Have you heard Denver referred to as "the Napa Valley of Beer?" Mayor Michael Hancock wants to drop the California reference that then-Mayor John Hickenlooper coined a decade ago and instead call our city "the RiNo Valley of Beer" instead. And it was this morning in the RiNo neighborhood — at Odell Brewing Company's Larimer Street taproom — that Hancock kicked off Denver Beer Fest, the week of sudsy events promoted by Visit Denver to showcase the city's craft-beer scene during the time that so many visitors stream in to Colorado for the Great American Beer Festival.
Visit Denver launched Denver Beer Fest ten years ago as "a celebration of all things beer." This year it runs from today (Friday, September 14) through Saturday, September 22, when GABF holds its final session at the Colorado Convention Center. During the week, the organization is promoting more than 250 beery events, including beer-pairing dinners with local and visiting chefs, taproom takeovers, rare beer tappings and meet-the-brewer events. (Overwhelmed by all the choices? Here's our GABF week calendar of events to help you narrow things down.)
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Along with Denver Beer Fest, Visit Denver is launching its annual Denver Beer Trail guide, which this year includes 39 breweries, maps, taproom-hopping itineraries for hot neighborhoods, discounts for Lyft rides and a list of other professional brewery tours in the city.
Visit Denver and the Colorado Brewers Guild work together during Denver Beer Fest to make sure visitors and locals alike get the most out of the beeriest week of the year.
So what's the hot beer style you should be hunting down this week? Brewers Guild marketing director Steve Kurowski says he's enjoying the surprising number of locally brewed Oktoberfest beers this year, which seem to have supplanted pumpkin beers as the style of choice for late-summer and early-fall brews. But with the hops harvest upon us, Kurowski says to be on the lookout for fresh-hopped IPAs in the coming weeks.