Beer Man

The Ten Best Colorado Craft-Beer Events in January

Photographer Dustin Hall will release his beer book this month.
Photographer Dustin Hall will release his beer book this month. Jonathan Shikes
Welcome to 2018. It's time to fulfill some of those New Beers Resolutions, and it never hurts to get an early start. This month, you can get your fill of barrel-aged beery goodness at three different festivals focused on the style, or you can marvel at a brand-new venue from Oskar Blues Brewery right here in Denver. Not enough? Then sample the stouts from the first anniversary of the Makin' Noise beer project and pay it forward. Here are the ten best craft-beer events happening in Colorado in January.

click to enlarge Alpine Dog returns to Big Beers in 2018. - SARAH COWELL
Alpine Dog returns to Big Beers in 2018.
Sarah Cowell
Thursday, January 4, through Saturday, January 6
Big Beers, Belgians & Barleywines Festival
Beaver Run Resort, Breckenridge

This three-day festival — one of the best and most unusual in Colorado — kicks off in Breckenridge, where hundreds of beer brewers, owners and fans will convene for a host of seminars, pairing dinners, tastings, a large festival and all-out partying. Although some of the festival events are sold out, there are still tickets left for the commercial tasting on Saturday — one of the best, most important tastings of the year in Colorado — along with seminars and the Calibration Dinner, which is hosted by Adam Avery of Avery Brewing and Bryan Selders of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery. There are also various tappings and other beer-related activities around Breckenridge all weekend. Get more information at

The Brewtography Project
Friday, January 12
Galaxy Dry Hopped Funk Yo Couch Release
Wiley Roots Brewing, Greeley

Last October, Greeley's Wiley Roots Brewing took home a gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival for 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 (where canned beers rule). "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 Stanley Markeplace); Mondo Vino, Wyatt's Wet Goods in Longmont; and Basecamp Wine and Spirits in Frisco.

click to enlarge Oskar Blues, which is already open, hosts a grand opening January 13. - DANIELLE LIRETTE
Oskar Blues, which is already open, hosts a grand opening January 13.
Danielle Lirette
Saturday, January 13
Oskar Blues Grill & Brew Grand Opening
Oskar Blues Grill & Brew, Denver

Longmont-based beer and restaurant juggernaut Oskar Blues hosts 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, as well. 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 more information and tickets to the show at

Cellar West Facebook page
Saturday, January 13
Cellar West First Anniversary Party
Cellar West Artisan Ales, Boulder

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 a couple of new beers (Dry Hopped Meager and Ice Cream Kid) and bring back some old favorites (like Farmer's Breakfast French Toast), as well as a few 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.

click to enlarge C SQUARED CIDERS
C Squared Ciders
Saturday, January 13
Winter Wassail Release & Carnival
C Squared Ciders/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, but it promises to be really good anyway. 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."

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes