Beer Man

Beer Calendar: Whale Hunting at Hops & Pie and Pliny the Younger Returns

School is in at Dos Luces.
School is in at Dos Luces. Fermentable Sugar
Class is in session at Dos Luces Brewing, which specializes in gluten-free corn- and maguey-based beers inspired by pre-Columbian traditions. Starting February 9, Dos Luces will offer six weeks of Saturday afternoon Beer School, with two-hour sessions led by Dos Luces owner/brewmaster Judd Belstock, with content input from brewery co-founder and Cornell University professor Sam Alcaine.

Each class will focus on a different aspect of brewing: ingredients, process, business/legal, serving, off flavors and food-and-beer pairings. Each class will also give a primer in a beer style, accompanied by a tasting.
While the classes cover the brewery's Latin American brews, chicha and pulque, they will also delve into Western European brewing and beer styles.

Each class is $20 (or $100 for all six) and include two Dos Luces beers to enjoy during class (from noon to 2 p.m.), plus guest beers for style tastings. Tickets are available at

Keep reading to see all of this week's craft-beer events.

click to enlarge Novel Strand and Cellar West put their heads together. - NOVEL STRAND BREWING
Novel Strand and Cellar West put their heads together.
Novel Strand Brewing
Wednesday, February 6
Novel Strand Brewing will tap a collaboration it cooked up with Cellar West Artisan Ales. "We decided to look to the past and crafted our interpretation of an old English porter," the brewery explains. "To do this we brewed up a base beer with seven different kinds of malt and fermented it with a blend of our dark ale yeast and Cellar West's Brettanomyces culture.The result is a beautiful beer with flavors of delicate chocolate, red wine, berries and dark fruit, along with a gentle funk." The beer will be on tap at both spots.

Every month this year, First Draft Taphouse & Kitchen will collaborate with a local brewery on a new beer. For February, the brewer is Intrepid Sojourner, which created a new beer called The First Sojourner. It's a Squarrel-Aged Tequila Sour with pear, cardamom and rosemary. First Draft will also tap the brewery's Basil IPA, Cantaloupe Saison and Mexican Lager — all at 5 p.m.

Thursday, February 7
Great Divide Brewing will tap a version of its Barrel-Aged Claymore that has been infused with Serrano peppers for a spicy kick. The base beer is the brewery's malty standard that has been aged in American oak barrels "to add an extra layer of flavor and aroma," Great Divide says. It will be on in both taprooms.

click to enlarge CEREBRAL BREWING
Cerebral Brewing
Friday, February 8
Join Cerebral Brewing at noon for a triple can and draft release. The first beer is Just the Two of Us Pastry Blonde Ale, a collaboration with Chicago's Mikerphone Brewing. This 6 percent ABV beer was brewed with
eighty pounds of Marshmallow fluff, raspberry purée, cacao and lactose. The second beer is Minimal Damage IPA, a 6 percent ABV beer brewed in collaboration with Washington's Cloudburst Brewing. It was made with oats and Colorado wheat from Troubadour Maltings, along with Sabro, Citra, Motueka, Galaxy and experimental 638 hops. The final beer, Cleared for Takeoff IPA, is part of Cerebral's In Flight series and its new approach to IPAs. It was "brewed with even more oats and a touch of raw wheat then hopped with staggering amounts of Citra and Motueka," the brewery says.

Burns Family Artisan Ales brings back Bumblebee Fee Braggot-Style Ale, a 16.2 percent ABV braggot; it will be available on tap and in 750ml bottles to go. Mirrors and Lights is performing a free show at 7:30 p.m. (In case you're not up on ye olde ale brewing styles, braggot is a mead/ale hybrid made with both honey and malted barley.)

Cedar Creek Pub in Aurora will celebrate Stout Day by tapping a variety of dark treats. They include Founders Brewing KBS BA Imperial Stout, Founders Brewing CBS BA Maple Imperial Stout, Cigar City Brewing Marshall Zhukov's Imperial Stout, Great Divide Brewing Chocolate Cherry Yeti Imperial Stout, and Aspen Brewing Company's 24-month barrel-aged 10th Mountain Imperial Stout.

The Mountain Sun brewpub and restaurant group continues with its annual Stout Month at its locations in Boulder, Denver and Longmont. "Throughout the month, more than a dozen taps at all five Mountain Sun locations [Vine Street Pub, Mountain Sun, Southern Sun, Under the Sun and Longs Peak Pub] will be devoted to...the rich, thick and dark ale," the company says. "More than 31 Mountain Sun stouts will be featured, including 48 Smooth Chai Stout, Coconut Cream Stout, Addition Imperial Coffee Stout, Nihilist Russian Imperial Stout, Chocolate Dip Stout, and Space Odyssey Stout." In addition, there will be stouts from more than thirty other Colorado breweries rotating through. In Denver, Vine Street Pub will features several barrel-aged offerings at various times. They include Rye Barrel-Aged Addition Imperial Coffee Stout, Bourbon Barrel-Aged Oatimus Prime Imperial Oatmeal Stout and Chocolate Thunder Bourbon Barrel-Aged Imperial Chocolate Milk Stout.

