The term "pinkwashing" gets thrown around a lot during Pride month, when well-meaning people and companies are sometimes confused with those that use gay-friendliness to promote their products or political agendas. Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference, but feelings often get hurt in the process.
Colorado's many craft breweries have become increasingly involved in Pride month festivities over the past few years, and there are dozens involved in activities or events this weekend. And while most seek to honor and ally themselves with LGBTQ causes and charities and employees — and there is a very tight-knit, outspoken and well-loved community of LGBTQ brewery workers out there — they are still criticized.
Damned if you do, damned if you don't, I guess. Boulder Beer Company went out of its way this year to avoid any pinkwashing claims, however, with the release of Gender Fluid Lager, a canned beer sporting rainbow colors. The brewery will donate 10 percent of proceeds from sales of the beer to the Human Rights Campaign.
Boulder Beer worked with the Denver Queer Business Alliance and QBA member Little Shoes Studios on several marketing projects surrounding Gender Fluid, including this video, to ensure and promote inclusivity. “With this year marking the fiftieth anniversary of Stonewall and the Pride movement, we thought it appropriate to mark that date with support of our own,” says Dan Weitz, director of sales for Boulder Beer. “As a nationally distributed brewery, we’re happy to contribute to the Human Rights Campaign, a nationally recognized organization that is working toward equality for all people.”
Keep reading to see craft-beer events through June 22.
Wednesday, June 12
Jagged Mountain Craft Brewery will tap Kawaikini Tiki Sour NEIPA, and will be selling 100 special sixteen-ounce tiki pint glasses. For $18, you can get two pours and a glass to take home.
Bierstadt Lagerhaus's birthday is the one day of the year that the German-style brewery breaks its biggest rule: Slow Pour Pils is normally only served in its own special glassware, but the beer will be available by the liter for Bierstadt's three-year anniversary today. There will be special merch deals and food specials from the Rackhouse, as well.
Thursday, June 13
Great Divide Brewing will tap Vanilla Oak Aged Yeti at noon as part of its weekly New Year, New Beers small-batch program. "Another extension of our Yeti clan, Vanilla Oak Aged Yeti is the next flavor evolution for our cherished imperial stout," the brewery says. "Sweet vanilla tones meld into the oak characteristics as the two flavors support and enhance one another."
Finn's Manor will give up its taps to Westbound & Down Brewing at 5:30 p.m. for a tap takeover featuring six beers from the Idaho Springs brewery. They include the Grape Squad beers — Voignier, Riesling, Cab Franc and still Cab Franc, along with Tiger Vision IPA (a Smog City Brewing collab) and Session IPA.
Friday, June 14
"To honor this weekend of inclusivity and mutual respect," Black Shirt Brewing says about Pride week, "we brewed a beer called Love At All Cost, a dry-hopped raspberry-passionfruit Berliner weisse, and we're putting it on nitro." One dollar from each beer (it's also lactose-free and vegan) will benefit Range Consulting, a program of The Center on Colfax that works to eliminate LGBTQIA+ discrimination in Colorado’s workplaces.
Craft Alley, the Washington Park liquor store that just sells Crowlers, is opening a new patio where people will be able to try the store's beers during nonprofit events. To celebrate, Craft Alley is teaming up with some of its regular breweries on collaboration beers to tap in the garden. The first is the Notorious Juicy NEIPA, a hazy IPA brewed in collaboration with Spangalang Brewery; it has Mosaic, Zythos and Galaxy hops. It taps at 4 p.m.
Denver Beer Co. taps Berry Proud, a limited-edition bomber, in celebration of Pride month. A fruity sour, Berry Proud was brewed with real cranberries and raspberries. During Pride month, 20 percent of proceeds of Pride Tees/Tanks and Berry Proud pints and Crowlers will be donated to the Trevor Project.
Westbound & Down Brewing teamed up with the folks at Goed Zuur again this year to make another blend specifically for last month's Five Points Jazz Fest. Join them at 3 p.m. at the Cultural Center (6381 Beach Street) — the Denver area taproom that Westbound shares with Amalgam Brewing — for the bottle release of Acid Jazz, a golden sour blend aged in a variety of barrels for many months. Draft pours also will be available.
4 Noses Brewing toasts summer by releasing four beers: Keller Helles Lager (on tap only); Apricot Velvet, a canned milkshake IPA made with apricot, peach, vanilla beans and lactose; Liquid Confidential Imperial New England style IPA; and the Ogden Ale, a Citra-hopped ale brewed in collaboration with the Ogden Theatre.
Saturday, June 15
Lowry Beer Garden marks its seventh anniversary with its BBQ & Beerfest from 5 to 8 p.m. There will be live music from the Royal Aces, commemorative mini-mugs and beer from Odell Brewing, Wibby Brewing, Cerebral Brewing, Epic Brewing, Telluride Brewing, New Image Brewing, Horse & Dragon Brewing and Dry Dock Brewing. Tickets are $25 at the door. This event will be held rain or shine.
Since craft brewers weren't allowed to participate in the Coors Light Denver Pride Parade (because Coors, the official sponsor, said no), about twenty craft breweries will hold a mini-parade with mini-floats on Tennyson Street. The cheekily named Brewer's Light Pride Parade & Rumpus will kick off at 3 p.m. at the Grateful Gnome Sandwich Shoppe & Brewery, head south down Tennyson to Empourium Brewing and then snake back north, finishing at Call to Arms. Here the festivities will continue with music, food, ice cream and a special beer release. Proceeds from the sale of this beer, a brut IPA, will be donated to the Trevor Project, an organization dedicated to providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention to LGBTQ youth.Other participants in the parade include Goldspot Brewing, Station 26 Brewing, Woods Boss Brewing, Novel Strand Brewing, Bierstadt Lagerhaus and more.
