The Great American Beer Festival wrapped up last Saturday, and Colorado took home thirty medals. One of those went to Durango's Ska Brewing, which won gold for its brand new Oktoberfest, a Vienna-style lager that joined the ranks of Colorado's numerous Oktoberfest beers in the late summer.
But Ska being Ska, the beer comes with a story. After telling festival organizers it planned to submit the beer into the competition, Ska was "caught off-guard when it came time to ship the beers." Why? “The beer was so popular that we sold through it before we had a chance to hold any back to ship,” explains Ska sales and marketing director Kristen Muraro in a written statement. “I had to run to the liquor store to buy one of the last six-packs in Durango to ship to the competition.”
And it's not easy to find around Denver right now, either, as most of it has sold out. The beer will return in late summer 2019, though, the brewery promises.
Keep reading to see all of this week's craft-beer events.
Wednesday, September 26
Black Shirt Brewing will celebrate its sixth anniversary with various events for the rest of the week. Today, the brewery will tap its extremely rare Bourbon Barrel-Aged Born to Hula Tropical Sour. "Well-balanced acidity with just enough pineapple, coconut, and vanilla notes to round out the flavor," the beer is 6.5 percent ABV, the brewery says. There will be comedy from Nathan Lund and others in the evening.
As the chill sets in, the Brew on Broadway, along with Strange Craft, Black Sky Brewery and Chain Reaction Brewing can "warm your belly with this slightly chocolate yet big blackberry flavor porter" brewed at the BOB. Part of these four breweries' regular Traveling One Barrel Wednesday program, it's on tap at all locations.
Do you own a stein? "Everyone has one of these beauties sitting around, whether it was from a trip to the Motherland or an impulse buy at a festival," says Factotum Brewhouse. "However, most of the time they just sit on our shelves collecting dust, and it's about damn time we use them for their intended purpose." As such, the brewery will begin hosting a regular Stein Night beginning at 4 p.m. on Wednesday. "Bring in your .5 Liter, 1 Liter, or Das Boot Stein and we'll fill them up for a deeply discounted price," Factotum says.
Thursday, September 27
Black Shirt Brewing continues its sixth-anniversary week by tapping its 9.5 percent ABV Bourbon Barrel-Aged Quad. "Brewed in 2013, this deep, dark, rich, and complex ale was fermented in steel and then aged 21 months in freshly dumped whiskey barrels. Rich, full on the palate, and brimming with vanilla, English toffee, warm whiskey character, and soft, nutty coffee notes," the brewery says.
Friday, September 28
Black Shirt Brewing taps Electric Ladyland Tart Raspberry Saison at 11 a.m., and as part of its sixth-anniversary party, the brewery has also secured a slush machine to make Electric Ladyland Beer Slushes.
Saturday, September 29
Fiction Beer Company celebrates its fourth anniversary with numerous beer releases. They include four different cans: The Recurrence QDH triple IPA Anniversary Beer; Magic Wallet Passionfruit Milkshake IPA; Veritaserum Belgian Kettle Sour with Pumpkin and Cranberry; and Alternate Present Black Lager. Fiction will also release its American Golden Sour aged on peaches and its barrel-aged Barleywine. In addition, there will be special Barrel Aged Coconut Vanilla Russian Imperial Stout Slushies. Come down for the beers, along with limited-edition anniversary glassware, live music from 5 to 8 p.m., and food from Crescent City Connection.
Fermaentra Brewing will host its first-ever can release, selling two beers. The first is Ultrawave, a 6.5 percent hazy IPA brewed with pale malt and Antero Wheat from Troubadour Maltings in Fort Collins and hopped with Citra, Mosaic and El Dorado. The second is Brut Li, a 7.1 percent ABV Brut IPA made with extra-pale pilsner malt, rice and corn, and hopped with Mosaic and Amarillo. Both are in sixteen-ounce cans.
Seedstock Brewery, which specializes in old-world beers, taps Special Hell as part of its Oktoberfest celebration. The beer is a "smooth, clean, gold German lager — the beer that is poured most often in Munich during Oktoberfest," Seedstock says. "Its rich, malty aroma is balanced by a slight cracker sweetness that, rather than filling you up, leaves you wanting more." The brewers got the idea for the beer ten years ago after tasting Andechser Spezial Hell, a beer that is brewed at the Andechs Monastery.
Zuni Street Brewing hosts an Oktoberfest party featuring free German party hats for early arrivals, German pretzels, yard games (hammerschlagen, cornhole, giant Jenga), commemorative Zuni Street Oktoberfest Half-liter steins and lots of beer. Rocky Mountain Cheesery will be on hand with food, and the brewery will tap St. Stephen's Vienna Lager at 4 p.m., just when the Oom-Pah Pa band strikes its first tune.
Black Shirt Brewing hosts Beer, Bacon & Bluegrass in its beer garden from 2 to 5 p.m. as part of its sixth-anniversary celebration. Rusty 44 will provide tunes while Tender Belly hands out samples of its cherrywood and habanero bacon. There will also be numerous bacon-centered menu items.
The Brewability Lab celebrates its second anniversary with live music, a DJ and the Amazing Tasty Eats Food Truck. In addition, Trinity Cigar Company, a mobile cigar lounge, will be on site.
Hop Zombie Imperial Red IPA (a 2017 GABF award winner) returns to Lone Tree Brewing at 11 a.m. Now in its fifth year, this highly anticipated release event will include specialty Hop Zombie glassware and T-shirts designed to match the beer's brand-new label. Bomber bottles will be available for purchase, and there will be live music and a photo booth. "Each year there are a handful of devoted souls who arrive in the wee hours of the morning to guarantee themselves all the goodies," Lone Tree says. "Baja Berto's Beachside Burritos will be around early to serve breakfast burritos and will stick around for lunch and dinner."
The Post Brewing in Lafayette celebrates family and friends at its annual Howdy Fest 2018, a neighborhood block party taking place from noon to 4:30 p.m. In addition to beer from the Post (including the namesake Howdy Beer itself, a pilsner that just won a medal at the Great American Beer Festival), there will be guest taps with beer from Front Range Brewing, Liquid Mechanics, Odd 13, Endo Brewing and Stem Ciders. Food will include fried chicken, BBQ chicken, chicken brats and a bevy of early fall farm fresh vegetables from East County Farmsteads. There will be games like chicken toss, stein-hoisting, mechanical bull riding, and calf-roping, along with live bluegrass music — Wood Belly from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. followed by Head for the Hills from 2:15 to 4 p.m. Tickets to Howdy Fest are $15 for adults (includes one beer), $10 for ages thirteen to twenty, and free for kids twelve and under. They can be purchased at eventbrite.com or fee-free in person at any Post location.
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Sunday, September 30
On the last Sunday of every month, River North Brewery taps new variations of Mountain Haze, showcasing how different hop varietals can change the flavor profile of a beer. For September, it will have a single keg each of Amarillo Mountain Haze and Falconer's Flight Mountain Haze. Doors open at noon.
Black Shirt Brewing finishes up its sixth-anniversary celebration with a pop-up brunch featuring the Roaming Bull Brasserie from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. There will be birthday cake along with the Real Dill Bloody Marys and Stem Ciders Cidermosas.
Briar Common Brewery + Eatery is hosing a five-course beer-pairing dinner — and offering a sneak peek at its anniversary brews — to celebrate its two-year anniversary. The Joyce + Brett Belgian Saison, 902-Bravo Tart, and Bramble Blackberry Imperial Stout will be rejoining Briar Common's tap lineup in October, but as a guest of the dinner, you'll be the first to try them. For tickets, prices and info, go to eventbrite.com.