Summer is taking its sweet, sweet time coming to Colorado, but the state's craft breweries will certainly be ready when summer's finally official: An unprecedented number of brand-new canned and bottled beers have hit liquor store shelves and tap-room walls in recent weeks — and more are on the way. Many of these are summer seasonals or one-time releases, but some are year-round offerings that will be fine any time of year.
A good number of them are also lower in alcohol, ranging between 4 and 5 percent ABV, something that a lot of people appreciate in the warmer months, when patios call for multiple pints. Trends? Of course there are. Wits, Mexican-style lagers, saisons and kettle-sour fruit beers seem to be winning the day, which makes sense as the temperatures rise...but they're also somewhat new in this quantity in cans.
Here are 25 of the brand-new packaged Colorado beers, arranged roughly by style, from the lightest to the strongest or darkest. There should be something for everyone. Cheers!
1. Los Locos Mexican-Style Lager
Mexican-style lagers are blowing up right now among craft brewers, which is strange, considering that the industry exists, in part, to reject this style of beer. Still, breweries and their fans seem to love them. Epic's version, which debuted in May, includes "a dash of sea salt and the perfect kick of natural lime juice."
2. Beerito Mexican Lager
Oskar Blues launched Beerito in April. The 4 percent ABV Vienna Mexican lager was brewed with Weyermann Barke Vienna, Carabelge, Melanoidin and Colorado's own Troubadour Blue Ballad malt.
3. Nadia Kali
Great Divide Brewing
New from Great Divide's seasonal Tank Farm series is Nadia Kali, a pink-hued saison brewed with hibiscus, ginger root and lemon peel. The beer, with its juicy, fruity aroma, was designed to be enjoyed during the summer, and its name is an homage to the countries where hibiscus is grown.
4. Cherry Saison
This Boulder brewery makes an excellent saison, but this version was spiked with Balaton cherries. It is only available at the tap room and in one or two Boulder liquor stores, but Sanitas's beers usually find wider distribution in Denver. This one has been spotted around town and is worth seeking out.
5,6. Meathooks Mild Ale and Ol' Zippy Premium
The Post Brewing
In late May, the Post in Lafayette released two canned beers: the biscuity Meathooks Mild Ale, at 4.1 percent ABV, and Ol’ Zippy Premium American Ale, a 5 percent ABV ale with a touch of hops. The Post's Bryan Selders specializes in lower-ABV brews that are just starting to see packaged distribution.
7. Heavy Melon
New Belgium Brewing
New Belgium calls Heavy Melon an "American-style fruit beer," because the seasonal release is brewed with watermelon and lime peel. According to the brewery, the 5 percent ABV beer's "ripened fruit aromas of melon, papaya and citrus offer an invigorating wash of fruity sweetness, grassy bitterness and the slightest touch of tartness."
8. Priscilla White Wit Wheat
The humble Belgian-style witbier, made famous by Coors' Blue Moon, is also making a comeback this summer — the season for which it is most appropriate. Perhaps the biggest new entry in this style category is the Oskar Blues Priscilla White Wit Wheat, a 5.2 percent ABV wit made with orange peel and coriander. It should hit liquor-store shelves this month in all fifty states.
9. Wave Wheel Wit
Elevation Beer Company
This 4.6 percent ABV Belgian-style witbier was brewed with orange beer and coriander, like a traditional wit, but also has citra hops for a different burst of flavor. Wave Wheel should be out this summer.
10. Whacked Out Wheat
Fresh off winning a silver medal at the prestigious World Beer Cup in Philadelphia, Whacked Out Wheat is the latest canned offering from Telluride Brewing, which has also made waves with its award-winning brown ale and its excellent hoppy beers. Whacked Out Wheat, at 5.1 percent ABV, was brewed with Cascade, Tettanger and Saaz hops.
11. Extrovert American IPA
Left Hand Brewing
Left Hand Brewing in Longmont usually focuses on English and German-style beers, but it decided to bust out its first American-style IPA in April with Extrovert, a new year-round brew. Left Hand worked on the 7.1 percent ABV beer for months before settling on a recipe, because it wanted the beer to stand out. Extrovert was dry-hopped at one pound per barrel with Jarrylo, Cascade and Comet hops.
