For many of Colorado's small breweries, the change in the calendar from 2019 to 2020 is bringing new beginnings, while for others, it portends bittersweet endings.
The Strange Brewing/Wit's End joint taproom, for example, will be parting ways with head brewer Tyler Bies as it "reorganizes the roles" in its business going into the new year. Bies, who was the head brewer at Wit's End, joined Strange when the former moved in with the latter two years ago. "There were many hurdles in implementing this new concept, and Tyler was invaluable in getting over them. His efforts greatly added to the success of both brands," Wit's End writes on its Facebook page.
Over at Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project, meanwhile, the brewery poured beer for the last time on December 31 at the Source, where it opened six years ago. The brewery is moving back to its original location and production brewery at 46th Avenue and Pecos, and will host a grand reopening there on January 9.
But there will be plenty of beer action before then:
Wednesday, January 1, 2020
New year, new beer. That's the word from Black Shirt Brewing, which taps the second of its nitro double brown variants, Morning Stretch, made with Guatemalan Huehuetenango coffee. "Grown and processed by Augusto Castillo and his father, Ronaldo, at 6,300 feet above sea level, Huehuetenango beans benefit from a slower maturation time and cooler nights," the brewery says. "The coffee's subtle notes of mandarin, Honeycrisp apple, and maple play well with the roasted chestnut and molasses character of the double brown, resulting in a 10 percent ABV beer that is silken and coffee-forward, but with little perceived bitterness.
Next Stop Brew Company (formerly known as Intrepid Sojourner) will tap Yorkshire, a limited-release chocolate plum English mild, at 11 a.m. as part of the brewery's Hangover Brunch Party. There will be chicken and waffles, trivia at 1 p.m., beermosas and red beers with michelada mix provided by Brewed Food, and more.
For the fifth year in a row, Factotum Brewhouse will celebrate the New Year with a football-watching and tamale-eating party starting at noon. "Write your resolutions, throw on your favorite football jersey (or stay in your pajamas), grab your friends/family and come over to the taproom for some traditional New Year's Day tamales by our well-renowned neighbors Tamales by La Casita," the brewery says.
Friday, January 3
Ratio Beerworks taps Silhouettes Raspberry Belgian Dark Ale, a beer that "pays homage" to the Belgian Dubbel style but features the use of 425 pounds of raspberries per batch, the brewery says. "That tart, fruited accent also brings out the naturally occurring malt forward sweetness found in traditional dubbels" and showcases "prominent raspberry cocoa flavors." It taps at noon.
Lift the holiday fog with Cerebral Brewing, which releases its first six cans of 2020, including its highly anticipated Cookie Butter Barleywine. That beer, Rampant Speculation, is a 10.4 percent ABV barley bomb brewed with Maris Otter and Munich malt, oats and 120 pounds of Lotus Biscoff cookies and vanilla; it has notes of dates, caramelized figs, dates and English toffee. The other five beers are repeats of previous releases: Nightglow Robust Porter, Rare Trait Hazy IPA, Action Potential IPA, Scam Likely Double IPA, and International Waters, a 5.1 percent ABV pilsner aged in Cerebral's wooden foeder.
Next Stop Brew Company taps Folk Devil Black IPA at 3 p.m. "Our signature black IPA is back, with the perfect balance of roast and hop character. Notes of chocolate from the malt with herbal, lemon and pine notes from the hops," the brewery says.
New Image Brewing kicks off the New Year with the latest beer in its experimental Wood barleywine series, Wood Spanish Cedar. "With bold wood aromatics from the Spanish cedar, it’s like walking into a wood shop," the brewery says. "When you give it a sip, the flavor starts with notes of grapefruit zest, clove and cinnamon, followed by caramel and toffee that fades into vanilla, then at the finish all these flavors come together like some kind of wooden gingerbread man with grapefruit zest buttons." Four-packs will be available at 11 a.m.
Westfax Brewing will host a battle within its own taproom walls as a hazy IPA does battle with a clear one. "Here again for the second time is Cowboys vs. Hipsters, our unforgettably clear IPA brewed with Vic Secret and Strata hops," the brewery says. It will go up against the second in Westfax's experimental series of hazy IPAs, Spirit Guide Vol. 2, brewed with toasted oats and hopped with Azacca, Mosaic, Galaxy and Simcoe hops. Both beers will be available in cans to go. Vote for your favorite.
Cannonball Creek Brewing in Golden celebrates a new decade of skiing (and beer) over a pint of Powder7 Pale Ale, starting at 6:30 p.m. "You might also win gear from rad brands like Backcountry Access, Inc., Liberty Skis, Icelantic Skis, SHRED and more," the brewery says. Raffle and silent auction supports Friends of CAIC.
Saturday, January 4
Fiction Beer Company hosts a release party for Fan Fiction New England Style Double IPA, a beer that was designed, named and brewed with the help of CO:NEIPA & Hazy Haze, a Facebook group that is dedicated to the style. Fan Fiction was brewed with malted oats, malted wheat and Root Shoot’s gold medal-winning Genie Pale malt, with Mosaic, Galaxy, and Citra hops. "The beer showcases a soft mouthfeel and citrus flavor, from the use of oats and tropical hops," Fiction says. "Orange, mango, pineapple and lemon balance a hoppy aroma full of grassy and tropical notes." It will be on tap and available in canned four-packs to go.
River North Brewery releases Laws Whiskey House Rye Whiskey-Aged Mr. Sandman at noon as part of its single-cask, barrel-aged series. The brewery will also open enrollment in its annual Norther membership club, which entitles participants to beer, glassware and more. See the Facebook page for details.
Comrade Brewing taps True Level Pilsner, made with Saphir hops and a light dry-hop of even more Saphir. The beer is 4.9 percent ABV.
Friday, January 10
Copper Kettle Brewing releases Snowed In Maple 2020 at noon. The beer, which will be available on tap and in 19.2-ounce cans to go, is the brewery's bourbon barrel-aged imperial oatmeal stout with maple syrup.
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Saturday, January 11
Lowdown Brewery + Kitchen hosts its sixth annual Barrel Aged Beer Festival starting at 11 a.m. The brewery will tap several of its own barrel-aged beers, and for one day only, will also tap barrel-aged beers from some of its brewery friends, including Elevation Beer, Ratio Beerworks, Dry Dock Brewing, River North Brewery, Lagunitas Brewing, Baere Brewing, Little Machine Beer, and Black Project Spontaneous and Wild Ales. There will be fourteen beers in total, and some will go very quickly. No cover, no tickets.
Saturday, January 18
River North Brewery brings Super Stout Saturday back to its Washington Street tap room at noon. A wide variety of the brewery's rich, high-ABV stouts will be available on tap and in bottles. The G Wagon will have food.
Friday, January 24
Hogshead Brewing hosts the 2020 version of Hogshead Days, its celebration of big and dark beers. You'll find everything from a Russian imperial stout to bourbon barrel-aged old ales, a Baltic porter, a barleywine and numerous English-style cask ales. Hogshead opens at noon.
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