Grocery and convenience stores in Colorado have been able to sell full-strength beer since the first day of 2019, a change that was also the end of the road for 3.2 beer, a vestige of Prohibition that remained in Colorado only because the chains weren't allowed to carry anything stronger.
But that didn't mean that the problems associated with 3.2 beer went away. Because of an oversight in the new law (as Westword reported in "Colorado's 3.2 Beer May Be Light, but It's Packed a Punch"), breweries and beer distributors are still being forced to keep the beer destined for chain grocery and convenience stores separate from the beer going to independent liquor stores. To fix that, legislators are considering a bill that should be an easy fix for this problem; SB19-011 was introduced on the first day of the 2019 session. It has since been approved by the entire Colorado Senate and is now in the state House, where it is expected to pass as well.
Here is a summary of the bill provided by the legislature:
As of January 1, 2019, fermented malt beverages and malt liquors are defined similarly for purposes of the "Colorado Beer Code" (beer code) and the "Colorado Liquor Code" (liquor code). However, a person who manufacturers, sells at wholesale, or imports both fermented malt beverages and malt liquor must obtain a separate license under each code. The bill removes the dual licensing requirement by:
Converting each manufacturer's license issued under the beer code to a manufacturer's license issued under the liquor code;
Converting each wholesaler's license issued under the beer code to a wholesaler's beer license issued under the liquor code;
Converting each nonresident manufacturer's license issued under the beer code to a nonresident manufacturer's license issued under the liquor code;
Converting each importer's license issued under the beer code to a malt liquor importer's license issued under the liquor code; and
Repealing the authority of the state licensing authority to issue new licenses under the beer code, except for licenses authorizing the retail sale of fermented malt beverages.
Keep reading for craft-beer events through the end of January.
Wednesday, January 16
The four breweries that are part of Traveling One Barrel Wednesdays will all tap Winter Warmer Olde English to help combat colder temperatures. "A full-bodied malty beer, it has robust, earthy hop notes from Nugget and Bobek," the breweries say. It will be available at Chain Reaction Brewing, Black Sky Brewery, The Brew on Broadway and Strange Craft Beer Company starting at 3 p.m.
Thursday, January 17
It's been a hoppy new year at Comrade Brewing, which will tap a few double-dry-hopped variants of its famed Superpower IPA at 4 p.m. along with Grapefruit Superpower.
Chain Reaction Brewing taps Rosie Mallows Hibiscus Saison at 4 p.m. The beer is a collaboration with Envy Brewing in Fort Collins and was brewed with hibiscus petals.
Great Divide Brewing taps Wood Werks #4 at 5:30 p.m. at both of its taprooms as part of the New Year New Beer series. The beer is a barrel-aged saison that "highlights the spicier side of the style," Great Divide says. "The addition of spelt and rye further accentuate this earthy, spicy component." After brewing, the beer was aged in a mix of merlot and cabernet sauvignon barrels for ten months, to "round out the overall character of the beer. The final product will be bready, earthy, and spicy, with a luxurious mouthfeel with a hint of vinous character."
Crush Pizza + Tap hosts a beer-pairing dinner with Bootstrap Brewing from 6:30 to 9:30 to help highlight the beers from this Boulder County brewery. For $30, you'll get a four-course dinner paired with four different beers. The menu includes two new Crush pizzas: the Hot Mess, made with spicy red sauce, mozzarella, sopressata, pickled peppers, goat cheese and honey; and the Lemon Margarita, made with ricotta, mozzarella, shaved garlic, fresh basil, EVOO and lemon zest. The beers will be Lush Puppy Juicy IPA, Stick's Pale Ale, Chillax Pineapple Gold Ale and Wreak Havoc Imperial Red.
Friday, January 18
Westbound & Down Brewing will use the Denver barrel cellar it runs with Amalgam Brewing to release bottles of Barrel Aged Absence Imperial Stout and two separate variants; these are the first "clean" (meaning not wild or sour) beers that the Idaho Springs brewery has sold in bottles. "Absence is a blend of our five favorite bourbon barrels from two separate brews," the brewery says. "Expect a soft and sticky mouthfeel from a long boil, high starting gravity and large portion of flaked oats used in the grist. We have the base blend and two separate variations. One variant was aged on whole Madagascar bourbon vanilla beans for an additional three weeks prior to packaging, and the other was aged on toasted coconut, toasted in our very own kitchen in Idaho Springs." All three beers were packaged in 750ml bottles and will also be served on draft. The release takes place at 3 p.m. at the Cultural Center, 6381 Beach Street in Denver.
