Earlier this summer, the Brewers Association unveiled a new seal that it hopes independent craft breweries will add to the labels on their bottles and cans in order to distinguish themselves from large corporate-owned breweries, or small breweries that have been purchased by mega-brewers.
The seal, which depicts an upside-down bottle of beer with the words "Brewers Association Certified Independent Craft," has begun popping up in different places. A few companies, like Odell Brewing in Fort Collins and Left Hand Brewing in Longmont, have added it to upcoming labels or newsletters. Others, like Joyride Brewing in Edgewater, have posted the seal in sticker form on their doorways or walls.
The seal was initially received with mixed reaction from breweries, but it gained some momentum after Anheuser Busch InBev, which now owns eleven formerly independent breweries, released a video showing several of their brewery employees criticizing it. That was followed by a point-for-point parody produced by Reaver Beach Brewing in Virginia Beach.
Keep reading for the best local craft-beer events and tappings through August 27.
Wednesday, August 9
Lonely Planet's new book, Global Beer Tour - A Guide To Beer Tasting atthe World's Best Breweries, includes a passage about Black Shirt Brewing. To celebrate, the brewery will host two speakers who will share their fondest memories of beer and travel: Christopher Pritts of Lonely Planet, and Marty Jones, a local journalist turned beer evangelist, publicist and promoter who has his own company, called Marty Jones Ideas & Ink. (Music fans may also recognized Jones from the Denver music scene.) Hostel Fish is also part of this event, so if you show the bartender your Hostel Fish key card, you'll get 10 percent off your first round of drinks. Everyone else who buys a pint will be entered into a giveaway for items that include the book.
Thursday, August 10
For the first time ever, 4 Noses Brewing in Broomfield has canned its Peachopotamus, an ale brewed with peaches from Palisade. The beer is part of the brewery's Ad Hoc Series. 4 Noses will be celebrating all day, selling draft pours and four-packs to go.
Renegade Brewing will pay homage to its flagship beer, Redacted Rye IPA, from 5 to 10 p.m. With the purchase of a pint, you'll receive a limited Redacted pint glass and a six-pack to go, both while supplies last. Tell the brewery your best "I wish I could redact that," and be entered into a contest to win swag and beer.
Ratio Beerworks taps Float On Hefeweizen, a beer that "greets drinkers with classic esters of banana and clove and finishes with a lilting, effervescent mouthfeel," Ratio says. "Additionally, our head brewer Jason, took a page from Southern German research, on the relationship between sugar and yeast used to accentuate a bolder banana flavor profile. The result is a light, approachable 60 percent white wheat based Bavarian Hefeweizen, built perfectly to represent the no worry attitude imbued by beer."
Jake's Brew Bar in Littleton will tap Rusty Nail from Seattle's Fremont Brewing at 2 p.m. This is a rare beer that people seek out across the Denver area because of its limited distribution and its deliciousness. The 12.7 percent ABV imperial oatmeal stout is aged for fifteen months in twelve-year-old bourbon barrels. This version has licorice and cinnamon bark added.
The Save the Ales festival, a fundraiser for Conservation Colorado, returns to Mile High Station from 6 to 10:30 p.m., with dozens of local breweries on hand. "Raise a glass with friends while helping us raise funds to protect, conserve and ensure a future with plenty of clean water for all Coloradans. Because no water means no beer," the organization says. "Your Save the Ales ticket purchase will help Conservation Colorado educate citizens on how to be stewards of water, collaborate with lawmakers to protect water at the policy level, and encourage people to stand up for the basic human right to clean, healthy water for all." Tickets range from $30 to $65. To buy them and to find out more info about the festival and the organization, go to conservationco.org.
Friday, August 11
Double Dry-Hopped Rare Trait returns to Cerebral Brewing for Crowler sales only. "We took our house IPA and doubled the dry-hop rate to seven pounds per barrel with Citra, El Dorado, Azacca and Mosaic," Cerebral says. "It tastes even better than it sounds, with notes of over-ripe peaches, mango, guava and passion fruit." The brewery will release a limited number of Crowlers, three per person at $16 each, until they run out. Basecamp Provisions will be out front starting at 3 p.m.
Woods Boss Brewing will offer "a relaxing community atmosphere, fun games and delicious craft beers" when it officially opens its doors at 5 p.m. as part of its grand-opening weekend. The brewery, owned by Jordan Fink and Chad Moore, will have at least sixteen taps flowing in a variety of styles; there will also be non-alcoholic beverages and gluten-free beer. Jubilingo will be playing from 7 to 10 p.m.
"Grandma is getting with the times," says Grandma's House, which will tap its first-ever New England-style IPA, called Foggy Memory. "She's got a smartphone, a sleek little car that tells her when she is about to run into someone, and a head brewer that hails from New England. We've been anxiously awaiting (then forgetting, then getting even more excited when we remember again) the release of our newest IPA this Friday."
Fiction Beer Company will tap Sly Boots at 2 p.m. The new 6.3 percent ABV IPA "is an updated tropical West Coast IPA with Azacca, Citra, El Dorado, Simcoe and Mosaic hops," Fiction says. "Sweet orange, grapefruit, pine resin, and fruity candy notes are balanced against a noticeably bitter finish. It was inspired by "The Train," a short story by Raymond Carver.
Ursula Brewing's Nautical Buzz Coffee IPA is making a return for the end of summer. "We've tasted through another group of coffees this year, and we've decided on a natural-process Ethiopian Yirgacheffe," the brewery says. Logan House Coffee used the beans to create "a wholly unique cold brew that is intoxicatingly fragrant, deeply sweet, and very berry forward." Bomber bottles are $10.
To kick off its three-day third-anniversary shindig, Liquid Mechanics Brewing in Lafayette is releasing Batch 3 of its Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Porter in 22-ounce bombers, of which only eighty bottles will be available. This Imperial Porter has been aging in bourbon barrels since 2015, the brewery says. "We chose the best two barrels out of five to blend and put into these bottles. This is a super-rare treat."
Education on Tap is a beer festival hosted by CU South Denver (10035 South Peoria Street in Lone Tree), now in its fifteenth year. Formerly known as Art & Ale, the fest has a new look and a new purpose: Proceeds will benefit the CU South Denver Community Education Fund. There will be about twenty breweries there — both craft and mega-brewers — along with a variety of food, from McDonald's as well as local restaurants. In addition, there will be live music and lawn games. Tickets range from $50 to $100. Get them on the Education on Tap website.
Saturday, August 12
Denver Beer Co. raises a glass to its sixth anniversary by hosting a block party off Platte Street starting at 11 a.m. and continuing throughout the day and night. There will be beer, food trucks, live music, games, a photo booth and more. The family-friendly event is free to enter.
New Image Brewing will host the third edition of the Arvada Patio Society, with beers from four Arvada breweries served in festival style in the alley behind the expanded New Image patio. The other breweries in attendance will be Odyssey Beerwerks, Spice Trade Brewing and SomePlace Else Brewery. Come meet the brewers, try their beers, ask questions and explore what Arvada has to offer.
Join Grist Brewing at both of its locations for the release of Albino Stout. This beer looks like a blonde but tastes like a stout. Brewed with coffee and cocoa nibs, "It's a secret how we make it blonde," says Grist.
Liquid Mechanics Brewing has been turning out great beer for three years in Lafayette. To celebrate its birthday, the brewery will host an outdoor music fest with five bands that will be playing all day long, starting at 2 p.m. Headliners include Judge Roughneck playing ska and reggae, and Last Men on Earth, a ’70s/’80s/’90s tribute band. Inside the brewery, there will be sixteen beers on tap, including the brand-new Imperial Hop Nectar and Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Porter Batch 3. There will also be food trucks. Entry is free.
Every year, Call to Arms Brewing and Cannonball Creek Brewing join forces to support a young, up-and-coming Colorado brewery and celebrate the spirit of collaboration and camaraderie. While some breweries "send cease-and-desist letters, we aim to bring peace while assisting our brothers and sisters in arms," the two breweries say. This year's partner for Peace & Assist IV is Cellar West Artisan Ales, which opened last December at 1001 Lee Hill Drive in Boulder. Founded by Zach Nichols, formerly of Sanitas Brewing, Cellar West specializes in "distinctive, barrel-fermented beers that celebrate people, place and purpose." The event runs from 1 to 9 p.m. and includes three versions of Peace & Assist No. 4: the base version, brewed with raw and malted rye and fermented in oak with the Cellar West wild yeast culture; a variant made with fresh cucumbers and cardamom; and a dry-hopped version (Amarillo and Hallertau Blanc) that will be available in bottles as well. There will also be other beers from Cellar West, along with offerings from Call to Arms and Cannonball Creek. Boulder's Stone Lotus food truck will be on hand, and there will be live music from Chunky Whiskey.