click to enlarge DENVER BEER CO.
Denver Beer Co.
Saturday, February 9
Join Hops & Pie during Flagship February for its OG Whales of Craft Beer Fest. What are "whales?" They're the rarities that beer hunters seek out — the life-listers, the ones bragged about on social media. In the past few years, these whales have evolved and changed. The old-school brews no longer get the buzz they once did, either because other beers have supplanted them or because the breweries that make them have grown and can supply more kegs and bottles. But some of those OG whales are still hard to find — and are still really, really good. "These are the beers that you used to wait in line for and still love," Hops & Pie says. "Let’s turn back the clock and give a nod to the beers that helped the industry become what it is today." Brews on tap at noon include Founders Brewing CBS and KBS, Bells Brewery Hopslam, Russian River Pliny the Elder, Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA, Firestone Walker Anniversary Ale, and Fremont Brewing Bourbon Barrel Aged Dark Star.

Speaking of whales, the original cult beer, Russian River Brewing's Pliny the Younger Triple IPA, will hit Falling Rock Tap House at 1 p.m. for its first foray into Colorado in 2019. And since the California brewery was able to make more of this hop bomb after a recent expansion, Falling Rock will be able to tap the beer several more times this month (it typically sells out within minutes or at least a few hours). The dates are Sunday, February 10;  Saturday, February 16; Sunday, February 17; and Saturday, February 23. And although all the tappings are at 1 p.m. on those days, Falling Rock opens at 11 a.m. and will distribute tickets at the door. If you get one, it means you get a pour, but only if you're there at 1 p.m. For the rest of the rules, go to Falling Rock's Facebook page.

Ratio Beerworks celebrates its four-year anniversary with a weekend-long party featuring beer releases, music and more. Today the brewery hosts a limited double bottle release. The first beer is Genius Wizard Imperial Stout Grand Cru, a 24-month barrel-aged version of imperial stout. Ratio will also re-release Wild in the Streets, a funky, nuanced wild saison aged in red-wine barrels. There will also be live music.

Join Denver Beer Company at both of its locations for the special release of Cocoa Cream Graham Cracker Grand. "This robust version of our award-winning Graham Cracker Porter kicks it up a notch with loads of delightful vanilla, oak, and chocolate flavors," the brewery says. "Sweet and dessert-like with a smooth, silky creaminess, the balance of chocolate and vanilla pair perfectly with the graham cracker crust finish." The beer will be on tap in Denver and Arvada; it will be available in a limited number of bomber bottles as well.

Comrade Brewing taps Mozzy Red IPA at noon. Brewed with Root Shoot Odyssey Pilsner malt from Loveland, crisp caramel malt, Weyermann Munich and honey malt, the beer was hopped with Mosaic hops.

Wynkoop Brewing brings back its morning beer releases with Rye’d the Lightning. "This time we have taken our staff favorite, Warning Label extreme IPA, and added a little kick; 110 pounds of rye malt and caramel rye were added to the recipe to make this the strongest beer Wynkoop has done in a long time," the brewery says. How strong? Try 15 percent-plus ABV. The beer taps at 10 a.m.; get a free one if you RSVP on Facebook.

Or you can try the beer a few hours later, when you show up for the ultimate craft-beer showdown: Wynkoop's revamped Beer Drinker of the Year contest. To compete, finalists "demonstrate their knowledge, passion, and commitment to drinking great beer," the brewery says. "It's a showdown like no other that will have you raising your glass one minute and throwing your head back in laughter the next." Pre-competition beers and cocktails start at noon, followed by a meet-and-greet in the Mercantile Room at 12:30 and the competition at 1 p.m. It's free to attend, but space is limited, so get there early.

The West Side Brewery Bus Loop returns from 2 to 10 p.m. Two buses will drive continuously between Little Machine Beer Company, WestFax Brewing, Joyride Brewing and Zuni St. Brewing; get on board for $5, get your punch card stamped at all four breweries and receive a free beer on your next visit. The theme for the bus rides this month is Ski Bunnies.

Ursula Brewery in Aurora will release two old favorites in brand-new packaging: 19.2-ounce stovepipe cans. The beers are Merit Badge Imperial Porter, a coconut and chocolate porter inspired by Girl Scout cookies, and 180 Gram Imperial Stout with pomegranate and chocolate. There will also be four barrel-aged variants of 180 Gram available in 375ml bottles. Doors open at noon.

click to enlarge LITTLE MACHINE
Little Machine
Sunday, February 10
It's We Heart Razz Week at Little Machine Beer Company, which will be pouring its award-winning Razz Against the Machine alongside three variants: Dark Chocolate (previously served at the Bierstadt Slapdown); Cucumber; and Barrel Aged Mix Culture Sour. They'll be on through Valentine's Day or until they run out.

Monday, February 11
In honor of Stout Month, Diebolt Brewing will tap a new variation of its Vladislav Russian Imperial Stout each Monday in February. Today's is Strawberries & Cream Bourbon Aged Imperial Stout. "We put eleven pounds of strawberry purée into five gals of Vladislav for two weeks and then added lactose sugar for extra body and sweetness," the brewery says.

Wednesday, February 13
Join Copper Kettle Brewing for the first release of Snowed In Cherry, a new iteration of its Snowed In bourbon-barrel-aged imperial oatmeal stout. Made with Cholaca liquid cocoa and sour cherries, this 13.5 percent ABV "rich stout presents smooth body with a tart finish," the brewery says. It will be available on tap in 19.2-ounce stovepipe cans to go. Doors open at 2 p.m.

Thursday, February 14
Love is in the air, and on Valentine's Day "you're gonna fall madly in love with Belgian Chocolate Raspberry Love Stout," which Strange Craft Beer Company has been tapping on February 14 for years. This limited imperial stout with raspberries and chocolate has "subtle notes of rose, passion flower and honey," Strange says.

Diebolt Brewing taps Double Dutch Chocolate Bourbon Aged Imperial Stout for Valentine's Day. It was made with Dutch cocoa powder, cacao nibs and French sea salt.

Join Baere Brewing on Valentine's Day for a beer release and a beer-and-cupcake pairing with Buttercream Bakeshop. Here's a description of the beer: "We took four oak barrels of our mixed-culture sour brown and aged them in freshly emptied Laws Whiskey barrels for up to nine months. Then we blended them and aged some of the delicious nectar on freshly harvested Palisade Bing cherries. Baere will have both the regular and Bing cherry versions on tap and in 375ml bottles to go. As for the cupcake pairing, you get four cupcake bites and four beer samples for $20.

Burns Family Artisan Ales releases Stolen Kiss, a 14.5 percent ABV Rum Barrel Aged Imperial Brown. It will be on tap and in 750ml bottles. The beer will be paired with Girl Scout Cookies at 7 p.m.

Friday, February 15
Hogshead Brewery brings back its annual weekend-long Hogshead Days party. The brewery, which specializes in English-style cask ales, will tap a variety of dark or heavy specialties. They include Window Licker Barleywine, Barrel Aged Old Burton Extra Old Ale, Barrel Aged Divine Right Russian Imperial Stout, Gilpin Black Gold, John Stout Porter From the Wood, and Bourbon 101.

Come party with Factotum Brewhouse, which celebrates its fourth anniversary with a two-day party. Doors open at 3 p.m. on Friday, when the brewery will tap Tiramisu Nitro Stout; there will be food from Morsa's Kitchen and music from Big J. Beats. Then on Saturday, Factotum will tap its fourth-anniversary beer, Mango Pineapple Berliner Weisse, at noon. There will be food from Crescent City Connection and music all day.

click to enlarge RIVER NORTH BREWERY
River North Brewery
Saturday, February 16
River North Brewery will celebrate its seventh anniversary by tapping seven barrel-aged beers, including its Anniversary Ale 7. There will also be some one-off tappings, including Nelson Sauvin Mountain Haze and Peach J. Marie. Enjoy a mini birthday cake and beer pairing with Good Sugar Baking starting at noon and tacos and other deliciousness by El Taco Veloz Food Truck.

Station 26 Brewing brings out its own Stout Month offering by tapping Nightfall of Diamonds Barrel Aged Imperial Stout: Moghli. This variant of the beer (formerly known as Dark Star) "is a flavorful combination of caraway, cinnamon, pistachio, almond, walnut, and coconut, infused with the dark chocolate," the brewery says. There will be a limited number of Crowlers available at 11 a.m.

Falling Rock Tap House taps the original cult beer, Russian River Brewing's Pliny the Younger Triple IPA, at 1 p.m. today and tomorrow (it typically sells out within minutes or at least a few hours). Doors open, however, at 11 a.m., which is when Falling Rock will begin distributing tickets. If you get one, it means you get a pour, but only if you're there at 1 p.m. For the rest of the rules, go to Falling Rock's Facebook page.

Parry's Pizzeria & Bar also will be tapping Pliny the Younger at two of its locations this weekend. Today you can find it at the Southglenn location, 2154 East Commons Avenue, in Centennial. The doors will open at 10 a.m., but you'll need to arrive early for an opportunity to get a ticket. While you wait for your pour, Parry’s will have its breakfast pizza going, as well as 99 other craft beers on tap.

Sunday, February 17
Parry's Pizzeria & Bar also will be tapping Pliny the Younger at two of its locations this weekend. Today you can find it at the Northglenn location, 100 East 120th Avenue, in Northglenn. The doors will open at 10 a.m., but you'll need to arrive early for an opportunity to get a ticket. While you wait for your pour, Parry’s will have its breakfast pizza going, as well as 99 other craft beers on tap.

Monday, February 18
Diebolt Brewing will tap a new variation of its Vladislav Russian Imperial Stout each Monday in February. Today's is Thin Mint Bourbon Aged Imperial Stout with peppermint extract, Dutch chocolate and cacao nibs.
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Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes