Beer Man

Beer Calendar: Pumpkin Beers, Phish Fun and Bell's Brewery

Travelers to Denver are getting a nice welcome from Upslope Brewing at DIA.
Travelers to Denver are getting a nice welcome from Upslope Brewing at DIA. Fortnight Collective Twitter account
When it come to advertising in public places, the big beer brands like Coors, Budweiser and Corona are major players, but Colorado's craft breweries have been getting into the act, too. New Belgium, Oskar Blues and others have taken a shot at billboards, banners and buses from time to time. In the past few weeks, though, Boulder's Upslope Brewing has been making its presence felt.

The brewery trademarked the phrase "Can Country" earlier this year and then rolled out an advertising campaign designed by Fortnight Collective, a brand marketing firm in Boulder, in August. The campaign kicked off with a billboard on Highway 93, as you approach Boulder from Golden, according to Backbone Media, the PR agency representing Upslope, and then decorated the train terminal at DIA, where incoming passengers will see the ads.

Continue reading to see all the craft-beer events into mid-September.

Wednesday, August 29
The singularly tasty Chef and Brew Festival returns for its seventh year from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Exdo Event Center. Promoting "the notion that local craft beer is an ideal pairing for chef-driven food, the event brings together more than twenty of Denver’s best chefs and craft brewers in a competition to create the ultimate beer and food pairing," organizers say. "Guests will have the opportunity to taste unlimited samples of all of the dishes and all the beer and vote for their favorites." Judges' awards will be given for Best Dish, Best Beer and Best Pairing, and the Grand Prize will be selected by the attending guests. A portion of the evening’s sales will be donated to Project Angel Heart. Tickets are $49, or $69 for VIP; find them at

Platt Park Brewing will tap Blue Raspberry Warhead Berliner Weisse at 3 p.m. The beer is part of the brewery's super-limited 11th Tap Project.

Walter's 303 Pizzeria & Publik House brings joy to Midwesterners by tapping some Two Hearted Ale from Bell's Brewery in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Cedar Creek Pub in Aurora hosts up-and-coming San Diego star brewery Pure Project, which will take over six taps at noon with some of the company's standout beers. The tap list includes Crystal Ships, a "murky" double IPA made with Crystal, Enigma, Citra and Hallertau Blanc hops; Jade Dust Murky IPA with Pacific Jade and Mosaic hops; La Vie En Rosé, a saison brewed with hibiscus and raw orange-blossom honey; Murklands Pale Ale with Citra hops; Rain, an unfiltered pilsner; and Valle Pura Vida, a blonde with ginger and citrus.

Thursday, August 30
Polyjuice Potion "is for all you witches and wizards out there," says Lone Tree Brewing, which taps the glittery glitter beer today. The base beer is the brewery's Mood Ring Saison with blueberry juice and edible glitter added. "It may not change you into Crabbe or Goyle (or a human/cat hybrid), but it will make you feel like you have awesome magical abilities like the famous Dumbledore! (RIP)." It will be served along with Harry Potter Trivia night.

click to enlarge URSULA BREWERY
Ursula Brewery
Friday, August 31
Bell's Brewery, the vaunted beer maker out of Kalamazoo, Michigan, has been flirting with Colorado distribution for years — and periodically sends some of its products to our state during GABF. This time, the brewery claims it's coming to stay — something that would make Midwesterners happy. Falling Rock Tap House will celebrate by tapping Two-Hearted, Double Cream Stout, Lager of the Lakes and The Wild One.

Call To Arms Brewing will tap More Like Bore-O-Phyll, a fresh-hop beer that won gold at the World Beer Cup last April. The brewery used more than 100 pounds of whole-cone Cascade hops, along with Mosaic, Amarillo and Galaxy hops. "The result is a 6.7 percent ABV beer packed with strong notes of orange zest, ripe peach and spruce tips," Call to Arms says.