Back on December 21, 2018, Zuni Street Brewing cooked up its 200th batch of beer, GingerGrass Ale. That beer will be tapped today as part of the brewery's 200th Batch Bash, when Zuni Street will also open up the naming rights to its new tank. Do you want to bid on it? "We will hold a live auction in the brewhouse — naming rights to the highest bidder. The money from your winning bid will go to the charity of your choosing, and we will get to work on lettering the tank," the brewery says. "Tank names must be appropriate, and a character count will be negotiated. The auction starts at 7 p.m. Stella Blue Food Truck will be outside.
"Easy drinking and cozy, this winter brew is perfect for breaking all January resolutions." That's how Factotum Brewhouse describes its new Black Ale, which taps at 3 p.m. "This tasty and drinkable beverage will certainly pair well with friend get-togethers, first dates, and contemplating life. Join us in the taproom on Friday to meet the guest brewer, Josh at the unveiling of this beer."
4 Noses Brewing is excited to introduce the Inherited Oak series, a new line of barrel-aged golden sours matured for multiple years in neutral red-wine barrels and re-fermented on various fruits. "Our first release will feature Balaton cherries, known for their prominent tart cherry pie flavor, complementing pie-spice phenols and pleasant acidity in the base beer," the brewery says. "Neutral red-wine barrels exude subtle vanillin, which rounds the mouthfeel." The beer goes on tap at noon; the Little Big Sandwich Truck will be on hand.
Westfax Brewing in Lakewood is releasing its first sixteen-ounce cans starting at 2 p.m. The release includes Westfax's flagship Urban Lumberjack Hazy IPA, which was brewed with six hop varieties: Citra, Azacca, Eldorado, Amarillo, Simcoe and Mandarina. Also in cans will be Just Brut It, a "crisp, light, dry" brut IPA with tropical fruit notes including melon and white grape. Only 100 cans of each beer will be available; the original labels on these cans were created by local artists Drawing From Nature and Noelle Phares Art.
Anheuser-Busch InBev created a stir recently when it posted a now-deleted Facebook ad for Wicked Weed Brewing, one of a dozen U.S. breweries that AB InBev has purchased in the past eight years; in it,
the maker of Budweiser appeared to be saying that it was introducing sour beers to the New World, despite the fact that brewers have been making them here for decades. "After centuries of development in and around Belgium, sour beers have arrived in the United States. In addition to standard ale yeasts, sour beers make use of “wild” yeasts like Brettanomyces and Lactobacillus: microorganisms that consume sugars to create uniquely tart, sometimes funky flavors. Often, heavy doses of fruit are added to these beers after they’ve gone through initial fermentation," the ad read. Many craft breweries shared that post with a chuckle or a sigh. But Wiley Roots Brewing in Greeley is taking things a step further. At noon, it releases (on draft and in cans) Beer Flavored Beer, a German-style helles lager that pokes a little fun at AB InBev. Its tagline reads as follows: "After centuries of development in and around Belgium, lager beers have arrived in the United States. In addition to standard ale yeasts, lager beers make use of "lager" yeasts like Saccharomyces and Saccharomyces: microorganisms that consume sugars to create uniquely crisp, sometimes enjoyable flavors. Often, heavy doses of rice or corn are added to these beers before they've gone through initial fermentation."
Saturday, January 19
Ratio Beerworks is excited to announce the bottle release of its 2018 Bourbon Barrel-Aged Coconut Vanilla Genius Wizard Imperial Stout. The beer, which first appeared at the brewery's December Genius Wizard party, "is brewed with copious amounts of base malt, specialty grains with the addition of molasses, then barrel-aged for twelve months to produce subtle sweet vanilla and oak-forward flavors," Ratio says. There are only 100 bottles available, and they will go on sale at noon. A small amount will also be on draft.
Today is the two-year anniversary of the Makin' Noise Beer Project, which got its start in Denver as a way to raise money for charities that worked to protect people and places that are most threatened by the Trump administration. Over that time period, the roving quarterly project has raised more than $50,000. This time around, there are five different red ales being tapped at four breweries, and $1 from each pint sold will be donated to the brewery's charity of choice. They are Honey Fig Red at Atrevida Beer in Colorado Springs, with money going to Realm of Caring; Red Ale from Lady Justice Brewing (located inside Factotum Brewhouse), with money going to the Gathering Place; American Red Ale at Burns Family Artisan Ales, with money going to Savio House; Red Rye from Goldspot Brewing, with money going to Project Worthmore; and Alt, a collaboration between 1623 Brewing and Goldspot that will be tapped at Goldspot, with money going to the Rebels Project.
River North Brewery hosts its once-a-year release of Whiskey Barrel Quandary, starting at noon. The beer is "aged in only the finest Colorado bourbon and whiskey barrels, with classic notes of figs and dates layered atop oak and spirit," the brewery says. It will be available on tap and in bottles to go.
Join Cerebral Brewing for the release of its acclaimed Here Be Monsters Imperial Stout. Aged for seventeen months in "freshly dumped" Four Roses Bourbon barrels, this 14.4 percent ABV beer was brewed with Maris Otter and copious amounts of English Chocolate and Crystal malts. Cerebral will also tap Vanilla Here Be Monsters (draft only), which was conditioned on a blend of Madagascar bourbon and Ugandan vanilla beans. Although doors open at 10 a.m. for the bottle release (but not to the general public until noon), beer drinkers are expected to line up much earlier. The brewery will begin handing out tickets at 8 a.m.; for more details, the rest of the rules and other information about price limits, go to Cerebral's Facebook page.
Diebolt Brewing has canned its Chin Chin Belgian Golden Strong Ale (originally named Chin Chin Du Diable) for the first time and will release the beer at noon. "Our take on this classic style starts with an irresistibly aromatic bouquet of citrus, pear and spicy perfume that lures the senses and tempts the palate," Diebolt says. "The flavor is soft, clean and light-bodied, with subtle fruit and spice notes that levitate to a smooth, dry, delicate finish." There will be raffles all day long, a food truck, and live music from 4 to 6 p.m.
Prost Brewing invites customers to check out its new look in the taproom, along with "a new, updated image for ourselves," as part of its Grand Grand Rebranding Party at 3 p.m. While the brewery says it will continue to focus on German-style beer, it will have a new logo, new merchandise and new glassware.
Denver Beer Co. brings its two-day Beer, Bacon & Coffee Fest back to Olde Town Arvada today and tomorrow from 8:30 to 11 a.m. "Come warm up and indulge all of your vices at...this early-morning blast," the brewery says. "All that is required of you is to wake up, roll down to Denver Beer Co. and enjoy some of Denver’s best beer, bacon and coffee. Then go home and take a nap." Tickets are $40 on the brewery's website, and the event is expected to sell out beforehand. The price of admission includes a big breakfast burrito, unlimited coffee and bacon, a souvenir coffee mug and all the “breakfast inspired” brews you can drink in two and a half hours.
Come celebrate six years with Cannonball Creek Brewing in Golden, which will host a two-day-long birthday party featuring special tappings, food trucks and live music on both days.
Verboten Brewing in Loveland will host an inaugural Stout Fest from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., pouring a whopping twenty housemade stouts on tap. These will be small-batch releases, barrel-aged releases, and crazy taproom-only releases. Tickets are $35 and include unlimited tasters with a commemorative glass. Or, for $25, you can get a ten-taster punch card and a glass.
Sunday, January 20
Lady Justice Brewing, which operates out of Factotum Brewhouse, is tapping its version of Resilience IPA, the beer that was created by California's Sierra Nevada Brewing to help raise money nationwide for people affected by the devastating Camp Fire in that state. Hundreds of breweries around the country have brewed and tapped their own versions; all of them donate 100 percent of the proceeds to the Sierra Nevada Camp Fire Relief Fund. The beer goes on tap at noon; there will also be a limited number of Crowlers available.
Wednesday, January 23
Walter's 303 Pizzeria & Publik House in Uptown is hosting the official release party for Bell’s Brewery's HopSlam Ale, a seasonal double IPA. The party starts at 7 p.m., and there will be swag for all.
The Post Brewing Co. in Boulder is hosting a four-course beer-pairing dinner — and not just any dinner. This one celebrates bison, an integral part of Colorado's history. The Battle of the Brewmasters (Bison Edition) begins at 6 p.m. and includes a four-course meal showcasing three cuts of bison (bison short rib tamale, for example), each paired with a beer from both the Post and 4 Noses Brewing in Broomfield; brewmasters Nick Tedeschi (The Post) and Brandon Boldt (4 Noses) will host. Afterward, you can vote on which pairings you thought were the best. Tickets are $50 and available at eventbrite.com.
Westfax Brewing in Lakewood will tap a new small-batch beer at 3 p.m. The Coconut Lime Gose won't last long, so get there fast.
Thursday, January 24
Great Divide Brewing taps Chocolate Cherry Yeti at both of its taprooms in honor of the beer's February bottle release. A big hit during Yeti Awareness Week in 2018, Chocolate Cherry Yeti, at 9.5 percent ABV, will become part of the brewery's seasonal Yeti series. In the meantime, though, Great Divide says it has "tweaked the hop bitterness for this special release and then added sweet and sour cherries and cacao. The roasty malt backbone of Yeti melds perfectly with the cherries and cacao to make this one smooth sipper."
Call to Arms Brewing loved its Majestic Wolf Lamp Oak-Aged Blended Belgian Sour with Blackcurrants so much the first time it was released that the brewery decided to bring it back. Coming in this year at 8.6 percent ABV, "this complex, jammy blend offers notes of boysenberry and blackcurrant with a pronounced-yet-balanced sour finish," the brewery says. "Majestic Wolf Lamp is stunning, with a beaming magenta hue, and exudes pure farm-stand blackberry jam." The beer will be sold in 750mL bottles; there are only 150 available.
CO-Brew, a brewery and home-brew shop on Broadway, will host the folks from the Fort Collins-based Squarrel Barrel Company for a wood and beer class. You can learn barrel history, wood chemistry 101, and best practices and guidelines. The class is free, but reservations are required.
Friday, January 25
Seedstock Brewery recently landed two of its Old World beers in Beer Connoisseur’s Top 100 Beers of 2018 issue. Dusseldorf Alt was named the third-best beer on the list, while the brewery’s Oktoberfest was named as the 33rd-best. "It’s a shame that currently you can only get the beer in the immediate Colorado area," Beer Connoisseur wrote. "However, this supports the notion of patronizing your local brewery, and anyone in the Denver area would be more than satisfied by a visit." In celebration, Seedstock will re-release Dusseldorf Alt today. The 5 percent ABV German-style beer "has a clean, malty aroma with a very slight hint of fruitiness," the brewery says. "It is assertive in its hop bitterness and balanced by a clean, bready malt character."
Sample more than 100 beers from forty breweries at the annual Denver Winter Brew Fest, which takes place today and tomorrow at 7 p.m. at Mile High Station. Tickets are $40 in advance or $50 the day of, and include a commemorative tasting glass and live music from the Burroughs on Friday night and Dead Floyd on Saturday night. VIP tickets are $10 more and get you in an hour early. Get details and tickets at eventbrite.com.
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Saturday, January 26
So you like stouts? River North Brewery has the party for you. "Once again, we will raid the cellar and fill our taps with our biggest and darkest brews, with Crowlers available of anything on draft," the brewery says. Beers available at the annual SuperStout Party, starting at noon, include Anniversary Ale 6, Coconut Mr. Sandman, 2018 Rum Barrel Mr. Sandman, 2018 Decennial II Shadowman, 2018 Barrel Aged Double Avarice,
2018 Barrel Aged Nightmare Fuel, 2017 Barrel Aged Mr. Sandman, Chai Mr. Sandman, Mr. Sandman XO,
2018 Barrel Aged Avarice, 2017 Fancy Effing Stout, and 2017 Vicennial II Barrel Aged Shadowman.
New Image Brewing launches Brut Force Brut IPA at 11 a.m. in Arvada. "This dry, hoppy, effervescent IPA comes in at 7 percent ABV and kicks you in the mouth with the citrusy, juicy flavors of Nelson Sauvin, Mosaic, and Huell Melon hops," the brewery says. It will be available in cans to go and on draft.
Odd13 Brewing releases Fruit Puncher, a fruited double IPA with lactose that was made in collaboration with New Jersey's Carton Brewing. "Fruit Puncher contains an insane variety of fruit additions to mimic a fruit punch beverage," the brewery says. They include cherry, strawberry, papaya, mango and pineapple; the beer was hopped with Amarillo and Mosaic. In addition, Odd13 will launch a new small-batch, barrel-aged sour program by releasing four beers in bottles. They are Raspberry Rhubarb Sheriff Shane Sherman, a 6.63 percent ABV foeder-aged sour with raspberry and rhubarb; Barrel Aged Hawaiian Bartender, made with pineapple and mango; Barrel Aged Sour Ale with cherries; and Barrel Aged Sour Ale with peaches.
Tuesday, January 29
On this day in 1964, Stanley Kubrick released his final black-and-white film, "a theatrical version of an impending nuclear holocaust," says Strange Craft Beer Company, which has been brewing a beer named Dr. Strangelove since it opened in 2010. To honor this satirical comedy, the brewery will host a $15 vertical tasting of the potent barleywine, for which versions from 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017, along with Barrel-Aged 2015, will be poured. Strange will also air the movie Dr. Strangelove at 6 p.m.