The field of craft malting has grown quickly in the past few years to the point where there are now 300 members of the North American Craft Maltsters Guild, a six-year-old trade association that promotes and supports small malthouses. They owe their existence mainly to the craft brewing and distilling industries, which tend to prefer local ingredients from producers who share a similar mindset.
As such, the guild just introduced a Certified Craft Malt Seal that will allow beer and spirits producers, as well as retailers and consumers, a way to identify who is a member. The incorporation of craft malt "typically adds additional cost to production but yields a unique, flavor-differentiated product," the guild explains, and helps "connect local agriculture to an individual brewery. This connectivity story mirrors the work done by farmers' markets and farm-to-table dining establishments across the nation."
To qualify as a guild member, a malthouse must produce 5,000 to 10,000 metric tons of malt annually and should source more than 50 percent of its raw materials from within 500 miles of its malthouse. In Colorado, a huge number of small breweries rely on local maltsters such as Troubadour Maltings, Root Shoot Malting, Grouse Malt House, Proximity Malting and Colorado Malting Company.
Keep reading to see craft-beer events into late September.
Thursday, September 19
Comrade Brewing taps its award-winning Superdamp Fresh Hop IPA for the second time this season, but this week, the beer showcases fresh hops from a different grower: Chinook, Cascade and Nugget hops from Billy Goat Hop Farms in Montrose. The hops were added to the brew less than 24 hours after harvest.
Mr. B's Wine & Spirits is celebrating its tenth anniversary this week with a wide variety of special events involving beer, wine and whiskey. The store, at 2101 Market Street, is one of best places in central Denver to consistently find rare, unusual and carefully selected craft beers from around the world. From 5 to 7 p.m. today, the owners will be tasting a few collaborations they've done with some of those breweries over the years. They are: Casey Brewing and Blending/Mr. B's West Slope Connection, which is Oak Theory aged on Primitivo grapes in freshly emptied pinot noir barrels; Fremont Brewing/Mr. B's This Strange Passion, a blend of three barrel-aged beers; Black Project Spontaneous & Wild Ales/Mr. B's Viper: a "Méthode Traditionnelle" blended beer dry-hopped with Nelson Sauvin and Hallertau Blanc; and Telluride Brewing/Marble Brewery/Mr. B's Unit Monster, an imperial stout aged in WhistlePig Whiskey Rye barrels with cherries. "Please note that these beers will not be for sale, just tasting for fun. Some of them will be available at random moments throughout the week as part of our cellar beer release," the store says. Go to the Facebook page for more details.
Friday, September 20
Black Project Spontaneous & Wild Ales will release three beers in sixteen-ounce canned four-packs, a first for the brewery, which up until now has only packaged in bottles. The first is Shadow Factory, a Black Project flagship; this version was brewed with heavy amounts of blackberry and raspberry. The second is another brewery regular, Magic Lantern, which was "lightly salted with peach, apricot and passion fruit," the brewery says. The type of fruit in both beers rotates on a regular basis. The final beer is Dagger, made from a mix of second-use fruits from the first two beers. All three are spontaneously fermented "solera" ales made with a wheat base. The brewery will also release several other beers in bottles today.
Oktoberfest returns to Comrade Brewing from noon to 9 p.m. Bring your traditional German glassware and the brewery will fill it with its Hunt for Red Oktoberfest, a 6.1 percent ABV Marzen-style lager featuring Munich malt and Hallertau Blanc hops. The beer was "cold fermented with a Swiss bottom-fermenting yeast and lagered for eight weeks for a smooth amber body with an incredible spice bouquet and clean crisp finish," Comrade says. There will also be custom-made Whole Foods Oktoberfest brats being grilled up by Wing Wagon Grill, along with Comrade steins for sale. Traditional Oktoberfest attire is encouraged.
Strange Craft taps its famed Pumpkin Porter at noon. This 5.7 percent ABV beer was brewed with over 450 pounds of pumpkins and spices, the brewery says. It has "roasty, burnt chocolate and sweeter toffee-like notes."
Little Machine Beer Company releases Barrel-Aged B.B. Rodriguez Double Brown Ale, an 8.3 percent ABV beer that was aged in Fireside Whiskey barrels for fourteen months. DJ Ill Evans will spin vinyl at 7 p.m.
Seedstock Brewing taps its traditional Marzen-style Oktoberfest beer. It is a "malty, amber German-style lager with a rich, toasty and bready flavor. It has a soft bitterness and a clean, dry finish," the brewery says.
Thirsty Monk taps Dark Munich Lager, a smooth beers that "is full of toasted malt character," the brewery says. "Satisfying aromas of caramel, bread crust and toffee blend into flavors of roasted coffee, caramel and toast, with a balanced bitterness finishing decidedly malty and crisp."
Denver Oktoberfest returns for its fiftieth year over two weekends — September 20-22 and September 27-29 — but it kicks off tonight in the 2100 block of Larimer Street with a ceremonial tapping of the first keg at 2 p.m. Additional activities include a stein-hoisting contest, tricycle racing, keg bowling, live music and dancing. In addition, Breckenridge Brewery has brewed an Oktoberfest lager in honor of the event's fiftieth birthday. "Bready, toasty aromas and flavors mingle with light malty sweetness and a touch of hops to offer a clean, dry finish," organizers say. The event will also include Spaten Oktoberfest, "the world’s first Oktoberfest beer, which is used for the ceremonial keg tapping by the Mayor of Munich to kick off the original Oktoberfest festival." Both Breckenridge Brewery and Spaten are owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev. The Denver Oktoberfest is one of the largest in the country, welcoming over 250,000 attendees each year.
Saturday, September 21
"Strap on your lederhosen, dirndls and grown-up panties for an epic Denver Oktoberfest adventure." That's the word from Bierstadt Lagerhaus, which will launch the Bierstadt Munich Express, a roving tour through some of Denver's best beer destinations, followed by an Oktoberfest party back at Bierstadt/Rackhouse Pub. Things kick off at 11 a.m., when you'll get to try Bierstadt's Oktoberfest lager straight from the tank. Then head to Falling Rock Tap House for an Oktoberfest tapping at noon, and to Hops & Pie for similar fun at 1 p.m. After that, it's Goed Zuur at 2 p.m. and Finn's Manor at 3 p.m. By 4 p.m., you'll return to Bierstadt for the annual Drink RiNo Oktoberfest party, where you can oompah the night away. Tickets are $60 and include a custom mug, five half-liter Oktoberfest pours (one per location), shuttle service between stops, a tour guide, and entry to Drink RiNo Oktoberfest (a $20 value). Oktoberfest garb is highly recommended.
Burns Family Artisan Ales will celebrate its one-year anniversary with a wild series of activities and events that began at midnight last night (with fire beer!) and continues with a ticketed farm-to-table beer-pairing lunch at noon. Then, at 2 p.m., the brewery will tap three new big beers (check the brewery's Facebook page for times): This Is Your Year Grand Cru at 14.3 percent ABV; Ship of Theseus Anniversary Beer, a 13.5 percent ABV Old Ale aged in Deerhammer Single Malt Whiskey barrels; and Solar Eclipse, an 18.5 percent ABV Russian Imperial Stout aged in Laws FourGrain Bourbon barrels. There will also be five new sessionable beers: Get a Court Squash Kveik Ale, Aspire Russian Sage Saison, Rocky Mountain Mild, Genie Logical Mixed Culture Ale with canteloupe and bergamot, and Airfare Hazy Pale Ale. There will also be food trucks and live music.
Diebolt Brewing is celebrating its sixth anniversary with a weekend-long fest. Things kicked off last night and they'll start again today at 2 p.m. with raffles, live music (starting at 8 p.m.; tickets required), screen printing, food and multiple beer releases — some of them outside in the Barrel Aged Biere Garden, featuring rare bottles from the cellar. Diebolt will also release one beer in bottles (Big Braggart BA Imperial Brown) and five in cans: DIA IPA, Braggarts Brown Ale, Stand By Tropical Saison, New Master Sounds Hoppy Pilsner, and Strawberry Brett Wiggy. On Sunday, the brewery opens at 11 a.m. for the Broncos game, a Rise & Shine Biscuit pop-up, live music and specialty beermosas. Check the Facebook page for more information.
Dos Luces Brewing, which specializes in corn and maguey-based gluten-free beers inspired by Pre-Columbian traditions, hosts its first Fiesta de Independencia, a celebration of the Independence Days of Brazil, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Mexico, Chile and Belize — all of which take place during the month of September. Dos Luces will have a full lineup of "cultural and culinary delights," the highlight being the release of its latest pulque, the new Moctezuma III with Prickly Pear. It boasts "aromas of apricot, vanilla, and white pepper bringing complexity to the tart and sweet flavors of the maguey and prickly pear," Dos Luces says. Festivities will include a culinary pop-up in the evening with ELITA, featuring “Mexterranean” food from local chef Raquela “Rocky” Serber that blends Mexican traditions in the Yucatan Peninsula with Israeli and Middle Eastern cuisine. The menu includes items like Prickly Pear Ceviche with Sumac Tortilla Chips and Cochinita Pibil Corn Sopes with Charred Eggplant Tahini.
"Although we think all our beers have a heart of gold, a few of our favorites have taken home top honors and some super shiny medals from GABF and the World Beer Cup," says Denver Beer Co., which is putting together a flight of all of its GABF gold-medal-winning beers at both of its locations today and tomorrow. Beers include: Graham Cracker Porter, 2018 GABF Gold, Specialty Beer; Barrel Aged Japance Off, 2018 GABF Gold, Barrel Aged Beer; Just Another Pretty Face, 2017 GABF Gold, Pro-Am; Drama Queen, 2016 GABF Gold, Barrel Aged Beer; and Summit Sunrise, 2016 World Beer Cup Gold, Red IPA.
Mr. B's Wine & Spirits celebrated its tenth anniversary this week with a variety of special events. The store, at 2101 Market Street, is one of best places in central Denver to consistently find rare, unusual and carefully selected craft beers from around the world. From 5 to 7 p.m., the store will host a Super Duper Rare Beer Tasting. "Join us for a special tasting of very special beers on this super special occasion: our 10th anniversary. Thank you to all of our customers over the years. Come by for a beer," the store says.
Oasis Brewing hosts an all-day Oktoberfest party featuring the release of its Das Fest Bier, live music, beer specials and food from the Fiesta Fusion Food Truck.
Sunday, September 22
Don your dirndls and lederhosen and join Station 26 Brewing for its annual Oktoberfest celebration starting at 11 a.m. The brewery will tap its yearly batch of Oktoberfest Märzen lager, "served in a Station 26 stein for proper consumption." The steins will be available for purchase to take home, the brewery says. There will be live polka music from the Rhinelanders from 2 to 5 p.m., and traditional German and Austrian cuisine from Schnitzelwirt.
"Although we think all our beers have a heart of gold, a few of our favorites have taken home top honors and some super shiny medals from GABF and the World Beer Cup," says Denver Beer Co., which will once again offer a flight of all of its GABF gold-medal-winning beers at both of its locations. Beers include: Graham Cracker Porter, 2018 GABF Gold, Specialty Beer; Barrel Aged Japance Off, 2018 GABF Gold, Barrel Aged Beer; Just Another Pretty Face, 2017 GABF Gold, Pro-Am; Drama Queen, 2016 GABF Gold, Barrel Aged Beer; and Summit Sunrise, 2016 World Beer Cup Gold, Red IPA.
Wednesday, September 25
Black Shirt Brewing releases Hug Like You Mean It, a 7.3 percent ABV "wheat-free" New England-style IPA brewed with Amarillo and Mosaic hops. It will be on and in Crowlers to go.
Introducing the first #travelingonebarrelwednesday beer hailing from Dead Hippie Brewing, which has replaced the Brew on Broadway (now closed) as part of the group. The Real Dill Thai Chili B.A.B. Belgian Strong Ale was brewed as a strong ale and then added to a Thai chili brine made with The Real Dill. "Look for the spice to balance the fruity esters of this Belgian strong ale," Dead Hippie says. The beer will go on tap at 3 p.m. at Dead Hippie, Chain Reaction Brewing, Black Sky Brewery and Strange Craft Beer Company.
Thursday, September 26
It's always a good day when Great Divide Brewing pumps up the hops, and the brewery will release a brand new beer, Hopnaut Double Juicy IPA, in both of its tap rooms today on draft and in six-packs. The 8 percent ABV beer replaces Hop Disciples in Great Divide's ank Farm Series. "Brewed and double dry-hopped with an unearthly amount of Simcoe, El Dorado, Mosaic and Huell Melon hops, this beer lifts off with over a pound and a half of hops per barrel. Showcasing bold tropical fruit and citrus notes along with hints of berry, stone fruit, pine and bubblegum, Hopnaut Double Juicy IPA is an extraterrestrial sensory experience," the brewery says.
Friday, September 27
Black Shirt Brewing will celebrate its seventh anniversary with a Lucky Seven Throw Down in the beer garden from 7 to 11 p.m. featuring a special release and some unusual tappings. The release is Pleasure to Meet You, the second of the brewery's bottle-conditioned, mixed culture saisons; it was dry-hopped with Mosaic. The tappings are: Saison aged in a Woody Creek Straight Bourbon barrel at 7 p.m.; 7th Anniversary Quad, blended from several barrels then transferred to steel at 8 p.m.; and Belgian Quad with coffee from Huckleberry Roaster's El Salvador/ San Rafael blend at 9 p.m.. With each tapping, the brewery will be serving up spent grain noshes from the kitchen. A DJ will spin the tunes from the pallet stage from 7 to 10 p.m., and there may also be a glassware deal. There is no charge to attend; black shirts are encouraged but not required.
Little Machine Beer Company will tap Surface of the Moon Barrel Aged Sour. The 6.3 percent ABV sour is a hybrid of the brewery's "multiple major award-winning raspberry beer and our fan-favorite black currant beer that was re-fermented with mixed culture in Chardonnay barrels."
Verboten Brewing in Loveland releases its 2016 winner, Little Nonsense Bourbon Barrel Aged Oatmeal Stout, in two ways and in two different twelve-ouince cans, starting at 11 a.m. There will be the normal version, and a Mocha version, made with coffee, vanilla and chocolate.
Saturday, September 28
Our Mutual Friend hosts a big party around its anniversary every year — and just before GABF — to thank its fans and customers and to celebrate "friendship and the beer made possible by it." This year, there will be more than thirty OMF beers on tap from 2 to 10 p.m., including special bottle and can releases. There will also be food trucks, merchandise giveaways, a photo booth and more. More info is TBA.
Fiction Beer Company marks its five-year anniversary with a "carnival" staring at 1 p.m. and featuring live music from the Dollhouse Thieves at 5 p.m.; food from Brava Pizzeria; carnival games like plinko, tic-tac-toe toss, Skee-Ball, frog hop and hole-in-one putting; and two can releases: the Recurrence Quadruple Dry-Hopped Triple New England Style IPA, and Steep Imperial Coffee Stout brewed in collaboration with Pablo’s Coffee. Fiction will also have two rare beers on draft. The first is Barrel Aged Caramel Macchiato Malice and Darkness a version of the brewery's 14 percent imperial stout aged on "a touch of caramel and vanilla," the brewery says. "Both flavors are naturally present in toasted oak barrels. Adding just a little caramel and vanilla helps to make these background complexities become the center focus of this version. A mellow sweetness from the beer and the additions complements the bitter dark chocolate flavor of the base beer. All of this amazing flavor is wrapped in a cocoon of subtle bourbon flavor." The second beer is Antiquarian No.7 American Golden Sour aged on fresh orchard picked apricots from Paonia. There will also be Nuggs Pablo’s Coffee Ice cream scoop floaters for the draft pours of the coffee stout; and root beer floats for the kiddos with root beer and vanilla ice cream.
Seedstock Brewing hosts an Oktoberfest party from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., complete with hammerschlagen, a stein-hoisting competition, German-style food, a polka band and more. The brewery, which specializes in Old World lagers and ales, will also tap a very limited amount of its German Dusseldorf Alt, which was named the third-best beer of 2018 by Beer Connoisseur, along with its Bohemian Dunkel, a Czech-style dark lager inspired by the Bohemian Dunkel at Prague's U Fleku brew pub. "This dark lager at 5.5-percent ABV has a great mouth feel, finishing crisp and clean," the brewery says. Seedstock's Marzen is also on tap.
River North Brewery will release bottles of Double Barrel Aged Dubbel is a "deliciously dark" brew sitting at 11.5 percent ABV. It was aged first is a Colorado bourbon barrel and then in a Colorado whiskey barrel.
For the second year in a row, Alamo Drafthouse has teamed up with six breweries for the West Denver Brewery Bike Loop and GABF Kickoff Party, from noon to 6 p.m. For $25, you get a bike guide, an eight-ounce taster glass that gets you beer samples at each brewery, a chance to win a free keg, schwag giveaways, and happy hour pricing once returning to BarFly inside the Alamo Drafthouse, Sloans Lake. This will be a Colorado-themed group bike ride that will start and end at the Alamo. Try exclusive GABF beers once returning to the Alamo for the tap takeover GABF Kick Off Party with live music at 7p.m. Go to the Facebook page for details. The six breweries are WestFax, Joyride, Hogshead, Oasis, Strange, Seedstock
Cannonball Creek Brewing in Golden brings the heat for its second annual Pepper-Palooza starting at noon. The brewery will be pouring special chile beers and roasting and giving away green chiles for free (while supplies last). From 2 to 4 p.m., there's a homemade salsa contest (see Cannonball's Facebook page for details on entering), and from 5 to 7 p.m., there's live music from The One and Only Jon Ham.
The zombie apocalypse arrives at Lone Tree Brewing at 11 a.m. with the annual release of Hop Zombie Imperial Red IPA. "Weighing in at 9 percent ABV and 90 IBUs, this beer is certain to raise the dead...or at least we hope," the brewery says. There will be undead bartenders, twelve-ounce cans available to go, a limited amount of custom glassware and T-shirts and food from Colorado Pizza Co. and Ol' Skool Que BBQ (which will be on site before opening with food for people waiting in line).
Odd13 Brewing in Lafayette has been saving up good stuff to release in cans and on draft at noon in honor of GABF week. The first beer is Chainsaw Princess of Karate (a collaboration with Big Choice Brewing), a 6.5 percent kettle sour made with dragonfruit and passionfruit; the brewery will donate $1 for every pint and six-pack purchased to Hope Lives The Lydia Dody Breast Cancer Support Center. The second beer is Colorado Kid, a locally-sourced 7.2 percent IPA featuring one hundred percent Colorado malt, hops and yeast. The final beer is Vic Secret Codename Superman, a variant of the brewery's flagship hazy IPA made with Vic Secret hops.
The Post Brewing in Lafayette hosts Howdy Fest, its annual throwdown celebrating its Howdy Western Pilsner, along with other beers from The Post, Stem Ciders, Odd13 Brewing, Front Range Brewing Company, Liquid Mechanics Brewing Company, & Cellar West Artisan Ales. There will be live music from Bowregard and Stillhouse Junkies, along with mechanical bull, calf roping, beer puppeteer, the amazing chicken toss. Tickets are $15 at howdyfest.com and include a can of beer. Proceeds benefit Pioneer Bilingual Elementary School.
Endo Brewing in Lafayette will mark its second anniversary with a birthday bash from noon to 10 p.m., with music from SoundClub Colorado and Lady Gang, bike-centered contests such as a Slowest Bike Race and a Shine and Show Bike event, food from Mac ’N Noodles and Hangry Hut, and the release of five different barrel-aged beers, including 2018 and 2019 variants of No Quarter, a Brett saison aged in Sauvignon Blanc wine barrels; 2017 and 2018 variants of Kill Me, Thrill Me, a Belgian dark strong aged in a Maker’s Mark barrel; and a 2017 Belgian Dubbel aged in a Woodford Bourbon barrel.
It's a good day to be in Lafayette because in addition to the events at the three breweries mentioned above, Romero's K9 Club & Tap House will bring back its Lupulin Fiasco, a celebration of, from IPAs and pales to saisons and sours (and NFL ticket is on the TVs all day). The lineup includes many beers and breweries that only in town because of GABF-week. The are: 3 Floyds Brewing, Beachwood Brewing, Breakside Brewery, Call to Arms Brewing Company, Cerebral Brewing, Comrade Brewing Company, Crooked Stave, Fremont Brewing, Half Acre Beer Company, Jester King Brewery, Knotted Root Brewing Company, Lawson's Finest Liquids, Maine Beer Company, Melvin Brewing, Narrow Gauge Brewing Company, Our Mutual Friend Brewery, Outer Range Brewing Co., Perennial Artisan Ales, Pure Project Brewing, Revision Brewing Company, Societe Brewing Company, Toppling Goliath Brewing Co., WeldWerks Brewing Company, and Wiley Roots Brewing.
Upslope Brewing's Backcountry Taproom returns as the brewery hosts a pop-up taproom experience for anyone who wants to earn a beer by hiking. This year's event, at the top of Grand Park near Parshall, Colorado, will also serve as the release location for a new, limited-edition Double Dry Hopped Pale Ale. Attendees who participate in the family-friendly day hike will get to try the beer first, from 11 a.m to 4:30 p.m. Get more details aboutthe Backcountry Taproom on Upslope's Facebook page
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Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project once again is home to Colorado's only location for Zwanze Day, the release of a special beer from Belgium's Cantillon that is tapped simultaneously at a specific number of locations around the world. This takes place at the Source rather than the brewery's Barrel Cellar.