Tickets for the annual Big Beers, Belgians and Barleywines Festival — one of Colorado's best fests — went on sale yesterday, and almost everything is still available today. This year's extravaganza of boozy brews runs January 10 through 12 at the Beaver Run Resort in Breckenridge, covering many of the same events with which regular attendees have become familiar. There are beer-pairing dinners (this year's highlights Avery, Dogfish, Blackberry Farm and Verboten), along with about ten educational seminars.
The main event, of course, is the Commercial Tasting, which takes place Saturday afternoon, spanning two floors of Beaver Run. Participants and attendees will have the opportunity to sample more than 500 beers above 7 percent ABV. "Poured primarily by the brewery owners and brewmasters themselves, these beers are distinguished by their quality, rarity, and/or innovation, causing aficionados from around the country to seek out this tiny festival in the mountains of Colorado," festival organizers say. For tickets, prices and much more information, go to BigBeersFestival.com.
Keep reading to see craft-beer events into mid-September.
Thursday, September 6
Join Freshcraft at 6 p.m. as it continues the welcome-party tappings for Bell's Brewery in Colorado. Bell's makes some of the most respected beers in the country and keeps Midwesterners happy. Freshcraft will tap The Wild One, Octoberfest Beer, Oarsman Ale and, of course, Two Hearted Ale.
Friday, September 7
Cerebral Brewing hosts another of its patented triple-can releases starting at noon. The first beer is Double DDH Rare Trait Dry-Hopped IPA. For this 6.5 percent beer, Cerebral says, "We took our house IPA and (accidentally) doubled the double-dry-hop rate to a ridiculous fourteen pounds per barrel with Citra, El Dorado, Azacca and Mosaic in order to amplify all of our favorite characteristics about our house IPA. The second beer is Bird of Paradise Smoothie-Style Sour, which was soured with Lactobacillus and fermented with a clean American strain, then conditioned on lactose, boysenberry & tart cherry. The final beer is Passion Fruit Stuff; brewed with oats and a touch of lactose, this one was exclusively hopped in the whirlpool with Mosaic and dry-hopped with Mosaic, Wakatu and Citra then conditioned on passion fruit."
Seedstock Brewing, which focuses on old-world styles, taps its traditional Marzen-style Oktoberfest beer. Its version is "a malty, amber German-style lager with a rich, toasty and bready flavor," the brewery says. "It has a soft bitterness and a clean, dry finish with a 6.1 percent ABV."
Lowry Beer Garden notes the changing of the seasons with its sixth annual Oktoberfest celebration. The two-day event begins with the ceremonial tapping of the kegs at 6:30 p.m., followed by music from the Polkanauts at 7 p.m. There will also be German-inspired food, stein-hoisting competitions and, of course, lots of beer.
Tivoli Brewing celebrates Oktoberfest and its third anniversary with a party starting at 5 p.m. and featuring music from Brothers of Brass, What About Jim and HomeSlice Band. There will also be German food from Little Reds Kitchen, a costume competition, a raffle, a stein-holding contest and the tapping of a Marzen beer. For more information and tickets, $20 each, go to eventbrite.com.
Saturday, September 8
Raise a stein, fill your maß, and head to Dry Dock Brewing's original South Dock location for Docktoberfest, an annual party celebrating the season. There will be music from Polka Folka, a stein-holding contest, German food and several beer tappings, including Docktoberfest Marzen Lager, Helles, Pilsner and Wheat Beer. (The last three have all won GABF medals in recent years.) German-themed attire is strongly encouraged.
Lowry Beer Garden continues its Oktoberfest celebration at 12:30 p.m. with live music that continues all day (with the Peter Kron Band, the Austrian Connection and the Rhinelanders). Then it hosts an accompanying beer festival starting at 7 p.m. Drink tickets will be available for purchase for Oktoberfest beer pours from Prost Brewing, Dry Dock Brewing, Great Divide, Odell, Resolute, Left Hand and Epic Brewing. "Come dressed in your best dirndl or lederhosen and your first beer is on us," Lowry says.
Fiction Beer Company taps Written for Film, an Octoberfest lager that was aged twelve months in two second-use bourbon barrels — first in a Breckenridge barrel, then in a Buffalo Trace Bourbon barrel. "The delicate oak character enhances the rich malt profile," Fiction says. This is a very limited release.
Coda Brewing, helmed by former New Terrain brewer Luke Smith, will open its nano taproom and brewery in Golden, at 15965 South Golden Road, at noon. If the name "Coda" sounds familiar, it's because Smith was part of the opening group at the original Coda Brewing — now called Ursula Brewery — in Aurora. Smith left that company in 2016 but kept the name. For today's opening, there will be fourteen beers on tap that were "created from our proprietary recipes and house-propagated yeasts," Coda says. "Everything is small-batch, limited and quite unique. There may also be some uber-rare surprises." There will also be live music from Weatherbee and the Gnarbillys, and food from the Rolling Dough Truck.
Something Brewery in Broomfield and Wiley Roots Brewing in Greeley have teamed up to release two different beers in 19.2-ounce cans. Two Headed Monsta Hazelnut Imperial Coffee Stout and Two Headed Monsta Oreo Coffee Imperial Milk Stout will both be available at both breweries on tap and to go starting at noon. "It’s your choice to drink these monstas separate or blend them together to create the legendary Two Headed Monsta," the breweries say.
Wibby Brewing in Longmont will celebrate its third anniversary at Wibtoberfest, the all-lager brewery's annual Oktoberfest-like party. The party will feature special beer releases — including its Wibtoberfest Marzen Lager — games, food trucks, a liquid light show and live music, including the locally renowned Dead Floyd, a Grateful Dead and Pink Floyd cover band. The free, family-friendly party starts at 11 a.m. and continues until midnight.
For details, the schedule and other specifics, go the Wibtoberfest website.
Sunday, September 9
Spice Trade Brewing and Copper Kettle Brewing (where Spice Trade recently began brewing some of its beers) are teaming up for the Beer and Breakfast Collab Club, a special coffee-beer release and brunch at Copper Kettle's taproom. The two breweries have partnered with the nearby Sonder Coffee & Tea on Imperial Brown Ale, along with this year's version of Snowed In: Mocha. Spice Trade will also have a few of its new coffee beers on tap, including Coffee Coconut Sherpa Porter and Pumpkin Spice Latte. Other highlights include micheladas with Bloody Mary mix from the Real Dill and Spice Trade Jalapeño Lager or CKBC Helles; Nitro Cold Brew on tap from Sonder; delicious breakfast foods from Farmer Joe's Food Truck; pop tarts and other handcrafted pastries from Sugar Bakeshop and Coffee House; and more. The event starts at 11 a.m. No tickets necessary.
Tuesday, September 11
Join Our Mutual Friend Brewing for the tapping of Festbier in celebration of Oktoberfest. Plus, the brewery's monthly keep-the-glass night includes a limited-edition ceramic stein featuring the traditional Bavaria cacti. For $20, you get the stein and two twenty-ounce fills. Things go down at 4 p.m.
Friday, September 14
Oktoberfest returns to Comrade Brewing with its Hunt for Red Oktoberfest lager. Bring your traditional German glassware and it will be filled with the beer. The Wing Wagon Grill will serve grilled Whole Foods sausage soaked in Comrade Oktoberfest beer. Traditional Oktoberfest attire is encouraged.
Dunbar Kitchen & Tap House gives you a chance to get GABF-week going early when it taps a collaboration IPA from Boulevard Brewing and WeldWerks Brewing. The brew is a Hazy IPA brewed with Ekuanot, El Dorado, Citra and Galaxy Hops, and then double-dry-hopped with Galaxy and El Dorado. It goes on at 6 p.m.
Renegade Brewing will release sixteen-ounce cans of its latest small-batch beer, Envy Brut IPA, at 5 p.m. "Brewed in collaboration with the release of Boulder band Envy Alo's second album, this ultra-dry IPA has a crisp hop flavor and aroma," Renegade says. "Slightly hazy and known for mimicking the qualities of sparkling white wine in a beer, Envy is sure to cause jealousy among your friends that have not had the pleasure of drinking it." The beer will also be on tap. The band will be on hand to play two full sets.
Diebolt Brewing celebrates its fifth anniversary with a three-day party starting tonight with a toga party-themed silent disco. Tickets, $15, are available at eventbrite.com and include a free beer and entry into the costume contest (first place is a $100 bar tab). Diebolt will tap Reunion Gose, brewed with French grey sea salt and Reunion Island pink peppercorns; Denver Deep Dish will be grilling wings on the patio and serving pizza.
Join 4 Noses Brewing in Broomfield for its three-day-long fifth annual Oktoberfest celebration. On Friday, there will be Marzen beers, food from the Little Big Sandwich Truck, one-liter stein pours, and a stein-holding contest at 8 p.m. On Saturday, there will be brunch at 10 a.m. with Moontime Crepes, a stein-holding contest, fun and games and costumes. On Sunday, it's Burgerchief.
Verboten Brewing in Loveland is releasing seven beers during the week before GABF, five of which are barrel-aged. Try them all, win a prize. Pick up your punch card in the taproom starting today (each one will remain in the taproom for two or three days). They are: 2016 GABF Medal-Winning Little Nonsense (today); Coconut Milkshake IPA (September 15); Neapolitan Barrel Aged Porter (September 16); Cognac Grow Old With You Barleywine (September 17); Bourbon Barrel Aged Pecan Porter (September 18); I Am Brut, Imperial Brut IPA (September 19); and Churro Little Nonsense (September 20).
Grimm Brothers Brewhouse will once again host Loveland Oktoberest in conjunction with the Loveland Big Thompson Kiwanis Club, this time in a lot at 1015 South Lincoln Avenue. There will be Marzen beers and festbiers from various Loveland breweries, along with live music, food, kids' games, a stein-hoisting contest, a stump tournament, face painting and a best-dressed contest. With a concentrated focus on German heritage, the fest only features vendors selling Oktoberfest-related goods, and the CSU German club will be on hand to talk German heritage, as well. The fest runs today from 4 to 9 p.m. and tomorrow from noon to 9 p.m.
Saturday, September 15
The truly nice people at Our Mutual Friend Brewing will host their annual event, Gratitude: A Celebration of Friendship and the Beer Made Possible by It. Partially an anniversary, Gratitude takes place on the Saturday before the Great American Beer Festival every year. "We wouldn't be where we are today without the support of our customers, friends, family and countless people in the craft beer industry," the brewery says. In addition to a photo booth, food trucks and giveaways, OMF will release Gratitude Five, a peach Brett beer, in bottles, along with at least seven other bottled beers. There will also be a truly insane tap list with more than thirty brews. For the list and more information, go to the event's Facebook page.
Strap on your lederhosen and dirndls: It's time to bring Munich to River North. DRiNk RiNo, an organization that promotes booze businesses in the River North Arts District, presents its Oktoberfest party at the Rackhouse. This "is not a bier tasting event, it's a bier drinking event," the organizers say, "so bring your thirst" for the fall seasonal offerings from Bierstadt Lagerhaus, Epic Brewing, Great Divide, Odell, Mockery, Our Mutual Friend, Ratio Beerworks, Black Shirt, C Squared Ciders, Bigsby's Folly Craft Winery, the Infinite Monkey Theorem, the Block Distilling, Ironton Distillery & Crafthouse and Stem Ciders. Tickets, $20, are available at eventbrite.com and include a half-liter mug and one liter of beer. There will also be live music, games and food.
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River North Brewery brings back its Decennial Series, three 15 percent-plus ABV beers that are intended to be aged for up to ten years — a decennium. The beers are: God Complex, an "infallible Abbey-style quadrupel fit for the daftest of monks"; Shadowman, "a smoothly sinister block-out-the-sun-style stout"; and Father Time, "a dapper old ale for the ages," River North says. Releasing once every two years, the 2018 Decennial Series will debut the Saturday before GABF, allowing locals first dibs. But there should be enough to last all week.
Diebolt Brewing continues its fifth-anniversary party by tapping kegs and opening bottles of some of its favorite barrel-aged beers from the past few years. There will be more than ten beers available for on-site consumption and to go, from the cellar. There will also be a cornhole tournament, bottle releases, tappings, a variety show and food. Go to Diebolt's Facebook page for more information.
Cruise to six west Denver breweries with a guided GABF Brewery Bike Loop & Kick Off Party that starts and ends at the Alamo Drafthouse on West Colfax. For just $25, you’ll get an eight-ounce taster glass that entitles you to beer samples at each brewery, a chance to win a free keg, and swag giveaways. Then, once you return to Alamo, you can try some exclusive GABF beers at the tap takeover GABF Kick Off Party with live music at 7 p.m. For more details, rules and restrictions and tickets, go to the Bike Loop Facebook page.
Cannonball Creek Brewing in Golden taps Project Alpha 25, the latest in its highly acclaimed series of experimental IPAs. There will be limited-edition glassware, food by Crock Spot and music by Kronen Band.