Weekend Beer Update

Hopefully by now everyone has recovered from their Great American Beer Festival hangover and perhaps found a new favorite brewery or beer at the Fest. Life goes on, and this weekend offers up a number of fall-themed brewery events including several Oktoberfests across the metro area.

Friday 28 – Sunday 30: Munich comes to Boulder at Avery Brewing Co.’s Oktoberfest, with a special beer menu and free Kaiser for anyone in a traditional German outfit.reichstag-entrance.jpg

Friday 28 – Sunday 30: If RINO is more your scene, Black Shirt Brewing Co. celebrates their sixth anniversary all weekend with special releases (actually starting Wednesday), creative beer slushies and cocktails, Beer, Bacon and Bluegrass on Saturday, and brunch on Sunday.

Saturday 29: Oktoberfest makes a stop at Seedstock Brewery from 5-11 p.m. with a special Hell tapping, plenty of Oktoberfest beer, polka music, contests and free mugs for those in traditional German attire. A meat-heavy food20170808_182550_HDR truck rounds out the Germanic picture.

Saturday 29: Join Brewability Lab in celebrating their second anniversary with music, a mobile cigar lounge, a yoga bus and a pop-up shop.

Saturday 29: Load up on numerous can and bottle releases at Fiction Beer Company’s fourth anniversary party. In addition to the takeaway options,  enjoy special tappings, live music and limited-edition glassware on their special day.

Saturday 29: Howdy Fest Rides into Lafayette with music, food, and a special release briar-common-sign.jpgfrom The Post Brewing Co. along with pours from a number of other area breweries.

Sunday 30: Enjoy a preview of Briar Common Brewery’s upcoming anniversary beers at their five-course beer-pairing dinner. The first seating starts at 4:30 p.m. but if demand calls for it they will add a later seating. Note: This is a ticketed event.

Brewery Snapshot: Jagged Mountain Brewery

At the corner of Lawrence Street and 20th Street, Jagged Mountain Brewery occupies an enviable spot as one of the only breweries in the downtown business district. As you would expect, that keeps the place busy with a diverse mix of customers. However Jagged Mountain doesn’t just count on their location to drive business; they brew up a very broad and adventurous taplist that justifies a visit no matter the neighborhood.

BEER LINEUP: Jagged Mountain offers a large and diverse 20180919_164149_hdr.jpgmenu consisting of a few traditional styles augmented by a lot of beers tweaked with fruits or other additions plus a small high-gravity selection. Overall there’s enough diversity that almost any beer-drinker should find something enjoyable.

ATMOSPHERE: On a mid-week, pre-GABF evening the mixed downtown crowd created a lively and energetic atmosphere. It seemed like a lot of folks were dropping in for one or two after work or between other activities and there was a lot of turnover in the clientele of young hipsters, professional office workers, older tourists, and even the occasional family. The tasting room offers up the standard taproom look with exposed brick, steel & wood, a view of the brewery, and a small patio.20180919_164156_HDR

SERVICE: The bar-only service was reasonably quick and efficient, although the busy servers were not overly chatty about their beers.

LOCATION: The prime spot on the corner of two busy downtown streets makes Jagged Mountain easy to find, and a great stop before or after a ballgame, work, or other downtown entertainment. The brewery offers offers easy access on foot, via public transit or by car, although the parking situation varies depending on what’s going on downtown.

20180919_171052_HDRSTANDOUT BEER: Playin’ Hooky Cherry Wheat. At first look, the amber-colored beer is darker than a typical wheat, likely due to the cherry addition. After a nice noseful of cherry, the first sip brings a little bit of the malt peeking through the medium-sweet cherry flavor.  Nobody would mistake this beer for anything complex but it makes for a refreshing light, fruity beer that drinks nicely in this unseasonably warm weather. I made sure to finish mine while it was cold, as I do suspect that when it warms the cherry could lead to medicinal notes as often happens with these beers.

Weekend Beer Update: Happy GABF!

The GABF circus comes to town and will supposedly be bigger and better than ever, with an expanded footprint in the Convention Center and even more breweries and beers. One key change for 2018 is that breweries will no longer be grouped by region, but simply be alphabetical. And of course, to maximize your drinking pleasure don’t forget to download the app with the latest maps, participating brewers, and beers!

If large crowds or expensive tickets aren’t your thing, you can still jump in on the fun with one of the dozens of GABF-related events at breweries and taprooms across the metro area. Check out the links below.

GABF-Related Links:


Weekend Beer Update

With Great American Beer Festival just a week away,  there are a ridiculous number of things going on! From individual breweries hosting events, collaboration tappings and other fun to places like Falling Rock Tap House which has20171006_191138_HDR[1] become the unofficial home of offsite GABF gatherings. Rather than take up loads of space on this blog with all the crazy events I’ve linked to a couple of great local sources for literally hundreds of things to do. However if you don’t want GABF overload before the fest even starts, check out these lower-key weekend events. 

GABF-Related Links:


Friday 14 – Sunday 16: Join Diebolt Brewing Company for a crazy weekend of activities to celebrate their fifth anniversary. In addition to the usual beer releases, music, and food trucks, Diebolt will host a silent disco/toga party, a variety show, cornhole and beer pong tournaments and more.  Note: Some events are ticketed.20170624_203711_HDR

Friday 14 – Saturday 15: Up north, Loveland sponsors their local Oktoberfest with a focus on learning about German heritage, authentic vendors, food and beer from a number of area breweries.

Saturday 15: Drag out the lederhosen and dirndles for one more weekend! 2018 Oktoberfest comes to Copper Kettle Brewing Company with Oktoberfest and Imperial Pumpkin Porter releases, a stein-holding competition, food trucks, and live music.

Saturday 15: If physical activity is more your style, cruise on over to the Sloans Lake Alamo Draft House for the GABF Brewery Bike Loop covering six west-side breweries plus an after-party. Registration starts promptly at 11 a.m.20180129_163411_hdr-e1517590694414.jpg Note: This is a ticketed event.

Saturday 15: Down in Highlands Ranch, Lone Tree Brewing Co. hosts their Oktoberfest and Fall Market with polka music, beer tapping, a stein-hoisting competing, and beer-brat grilling along with over 20 local vendors with a variety of products

Saturday 15: It’s sad to see summer winding down but Liquid Mechanics Brewing Co. in Lafayette makes the most of these final days with their outdoor End of Summer Party with food, bands and new beer releases.

Saturday 15: Also in the northern reaches of Denver, Wild Woods Brewery in Boulder celebrates six years with special anniversary releases (including a smoked-yam offering) and tappings, food, giveaways and live music.

Lady JusticeSaturday 15: Help make the world a better place with Lady Justice Brewing as they celebrate their second anniversary at Factotum Brewhouse. The festivities will include new releases, music and food. Lady Justice is a fully nonprofit brewery with all profits going to women’s causes. Community Supported Brewery memberships will be available.

Saturday 15: In RINO, Our Mutual Friend Brewing Company puts on Gratitude 2018 to say thanks to their customers and the beer community with 30 beers on tap, a special release, giveaways, a photo booth and food trucks.

Saturday 15: For the final anniversary of the weekend, Industrial Revolution Brewing Company in Erie marks five years with beer release, food and music.

Weekend Beer Update

It’s my favorite time of the year, with Oktoberfest season coming into full swing and the Great American Beer Festival right around the corner! This weekend offers up a  preview of the fall beer fun in store, plus lots of other interesting brew-related activities.

Thursday 6 – Saturday 8: Wanderfest 2018 comes to New Terrain Brewing Company in Golden with a beer garden featuring over 20 beers, bands, food trucks and family fun. Note: This is a ticketed event.

lowry-beer-garden-night.jpgFriday 7 – Saturday 8: The 6th annual Oktoberfest Celebration at Lowry Beer Garden takes center stage this weekend with Oktoberfest beers from several front-range breweries, German food, music and games. Dress up in your favorite German outfit and get your first beer free!

Saturday 8: Docktoberfest rolls into Dry Dock Brewing Co.’s South Dock in Aurora with the annual release of their Oktoberfest beer, pouring of their other German-style beers, polka music, 20171021_163608_HDRfood, a stein-holding contest and the announcement of homebrew competition winners at 1 p.m.  German attire is strongly encouraged of course.

Saturday 8: Join Coda Brewing for their grand opening in Golden with 14 new small-batch beers, music and food.

Saturday 8: Cerberus Brewing Company in Colorado Springs turns two years old with new releases, throwback favorites, giveaways, food and music.

Saturday 8: Several breweries from north of Denver also celebrate milestones, starting with Gravity Brewing in Louisville’s 6th anniversary party featuring music, food and barrel-aged & small-batch beers.

Saturday 8: WIBtoberfest takes over Wibby Brewing in Greeley with hourly special releases and re-releases, music of every variety, unusual games, raffles, interactive art, and food in celebration of Wibby’s 3rd anniversary.

Saturday 8: Once you’ve had your fill of Gravity and The WIB, head down the road to Sanitas Brewing Company in Boulder for their five-year anniversary offering up more music, a pig roast, and five new beer releases.

Saturday 8: Even though they’re not on the front range, Ska Brewing in Durango deserves a mention for 23 years of great beers!  The anniversary party is sold out but their distribution network means that we can still hoist a Ska in their honor.

Sunday 9: If Saturday’s festivities didn’t keep you up too late, join Copper Kettle Brewing Company for Beer and Breakfast starting at 11 a.m. In addition to Copper Kettle’s own coffee beer release, several Spice Trade Brewing beers will be available along with coffee from Sonder Coffee & Tea. To complement all that coffee goodness, several breakfast and pastry trucks will offer up food and snacks.

Brewery Snapshot: Castle Rock Beer Co.

UPDATE: Apparently the English-style strategy was NOT a viable one. As of mid-Sept 2018 Castle Rock Beer Co. was sold and began the process of becoming Iron Mule. The taproom remains open and Iron Mule will be doing an official Grand Opening late October 2018.

Opening a brewery that produces only English-style beers in Castle Rock may seem like a stretch, but that’s exactly what Castle Rock Beer Co. (CRBC) did. Time will tell whether that’s a viable strategy of course, but meanwhile they serve up a broad and tasty (if you like that style) taplist from a location one block off Castle Rock’s main street.

BEER LINEUP: The menu contains only English and Irish-style ales, but offers a large range from cream ale and wit, through IPAs, all the way to a dark stout. As expected, some are rather plain but most all are pleasant and very sessionable. 20180811_133110_HDR

ATMOSPHERE: The taproom sits in one half of a big circular building and thus has unique architecture and lots of windows, but aside from that is your standard build. We visited on a Saturday afternoon and the place was very quiet with just a handful of customers and without much energy. Some might say relaxed, others dull. They have a small heat-and-serve food menu. The taproom is dog friendly, though there’s no patio.

SERVICE: The service was ok. The bartender/brewer/ 20180811_141524_HDRowner offered plenty of information on the beer and seemed friendly enough, but at times seemed more interested in the baseball game than monitoring customers’ empty glasses.

LOCATION: Just a block off Wilcox Street in Castle Rock, CRBC allows for a short (or long!) stop while strolling around downtown visiting restaurants, stores, or one of the many festivals Castle Rock puts on. There’s also easy highway access so you make it a stop on the way back from Colorado Springs or other southern destinations. Clearly it’s more of a driving destination for most people, but the surrounding area has plenty of free parking.

STANDOUT BEER: The Sea Queen  Irish Stout didn’t seem like a logical summer brew but was much lighter- and thinner-bodied than one might expect from that style and the dark mahogany color. The body took nothing away from the typical malty and roast flavors that one would expect in a stout and the end effect was a surprisingly refreshing dark beer.

Style of the Month: Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest in Munich starts September 22 so it seems an appropriate time to learn about the Märzen/Oktoberfest style. These medium-bodied lager beers range across a palette of dark golden, coppery, and amber colors to combine with malty flavors, which make a perfect companion to the slightly cooler days and chilly evenings of early fall. Oktoberfests generally contain no discernable hops flavors, although they can sometimes have a little breadiness or cracker flavors to accompany the malt. Related imageThey also trend higher in ABV than most other German beers.

The tradition of Märzen goes back to the days before refrigeration when March (März in German) was the last month cool enough to allow for consistent and safe lager brewing. Brewers brewed these beers in March and then let them mature over the summer in cool caves, to be consumed in the fall. Generally brewers use well-kilned malt to produce the darker colors and deeper malty flavors, and bottom-fermenting lager yeast that does its best work slowly and at cooler temperatures.

All of the elements that resulted in our current association of Märzen with Oktoberfest, fall, and Germany came together in the early 1800s with the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen in Munich, Bavaria. The epic party that followed the 1810 wedding went on for five days and was so popular that it became an annual tradition that continues to this day. The celebration happily coincided with the annual tapping of the Märzen beers and the two became intertwined.