Sunday, August 13
Bluegrass Brunch returns to Station 26 Brewing at 11 a.m. with beers, barbecue from Turn-In BBQ, doughnuts from Glazed and Confuzed, and music from Ran Off the Rooster.
Woods Boss Brewing will welcome live music from the Dollhouse Thieves today as part of the brewery's grand-opening celebration, with at least sixteen beers on tap. The brewery just opened on Friday.
To wrap up its third-anniversary weekend, Liquid Mechanics Brewing in Lafayette is hosting a release for its Imperial Hop Nectar in cans. It's an amped-up version of the brewery's 5.3 percent ABV hazy Hop Nectar IPA. The brewery will open a little late today, at 2 p.m., and will begin selling six-packs for $11.99 each at that time.
Monday, August 14
It may not technically be fall for a while, but that isn't stopping Avery Brewing from making a few leaves fall. The Boulder brewery has just released Rumpkin, its 16.9 percent ABV seasonal bomb of a pumpkin beer aged in rum barrels. Avery will celebrate its release today with a festive, fall-inspired menu. "Using pumpkin purée, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and ginger to mimic the spices of pumpkin pie, the four months spent aging in rum barrels add an additional level of rich complexity that isn’t typical to classic pumpkin ales, but isn’t without its challenge," the brewery says. "Rum barrels are notorious for leaking massive amounts of beer, which has been a major challenge in the past. After seven years of creating this beer, the special-projects team at Avery decided that they needed to do something differently, so they flew in two professional coopers from France to restore Avery’s rum barrels, as well as teach the team techniques to reduce waste in the future."
Thursday, August 17
Join the Governor’s Residence Preservation Fund from 6 to 8:30 p.m. for the fourth annual Brews and Bites, featuring beer from fifteen local breweries, food and comments from Governor John Hickenlooper. Taking place at the Governor's Mansion, the fest is coordinated by the fund and by the Colorado's Brewers Guild. Guests can sample the beers, which have paired with the culinary creations of more than a dozen Colorado chefs while wandering the rooms and gardens the mansion. Breweries serving beer include: Joyride, Broken Compass, Strange, Boulder Beer, Odell, Pikes Peak, Cerebral, Wibby, Epic, Horse & Dragon, Jagged Mountain, Telluride, New Belgium, Ratio and Baere. Tickets start at $75.
Friday, August 18
Cerebral Brewing will re-release Dreamy Thing, its GABF silver medal winning beer that was brewed in collaboration with Our Mutual Friend Brewery. Dreamy Thing is a saison brewed with wheat, fermented with Brettanomyces and dry-hopped with Citra, Centennial and Sterling. Coming in at 6.9 percent ABV, Dreamy Thing offers notes of "overripe pineapple, apricot, gooseberries followed by a clean dry finish," Cerebral says. It will be available in 500 ml bottles for $12 each; there is a limit of three per person. There will also be a limited amount on tap until it runs out. Dreamy Thing will also be available on draft and in bottles at Our Mutual Friend.
Join Odyssey Beerwerks in Arvada at 7 p.m. when it rolls out the barrel — of its German-style Marzen Oktoberfest beer — for Arvada mayor Marc Williams. That first keg is a firkin, and you can get your first pint free while it lasts. There will also be music from Polka Folka.
Saturday, August 19
Join Our Mutual Friend Brewing for the bottle release of Saison Trystero at 2 p.m. "Fermented with our house yeast and bottle-conditioned for two months, this Provision Saison has a complex yet dry malt profile, balanced hop bitterness, and wonderful citrusy aroma," OMF says. "We've designed it to be a reliable mainstay at the dinner table, on the porch with friends, or anything you can think of, for that matter." Each 750-ml corked-and-caged bottle is $11, and the first fifty customers get a free OMF corkscrew/bottle opener.
Black Shirt Brewing makes many special beers, but there is one that stands out every year because of its special meaning to brothers and brewery co-owners Chad and Branden Miller. Red Evelyn Imperial Red Rye IPA is typically brewed in the early spring and released in August to honor the Millers' grandmother Evie, who helped raise the boys in the town of Westcliffe. (Last year's version came out in December because the first batch didn't come out right). But the beer is also special because it is one of the best, most underrated double IPAs in the state. Brewed with wildflower honey, Belgian candi sugar and five kinds of hops, Red Evelyn takes five months to make because of the specialized processes that the Millers use. Uncannily balanced for such a big beer — 9.6 percent ABV — it offers flavors and aromas of pine, caramel, grapefruit, spice and flowers. This year, the party will run from 11 a.m. to midnight and feature live music from 1 to 9 p.m. from Silver and Smoke, Dayton Stone & The Undertones and Tyler Imbrey & The Ghost Review. Red Evelyn will be pouring on draft and in limited quantities of 32-ounce Crowlers to go.
Wanna hit seven breweries in one day? For $5, you can get on board the Brewery Bus Loop, two buses that will be working in a circle from 2 to 10 p.m., with stops at Black Sky, Renegade, Seedstock, Strange and Wit's End; and since Crazy Mountain and Intrepid Sojourner are just a block or so off the loop, you can visit those, as well. Purchase a punch card at your first stop.
Resolute Brewing in Centennial wants to party, so the brewery is shutting down the parking lot next to its building for a first-anniversary bash starting at noon. Resolute will kick things off an hour earlier, at 11 a.m., with its first ever (taproom-only) bomber release — a Belgian dark strong ale with peaches. This anniversary ale is limited, but there is no bottle limit — and while you can drink it fresh, Resolute says it was designed to age well, too. For the party, there will be a Big Wheel racing course that allows up to six trikes at a time. There will also be a beer tent overlooking the track — where Resolute will have other special releases on tap — as well as music, life-sized games, and a pig roast from Ol' Skool Que. At 5:30 p.m, the party moves indoors, with live music from Timber and more beer. Other details are TBA.
Beer festivals are a great way to get a taste of a wide variety of breweries without having to go to each one, and the Parker Brewfest, running from 2 to 5 p.m. in the gazebo area at Parker's O'Brien Park, will deliver this year with 39 breweries (and one cider house), nearly half of which hail from Parker, Littleton, Centennial, Aurora, Highlands Ranch and other south Denver suburbs. Some of the remaining breweries are from the northern suburbs or from beer companies that are making beer at other breweries but don't have locations yet. Hosted by the Cherry Creek Valley Rotary Club of Parker, the festival raises money for charities: 100 percent of the proceeds will benefit various groups, including Parker Task Force for Human Services; Douglas County Student Support Center; Crisis Center; Project Sanctuary; End Polio Now; ShelterBox; Rotary Water Project; and Project C.U.R.E. Tickets for the fest are $40 in advance from parkerbrewfest.com or $55 for VIP tickets, which get you in one hour early, at 1 p.m. In addition to beer, there will be food from Cheffin's Cheesesteaks, Sokare and Golden Toad, as well as music from the Dollhouse Thieves.
It's Oktoberfest season — almost — and Grimm Brothers in Loveland is releasing its annual Oktoberfest lager, Farmer's Daughter. "Using various European specialty malts we created an elegant, complex, rich, malt-forward beer, slightly hopped for balance and lagered for a clean finish," the brewery says. "The nose is full of malty complexity with notes of toasted bread, caramel, brown sugar, and chocolate. The aromatics transition to the taste buds as the same complexity intermingles on the tongue with a light-medium body, creamy mouthfeel, and a crisp, dry finish. It should be available on tap and in cans starting today.
The third annual Wheat Ridge Brewfest and BBQ Bash takes place in the area behind Colorado Plus Brewpub from 2 to 8 p.m. There will be live music, plenty of pork, and beer from Strange Craft, Green Mountain Beer, Brewery Rickoli, Black Bottle Brewery, Hogshead, Odyssey Beerwerks, Three Barrel, Lone Tree Brewing, 14er Brewing, Horse & Dragon, WestFax, Tivoli and more. Beer costs $2 per token; food is $10.
Tuesday, August 22
Pizzeria Locale in Highland Square will host a Crooked Stave happy hour from 5 to 7 p.m. Each guest can snag one free flight of Crooked Stave beer, which will include the new "sourless" pilsner. No food purchase necessary.
Wednesday, August 23
Prost Brewing will kick off its five-day-long fifth-anniversary party with music from DJ Sam and specialty sausages from Widermeats & Eats. There will be more music, beer tappings and food through Sunday.
Thursday, August 24
Prost Brewing continues its week-long fifth-anniversary party by tapping its Barrel-Aged Dunkel. There will be food from Seasoned Swine and music from Polka Folka.
Dry Dock Brewing will release a new pumpkin beer at 2 p.m. as part of its Signature Series. Pumpkin Double Porter will be on tap and in bottles at both Dry Dock locations.
Friday, August 25
Prost Brewing continues its week-long fifth-anniversary party at 5 p.m. by tapping a single firkin of its Keller Marzen bier. Music from Steve Linsky Reverbnation.
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Boulder Beer, the state's oldest craft brewery, has expanded its presence in town by opening a new brewpub in the former space occupied by the venerable Walnut Brewery. Boulder Beer will host a grand opening party so that the downtown crew can tap their newest creations. There will also be smoked barbecue, beer, wine and cocktails throughout the day, along with live music and door prizes.
Saturday, August 26
Resolute Brewing, which was founded by a group of Columbine High School grads, has put together the Reflection Garden on Tap Beerfest and 5K as a way to have a blast in Aurora. But proceeds will be used to construct a memorial in honor of the "victims, survivors, and heroes" of the 2012 Aurora theater shooting. The memorial will become a part of the Reflection Memorial Garden inside the ten-acre Aurora Municipal Water-wise Garden, at the northwest corner of Alameda Parkway and Chambers Road. The 5K course takes runners on a scenic jog through nearby parks and neighborhoods, finishing in the Water-wise Garden, where celebrations kick off with the beer fest. There will be fifteen breweries on hand, along with two food trucks, live music from Brushfire, life-sized games, sidewalk chalk artists and more. For details and registration, go to evenbrite.com.
The Post Brewing will celebrate its neighbors and its Lafayette brewing brethren at Townie Fest, a festival outside the brewpub running from noon to 5 p.m. and featuring food and beer from The Post and beer from Front Range Brewing, Liquid Mechanics Brewing and Odd13 Brewing. There will be carnival games, swag giveaways and live music throughout the day. Tickets range from $15 to $60 depending on what package you buy. Details and tickets are available at eventbrite.com. All proceeds benefit the Lafayette Professional Fire Fighters and their Fill the Boot Campaign.
Sunday, August 27
Join Boulder's Avery Brewing for the brewery-only release of Promiscuus, an 8.6 percent sour ale aged in Madeira and port barrels; the beer is the 46th in Avery's acclaimed Barrel-Aged Series. Avery will begin bottle sales at 1 p.m., although it will go on tap at 11 a.m. There will most likely be a line. In addition, Avery will be selling several cellars beers from the Barrel-Aged Series, including 2014 Pumpkyn, 2015 Samaels, 2014 Mephistopheles, Old Perseverance, 2010 Kaiser, 2013 Kaiser, 2010 Czar, and several others. These will be in very limited supply; see Avery's Facebook page for the full list. Promiscuus, which will sell for $12 a barrel, is "a rich and decadent sour that is slightly sweet and delivers on tartness," Avery says.
Thursday, August 31
The Real Dill will unveil the third pickle in its Briners & Brewers series, this time with Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project. For each release, the Real Dill partners with a local brewery to create a pickle based on one of the brewery’s beers. The two previous collaborations were with Odell and Great Divide. For this one, the Real Dill drew inspiration from Crooked Stave’s Colorado WildSage Brett Saison. "The unfiltered beer pays homage to the state of Colorado by incorporating all local ingredients, and fresh herbs such as lemongrass and sage. The latter ingredients were chosen to enhance the savory flavor profile of the pickle," the pickle makers says. "The process to make the collaboration pickles is not a simple matter of pouring beer into brine. Milled barley can be used to sweeten the brine, hops can be used to add depth and bitterness, and for this particular release, the brine was aged on oak and dry-hopped." A launch party takes place at Crooked Stave's taproom in the Source at 5 p.m. The pickles will also be available in stores starting in September.