It's hard to remember a time when Colorado didn't have dozens of options when it comes to canned craft beers, but that time wasn't really very long ago. And the rest of the country? Well, other states are still catching up. But things are changing quickly, according to economist Bart Watson of the Brewers Association, who penned a report yesterday. "Although bottles still remain the majority of packaging for craft brewers...can volumes, and their share of craft sales, have continued to rise on a fairly consistent basis over the past few years," he writes.
The highlights: Packaged beer (bottles and cans) make up 58.6 percent of total craft brewer production, and of that, cans represent 28.5 percent, according to a recent survey. Another data source has the number at 30.9 percent of packaged volume through the end of 2017. And the shift is coming as much from smaller breweries that are using cans at a faster rate as it is from existing larger breweries switching from bottles to cans.
To see the entire report, go the Brewers Association web page.
Keep reading for all of the craft-beer events in the metro area through mid-January.
Wednesday, January 10
Copper Kettle Brewing continues its month of coffee firkins at 2 p.m. with Coffee Mexican Chocolate Stout, a beer made with Denver's own Novo Coffee. The brewery taps a different coffee firkin each Wednesday and serves the beers in twelve-ounce pours, but the firkins generally only last for one night.
Thursday, January 11
Joyride Brewing and Good Sugar Baking are teaming up for a beer and cookie pairing from 6 to 8 p.m. at the brewery. Four cookies and four beer samples cost $12; no tickets necessary. Good Sugar Baking is donating a portion of the proceeds to the National Park Foundation.
Friday, January 12
Join Cerebral Brewing at noon for the triple can release of Rare Trait, Plate Tectonics and Schedule Conflict, as well as the bottle release of Under the Stars. Rare Trait is Cerebral's 6.4 percent ABV flagship IPA. Plate Tectonics is a 7.1 percent IPA brewed with oats and spelt and hopped with Simcoe, Topaz and Mosaic Lupulin Pellets. Schedule Conflict is a 7 percent IPA dry-hopped with Galaxy, Vic Secret, El Dorado and Ella. And finally, Under the Stars is a 12.5 percent pastry stout brewed in collaboration with Mikerphone Brewing; dubbed an "Imperial S'mores Stout," it was made with marshmallow, graham cracker, cacao nibs, vanilla and lactose. Check Cerebral's Facebook page for limits; all four beers will be on tap, and the Adobo Food Truck will be out front with tacos and bowls starting at 4 p.m.
Jagged Mountain Craft Brewery tasked its taproom staff with creating six unique stouts, all of which will be tapped today for a mini-competition called Stout Wars. You can vote for your favorite and help the brewery crown a winner at the end of the night. A flight of four, along with one pint and a custom glass, is $15.
Odyssey Beerwerks in Arvada wants to get into the spirit of the cold season with Maple Coffee Stout, eh? "We looked both near and far for inspiration, combining the rich flavors of real grade-A maple syrup with coffee roasted locally at Hunter Bay in Olde Town Arvada," the brewery says. "These comforting aromas and flavors are held together by a robust stout profile layered with multiple roasted malts and grains." Odyssey taps the 8 percent ABV beer at 2 p.m. Oh, and to sweeten the pot, the brewery will also release Mountie Fuel Barrel Aged Maple Coffee Stout, the 9.5 percent ABV barrel-aged version of the beer. It will be available on tap tonight only and in bomber bottles until they sell out.
Mountain Cowboy Brewing in Frederick hosts a grand opening today and tomorrow, featuring live entertainment on both afternoons and evenings along with giveaways, drink specials and new beer releases.
Last October, Greeley's Wiley Roots Brewing took home a gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival for its Funk Yo Couch, a mixed-culture Brettanomyces saison. Now the brewery is releasing Galaxy Dry Hopped Funk Yo Couch — but in a very unusual way. Rather than letting the yeast continue to activate in bottles, which is what most breweries do, Wiley Roots is experimenting with can conditioning. This is Colorado, after all. "As is the case with all of our mixed-culture beers, we add additional sugar and yeast to the packaging tank and allow the beer to re-ferment in the package — whether that be a bottle, keg or can," the brewery explains. "This helps to ensure the beer is as stable as can be for as long as possible, but also shows reverence to the old-world styles from which these beers have drawn influence." Four-packs of twelve-ounce cans cost $15 and will be available in the Greeley taproom and, later, in just six liquor stores: Mile High Wine and Spirits in Lakewood, Mr. B's Wine & Spirits (both downtown and in the Stanley Markeplace); Mondo Vino, Wyatt's Wet Goods in Longmont; and Basecamp Wine and Spirits in Frisco.
Saturday, January 13
Longmont-based beer and restaurant juggernaut Oskar Blues will host a grand opening starting at 11 a.m. for its huge new Denver spot, Oskar Blues Grill & Brew, at 1624 Market Street. The company recently opened locations in Boulder and Colorado Springs, too. Upstairs, patrons will find 48 taps, including rare beers and Oskar Blues specialties, as well as selections from other breweries; the food menu will feature Southern-style fare. Downstairs, they'll be able to check out the the Black Buzzard, a music venue. Tonight's show is from People’s Blues of Richmond, with special guests Interstate Stash Express. Doors open at 8 p.m., and the show starts at 9. Get information and tickets at theblackbuzzard.com.
Lowdown Brewery + Kitchen hosts its fourth annual Barrel Aged Beer Festival today and tomorrow, with eight different barrel-aged beers from Lowdown plus some rare or barrel-aged stuff from Little Machine, Black Project, River North Brewery, Declaration, Spangalang, Banded Oak, Funkwerks, Platt Park, Station 26, Left Hand, Lagunitas, Elevation, Dry Dock, Odell and Ratio Beerworks. The party runs from 2 to 5 p.m.; see the Lowdown website for more details.
On the second Saturday of each month, Bierstadt Lagerhaus fills its fifty-liter fässer (a wooden barrel) with one of its keller (that's German for "cellar") lagers directly from the lager tank. The unfiltered lager changes depending on what owners/brewers Bill and Ashleigh think is tasting particularly good. This time around, they'll have the Rauchbock going inside the Rackhouse Pub.
C Squared Ciders and the Rackhouse Pub, which are located in the same building, will host their third annual Winter Wassail Release & Carnival. And, yes, this is a cider celebration rather than a beer bash. C Squared's 2018 Wassail is a semi-sweet 6 percent ABV cider made with gluten-free "de-bittered black malt creating a dark cider with rich, roasted caramel and winter spice characteristics," the cidery says. The celebration will continue all night in the beer hall with a variety of entertainers, "including but not limited to magicians and jugglers, Tarot card readers and live music. Wassailing is a pagan tradition in English cider orchards to wish the trees good health and a good harvest in the coming year. Though details differ from orchard to orchard, the premise is the same: frighten away evil spirits from the orchard; welcome good spirits into the orchard; and express gratitude for the orchard’s abundance and wish it health for the upcoming year," C Squared adds. "We’ll frighten away evil spirits with our off-key Wassail singing; and we’ll welcome good spirits by hanging toast from the tree...and give a bit of cider back to it in appreciation of last year’s harvest."
Kokopelli Beer Company in Westminster is celebrating four years of operation starting at 11 a.m. Stop by for your chance to collect a limited-release pint glass to the first 100 guests who purchase one of the brewery's special-release beers. There will also be giveaways and other fun.
Join Boulder's Cellar West Artisan Ales starting at 1 p.m. for special beers, merriment and food in celebration of its first anniversary. The brewery will roll out two new beers (Dry Hopped Meager and Ice Cream Kid) and bring back some old favorites (like Farmer's Breakfast French Toast), as well as some bottles from its cellar stash (Zep, Westfield, Sea No Evil, Make Hay). Cellar West will also pour beer from all of the breweries it collaborated with in 2017, including Cerebral Brewing, Call to Arms, Cannonball Creek and Wild Woods Brewery. Pepperbelly Barbecue will be on hand with Texas-style barbecue.
Powder Keg Brewing in Niwot releases its Bourbon Barrel Aged Supervoid Imperial Stout in bomber bottles at noon. "Thick and viscous, this beer has huge notes of bittersweet chocolate with a balance of roasty undertones. The mouthfeel is absolutely outrageous due to the huge portion of the grist made up of oat malt," the brewery says. Bottles are $24 each.
Sunday, January 14
Station 26 Brewing has a couple of new amenities to boast about for the first Bluegrass Brunch — its monthly series of kick-backs —of 2018. For starters, the brewery got a heated patio tent a while back, something that changes the entire feel of the place during bad weather. Secondly, Station 26 is debuting its own food truck, Order 26, and will have a special brunch menu. There will also be live bluegrass from Cosmic Mesa.
Monday, January 15
Join Dry Dock Brewing at its original South Dock location for the noon release of its new seasonal beer, Coffee Stout, in six packs of cans and on draft. Dry Dock describes the 5.5 percent ABV stout as "a sessionable coffee bomb of a stout with a hint of milk from the addition of lactose and roastiness from a generous dose of Coda Coffee. This stout has a slightly lighter body with a rich chocolate aroma and subtle caramel notes."
First Draft Taproom & Kitchen will tap Abraxas from Perennial Artisan Ales. This highly sought-after fan favorite is an imperial stout brewed with ancho chiles, cacao nibs, vanilla beans and cinnamon sticks.
Euclid Hall has teamed up with Call to Arms Brewing for a special kick-the-keg tap takeover beginning today and featuring seven Call to Arms beers. In addition, there will be a pairing menu for several of the beers created by Chef Jorel Pierce. The person who orders the last pour (kick the keg) of each beer will get prizes from Euclid Hall and Call to Arms.
Wednesday, January 17
Wit's End Brewing moved into Strange Craft at the end of the year, and now you can meet brewers Tim Myers, Scott Witsoe and Tyler Bies for a conversation about seasonal ingredients and to ask questions about their co-habitation at Strange. The StrangeWit Meet & Greet panel discussion (planned as a quarterly event) starts at 4:30 p.m., but you can grab a beer at 4. Tickets are $10 in advance on eventbrite, or $15 at the door.