Station 26 Brewing welcomes Phish fans this weekend as the band returns to Denver for its annual series of shows. To celebrate, the brewery will release two Phish-themed beers. The first is Palley’s Comet, a Vermont-style pale ale brewed with Apollo, Galaxy and Comet hops. The second is Divided Rye, a crisp and drinkable ale brewed with rye malt that's lightly dry-hopped. There are a limited number of Crowlers of each available for purchase before the shows. The beers should be on tap through the weekend.

Ursula Brewery in Aurora is releasing its Transparency Hazy/Juicy Pale Ale in cans for the first time. They'll be available in sixteen-ounce four-packs for $12. In addition, the brewery is offering four-ounce flights of the four beers it entered in GABF competition for $12. Plus, brewers Chris and Dave will be hanging out from 3 to 6 p.m., "so you can drink the flight and talk to the guys who invented and made them," Ursula says. The beers are Transparency Pale Ale, a hazy beer made with Lemon Drop, Huell Mellon, Citra and Manderina Bavaria hops;
Ultimate Clarity, a hazy IPA with Mosaic, Citra and Huell Mellon hops; Melismatic, a Belgian-style Brett beer with Hallertau Blanc hops; and Angel of the Odd, a sour farmhouse beer with pomegranate, orange peel and ginger.

Launch Pad Brewery in Aurora will launch the first in a series of six pumpkin beers that it plans to release over the next six weeks. This first one is Fall Classic, a pumpkin amber. After that, the brewery will tap Time to Get to Mars Pumpkin Milkshake IPA on September 14.

Oskar Blues is hosting release parties for its seasonal Ten FIDY Imperial Stout, a 10.5 percent ABV "black hole of burly malt flavor," the brewery says. One of those parties takes place in Longmont at the Tasty Weasel taproom, where, for the first time, Oskar Blues will offer Ten FIDY flights featuring rare FIDY variants: Vanilla and Sugar Maple Wood Aged Ten FIDY, 2012 Ten FIDY, 2014 Ten FIDY, Java BA Ten FIDY, and 2018 FIDY. Chris Dismuke will be playing live music from 5 to 7 p.m.

click to enlarge 4 NOSES BREWING
4 Noses Brewing
Saturday, September 1
TRVE Brewing drops its "interstellar summer sendoff beer," Solid Hex at noon. The beer is a foeder-fermented saison with watermelon. It should see some limited distribution in cans.

Come try Ursula Brewery's yearly release of Colorado Buckeye Imperial Peanut Butter and Chocolate Stout, which will be sold in cans and on draft. The beer celebrates the start of the college football season and the Ohio State Buckeyes. This year, Ursula will also release 375ml bottles of Woody Barrel Aged Buckeye and Urban Coffee Barrel Aged Buckeye in the taproom only.

4 Noses Brewing in Broomfield brings back Pump Action, its award-winning pumpkin beer, at the brunchtime hour of 10 a.m. Speaking of brunch, Moontime Crepes will be on hand with both sweet and savory crepes; bluegrass band Burn It Blue joins the party on the patio at 11 a.m. Pump Action, an imperial pumpkin ale packed with spices, weighs in at 7.7 percent ABV. It will be available on tap and in six-packs to go. King of Wings will be there at 2 p.m. 

click to enlarge COMRADE BREWING
Comrade Brewing
Sunday, September 2
The wait is over. At noon, Comrade Brewing taps Superdamp, its back-to-back GABF silver-medal-winning, fresh-hop IPA. The beer is Comrade's flagship Superpower IPA wet-hopped with organic Chinook and Nugget from High Wire Hops in Paonia. The hops were put in the beer less than 24 hours after harvest. Sadly, Comrade won't have a chance to defend its title at GABF this year because there is no fresh-hop category as a result of the festival being held three weeks earlier than in years past.

Monday, September 3
Join Briar Common Brewery + Eatery for its first Septemberfest from 3 to 6 p.m. Briar Common will release its newest beer, Earth to Marzen, in honor of the season. The brewery will also be grilling burgers and brats.

Banded Oak Brewing taps its seasonal Marzen. The 6.1 percent ABV beer "is brewed with rich German caramel malts and hopped assertively to provide a drinkable balance, welcoming the cooler winds of fall," the brewery says. It "celebrates the rye dryness of classic Marzens while shying away from the newer, sweeter" ones.

Fiction Beer Company says goodbye to summer by tapping Peaches and Cream Milkshake IPA. Made with more than two pounds per gallon of fresh Palisade Peach purée, the beer also has vanilla and loads of hops. The Michigan Colorado Chef food truck will be outside.

Lowry Beer Garden
Friday, September 7
Seedstock Brewing, which focuses on old-world styles, taps its traditional Marzen-style Oktoberfest beer. Its version is "a malty, amber German-style lager with a rich, toasty and bready flavor," the brewery says. "It has a soft bitterness and a clean, dry finish with a 6.1 percent ABV."

Lowry Beer Garden notes the changing of the seasons with its sixth annual Oktoberfest celebration. The two-day event begins with the ceremonial tapping of the kegs at 6:30 p.m., followed by music from the Polkanauts at 7 p.m. There will also be German-inspired food, stein-hoisting competitions and, of course, lots of beer.

Tivoli Brewing celebrates Oktoberfest and its third anniversary with a party starting at 5 p.m. and featuring music from Brothers of Brass, What About Jim and HomeSlice Band. There will also be German food from Little Reds Kitchen, a costume competition, a raffle, a stein-holding contest and the tapping of a Marzen beer. For more information and tickets, $20 each, go to

Saturday, September 8
Raise a stein, fill your maß, and head to Dry Dock Brewing's original South Dock location for Docktoberfest, an annual party celebrating the season. There will be music from Polka Folka, a stein-holding contest, German food and several beer tappings, including Docktoberfest Marzen Lager, Helles, Pilsner and Wheat Beer. (The last three have all won GABF medals in recent years.) German-themed attire is strongly encouraged.

Lowry Beer Garden continues its Oktoberfest celebration at 12:30 p.m. with live music that continues all day (with the Peter Kron Band, the Austrian Connection and the Rhinelanders). Then it hosts an accompanying beer festival starting at 7 p.m. Drink tickets will be available for purchase for Oktoberfest beer pours from the following participating breweries: Prost Brewing, Dry Dock Brewing, Great Divide, Odell, Resolute, Left Hand and Epic Brewing. "Come dressed in your best dirndl or lederhosen and your first beer is on us," Lowry says.

Fiction Beer Company taps Written for Film, an Octoberfest lager that was aged twelve months in two second-use bourbon barrels — first in a Breckenridge then a Buffalo Trace Bourbon barrel. "The delicate oak character enhances the rich malt profile," Fiction says. This is a very limited release.

Wibby Brewing in Longmont will celebrate its third anniversary at Wibtoberfest, the all-lager brewery's annual Oktoberfest-like party. The party will feature special beer releases — including its Wibtoberfest Marzen Lager —  games, food trucks, a liquid light show and live music, including the locally renowned Dead Floyd, a Grateful Dead and Pink Floyd cover band. The free, family-friendly party starts at 11 a.m. and continues until midnight.
For details, the schedule and other specifics, go the Wibtoberfest web site.

Our Mutual Friend Brewing
Tuesday, September 11
Join Our Mutual Friend Brewing for the tapping of Festbier in celebration of Oktoberfest. Plus, the brewery's monthly keep-the-glass night includes a limited-edition ceramic stein featuring the traditional Bavaria cacti. For $20, you get the stein and two twenty-ounce fills. Things go down at 4 p.m.