12. Drumroll APA
This American pale ale heralds a number of firsts for Fort Collins-based Odell Brewing. It is the first new year-round beer since the two-year-old Loose Leaf, and the first new IPA since 2007. It's also the first Odell beer that will only be sold in cans. This juicy, hazy beer will resemble a New England-style IPA and will be brewed each year with a slightly different hop bill, depending on which varieties taste best.
13. Runaway IPA
Renegade Brewing will add a third canned IPA to its lineup this month when it debuts Runaway, a piney, West Coast-style IPA. Brewed with El Dorado, Amarillo and Azacca, Runaway logs in at 6 percent ABV.
14. Pulp Fusion Blood Orange IPA
Boulder Beer Company
The third in a series of seasonal IPA releases, Pulp Fusion Blood Orange IPA, at 6.3 percent ABV, "blends the beauty of an IPA with vibrant citrus flavor from the juice of blood oranges," the brewery says. This style of beer — IPA and citrus fruit — has been a popular one over the past year.
15. Hop Ivy
This passion project from Ska Brewing in Durango was brewed with all Colorado ingredients, and although it has been on tap for a few months, it's just now hitting cans. The pale ale is a twist on Ska's wet-hopped Hoperation Ivy; it was brewed with Chinook and Nugget hops harvested at Simply Grown LLC hops farm in Palisade. The malt barley is grown and malted at Colorado Malting Co. in Alamosa, and the yeast is from the Brewing Science Institute in Woodland Park.
16, 17. American Copper and Pale Ale
Station 26 Brewing
Until now, Station 26 has only canned two beers, Colorado Cream Ale and its series of Single Hop IPAs. But the brewery added two more recently, the 5.4 percent American Copper and the 5.5 percent ABV Pale Ale, which is a version of what the brewery had been calling Pale in Progress in its tap house. Oh, and look for Tangerine Cream, a cream ale with tangerine and vanilla bean, coming later this summer to cans.
18. Tart & Juicy Sour IPA
Is it a sour? Is it an IPA? It's both! Epic Brewing released this unusual new beer a few months ago and began canning it in late April, calling it "a unique fusion of puckering tartness and an abundance of juicy, citrus-driven hops." Kettle-soured and coming in at 4.5 percent ABV, it is hoppy, tart and refreshing.
19. Acide Kettle Sour Saison
Elevation Beer Company
There's a lot going on in this one. A saison, Acide was kettle-soured quickly and then dry-hopped with Amarillo and Saaz hops. Brewed with pilsner and white wheat malts, it comes in at just 4.5 percent ABV and should be tart but quenching during patio season.
20. El Gose
Calling it "tradition with a twist," Avery will be canning El Gose this July. The 4.5 percent ABV gose is a tart, unfiltered wheat beer made with lime and sea salt.
21. Sour Apricot
One of only a few canned sours in Colorado, Dry Dock's Sour Apricot is also kettle-soured, meaning that the souring bacteria, Lactobacillus, was added to the wort prior to fermentation. The lower-ABV beer will be offered year-round in six-packs.
Odell Brewing will soon release the next Cellar Series beer, Zard-Alu, a sour apricot ale. And although it is another sour apricot beer, this one was soured traditionally with Lactobacillus and then fermented with Brettanomyces. Zard-Alu is 100 percent bottle-conditioned and is part of Odell's Cellar Series, meaning it is sold in 750ml cork-and-cage bottles.
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23,24. Milk Stout and IPA
Copper Kettle Brewing
Copper Kettle is adding two new cans to its lineup this month. Milk Stout, at 5.6 percent ABV, was brewed with real lactose for a creamy body. The IPA is a West-Coast-style IPA coming in at 7.2 percent ABV.
25. Coconut Porter
The third in Avery's Botanicals & Barrels series, Coconut Porter was scheduled for release later this summer in 22-ounce bomber bottles. Like the previous Momi Hiwa, it is aged in rum barrels. This one will be a more manageable 9.5 percent ABV, however — if 9.5 percent seems manageable to you.