Colorado Craft Beer Week

Personally, I feel like EVERY week is Colorado Craft Beer week, Former Futuregiven the brewery bounty along the Front Range. However the Colorado Brewers Guild makes it official by kicking off Colorado Craft Beer Week today through April 7th. Check out the link to their event listing of special releases and other commemorations by local breweries. 

Additionally,  there are MANY breweries doing their own thing that aren’t listed so ask your local craft brewer how he or she is celebrating our state’s abundance!

Cheers!

Weekend Beer Update

It’s a big weekend ahead and there are plenty of reasons to hoist a beer, starting with MLB’s Opening Day and moving right along to Easter and April Fool’s. While the weekend starts off with some modern anniversaries and fests, tradition reigns on Sunday with Easter events. Start planning now for which favorite beers pair best with that Easter ham or lamb!

Friday 30th: Start the weekend right and join Seedstock Brewery for their second anniversary party! They’ll serve up special beer releases, live music, food trucks, giveaways, and a special treat if you come dressed in German attire.

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Saturday 31st: Fingers crossed for good weather (forecast is partly sunny & 61) to celebrate Halfpenny Brewing Company’s biergarten opening party. Live music, a food truck, giveaways, and of course bier will help usher in the summer patio season, and for dog-lovers, the patio is also pet-friendly.

Saturday 31st: Quirky, geeky fact: Apparently today is the 90th day of the year, and that has special meaning for Odell Brewing Company. They’ll celebrate all things 90 with 90 Shilling beer and merch specials, and giveaways every 90 minutes.

Saturday 31st: Collaboration Fest rolls into the Colorado Convention Center this afternoon with 100+  beers from over 150 collaborating breweries. Note: This is a ticketed event with both early-entry and general admission tickets available.

Sunday 1st: Tip your hat to tradition and join Briar Common Brewery for Easter brunch starting at 10am with breakfast drinks, good specials, and a prize wheel.

Sunday 1st: For a more interactive Easter, stop by Easter TimeFactotum Brewhouse for an Easter egg hunt. Doors open at noon so you can search out eggs holding prizes for the whole family including candy, and of course free beers!

Sunday 1st: Even more family friendly, Kokopelli Beer Company’s Easter egg hunt starts at 11:45 (sign up required) but get there early for a pancake breakfast with the Easter Bunny starting at 11. Kokopelli will also have a coloring contest, fire truck and most importantly beer tappings!

Brewery Snapshot: Ironworks Brewery & Pub

A visit to Ironworks Brewery & Pub offers a breakout from the typical Denver brewery. Perhaps it’s because they’ve been around  since last century (1989) and before there was  “typical” for a brewery. Regardless, the bar/brewery/grub setup and dive-bar feel provide a refreshing change from the overused urban “mountain-rustic-meets-modern + food-truck” brewery model.

BEER LINEUP: The in-house beer list is limited but covers the standard bases – wheat, IPA, amber, stout, and a few variants on those styles.  While none of their beers get too crazy, all the ones I tried were pleasant and enjoyable, and they did win a GABF silver for their Kentucky Common (not currently on tap). Additionally, as a pub, Ironworks pours beer from the mega-breweries for your non-crafty friends.

ATMOSPHERE: Ironworks has a full-on dive bar feel, from the dark & worn dining area to the pool & video games, to the hard rock music.  You’re not in hipster-brewery country any more! The crowd seemed really genuine and local with a few families and small groups of friends getting together for beers and munchies. The bar food was decent and the prices for both food & beer are extremely reasonable.  On nicer days customers can enjoy a view of Green Mountain from the front patio.

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SERVICE: As a pub, Ironworks offers both bar and table service. The place was busy when we arrived and the single server hustled to keep beer and food flowing. Despite the rush he gave us friendly and prompt service, and when things slowed down was super-informative about the background of their beers and their upcoming releases.

NEIGHBORHOOD: Just in front of Green Mountain, the neighborhood has the typical suburban mix of homes, big box retailers, strip malls, and apartments. In other words, nothing special to draw you to or keep you in the area. You definitely need a car to visit. Fortunately, since Ironworks sits in one of the aforementioned strip malls there’s plenty of parking, although due to frontage roads the brewery is easier to see than to access from Alameda.

STANDOUT BEER: Choco-latte Stout. Yeah, it seems a bit cliche but after a hike and paired with a burger this hearty thick & creamy stout hit the spot. The slightly dry maltiness & mild coffee bitterness balanced out the robust chocolate sweetness and hint of cherry in this dark beer. One of our party drank a great hoppy beer (straw/earthy – not citrus/floral) but since there was some confusion on what they ordered vs. received I’m reluctant to guess at the name – hopheads will just need to try a few samples!

Weekend Beer Update

After a jam-packed St Patrick’s Day weekend this week offers very few big events, although a number of breweries are featuring special releases and tappings just ‘cuz.

Friday 23rd – Sunday 25th: Head up to Greeley to congratulate WeldWerks Brewing Co. on their 3rd anniversary. They’ll have 20 regular beers plus a half-dozen rotators each day, along with food and a photo booth.

Sunday 25th: Get your comfort food (and drink!) fix at Chain Reaction Brewing Co.’s 2nd annual Mac & Cheese off. Even if you’re not up for making your own entry, you can sample others’ creative dishes alongside a beer and sloppy joe bar while enjoying live music. Note: This is a ticketed event.

Brewery Snapshot: Alternation Brewing Company

Although open a relatively short time (Dec ’17), Alternation Brewing Company has established a presence on South Broadway with a large and solid taplist and active taproom. One would think that South Broadway already has more than enough breweries, but Alternation has staked out their own neighborhood and filled a gap between Black Project and Grandma’s House, making them perfect for a Broadway brewery crawl.

BEER LINEUP: For a relatively new brewery, Alternation offers 20180317_171056_HDRa broad taplist of approximately 10 beers ranging from hefeweizen on the light end, through IPA, all the way to stout on the dark end. There is a definite Belgian focus – saisons, farmhouses, dubbels. All the beers I tried were solid and tasty, though perhaps not 100% style-specific.

ATMOSPHERE: Given that we visited on St Patrick’s Day things may have been a little crazier than usual. The narrow taproom features three small sections: a bar area, a seating area in the brew tanks, and a newly-opened outdoor patio with games. All three areas were  energetic on St Pat’s, with people spilling onto Broadway for the food truck and heading to the patio for the bands. Overall, Alternation has a friendly vibe and we watched as the afternoon family crowd gave way to the younger brewery-hopping crowd in the evening.

SERVICE: Hard to judge, given the holiday crowds but overall the servers were efficient and pleasant even in the face of green-clad, beer-loving hordes.

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Tanks, Band, Patio

NEIGHBORHOOD: Parked right in the middle of Antique Row, Alternation lends itself to a leisurely few hours of shopping, dining, or brewery-hopping at nearby establishments. The area is most definitely pedestrian-friendly, transit-friendly, and even has reasonable street parking options.

STANDOUT BEER: Cooper Approved Oatmeal Stout. C’mon, could there be anything else on St. Pat’s? Seriously, the deep chocolate and roasted malt flavors in this beer would be good any day and were enhanced by the low carbonation. The typical dark-brown color gave way to a thinner body than might be expected, but not that unusual.

Weekend Beer Update

Happy St Patrick’s Day! Of course it’s going to be a huge 20170103_210350_HDRweekend of celebrations and sickeningly-green beer but also a time when many craft brewers put out special Irish-themed releases. I had the opportunity to try Odyssey Beerworks’ Young Flanagan Dry Irish Stout the other night and that definitely put me in the Irish mood. If you can’t make it to one of the official celebrations or events below (or simply don’t want to mess with the mayhem) at least stop by your local brewery for a hearty stout!

Saturday 17th: As if you need an excuse to break out your best Irish fashion, Big Choice Brewing is holding their Kilt Irish St Patrick’s Day Party where green attire and kilts get you beer discounts all day, plus entry into the best kilt contest. To accompany all the kilti-ness, a swag-leprechaun will make an appearance at 2:00, followed by Irish step-dancing at 4:00. Kilt contest follows.

Saturday 17th: Perhaps driving to Fort Collins (and back) for St Patrick’s revelry isn’t especially advisable, but New Belgium Brewing Company’s St Patrick’s celebration sounds tempting. In addition to their normal, tasty taplist they will release a green wit to complement the live music and dancing they have scheduled.

St Patrick Day Background

Saturday 17th: If you’re on the south side of town and heading back from the parade or simply don’t want to deal with it, stop in at Alternation Brewing Company on South Broadway for their St Patrick’s Day Bash. Starting at 9:30am they’ll christen their new biergarten/patio with beer releases, live music, and food.

Image result for st patricks public domain imagesSaturday 17th: Fiction Beer Company takes a different direction with an intentionally chill St Patrick’s with Irish-themed food, music, and a Jameson-barrel-aged stout.

Saturday 17th: Irish food and dancers also feature prominently in Living the Dream Brewery’s St Patrick’s Shenanigans if you’d prefer to stay in the south suburbs.

Sunday 18th: It’ll be a full day at Mockery Brewing, starting with the 2nd annual Mockery Homebrew Competition followed by the St Patrick’s Day Hangover Brunch. The gist of the homebrew competition is that Mockery brews up wort in the morning, provides it to homebrewers who then do their own things with it, and finally return with their unique brews for judging. Pretty cool, huh? See the link above for specifics. If that sounds like way too much work then just stop by for Hangover Brunch with breakfast beer drinks and greasy hangover food starting at 11:00am.