Although we are all (almost all?) observing the rules of shelter-in-place and extreme social distancing these days, plenty of people are venturing out for brief commando missions to their favorite breweries and bars in order to pick up cans, bottles, Crowlers, growlers, Mason jars or, in some cases, Ziploc bags of beer to go.
Even so, Colorado's craft-beer industry — not to mention restaurants and bars that serve beer — is hurting badly, which means that people are losing their jobs on top of the stress that comes with the coronavirus pandemic. The best way to help is by continuing to buy beer, merchandise and gift cards from your favorite spots and to pay tips online to support the various service-industry funds that are being passed around social media.
But if you're looking for a few fun ways to channel your altruism, here are some suggestions:
A beer festival? Well, sort of. On April 11, from noon to 6 p.m., the Unfiltered beer podcast (which is hosted by Metro State University professor Sam Jay and his partner in crime, Jay Schrader), will throw a virtual party they've dubbed the Shelter-in-Place, or SIP, Beer Festival. Participants can buy tickets for $5 — all of which will be donated to Colorado brewery employees and staff — at SIPBeerFest.com and then post pictures or videos on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter of themselves and/or what they are drinking, with the hashtag #SIPBeerFest. There will also be a place on the website where people can make donations, order T-Shirts or become sponsors. "We know we cannot stop someone who doesn’t buy a ticket or merchandise, who doesn’t sign up as a sponsor, or who doesn’t make a donation from using the #SIPBeerFest. We just want you to know that if you want to get involved, you’ll also support the cause," Unfiltered says.
Photographer Dustin Hall and his wife, Marcia, who have created a wave of altruism and goodwill over the past five years in Colorado with Dustin's photography, giving spirit and frequent hugs (on hold for the moment), have decided to use the final 120 copies of Discovering Colorado Breweries, Dustin's gorgeous coffee-table book, as a way to raise money for craft breweries that are struggling in the face of coronavirus closures. They will give a book to the first 120 people who spend $50 or more at a craft brewery anywhere in the U.S. and then sends them a receipt as proof. "We hope that 120 people will take us up on this offer, thereby spending an accumulative sum of $6,000 or more at craft breweries," Hall says. "So if you've been holding off on getting a copy, now is the time, because once they are gone, they are gone. We have no plans on doing another run of this particular book." Get details and information at Dustin's Facebook page.
Factotum Brewhouse has always worn its heart on its sleeve, which means that its shirts are covered in ways to give back to the community, with programs and specials aimed at teachers, women, nonprofits and charities, among others. But now Factotum is the one that needs help, which is why the brewery has set up Beer It Forward: Spend $5 now for a virtual beer and redeem it later for a real one — even the pricey pints. The program is an "effort to continue to support our staff [and] allows us the opportunity to keep our team paid and working," the brewery says.
On Monday, May 24, Denver Michael Michael Hancock issued his stay-at-home order following reports that people were continuing to gather in groups despite the battle against coronavirus. He initially included liquor stores and recreational marijuana stores as non-essential businesses that would have to close — sparking a panic that resulted in long lines outside businesses. Breweries also interpreted the order to include them. But shortly thereafter, Hancock backtracked on the liquor/pot store take; his administration clarified the brewery portion the next day. The quick change inspired several memes and T-shirts, including the one from Spangalang Brewing above. Help them out by buying beer or shirts on the Spangalang website.
Lady Justice Brewing was founded with the goal of donating all of its profits beyond expenses and staff to charities and nonprofits that help women and girls in Colorado. The brewery finally found its own taproom space in February and still plans to open on April 18 — though just for to-go beers. One of the ways that people can support the brewery is by purchasing "Community Supported Memberships," which give members access to exclusive beers in return. But now Lady J is also donating some of its memberships to "frontline workers" (in health care, delivery, grocery, any essential business). Check out the website for details.
Hogshead Brewery misses you so much that it is already planning to throw a big bash when this is all over, one day. Tickets for the Happy Days Are Beer Again party are $40 and will be available on the brewery's website. The date of the party is, of course, unknown, but it will include unlimited food and beer. For now, help the brewery out by ordering beer (or kegs) for delivery or to go, donating to the online tip jar or buying a "Fuck C02 and This Virus" T-shirt. Hogshead specializes in English-style cask beers.
Fans of three different breweries in the Denver/Boulder area have taken it upon themselves to set up GoFundMe pages for their favorite breweries — some of which may face closure if they aren't able to find ways to make ends meet during the coronavirus closures. They are longtime Boulder brewpub Twisted Pine (which has a tip pool), Louisville taproom Front Range Brewing, and Denver's Black Sky Brewing. Help if you can.
After Colorado's breweries were closed for on-site drinking — the primary way that many of them make money — the owner of yeast supplier Propagate Lab jumped into action to create the Colorado Craft Brewery Bingo card. The newest iteration of the card lists 24 breweries; buy one or more Crowler from each of the five breweries in a row (horizontal, vertical, diagonal), and get 5 percent off each future Crowler from the rest of the participating breweries. Guests are encouraged to take a photo at each brewery, use the hashtag #ColoradoCraftBingo and post to Facebook or Instagram. The first person to hit every brewery gets a free piece of merch (T-shirts, hat, etc.) from each of the participating 24 breweries. Bingo sheets can be picked up at any of the participating breweries: Seedstock Brewery, Baere Brewing, Lady Justice, Bruz Beers, De Steeg Brewing, Odyssey Beerwerks, Factotum Brewhouse, Prost Brewing, Locavore Beer Works, Fiction Beer, Mockery Brewing, Woods Boss Brewing, Halfpenny Brewing, Old 121 Brewing, Over Yonder Brewing, Boggy Draw Brewing, LandLocked Brewing, Mountain Toad Brewing, Coal Mine Ave. Brewing, Rail's End Brewing, CODA Brewing, Peak to Peak Brews and Knotted Root Brewing.
Always one step ahead of the game, Denver Beer Co. has debuted a series of virtual beer-pairing events that you can do at home while virtually connecting with the brewery on Facebook live. The second one is today (Wednesday, April 1), but there is another one next week with cookies. For today's, participants can pre-order the two-person pairing packs online and pick them up at one of DBC's taprooms or get them delivered. Example: Pretzel Assassin Amber Lager paired with Hard Pepper salami and smoked gouda. Each pairing pack is $5; head brewer Jason Buehler will lead you through them and then open the live stream up for a Q&A session. For ordering details, hours and other information, go to the Facebook page.