marquee festival, Collaboration Fest, returns for its fifth year to the Hyatt Regency, with more than 100 unusual or one-off collaborative beers from 150 breweries all over the state. Most Colorado breweries partnered with each other, but some teamed up with beer makers in other states or even other countries. The unique, can't-miss event, part of Colorado Craft Beer Week, is hosted by the Colorado Brewers Guild and Two Parts. General admission tickets are $65 and include all the beer you can drink from 4 to 7 p.m.; VIP tix are $85 and get you in an hour early, at 3 p.m. For tickets and the list of collaborations, go to collaborationfest.com.
Still thirsty? Then join Ratio Beerworks and Ska Brewing, who are hosting the official Collab Fest After Party at Star Bar from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. The Mystery Sisters DJ team will be on hand, and there will be a special tapping of beers from Ratio and Ska, including their collaboration, Magnetic North, a Norwegian White IPA.
Sunday, April 1
Stop by the Yak & Yeti/Spice Trade Brewing in Arvada to try the brewery's collaboration with Resolute Brewing. Triple Tripel, which debuted a day earlier at Collaboration Fest, is a 9.1 percent ABV Belgian Tripel blended with three different Tripel beers. The base beer is fermented with a blend of Belgian Yeast, the second was kettle soured, and the third was fermented in a Chardonnay barrel with three strains of Brett. This beer has notes of Chardonnay and Oak, with notable Belgian yeast characters. Not too sour, slightly tart.
Almost one year ago, Joyride Brewing collaborated with Little Machine Beer on a beer called West Side is the Blessed Side — and had the brew blessed by Father Wes from St. Dominic Parish. Joyride took some of that beer and stashed it in a Chardonnay barrel for 364 days. On Easter Sunday, they will tap it.
Wednesday, April 4
Colorado breweries will celebrate the annual Colorado Pint Day again today, an event designed to support the Colorado Brewers Guild. Stop in at one of several dozen breweries, buy a beer and keep the glass, which was designed by artist Brendan O’Connor from Good Land Design. The artwork was inspired by the theme of 300 days of sunshine and 300-plus breweries in the state. One dollar from each pint sold will be donated to the Colorado Brewers Guild. Find the complete list of participating breweries on the Guild's website.
Thursday, April 5
"Are you interested in learning more about pairing your craft beer with food? Curious about even where to start?" Then join author and craft-beer ambassador Julia Herz, of the Brewers Association, and Dave Bergen, owner of Joyride Brewing, as they take you through the Basics of Food Pairing. "This fun, 45-minute experience at the brewery will touch on topics such as intensity, the three Cs [cut, complement and contrast], and the dreaded train wreck," Joyride says. This course includes four samples of Joyride beer, as well as various food items that will pair along with the brews. There are two different sessions. Tickets, $20, are available here.
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Friday, April 6
Finn's Manor hosts a 2 p.m. tapping for Make IPA Clear Again, a collaboration of hoppy specialists Comrade Brewing in Denver and La Cumbre Brewing out of New Mexico. There will be live music at 7 p.m., and the greatest hits from both breweries take over the rest of the taps all day.
Come drink behind the scenes starting at 10 a.m. at Great Divide before the Colorado Rockies home opener. The open house is free and beers are $5, including the brand-new Heyday IPA, which hasn't yet been released. There will also be tacos and a cookie pairing from Good Sugar Baking.
Saturday, April 7
Station 26 Brewing will host the crowler release of Mango Papaya Milkshake IPA at 1 p.m. "Fruity, silky, delicious, perfect for spring," the beer is part of the brewery's Milkshake IPA series. There will be 300 32-ounce crowlers for sale at $14 each. It will also be on tap.
Renegade Brewing will introduce a new beer in six-packs with a launch party from noon to 4 p.m. Free to Roam American Pale Ale will be a year-round beer. As an added twist, the brewery is sending someone to Buena Vista for a two-night stay. Anyone who wants to participate should come with a backpack or suitcase packed. At 2 p.m., Renegade will draw a winner and send them on an adventure with two six-packs of Free to Roam and $100 in spending cash. The winner will have to "call in sick” on Monday.