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Soak in Colorado's breweries during American Craft Beer Week

The ninth annual American Craft Beer Week, which runs through May 18, is in full swing right now as breweries, restaurants and craft-beer bars across Colorado and around the rest of the nation toast the craft-beer renaissance. "With more than 2,800 small and independent craft breweries and hundreds more popping up across the country every year, the observance of ACBW is more significant than ever before," says the Boulder-based Brewers Association, which created the week.

And to mark American Craft Beer week, new collaborations are being announced. For example, Boulevard Brewing in Kansas City, Missouri, and Odell Brewing in Fort Collins opened just days apart back in 1989. To celebrate this coincidence -- and the 25th anniversary of their breweries -- owners John McDonald and Doug Odell have decided to collaborate on a beer that will be released this November. An English-style strong ale, the beer will honor the roots of both companies, which began by making English ales.

Turn the page for all of this week's craft-beer events.

Wednesday, May 14

Our Mutual Friend Malt & Brew will tap Brett Farmhouse today at 4 p.m. The limited-batch, 7.3 percent ABV beer was fermented with brettanomyces yeast.

May is fruit month at the Copper Kettle, which will tap a fruit-themed firkin at 3 p.m. every Wednesday. Today's cask is Watermelon Helles. The Ckrepes food truck will also be on hand.

There are many beer-pairing dinners being held in honor national Craft Beer Week, and tonight Freshcraft is pulling out the stops for a five-course dinner with seatings every thirty minutes starting at 6 p.m. and brewer representatives available to talk beer. Menu items include duck confit coin purse with a toasted goat cheese marshmallow and cherry reduction paired with Lost Abbey Red Poppy; charred fennel, lightly pickled ramps and Chioggia beets tossed in a creamy roasted carrot gorgonzola dressing over butter lettuce with crispy shallot rings paired with Ska Mandarino; Calvados seared scallops on ripe pear béchamel brown butter and chives paired with River North Chardonnay Barrel Aged J. Marie; wild boar St. Louis-style ribs, corn bread spaetzle tossed with house made Provel style cheese on celeriac smoked bubbles paired with New Belgium Blackberry Love; and Mexican chocolate mousse layered with cinnamon cream in a churro cup on nopale cactus jam with toasted coconut paired with Avery Coconut Ellie's Brown Ale. Tickets are $60 and available at brownpapertickets.com.

Thursday, May 15

Dry Dock Brewing will tap ApriHOT today at 4 p.m. The beer is a collaboration between Dry Dock and Wing Hut; the brewery used one pound of habaneros per barrel (half fresh and half roasted), which it soaked in the beer for 120 hours.

Former Future Brewing will host a beer and empanada pairing with its neighbor, Maria Empanada. It's $18 for four small empanadas and four beers.

Lucky Strike Lanes in Belmar will host a Craft Beer and Bowling Tournament today beginning at 7 p.m., along with an Upslope Brewing tap takeover. Entry is $30 per person or $140 per team (of four to five people) and includes three games of bowling, shoe rental, two Upslope beers, food and the chance to win prizes.

Bristol Brewing will release an Imperial IPA on Thursday, May 15. The beer is one of seven in the Colorado Springs brewery's Brewhouse Series. Made with four hops varieties -- Columbus, Simcoe, Amarillo, and Centennial -- the 8.1 percent ABV Imperial IPA will be available on tap and in 22-ounce bomber bottles.

Friday, May 16

Avery Brewing will begin celebrating its 21st birthday tonight by tapping Twenty One Imperial India-Style Brown Ale at 5 p.m. in its Boulder taproom. The brewery's latest anniversary ale will be available in bottles and on draft -- and then in stores and beer bars in Colorado and around the country soon thereafter.

Former Future Brewing will hold its Beer & Coffee Mashup Vol. 2 at 7 p.m. featuring Singularity Principle Pale Ale with Corvus Coffee Colombian Granja la Esperanza.

Jake's Brew Bar in downtown Littleton will unveil its expansion today, which doubled the indoor capacity and added a 1,500-square-foot beer garden in back. There will be live music from Thunder and Rain today and tomorrow, along with food trucks on Friday, Saturday and Sunday (Big Country Bar B Que, Capt'n Crabby and Brava Pizzaria). Jake's will also be doing some special tappings, including the first keg of Signal Botrange from Elevation, Avery Lilikoi and a firkin from Great Divide.The spot -- which specializes in craft and Belgian beers, as well as locally-roasted coffee -- opened in 2012; it is just down the street from Kate's Wine Bar, which shares the same owners.

A group of seven firefighters in the Castle Rock area have teamed up with Rockyard Brewing to release the second annual Bumper Time Ale. The firefighters helped brew the altbier, which will be sold to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Bumper Time will be tapped at the brewery today at 5 p.m. and available at some Front Range liquor stores after that.

Strange Craft (formerly Strange Brewing) will tap a beer called Hop Candy today at 3 p.m.; there will be live Celtic Rock music with Indigent Row at 6 p.m.

Dry Dock Brewing will tap a cask of Golden Porpoise, made with tart cherries and real vanilla beans, today at 3 p.m. The brewery, which taps a different firkin every Friday, made a double batch of this one in honor of American Craft Beer Week.

Saturday, May 17

Colorado Plus will celebrate its first anniversary today with a birthday party that comes complete with live music, a special menu and more than fifteen house brews on tap.

Caution Brewing will celebrate the second anniversary of its original Denver location today with a party from noon to 8 p.m. There will be food trucks (El Toro the Tot and Pride of Philly), a DJ, karaoke, a retro '80s band, a dunk tank, prizes and new beers (including a special anniversary Belgian-style Dubbel).

Odyssey Beerwerks will celebrate its first anniversary -- as well as the addition of two larger, thirty-barrel fermenters -- today with a birthday party starting at noon. In addition to the ten beers already on tap, Odyssey will release five special beers throughout the day; some are old favorites from the past year and some are making their first appearance. There will also be three food trucks (The Orange Crunch, Chuey Fu's and Bubba Dukes BBQ) and live music (The Social Livers, The Prairie Scholars and Jim Jamm Jimmy). The brewery will be drawing for prizes. Part of the parking lot will be closed off to give everyone a little more room to spread out.

Head to Boulder for the Upslope Get Down, a free music festival today from 2 p.m. to midnight at Upslope Brewing Company's Flatiron Park location. The brewery will fill its back parking lot with two stages where eight bands will offer continuous music all day, along with food trucks and Upslope beers. Bands include Fox Street, The Movement, Gipsy Moon, Good Gravy, Rocktin Grove, Hot Soup and Rowdy Shadehouse.

Monday, May 19

The relatively new Two22 Brew will host an American Craft Beer Week small-bite beer pairing tonight in conjunction with Joe Gerace of the East Coast Joe's food truck. Gerace will match five gourmet small bites (everything from lamb to diver scallops to dessert) with five beers. Tickets are $40 and limited to thirty people.

For more events later in May, turn the page. Wednesday, May 21

May is fruit month at the Copper Kettle, which will tap a fruit-themed firkin at 3 p.m. every Wednesday. Today's cask is Peach Golden Strong. The Ckrepes food truck will also be on hand.

Saturday, May 24

BeerAdvocate co-founder Todd Alstrom will host another in his monthly series of BA get-togethers today -- this one from 1 to 5 p.m. at Epic Brewing. No cover. Pay as you consume. All are welcome, but you can RSVP at BeerAdvocate.com.

Wednesday, May 28

May is fruit month at the Copper Kettle, which will tap a fruit-themed firkin at 3 p.m. every Wednesday. Today's cask is Raspberry Le Chapeau. The Ckrepes food truck will also be on hand.

Lucky Pie Louisville is hosting a Chef vs. Chef dinner featuring the pizza joint's Louisville Chef, Josh Stone, and his sous chefs, Chris Ryan and Conner Updegrave, in a four-course, head-to-head showdown. Guests will choose their favorite courses as well as who's beer reigns supreme between Sam Adams and Sierra Nevada. Tickets are $65 per person including tax and gratuity and can be purchased at LuckyPieTickets.com.

Saturday, May 31

Hops & Pie will host the the Littlest Big Wild & Sour Fest II today, starting at noon. You'll find rare and special beers, including Odell Friek; Jester King Das Wunderkind; New Belgium's Clutch and Felix; Russian River Consecration; Elysian Blueberry Tart; Cantillon's Classic Gueuze, Vigneronne and Mamouche; the Bruery Rueuze; Lost Abbey Cuvee de Tommee; and Tilquin's Olde Gueuze.

Oskar Blues Brewery and the Town of Lyons will bring back the popular Burning Can Festival and Lyons outdoor games today, despite the September flooding that damaged most of the town's parks and rec areas. Located in the unaffected areas of Bohn Park, Burning Can includes 150 beers from more than fifty can-centric breweries from all over the country. General admission tickets for the fest, which runs from 4 to 7 p.m., are $30 ($35 the day of); VIP tix are $45 and get you in an hour early. Proceeds go to the Oskar Blues CAN'd Aid Foundation (which has already raised more than $600,000) and benefit the Lyons parks and rec department and the Colorado Brewers Guild. The Lyons Outdoor Games, meanwhile, will again include pro kayak events, the high-flying "Outlaws of Dirt" Jump series, along with a junior pump-track event, a rugby tournament, the Ultimate Athlete Competition, the 2014 Lyons Outdoor Games Slackline Jam presented by Gibbon Slacklines, cornhole tournament, live music (Anders Osborne), food booths and a family-friendly area. For a list of the breweries, events and for tickets, go to burningcan.com



's Beer Man on Twitter at @ColoBeerMan and on Facebook at Colo BeerMan
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