Goldspot Brewing brings back its summer seasonal, Guava IPA, at noon. This year, the 5.2 percent ABV brew is being tapped in honor of Pride Week, and $1 from each pour will benefit One Colorado.
To kick off the summer season, Alpine Dog Brewing taps two IPAs — one in the East Coast style and one in the West Coast style — and leaves it to the fans to vote for the superior IPA. In corner one: The Haze, which was heavily hopped with Sabro over Amarillo, Citra, and Mandarina "for massive citrus and tropical fruit juice with notes of coconut, a full mouthfeel of proper juicy haze and restrained bitterness," the brewery says. "In corner two: The West Coast, with big doses of Idaho 7 and Azacca hops bringing rich red grapefruit and pine with stonefruit notes...[it is] dry with full bitterness and haze-free." Voters will also have a shot at prizes. The One and Only Jon Ham plays from 3 to 6 p.m., and there will be Korean barbecue from the new Cupbop Colorado food truck.
Our Mutual Friend Brewing releases Gig Economy, a collaboration beer made with Casa Agria Specialty Ales from Oxnard, California, at noon. Gig Economy is a rustic saison brewed with all-Colorado ingredients and fermented with a blend of the two breweries’ house mixed cultures. "The beer incorporates barley, millet, buckwheat, oats, wheat and hay, laying the base for a complex series of grain flavors for a lightly hopped beer. The two mixed cultures complement the rustic and varied grain profile, providing layers of tropical flavor and aroma, a noticeable mineral character, and light tartness with ever-present funk," the brewery says. It will be on draft and in bottles to go.
Join Goed Zuur for a rare beer tapping from Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project at 5 p.m. "These specialty beers do not see the light of day often, and we want to share them with you," the sour specialist says. The beers include Colorado Reserva Red Heart Plum, Get the Funk Out Vol 1, L' Brett d'Raspricot Sauvignon Blanc Barrel 2017, and Member Berries Tempranillo 2016. Crooked Stave founder Chad Yakobson will be on hand.
Independent Colorado craft beer will be showcased at the RiNo Beer Fest, which takes place from 2 to 6 p.m. at the RiNo Beer Garden. There will be beer from twenty breweries, including Black Shirt, Blue Tile, 14er Brewing and Colorado Sake Company. There will also be a DJ Dance Party and Rocky Mountain Slices Food Truck. Tickets start at $28 and are available at eventbrite.com.
Denver Beer Co. Arvada is turning two. To celebrate, DBC is throwing a celebration with live music from 2 to 8 p.m., with birthday cake, special beer tappings and games.
Friday, June 21
Funkwerks is throwing its annual Summer Solstice Patio Party from 4 to 10 p.m. in its Fort Collins taproom, celebrating the longest day of the year. "While sipping a fruity Raspberry Provincial or refreshing Hella Helles, jam to live music from Fat Stallion and J.W. Schuller Band," the brewery says.
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Saturday, June 22
"Way back in 1994, before the Rockies moved to LoDo and before brewers could be governors, a man with a business plan and a passion for high-quality beer opened Denver's first packaging brewery." That's the short history lesson from Great Divide Brewing, which will celebrate its 25th anniversary in grand style, with a block party on Arapahoe Street. To prepare, the brewery dug deep into its cellar and maxed out its pilot brewing system so that it could pour some "exceedingly rare and exceptionally creative beers that you won't see again." They include at least fourteen Yeti Imperial Stout variants, including old favorites like Chocolate Oak Aged and Oatmeal, and new inventions, like Maple Pecan and S'mores. Great Divide will also have its 25th Anniversary Big Yeti, a 13.5 percent ABV behemoth. In addition, there will be sours from the Wood Werks collection, vintage Hibernations, a Jameson barrel-aged saison, a 25th Anniversary Double Hazy IPA, a Brut IPA, a Double Juicy IPA and a Hoppy Pilsner. Both 25th Anniversary beers will be available on draft at the party and available to go in 19.2-ounce cans. Beyond the beer, expect a great slate of live music, food trucks, lawn games, Yeti appearances and some "unexpected enchantment." VIP ticket holders will get unlimited pours of all available Great Divide beers, entrance into the event an hour early (1 p.m.), a limited-edition 25th anniversary T-shirt and glass, plus access to the Colorado Rentals VIP bar.
Hogshead Brewery celebrates its seventh anniversary with a mini-fest starting at 5 p.m. and featuring beers from some of its brewery friends, including Bierstadt Lagerhaus, Westbound & Down, Comrade Brewing, Cannonball Creek, Station 26 Brewing, Strange Craft, Fiction Beer Company and Little Machine. And all of it will be on cask, English-style. Tickets, $35, are available on Facebook. There will be music from Robby Peoples and bratwursts on the grill to help soak up the beer.
The fifth annual Arvada on Tap kick off from 2 to 6 p.m. (or 1 p.m. with VIP tickets). General Admission tickets are $35 (or $40 at the door) and include unlimited beer tasting from around 25 breweries, plus barbecue samples from amateur barbecue competitors. VIP tickets are $50. Breweries include: Blue Moon RiNo, Denver Beer Co., Cervecería Colorado, Grand Lake Brewing, Kokopelli Beer Company, Lady Justice Brewing, Oskar Blues Brewery, Odyssey Beerwerks, Prost Brewing Company, Redstone Meadery, SomePlace Else Brewery, Spice Trade Brewing, Stem Ciders, Strange Craft Beer Company, Wit's End Brewing Company, Call to Arms Brewing Company and Cannonball Creek. Get tickets and more information at eventbrite.com.