Irish Blessing, which Boulder Beer Company released on draft back in February, will be canned for the first time this month, and both the original brewery and the new Boulder Beer outpost on Walnut Street will host roll-out parties starting at 5:30 p.m. For the first half-hour, Boulder Beer will give away free pints of the beer, an oak-aged coffee stout brewed with OZO Coffee and aged on Tullamore D.E.W. Irish whiskey-soaked oak chips. There will be live music at 5:30 p.m. at the Pub on Wilderness and at 7 p.m. at Boulder Beer on Walnut.
Thursday, January 18
Goed Zuur taps four Paradox Beer Company brews, which can be paired with suggested dishes, at 6 p.m. The beers are: Skully Barrel #53 Komet Sitra, a dry-hopped sour that blends the tropical and citrus characteristics of Comet and Citra hops with the brewery's barrel-aged golden sour; Skully Barrel #54 Cherry Crisp, a sour ale made with Montmorency cherries; Skully Barrel #56 Rose Is Bae, which blends Sangiovese grapes with a barrel-aged wild sour golden; and Skully Barrel #57 Piña Cielo, a wild golden ale that began with the open fermenting of whole pineapples in a 300-gallon coolship and ended with Ceylon cinnamon and dark brown sugar being added.
Friday, January 19
Mockery Brewing is excited to announce the return of its very first bottle release — and one of its favorite beers: Schizophrenic Narcoleptic. It's "a bigger, badder version of our Export Coffee Stout, aged twice as long in artisanal vanilla extract barrels that resulted in a harmonic melding of roasted grains, smooth cold-brewed coffee and a semi-sweet dessert-like finish," the brewery says. Bottles will go on sale at 2 p.m.
Caution Brewing in Lakewood sill celebrate its sixth anniversary with a two-day party starting at 3 p.m. To start with, the brewery, which was founded in Denver, will tap its anniversary beer, Hold the Door Baltic Porter, which was made with barrel staves soaked in Port. There will also be some beer experiments, a food truck and live music at 7 p.m. On Saturday, Caution will tap more new beers and have another food truck on hand.
Something Brewery in Brighton taps Cherry Pit of Misery, a 10 percent ABV tart cherry Belgian dark strong ale, at 3 p.m. It will be available on tap and in Crowlers to go. There are only 250 Crowlers.
Saturday, January 20
If you've been to a beer festival or a brewery at some point in the past four years, there's a good chance you've seen Dustin Hall quietly, kindly taking photos of everyone and everything. Over that time, he has ceaselessly traveled the state, recording the craft-beer industry and garnering goodwill under the Brewtography Project moniker. Although photographing breweries and the people who work there began as a hobby for Hall, it's become an all-consuming passion, and after a couple years of work, he and his wife, Marcia, are finally releasing Discovering Colorado Breweries, a 232-page coffee-table book filled with photographs of more than seventy Colorado breweries. The official book release takes place from 1 to 5 p.m. at Falling Rock Tap House, where the Halls will celebrate and sign copies of the book, which retails for $49.99. This will also be the time for people who supported the Brewtography Project's successful Kickstarter campaign to pick up their rewards; anyone who buys a copy of the book will also receive a free beer. For more information on the project, where to buy the book and other events surrounding its release, go to brewtographyproject.com.
The Makin' Noise beer project will celebrate its one-year anniversary today — the anniversary of Inauguration Day — by tapping five different stouts at five different breweries. As always, $1 from each pint sold will be donated to local charities, most of which support people and causes that are threatened by the current administration. In addition, Woods Boss Brewing will host a one-year-anniversary Makin' Noise art show; proceeds from the sale of artwork will be donated to the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless. Here are the details of the tappings: Ratio Beerworks will open at noon and donate money to Youth on Record; Our Mutual Friend opens at 2 p.m. and will donate to TBA; The Post Brewing in Lafayette opens at 10 a.m. and will support the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition; Call to Arms, opening at noon, will donate money to Clothes to Kids Denver; and Goldspot Brewing, opening at noon, is supporting Conservation Colorado.
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Fiction Beer Company debuts Magic Wallet, a passion-fruit "milkshake"-style IPA that was double-dry-hopped with Medusa and El Dorado hops and made with passion fruit, lactose and vanilla beans; there are also oats, wheat and Golden Promise malts in the beer. Milkshake IPAs have lactose and sweet ingredients.
Zuni Street Brewing's ten-barrel system "has been put to the test" over the past ten months since the brewery opened, and now the the beer maker wants to celebrate its one hundredth batch, Noble Brown Ale, in honor of the milestone. There will a live performance from 2 to 5 p.m., the Farm to Truck Food Truck and a ceremonial tapping at 4 p.m.
Cannonball Creek Brewing in Golden will celebrate its fifth anniversary today and tomorrow with numerous beer tappings, food and live music. Check the brewery's Facebook page for details.
Thursday, January 25
The Denver Press Club continues its monthly series, Hot Picks in Cold Beer, at 6:30 p.m. when Gary Valliere, host of American Craft Beer Radio, and... yours truly, Jonathan Shikes, will discuss milestones in Denver brewing history and talk about a few beers in particular. The cost is $10 for members, $12 for nonmembers.