Friday, September 14
Oktoberfest returns to Comrade Brewing with its Hunt for Red Oktoberfest lager. Bring your traditional German glassware and it will be filled with the beer. The Wing Wagon Grill will serve grilled Whole Foods sausage soaked in Comrade Oktoberfest beer. Traditional Oktoberfest attire is encouraged.

Join 4 Noses Brewing in Broomfield for its three-day-long fifth annual Oktoberfest celebration. On Friday, there will be Marzen beers, food from the Little Big Sandwich Truck, one-liter stein pours, and a stein holding contest at 8 p.m. On Saturday, there will be brunch at 10 a.m. with Moontime Crepes, a stein-holding contest, fun and games and costumes. On Sunday, its Burgerchief.

Grimm Brothers Brewhouse will once again host Loveland Oktoberest in conjunction with the Loveland Big Thompson Kiwanis Club, this time in a lot at 1015 South Lincoln Avenue. There will be Marzen beers and festbiers from various Loveland breweries, along with live music, food, kids' games, a stein-hoisting contest, a stump tournament, face-painting and a best-dressed contest. With a concentrated focus on German heritage, the fest only features vendors selling Oktoberfest-related goods, and the CSU German club will be on hand to talk German heritage, as well. The fest runs today from 4 to 9 p.m. and tomorrow from noon to 9 p.m.

click to enlarge JONATHAN SHIKES
Jonathan Shikes
Saturday, September 15
The truly nice people at Our Mutual Friend Brewing will host their annual event, Gratitude: A Celebration of Friendship and the Beer Made Possible by It. Partially an anniversary, Gratitude takes place on the Saturday before the Great American Beer Festival every year. "We wouldn't be where we are today without the support of our customers, friends, family and countless people in the craft beer industry," the brewery says. In addition to a photo booth, food trucks and giveaways, OMF will release Gratitude Five, a peach Brett beer, in bottles, along with at least seven other bottled beers. There will also be a truly insane tap list with more than thirty brews. For the list and more information, go to the event's Facebook page.

Strap on your lederhosen and dirndls: It's time to bring Munich to River North. DRiNk RiNo, an organization that promotes booze businesses in the River North Arts District, presents its Oktoberfest party at the Rackhouse. This "is not a bier tasting event, it's a bier drinking event," the organizers say, "so bring your thirst" for the fall seasonal offerings from Bierstadt Lagerhaus, Epic Brewing, Great Divide, Odell, Mockery, Our Mutual Friend, Ratio Beerworks, Black Shirt, C Squared Ciders, Bigsby's Folly Craft Winery, the Infinite Monkey Theorem, the Block Distilling, Ironton Distillery & Crafthouse and Stem Ciders. Tickets, $20, are available at, and include a .5 liter mug and 1 liter of beer. There will also be live music, games and food.

River North Brewery brings back its Decennial Series, three 15 percent-plus ABV beers that are intended to be aged for up to ten years — a decennium. The beers are: God Complex, an "infallible Abbey-style quadrupel "fit for the daftest of monks"; Shadowman, "a smoothly sinister block-out-the-sun-style stout"; and Father Time, "a dapper old ale for the ages," River North says. Releasing once every two years, the 2018 Decennial Series will debut the Saturday before GABF, allowing locals first dibs. But there should be enough to last all week.

Cruise to six west-Denver breweries with a guided GABF Brewery Bike Loop & Kick Off Party that starts and ends at the Alamo Drafthouse on West Colfax. For just $25, you’ll get an eight-ounce taster glass that entitles you to beer samples at each brewery, a chance to win a free keg, swag giveaways. Then, once you return to Alamo, you can try some exclusive GABF beers at the tap takeover GABF Kick Off Party with live music at 7 p.m. For more details, rules and restrictions and tickets, go to the Bike Loop Facebook page.

Cannonball Creek Brewing in Golden taps Project Alpha 25, the latest in its highly acclaimed series of experimental IPAs. There will be limited-edition glassware, food by Crock Spot and music by Kronen Band.
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Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes