The thirteenth annual American Craft Beer Week kicked off on Monday, celebrating small and independent breweries across the country. Created and organized by the Boulder-based Brewers Association, the week includes tappings, food pairings and other special events at numerous breweries. (You can check the Facebook pages of your favorite breweries to see if they are doing anything to celebrate.)
This year, the BA is is highlighting the logo, or "seal" it created to signify that a brewery fits its definition of being independent; many breweries use the seal on their packaging so that consumers will know that the brewery isn't owned by a larger, non-craft brewery. The group is also asking consumers to "seek the seal" as a way to pledge their support. If you do so on the ACBW page at craftbeer.com, you'll get a pin to wear (while supplies last).
Keep reading for this week's craft-beer events.
Wednesday, May 16
It's been a full year for the Intrepid Sojourner Beer Project, which has been celebrating with a series of bomber bottle releases this week, leading up to a big bash on Saturday, May 19. Today's bottle release is Imperial Basil IPA, followed by Belgian Quad on Thursday and Imperial Sahti on Friday. A special flight of beers made on the brewery’s new pilot system, each with four infusions, is also available nightly in the taproom: the Garlic Amber (Wednesday, with roasted, fermented, black and Creole garlic); a sour (Thursday, with blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries); and the Coffee Session Pale Ale (Friday, with Aztec cocoa, Robusta coffee, Arabica coffee and smoked coffee). And finally, the Saturday party will include a band, the Barbed Wire Reef food truck, a firkin tapping, beer infusions, and the launch of the Intrepid Sojourner Beer Club.
Black Sky Brewery (and three others) will tap Oatmeal Raisin Amber as part of a new collaborative program between the four breweries called Traveling One Barrel Wednesdays. The program builds on Strange Craft's longtime One Barrel Wednesday series of small batch beers. The brewing of the beer now rotates between Strange, Chain Reaction Brewing, the Brew on Broadway and Black Sky.
Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project is celebrating American Craft Beer Week each day with a special tapping at its location at the Source. Today you'll find L'Brett d'Blueberry, followed by Red Value on Thursday, Batch #200 on Friday, Nightmare on Brett Raspberry on Saturday and Surette Reserva Raspberry on Sunday.
Friday, May 18
Strange Craft Beer Company celebrates its eighth anniversary this weekend with a variety of events, highlighted by a Backyard Anniversary Party and Carnival. On Friday, the brewery will fete its Dr. Strangelove Barleywine with flights (2014 through 2017) and host a cellar sale from noon to 10 p.m.
Cerebral Brewing will have a triple can release today starting at noon. The first beer is the brewery's flagship IPA, Rare Trait, a 6.4 percent ABV hazy beer that features notes of tangerine, mango and candied peach. The second is a brand-new 6.2 percent ABV beer called Star Stuff; this IPA was brewed with oats and a touch of lactose, then dry-hopped with Mosaic, Wakatu and Galaxy. And finally, Cerebral brings back Tandem Jetpack, its walloping 8.5 percent double IPA brewed with oats and excessive amounts of Simcoe, El Dorado and Vic Secret. All three will be available on draft and in cans. The Adobo Food Truck will be out front at 4 p.m.
Saturday, May 19
"Your summer’s about to get a hell of a lot more metal in it." That's the word from TRVE Brewing, which will begin selling its first canned beers from the taproom at noon. TRVE will release two beers. The first is Seven Doors, a grisette-style ale, fermented with French saison yeast and dry-hopped with Tettnang, Grungeist and Styrian Wolf. The second is Cosmic Crypt, a farmhouse pale ale, fermented with Belgian farmhouse yeast and dry-hopped with Mosaic and Mandarina Bavaria. Both were re-fermented in the can to improve mouthfeel and ensure the highest level of stability.
The Intrepid Sojourner Beer Project wraps up its one-year anniversary week with a party featuring a band, the Barbed Wire Reef food truck, a firkin tapping, beer infusions, and the launch of the Intrepid Sojourner Beer Club. There will also be a variety of beers on tap and in bottles that had been offered during the week (see May 14).
Strange Craft continues its eighth-anniversary weekend with a backyard beer festival from noon to 4 p.m., featuring ten local breweries (Strange, Wit’s End, Chain Reaction, Black Sky, Copper Kettle, Caution, the Brew on Broadway, Renegade and Very Nice). There will be food trucks and live music by Robby Wicks. Tickets, $25-$30, are available at eventbrite.com.
Great Divide Brewing doesn't do collaborations very often, which is part of what makes Split Brain Hazy Brett IPA, a collab with Cerebral Brewing, special. The other part is that it was fermented with a blend of two Brettanomyces strains and hopped with Vic Secret, Wakatu and Denali. "It has fruity, tropical notes and just the right amount of funk," Great Divide says. It's on tap only at Great Divide's two locations.
Mockery Brewing taps Orange Creamsicle Pale, a "dreamy brew" that was made with 55 pounds of cara cara oranges and zest, along with fifty pounds of Valencia oranges, lactose and vanilla.
Fiction Beer Company will release Crowlers of Don’t Tame the Wild Strawberry Rhubarb Milkshake IPA, a beer inspired by the poem “Wild Strawberries,” from Shel Siverstein's A Light in the Attic. "The classic pairing of strawberry and rhubarb bring together sweet and tart in a delightful way. Our strawberry rhubarb milkshake IPA uses Huell melon and Belma hops to accentuate and enhance strawberry character," Fiction says. "Copious amounts of strawberry and rhubarb purée, biscuit malt, vanilla and lactose meld together to mimic the flavors of a homemade pie. Lightly tart, balanced sweetness, smooth vanilla character and an abundance of hops make for a milkshake of a beer."
For the second year in a row, Jagged Mountain Craft Brewery will tap a beer dedicated to the late Mike Sadler, an All-American punter at Michigan State who died in a car accident in 2016. This time around, the beer is a 12 percent ABV Belgian tripel made with bananas, oranges and 100 pounds of mini powdered doughnuts.
"Sadler’s Banana Hammock is a tribute to Mike as retold by his friends and teammates, who helped create this beer based on the fond stories they recalled...like when Mike’s homebrew experiment resulted in a banana beer explosion in his closet....like how Mike ate very healthy…except for his consistent intake of powdered sugar donuts....like how Mike decided to do a photo shoot in a Speedo…and then filled a coach’s office with the salacious printouts," the brewery says. The beer will go on tap at 3 p.m., along with a new batch of last year's tribute beer, Hey Diddle Diddle, which commemorated Sadler's fake punt during the Rose Bowl.
Vine Street Pub and Brewery celebrates its tenth anniversary in Denver with a party on the west patio starting at 4:20 p.m. There will be live music from Spyscraper, burgers and brats on the grill, and lots of beer. All proceeds benefit Project Angel Heart.
Five years is a big deal, so Odyssey Beerwerks is celebrating with a big party. There will be music from Matt Rouch & the Noise Upstairs, Brothers of Brass, Polka Folka and Jim Jamm Jimmy; food from Taste of Texas BBQ and Pambasos; and magic from Brandon K. Parker from Craft Beer and Magic. There will also be special beer tappings throughout the day, including fan fave Kiwis, Koalas, and Godzilla Pacific Rim IPA, featuring hops from New Zealand, Australia, and Japan. And finally, there will be vintage bombers for sale, like 2016 Salyut, 2017 Woods Monk, 2017 Imperial Fluffy Pumpkin, and 2018 Mountie Fuel.
Lupulin Meridian, a "hybrid" IPA, makes its reappearance at 4 Noses Brewing in Broomfield at 11 a.m. This beer "transcends the West Coast/East Coast style to bring you a supremely hoppy experience," 4 Noses says. This time, it was brewed with different hops: Citra, Centennial and Simcoe. It is available on tap and in cans.
The Hop Wars saga continues at 2 Penguins Tap & Grill with Hop Wars Strikes Back. Once again, the Centennial beer bar will pour five of Colorado’s best IPAs in "a battle for supremacy of your taste buds." Beers from Comrade, Eddyline, Little Machine and 4 Noses will face off against the returning champ, Juicy Banger from Station 26. Cast your vote once you’ve tried all five in a blind flight. "If you’re extra adventurous, try to guess all five breweries of your flight correctly for a special bonus prize," 2 Penguins says. Flights begin pouring at 3 p.m., and voting starts then, too. Turn in all votes by 6 p.m. and our victor shall be announced soon after.
The fifth annual Upslope Get Down music festival and beer fest goes down from 2 to 10 p.m. at the Boulder brewery's Flatiron Park location. A serious blowout, the Get Down features eight bands on three stages, including Org?ne, Hannah Wicklund & The Steppin Stones, Guerrilla Fanfare, Tenth Mountain Division, The Jive Tribe, Steepland String Band, Kessel Run, and Boot Gun. There will also be food trucks, games, art, vendors and plenty of beer. VIP tickets are available as well.
Thursday, May 24
"We advocate and celebrate rebellious individuality with a community of unapologetic beer lovers by creating offensively delicious beer," says Renegade Brewing. To celebrate that spirit of rebelliousness, the brewery is launching a new monthly series called Beers + Banned Books; for each one, Renegade will create a special release in a Squarrel Square Barrel Company barrel that pairs with a book from the banned-book list. The first forty people to order a pint of the special release receive a copy of the book. Today's book is Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury. The accompanying beer is a slightly tart Mexican lager aged with tequila soaked, medium roast, American oak staves and roasted Fresno peppers for a little heat.
Upslope Brewing in Boulder unleashes Tropical Fruit Sour Ale at 5 p.m., Volume 16 in its Lee Hill Series of one-off 19.2-ounce cans; the party will be held at the brewery's Lee Hill location. "Inspired by the classic Hawaiian juice blend known as POG, this 7.2 percent ABV golden sour is blended with over five hundred pounds of passion fruit, blood orange, and guava," the brewery says. "Four sour projects, ranging from six months to two years old, make up the base for this Tropical Fruit Sour. Expressive notes of each fruit and a touch of sweetness balance the full acidity of this aged and fruit-forward sour." Cans are $10 each; the Silver Bullet food truck will be on site slinging burgers, wings and things.
Friday, May 25
Meet Loveless, a sour saison from Ratio Beerworks that has been barrel-fermented with saison yeast and the brewery's own house sour culture for twelve months, then re-fermented in red-wine barrels with fresh blackberries and raspberries for another three months. "With each barrel yielding varying characteristics, Loveless was carefully blended to impart balanced tartness, tied together by a vibrant blackberry and raspberry finish," the brewery says. "Originally brewed to celebrate Ratio's second anniversary, Loveless has returned for another year, this time with an added touch of blackberries." Bottles of Loveless will be released at 5 p.m. It will also be available on draft in the taproom for a limited time.
4 Noses Brewing in Broomfield kicks off its fourth anniversary with four days of partying. There will be new beer releases, food trucks, live music and more through Monday.
Saturday, May 26
Great Divide Brewing is releasing its newest Local Knowledge beer, Coconut Macadamia Yeti at noon at both locations. For this limited, draft-only release, the brewery added toasted macadamia nuts and coconut. These special additions bring out the nutty character of the malt profile and the coconut adds tropical twist.
Station 26 Brewing releases Crowlers of Passionfruit Milkshake IPA, the latest in the brewery's Milkshake IPA series. Doors open at 1 p.m. The beer will be on draft, too.
Copper Kettle Brewing has a big cellar — too big — so the brewery wants to share by hosting a vintage bottle-release sale of some of its barrel-aged beers. "Come out to get your claws on some of our most sought-after beers," Copper Kettle says, including: Snowed In Mocha, 2013-2017; 2017 Snowed in Coconut; Well Bred 2013-2017; 2016 Well Bred aged in Buffalo Trace barrels; and 2015 Le Chapeau. There are only a few of each, so come early. Copper Kettle will also tap some aged rarities from the cooler.
Sunday, May 27
Help New Belgium Brewing celebrate twenty years of sour beers with 20 Years of Our Wood-Aged Sour Program, an event featuring the return of La Folie Sour Brown Ale into its beloved cork and cage package. "Enjoy the afternoon sipping on several puckering rarities," New Belgium says. DJ Schooley will be spinning vinyl from 2 to 5 p.m. and a barrel deconstruction demonstration by Eric Salazar takes place at 2 p.m.
Monday, May 28
Briar Common brings serious chops to Denver's rooftop — or rooftap, in this case — patio game, and it will show things off starting at 1 p.m. with this Memorial Day Summer Crushable Party. The brewpub will celebrate the release of four new beers (details TBA) focusing on "bright flavors perfect for sipping on the rooftop patio on sunny days." The kitchen will also fire up the barbecue with a special menu, plus there will be games, prizes and more. No tickets needed.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
Friday, June 1
Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project debuts one of its staples, Vieille, in cans for the first time at noon in its taproom at the Source. "Translated from French as 'old-tradition,' Vieille is our barrel-aged classical saison," the brewery says. "Using time-honored techniques, our saisons employ traditional methods to restore the complexity and the rustic character lost in modern-day saisons. Saisons were the original wild ales, brewed for the farmhands to be a refreshing and sustaining beverage." It is brewed with Brettanomyces and lightly dry-hopped. The beer will be on tap and available in six-packs to go ($15).
Avery Brewing is introducing Plank'd Rum Barrel-Aged Coconut Porter, the newest beer in its barrel-aged series of twelve-ounce bottles. It will be available on tap and in the to-go cooler starting at 11:30 a.m. And on Sunday, June 3, the Boulder brewery is doing something it has never done before — selling the barrels that the beer was aged in. So, from noon to 5 p.m., on June 3 you can buy one for $50. "While we don't recommend that you use them for beer aging, they are great for planter boxes, making furniture, patio tables, bar tables, you name it," the brewery says. In addition, there will be a planking competition at 3 p.m. outside. Whoever holds a plank position the longest will win a case of Plank'd. "That's $288 reasons to work on your abs."
Saturday, June 2
New Wave Strawberry Berliner Weisse returns to Ratio Beerworks for the summer. This pink, kettle-soured beers is light, tart, effervescent, and clean on the finish. Strawberries are the dominant flavor profile, as each batch is fermented on over 300 pounds of real strawberries, the brewery says. To celebrate, there will be live music on the patio from Lawsuit Models and The Swindlin Hearts.
Station 26 Brewing releases Raspberry Sherbert, a fruity, kettle soured beer that was brewed with lactose and vanilla for "a smooth mouthfeel and perfect for patio crushing," the brewery says. There will be Crowlers available starting at 1 p.m. ($12). It will also be on tap.