As the number of breweries in the United States surged past the 7,000 mark last October, it became clear that the craft-brewing industry has continued to grow despite some signs of a slowdown. This week, the Brewers Association looked back at 2018 and noted a few interesting numbers.
For starters, a mid-year survey measured 5 percent growth by volume...and "it is clear that craft beer sales will once again reach a new high in 2018," the Boulder trade association says. Furthermore, craft breweries employ more than 135,000 people and contribute $76 billion in economic impact. The "craft brewing community" as a whole (which includes suppliers, manufacturers and others) is responsible for 500,000 jobs.
Looking forward to next year, the BA expects continued growth, since there are around 1,000 breweries currently in the planning stages — breweries that could open in 2019, adding to the totals.
Keep reading to see all of this month's craft-beer events.
Wednesday, December 12
First Draft Taproom & Kitchen invites you to the tapping of a special beer. Dustin Hall of the Brewtography Project collaborated with Metric Brewing in Colorado Springs to brew a decadent Baltic porter. "This 10 percent ABV Goliath features rum, raisin and licorice notes and isn't camera shy," the organizer says. "It was released at Metric Brewing a couple of weeks ago, but for those living in the Denver area, this is your chance to try it. Dustin Hall will be on hand talking about the beer and the Brewtography Project, as well as selling copies of his book at a 20 percent discount. So come on out, try this Baltic Porter, and say hello."
Rail's End Beer Company in Broomfield is getting aboard the lager train with a planned series in 2019. It will kick things off a little early though by tapping its first-ever lager, a 4.9 percent ABV German-style pilsner that the brewery calls "very approachable, refreshing [and] light-medium bodied."
Thursday, December 13
Copper Kettle Brewing brings back its 12 Firkins of Christmas tappings — and challenge. The brewery will be serving a different unique beer from a cask each day at 2 p.m. If you come to the taproom all twelve days and get a stamp for each beer, you'll get a prize. Today's beer is All Spruced Up Pale Ale, a pale ale made with spruce tips. After that, it's Baby It's Quald Outside Winter Warmer Quad on Friday, #Basic Red Cup Peppermint Milk Stout on Saturday, Respect your Elders Elderflower Tripel on Sunday, and Tipsy Elf Hazy IPA with Brett on Monday. After that, you'll find Papá Noel Gingerbread Mexican Stout, Cookies 4 Santa Milk Stout, Leche de Santa Milk Stout with Coffee, Flamingo-ho-ho-ho Pina Colada Milkshake IPA, Not Yer Grandma's Fruitcake Strong Ale, 3 Shots in the Dark Espresso Imperial Oatmeal Stout on nitro, and Sour Day.
Friday, December 14
Join Cerebral Brewing at noon for the release of four different canned beers. Character Reference is an unusual 5.5 percent ABV Vienna lager that was conditioned for six weeks in a wooden foeder and an additional two weeks in stainless steel. Part of a trending style, this foeder lagerbier was brewed with Vienna and Pilsner malts and then hopped with Tettnang. The second beer, Thornless, is a 5.5. percent sour ale that was conditioned on more than 330 pounds of blackberry, along with cassia bark, cinnamon and vanilla. The third beer is the 8.8 percent Burner Phone Double IPA, hopped exclusively with Galaxy in the whirlpool and then "hit hard in the dry hop with Galaxy and Mosaic," the brewery says. The final beer is Rare Trait, Cerebral's 6.4 flagship.
The Intrepid Sojourner Beer Project has teamed up with Urban Farmer’s chef Chris Starkus and Lost Creek Micro-Farm on four different cantaloupe saisons, which the brewery will tap at 6 p.m. The Lakewood farm, which Starkus owns, yielded more than two hundred cantaloupes this summer, "creating a large enough surplus to brew seven kegs of beer," according to event organizers. The four-beer flight consists of five-ounce pours of Classic Cantaloupe Saison; Bee Bitter Cantaloupe Saison brewed with Waggle Bee Pollen Bitters; Spiked Cantaloupe Saison brewed with coriander, jalapeno, mint, ginger and orange peel; and Oak- Aged Cantaloupe Saison aged in Squarrel Square Barrels. There will also be small bites from Starkus.
Saturday, December 15
When it comes to craft beer, Denver Festivus, a rollicking festival that invites every brewery and cider maker within Denver’s city limits to participate, definitely needs a spot on your winter calendar. The seventh annual iteration of the fest takes place from 3 to 6 p.m., at the Denver Sports Castle, 1000 Broadway, the former home of Sports Authority. Tickets, $35 to $60, are on sale at denverbeerfestivus.com. After all, that ugly Christmas sweater isn't going to wear itself.
Join the Intrepid Sojourner Beer Project for its second annual Gingerbread Invitational, a holiday celebration and mini beer fest that culminates with "an intense gingerbread house competition for all the marbles." The day begins at 1 p.m. when the brewery taps its Gingerbread Bock collaboration with Spice Trade Brewing. In addition, the brewery will tap beers from some friends: Neapolitan Cookie Imperial Stout from Spice Trade Brewing; and Winter Weizenbock from Resolute Brewing. There will also be a Kvass made in collaboration with Rebel Bread and some beers served in Squarrels. Good Sugar Baking will be in the house with Festive Beer and Cookie Pairings, and there will be handmade holiday gifts with booths from Christkindlesmarkt with Crafted Art Emporium, Two Feet and the Earthbeat, Blackheart Creations and Modern Which-Craft. In addition, find games and gingerbread cookie decorating for adults and kiddos. The Modern Eater will broadcast live from the taproom at 6 p.m. Oh, and bring your boxed and canned goods for Denver Inner City Parish.
Comrade Brewing, like dozens of other beer makers in Colorado and more than a thousand nationwide, has brewed its own version of Sierra Nevada's Resilience IPA — with the goal of raising money for the victims of the recent Camp fire in northern California. Comrade will tap the beer (made with two-row and Simpsons Heritage Crystal malts and hopped with Cascade and Centennial) today at noon. One hundred percent of the proceeds will benefit the Sierra Nevada Camp Fire Fund.
Goed Zuur will welcome Washington brewery Logsdon Farmhouse Ales to Colorado at 6 p.m. The sour specialist will tap Seizoen Bretta and Far West Vlaming. There will be a food pairing available.
4 Noses Brewing has been secretly readying some barrel-aged beers this year and plans to break them out today and tomorrow for Barrel Aged Weekend. There will be eight releases today, including: BMF Single Barrel Select Russian Imperial Stout aged in a rye whiskey barrel (with lactose); BMF Barrel 1, a Russian Imperial Stout aged in a single port bourbon barrel with a distinct bourbon finish (contains lactose); BMF Peated Russian Imperial Stout aged in a peated scotch barrel; and several more. Check the brewery's Facebook page for details. All beers will be on draft and in limited 500ml bottles to go. On Sunday, 4 Noses will continue the party with a Hangover PJ brunch where you'll get to indulge in beermosas and food from Burgerchief while drinking in your pajamas.
Odd13 Brewing in Lafayette releases several new beers at noon. The first is Guava Intergalactic Juice Hunter, an 8 percent ABV double IPA — and the first fruited variant of of the brewery's flagship double IPA. "We took the same exact recipe, and added one pound of guava per gallon," the brewery says, along with Galaxy, Amarillo and Simcoe hops. The second beer is Time Stans Still IPA, a tribute to the late Stan Lee. It was brewed with Excelsior, El Dorado, Enigma and Denali hops. The third beer is Saint Newcole Barrel aged Imperial Stout, which was aged in port wine barrels that previously held bourbon. The remaining beers are Saint Newcole Vanilla, Saint Newcole Barrel aged Imperial Stout aged in rye whiskey barrels, and Cascara Guardian Barrel aged Bier De Garde.
Sunday, December 16
Burns Family Artisan Ales releases Valverde Lager, a straw-gold-colored Mexican-style session lager that is "crisp, and smooth," the brewery says. Ten percent of the day's Valverde Lager sales will benefit the Valverde Neighborhood Association.
Lady Justice Brewing, located inside Factotum Brewhouse, is tapping the last of its Barrel Aged Export Stout and Winter Warmer. The community-service brewery is also taking signups for new members.
"The time has again come to ditch your neighbor’s ugly sweater party and check your holiday cheer at the door," says Bierstadt Lagerhaus, which hosts its third annual Ho Ho Ho Slapdown starting at 1 p.m. Seven Colorado breweries will go "toe-to-toe with exclusive seasonal beers that would smack even Santa right in the mouth," and you get to be the judge. The brewery that gets the most votes walks away with bragging rights and a trophy.
Tickets are $25 and they get you five-ounce samples of beers from Bierstadt Lagerhaus, Cannonball Creek,
Comrade Brewing, Barrels and Bottles Brewery, Call to Arms, Little Machine Beer, and Westbound & Down Brewing Company. Gets tickets at the door or at eventbrite.com.
Copper Kettle Brewing has been holding onto a few of its vintages and wants to share them with you before Christmas. The brewery will be selling rare bottles of Snowed In, Well Bred and Le Chapeau, to name a few.
Wednesday, December 19
Copper Kettle Brewing continues to count down its 12 Firkins of Christmas by serving a different unique beer from a cask each day at 2 p.m. Today's beer is Cookies 4 Santa Milk Stout, followed by Leche de Santa Milk Stout with Coffee on Thursday, Flamingo-ho-ho-ho Pina Colada Milkshake IPA on Friday, Not Yer Grandma's Fruitcake Strong Ale on Friday, 3 Shots in the Dark Espresso Imperial Oatmeal Stout on nitro on Sunday, and Sour Day on Monday.
Thursday December 20
Comrade Brewing hosts An Imperial Christmas from 4 to 10 p.m. There will be six different variants of Quit Stalin Russian Imperial Stout on tap. They include: Double Vanilla Quit Stalin; Marshmallow Vanilla Quit Stalin; Coconut Quit Stalin; Maple Coffee Quit Stalin; Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pastry Quit Stalin; and Chocolate Blueberry Quit Stalin. There will also be Christmas cookies.
Burns Family Artisan Ales hosts a release party for Resilience IPA, the beer brewed in collaboration with more than 1,200 other breweries across the country to benefit Sierra Nevada's Camp Fire Relief Fund; 100 percent of all Resilience IPA sales goes directly to support those who were affected by this devastating California fire. Burns is hoping to sell out all fifteen gallons of Resilience IPA tonight and will be open special hours, from 12:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. There will also be live music from The One And Only Jon Ham at 5:30 p.m., Chuck Jones, from 8 to 10 p.m., and At The Watertower, from 10:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.
Renegade Brewing hosts its monthly Beers + Banned Books event starting at 5:30 p.m. This time, it features Roald Dahl's Charlie & The Chocolate Factory. The brewery paired the book with Chocolate Hammer – its Hammer Imperial Stout loaded with chocolate bars aged on whiskey staves in a Squarrel barrel. Anyone who buy the beer gets a copy of the book as well.
Great Divide Brewing releases the third iteration of its Hop Disciples Rotating Hop Project featuring Callista hops. "Every year, we take a bright, clean IPA and put a different hop variety at the forefront of the sensory experience," the brewery explains. "Callista is a newer hop variety originating in Germany from the creators of Mandarina Bavaria, Hull Melon and Hallertau Blanc hops. "There should be notes of passion fruit, peach, apricot and blackberry plus a little pine.”
1623 Brewing is a gypsy brewing project that splits time between Maryland and Colorado. Co-founded by Zac Rissmiller, a former brewer at Elk Mountain, Rockyard and Resolute, the project began by canning beers in Maryland, but Rissmiller has also done a few collaborations here in Colorado. You can try the first two at 2 Penguins Tap & Grill from 5 to 7 p.m. The first is Red American Hefeweizen, done in collaboration with Goldspot Brewing, while the second is English Barleywine, brewed with Cerberus Brewing in Colorado Springs.
Friday, December 21
Ursula Brewery is releasing the Sacred Fire, its 12 percent ABV Scottish-style Wee Heavy in honor of the winter solstice. "In Scottish Celtic tradition the year was divided into two halves: the dark and the light. The winter solstice, also referred to as 'Yule,' is the celebration of the return of sunlight," the brewery says. "December 21 marks the longest night and the shortest day of the year. To the ancient Celts, fire was sacred and domestic fires were never extinguished... but one time a year when they were re-kindled by the Sacred Fire." As for the beer, it has rich maltiness full of toffee and caramel character," Ursula says. "We ferment slow and cool with a traditional Scottish Ale yeast that brings in beautiful soft fruity esters, and emphasizes the malty fullness." Starting around 5:30 p.m., the brewery will light a fire outside and stick a hot poker into some of the beer to caramelize it. There will be regular and Bourbon Whiskey Barrel Aged variants on draft and to go.
Seedstock Brewery and Goldspot Brewing will each tap a collaboration beer today that came about as the result of a brewhouse mistake. "One of Goldspot's interns was tasked with adding ninety pounds of cranberries to another beer, but accidentally put them in the Winter Warmer Lager," Seedstock explains. "This blessing in disguise is a striking ruby color with very slight tara aroma. Winter Warmer Lager is an incredibly clean tasting beer that has subtle notes of dark fruit and cranberry. This beer weighs-in at 9.5% ABV."
Burns Family Artisan Ales releases Caerbannog, a 5.3 percent ABV Scottish Ale. "In the style of an 80-shilling, it has a malty roast sweetness perfect for winter evenings," the brewery says. "Hints of nuts and soft hop fruit in the aroma, with flavors of toast, caramel and a suggestion of earthy roast and toffee."
Dos Luces Brewing, which makes corn- and maguey-based beers inspired by Pre-Columbian traditions, is hosting a... Summer Solstice party, since its summer in the Southern Hemisphere, where most of the brewery's beers originated. As part of Fiesta del Sol, Dos Luces will tap Guanabana Chica, made from malted blue corn, clove, cinnamon, and guanábana fruit;; and a Mexican Chocolate Pulque, made with maguey sap, malted blue corn, cinnamon, clove, Mexican Cacao nibs—courtesy of Cultura Craft Chocolates—and cayenne pepper.
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Oskar Blues celebrates the winter solstice with its Darkest Day event – "a bone-warming ceremonial shindig of barrel-aged indulgence" featuring five 12 percent ABV limited-release beers. They are: Jefe’s Horchata Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout; Santa’s Beer Breath Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout with Cocoa and Peppermint; Chocolate Hazelnut Praline Ten FIDY Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout; Salted Caramel Ten FIDY Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout; and Hot Buttered Rum Ten FIDY Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout. The beers will be available all day long on draft and in 19.2-ounce stovepipe cans at the brewery's tap rooms in Boulder and Longmont.
The winter solstice is the shortest, darkest day of the year, which Freshcraft will note by tapping "some of the darkest and most delicious beers that Bell's Brewery has to offer." Beer on draft include: Trumpeter’s Stout, Arabicadabra, Kalamazoo Stout, and Bourbon Barrel Aged Third Coast Ale. The Bell's crew will be on hand at 7 p.m. with some cool glassware and other swag, too.
Saturday, December 22
For Hops & Pie's No-Nonsense Holiday Beer Fest, you can leave your ugly sweater at home (it probably needs to be washed by now anyway). That's because this tapping is just about the liquid. Some of the festive beers that go on tap at noon include: Prairie's Artisan Ales' Christmas Bomb; Oakshire Brewing's Ill-Tempered Gnome;
Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales' Noel De Calabaza; and the Lost Abbey's Gnoel de Abbey.
Outer Range Brewing in Frisco turns two years old today with with an epic party starting at noon. The brewery will also release cans of Pow Bender Blueberry Vanilla Milkshake IPA, made with Citra and Mosaic hops, blueberries, and $3,000 worth of vanilla. It will also release: Cold Places, Warm Faces Imperial Stout, made with black velvet cake and coffee; In the Deep Steep Double IPA, brewed with Citra, DDH Wai-iti an d Nelson Sauvin hops; and Less than Zero, a mixed fermentation Brut IPA made in collaboration with Casita Cerveceria.