Beer Man

Twenty-Five Brand-New Colorado Beers for Summer

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
Epic Brewing

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

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
Sanitas Brewing

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
Oskar Blues

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
Telluride Brewing

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.

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Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes