Once a rare treat in Colorado, coconut beers caught on in 2016 and then rolled into 2017 like a warm tropical storm. Many of them are one-off or infrequent taproom specialties — including long-gone brews from Cerebral, Weldwerks, Copper Kettle and Horse & Dragon — while others are returning seasonals or even year-round mainstays. Right now we're on the cusp of what looks to be a particularly nice run of coconut beers. (Editor's note: a limited amount of Copper Kettle's Snowed In: Coconut will actually hit stores this week!)
Here is a list of what's coming, what's available and what you should try if you get a chance. Some of these will be gone in a flash, while others will stick around for a while, providing the stuff of island dreams.
Toasted Coconut Mr. Sandman
River North Brewery
6021 Washington Street
Get this imperial stout on tap right now at River North Brewery, as it will be gone soon (there might also be a bottle or two left). Part of a series of Mr. Sandman variants that the brewery tapped for GABF week, the toasted-coconut version was made with ten pounds per barrel. Mr. Sandman (without coconut) itself was ranked as the best imperial stout in the country in a January 2017 blind tasting by Paste magazine.
Fruity Bits Piña Colada
508 Eighth Avenue, Greeley
You'll also need to hurry if you want to try this Fruity Bits Piña Colada, although the beer is likely to return since it's part of the brewery's rotating Fruity Bits series. Inspired by Juicy Bits, which is Weldwerks' flagship New England-style IPA, this one was made with Mosaic and Citra hops (for their tropical fruit notes) along with "a ridiculous amount of pineapple and coconut," the brewery says. Find it in four-packs at the brewery, but not for long.
Death by Coconut
Oskar Blues, Longmont
Death by Coconut has been one of my favorite beers since Oskar Blues first released it at Collaboration Fest in 2013. Since then, this Irish porter has gone through some modifications — like the addition of Cholaca, a liquid chocolate made by a local company — and has been packaged in two kinds of cans; it has also been aged in a variety of barrels for special releases. This year, the brewery has tweaked the recipe slightly again and will release it at a party at the Oskar Blues Tasty Weasel Taproom (1800 Pike Road in Longmont) on Saturday, October 21.
Coconut Belgian Dark
Dry Dock Brewing
2801 Tower Road, Aurora
15120 East Hampden Avenue, Aurora
Dry Dock Brewing's latest Signature Series beer will be Coconut Belgian Dark, a rum barrel-aged Belgian dark ale that will be available in bottles on Thursday, October 26, in both Aurora tasting rooms. I haven't had this beer, but Dry Dock usually slays with its Signature Series, so I'm looking forward to trying it.
Chocolate Coconut Porter
Liquid Mechanics Brewing
297 North Highway 287, Suite 100, Lafayette
Liquid Mechanics does an amazing job with dessert beers, with ingredients like chocolate, peanut butter, rum and, yes, coconut. On Saturday, October 28, at noon at the brewery taproom, you can buy 22-ounce bomber bottles of their latest: Chocolate Coconut Imperial Porter with Vanilla. "You asked for it, we did it," the brewery says.
Maui Express Coconut IPA
Denver Beer Co, Denver
Citra and Mosaic hops provide the fruity, tropical background for the shredded coconut in this smooth IPA. The 6.6 percent ABV beer was brewed before for the taproom, but DBC decided to can it for the first time in May.
2501 Dallas Street, Aurora
Coco-Xoco is a 7 percent ABV medium-bodied porter infused with cacao, vanilla and thirty pounds of toasted coconut. It was one of the first beers that Cheluna made and tapped at its brewery inside Stanley Marketplace. The beer is a rich, dessert-like treat.
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Barrel-Aged Coconut Porter
Avery Brewing, Boulder
Avery's Coconut Porter, introduced earlier this year, is part of its year-round Botanicals & Barrels series of barrel-aged beers. This one — the best in the brewery's series — is aged in bourbon barrels and weighs in at 10.4 percent ABV. It was brewed with "copious quantities of coconut," Avery says.
Broken Compass Brewing
68 Continental Court, Breckenridge
This isn't just one of the best coconut beers made in Colorado, it's simply one of the best beers made — in any category — in the state. Rich, balanced and full of luscious coconut, the beer is a medal winner, and the Breckenridge-area brewery has trouble keeping it on tap — and has yet to package it, aside from a few small bottle runs, including one this week. But no matter: You can drink it there or fill up a growler and take it to go.