Beer Man

Great American Beer Festival week: Here's how to get a Monday head start

Every November, I cook a turkey. Not on Thanksgiving, but a couple of weeks early. This way, I can get a taste of Turkey-Day excitement early and not have to stuff myself on the actual day, ending up in a tryptophan-induced coma. The same plan also helps you survive Great American Beer Festival week: You'll want to get a head start so that you don't feel like you're falling behind on all the beer action around town, and you'll also want to build up your tolerance so that you can survive the actual GABF.

Let us now give thanks for the four pre-GABF possibilities listed on the next page -- and remember to check out our Great American Beer Festival 2012 Calendar of Awesome of all the week's activities.

See also - The Great American Beer Festival 2012 calendar of awesome events - GABF Kick-off Party at the Falling Rock Taphouse - Does the Wynkoop's Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout have enough balls to win at GABF?

GABF Kick-off The Falling Rock Taphouse gets the week started right with its 15th Annual GABF Kick-off Party, beginning today at 5 p.m. When the countdown clock that has been going since January 2 reaches 000:00:00:00, the dean of Denver beer bars will tap ten special kegs it's been saving. You might be able to quit while you're ahead.

Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout Wynkoop Brewing releases this uniquely ballsy and indigenous stout today at 5 p.m. that has been crafted with roasted bull testicles. Seriously. The brewer's ultra-popular April Fool's spoof (and the amazing video that accompanied it) have turned into reality; the beer features flavors of roasted malts, coffee and nuts. Or does it?

Visit a New Brewery Just three years ago, Denver had eight breweries. There are now closer to eighteen -- and that's just within the city limits. Most of them are tapping fun and special beers this week and extending their hours. The newest? That would be Crooked Stave Barrel Cellar, which opened September 5 and only serves sour and wild style ales. The brewery is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. each day and will tap something different at noon. Today's is Batch 1, the first beer Crooked Stave every made.

Beer Ice Cream Okay, so maybe you can't drink a beer today because you have "responsibilities." How about some tiramisu ice cream made with stout from Renegade Brewing? Yes? Sweet Action Ice Cream is holding its own amazing beer fest again this year by making sweet treats using beer from Denver's craft brewers. Flavors include: Russian Rocky Road (Renegade), Oktoberfest Chocolate Chip (Copper Kettle), ESB Oreo (Breckenridge Brewery), Colorado Peach Wheat (Wynkoop), Vegan Maple Pale Ale (Renegade), and Scotch Ale Yeti Cake (Great Divide). You can buy a pint, or buy six for $30 (but call or e-mail first). Flavors will run through October 15.

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Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes