As Colorado begins to emerge from the long, cold (short, mostly warm) winter, the festival season is stirring, and there is no better way to wake up than with Collaboration Fest, the state's marquis event. Hosted by the Colorado Brewers Guild, the fest features more than 110 beers, each made collaboratively by multiple breweries; some of these beers will never be served again, while others will go onto fame and fortune. But there's plenty of other sudsy fun this month, including Colorado Craft Beer Week, Hops + Handrails and several mini-fests and anniversaries. To learn about dozens of other craft-beer events, check our weekly Beer Calendar, posted each Wednesday. But, here are ten sure bets for the month ahead.
Day of Dorks
Wynkoop Brewing Company
1634 18th Street
Wynkoop Brewing plays host to its first Day of Dorks. "Teaming up with over thirty breweries, we'll be pouring up some of the geekiest and white-whaley craft brew in all the land," Wynkoop says. "Nerd attire suggested but not required. And to truly encourage The Next Generation of dorks, we'll be collecting school supplies including pens, pencils, notebooks and more. Donations will benefit local area schools." Tickets are $25, or $40 for a pair, at eventbrite.com and include a commemorative Day of Dorks glass and snacks. "To miss out would be highly illogical."
Real Ale Real Love Firkin Festival
Grimm Brothers Brewhouse
623 Denver Avenue, Loveland
The Real Ale Real Love Firkin Festival returns to Loveland today at 3:30 p.m., thanks to co-hosts Grimm Brothers Brewhouse and Verboten Brewing. The event takes place behind Grimm Brothers, in the Garden Room, at 687 North Denver Avenue. The intimate fest showcases one-of-a-kind cask beers from Northern Colorado breweries and "allows the brewers to push the envelope and try new experimental flavor combinations that wouldn't be cost-effective on a larger scale," Grimm Brothers says. There are only 250 tickets, available at brownpapertickets.com; the $30 price allows attendees "to chat with the brewers about the beers they made and the flavor profiles they were hoping would come out in the firkins." Get more information about Real Ale Real Love at realalereallove.com.
Zuni Street Brewing Grand Opening
2900 Zuni Street
Zuni Street Brewing will open its doors at 2 p.m. today with a grand opening party featuring four beers: a hoppy wheat ale, an IPA, a Belgian wit and a golden ale. Founded by TJ Slattery and Willy Truettner, the brewery aims to be an oasis in the city: full of trees and nourishing liquid. And to that end, it has been decorated with a gorgeous 53-foot-long wooden bar and beer rails, along with huge abstract tree sculptures. There are also two large patios, garage doors and an indoor-outdoor bar sure to help guests enjoy the outdoors in any season.
Crafty Fox Anniversary Party
Crafty Fox Taphouse & Pizzeria
3901 Fox Street
The Crafty Fox will celebrate its first anniversary today with special tappings, games and giveaways downstairs starting at 11 a.m., and a ticketed event upstairs at 3 p.m. with rare beers and live music. The upstairs tickets are $35 (there are only 100 available), and there will be live music from Blow the Vault, exclusive tappings of Ursula Brewery’s Jefferson’s Reserve Barrel Aged Imperial Crustless (Peanut Butter and Jelly Porter), and an Ursula/Wiley Roots/Crafty Fox collaboration Vanilla Wafer Coffee Blonde Ale. There will also be an unlimited special menu for “grown-up kids.”
Hops + Handrails
Roosevelt Park, Longmont
Left Hand Brewing will throw its fifth annual Hops+Handrails festival today featuring 150 mostly Colorado beers from more than 65 craft breweries, live music, a four-story (forty-foot high) ski and snowboard ramp and a trick-rail jam competition. Gates open at 11 a.m. at Roosevelt Park, with riders starting their runs by noon. The music kicks off at 1 p.m. with Grant Farm; headliner Chris Robinson Brotherhood starts at 4:30 p.m. Local fare will be available from Abo’s Pizza, Georgia Boys BBQ, Hefe’s Tacos and Sisters Dumplings. Tickets, $40, include unlimited tastings, and are available online at lefthandbrewing.com or at the event entrance. Proceeds benefit the Left Hand Brewing Foundation, SOS Outreach, and Chill Foundation. To date, Hops + Handrails has raised more than $100,000.
March 17, 18 and 19
Weldwerks Second Anniversary Party
508 8th Avenue, Greeley
Weldwerks Brewing in Greeley, which was one of Colorado's star breweries in 2016, will celebrate its second anniversary this weekend with at least ten new beer releases, live music and food trucks. One of those beers will be the 2017 version of Medianoche, a 14 percent ABV imperial stout aged in Breckenridge Distillery barrels for ten months. "This particular batch is a single barrel version of Medianoche, something we have never done before," Weldwerks says. "In our humble opinion, this batch of Medianoche is the best barrel-aged stout we have made to date." Other releases include: S'mores Achromatic, Double Blackberry Gose, and Apricot Goserita. Go to Weldwerks Facebook page to get more information about food trucks and live music, as well as updated beer release info.
Denver Rye Fest
The Brew on Broadway
3445 S. Broadway, Englewood
"Three years ago a drunken group of brewers had a wild idea to start a rye festival," say the organizers of said event. "It turned out to be so much fun, we are doing it again — celebrating the Third Annual Rye Fest 2017." Eleven Denver breweries (mostly from the west side) will bring their versions of rye beers to the Brew of Broadway, where the garage doors will open onto the patio if the weather is nice. The breweries are: Barnett & Son, Black Sky Brewing, The Brew on Broadway, Caution Brewing, Chain Reaction Brewing, Fermaentra, Brewery Rickoli, Boggy Draw Brewing, Strange Craft Beer Company, Dead Hippie Brewing , and Halfpenny Brewing. There will be food from El Toro the Tot Food Truck and music from the Denver Celtics and The Rye Pushers. This is a Fundraiser for Colorado Adaptive Sports Foundation.
Colorado Craft Beer Week
The best event during this annual celebration of Colorado craft beer is whatever one you are able to get to, either at your neighborhood brewery or restaurant, or at one that you go out of your way to enjoy. There are dozens of tappings and events going on across the state — many are TBA at the Colorado Craft Brewers Guild website — but each day during Colorado Craft Beer Week is broken down into themes this year. March 18 and 19 will focus on brewery tours and events that will allow you to meet the brewers; on Monday, March 20, breweries will host a variety of educational events; while Tuesday, March 21 will showcase brewers and chefs who team up to host beer dinners and special menus. Things kick into high gear on Wednesday, March 22, with Colorado Pint Day, when certain breweries will be giving away special 14er glasses when you buy a pint of beer. Thursday, March 23, is all about special tastings or rare or unusual beers, while Friday, March 24 will feature beers made for Saturday's tomorrow's marquis event, Collaboration Fest. Friday is when breweries will host special tappings of their Collaboration Fest beers throughout the state, giving craft beer lovers a chance to experience the vibe of Collaboration Fest. For more on the big March 25 festival itself, see the description below.
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March 21 and March 23
The Commons and Burial Beer Tappings
Call him the accidental distributor, but TRVE Brewing owner Nick Nunns is now responsible for bringing beers from two small but trendy breweries into Colorado: Burial Beer of Asheville, North Carolina, and the Commons Brewery from Portland, Oregon. Known for its "yeast-foward" farmhouse ales and wild and sour beers, the Commons "is an apt addition to TRVE’s own distribution portfolio of approachable beers," Nunns says. TRVE will tap several beers from the Commons today, followed by distribution to a limited number of Denver-area accounts. On Thursday, March 23, TRVE will host a tapping by Burial (which Nunns first welcomed to town last October during GABF). Two of these are collaborations: Ritual Knife, a black braggot brewed with honey and Colorado malt from Troubador Maltings, then aged in brandy barrels; and a dark mixed-culture ale brewed with North Carolina ingredients and aged in Laws Whiskey barrels.
National Western Complex
Now in its fourth year, Collaboration Fest, hosted by the Colorado Brewers Guild, has grown into one of the state's largest, most creative festivals. But its aim is unique: the fest features more than 110 beers made collaboratively by more than 150 breweries around the state and the country (and even a few overseas) and showcases the distinctly collaborative nature of the craft-beer industry. "Every beer tapped at Collaboration Fest has a unique story as two or more breweries come together to brew something special," event organizers say. Some will only be brewed once, while others will find so much success that they will take on a life of their own. Tickets, $60 for general admission and $85 for VIP, are available at collaborationfest.com. There will also be food vendors and live music. The festival runs from 4 to 7 p.m. (VIPs get in an hour earlier) at the National Western Complex.