It’s an anniversary-filled weekend with Caution, Cannonball Creek, and Castle Rock Beer Co. all celebrating. However with the upcoming cold and snow I’ve got my eye on Colorado Plus Brew Pub for some true winter warming!
Friday 19th – Saturday 20th: Head out to Lakewood for Caution Brewing Company’s 6th Anniversary Party showcasing their anniversary beer Hold The Door Baltic Porter along with the tapping of some secret experiments. And of course they’ll have the obligatory food trucks and live music.
Friday 19th – Sunday 21st: Stay toasty at Colorado Plus Brew Pub’s Big Barrel Aged Beer Festival, which pretty much says it all. They’ll be tapping a range of imperial porters & stouts for your drinking pleasure.
Saturday 20th – Sunday 21st: Head for the hills and celebrate Cannonball Creek Brewing Company’s 5th anniversary with special tappings, music, and food.
Saturday 20th: If south-metro is more your style, head down to Castle Rock for Castle Rock Beer Co.’s 2nd anniversary where you can buy a pint and keep the commemorative glass.
Saturday 20th: In the ongoing Pussy Riot beer series, Makin’ Noise Beer will hold events at five breweries for version 5.0 of the beer. Woods Boss Brewing Company, Ratio Beerworks, Our Mutual Friend Brewing Company, The Post Brewing Co., and Goldspot Brewing Company will all have tapping celebrations today, with proceeds benefiting a variety of non-profits.
Over the weekend I had the opportunity to revisit a couple of breweries that I have reviewed before – Brewability Lab and Intrepid Sojourner Beer Project – and both of them seem to have new and interesting things happening.
Brewability Lab keeps adding events and owner Tiffany works hard to make sure everyone is engaged and having fun in a friendly environment. Last weekend Brewability featured a band, a silent charity auction, and a fundraiser for Mindful Meditation – all at once. The place was packed. In short, there’s always something going on and the solid beers make it a great place to spend a chilly winter afternoon or evening. They’ve also started serving their Coffee Porter in Nutella-rimmed glasses for those with a sweet tooth.
Intrepid Sojourner Beer Project keeps serving up truly interesting world-inspired beers and each time I stop by there are several new and wild ones. Some of my favorites current favorites are:
- Chicha, which is a corn-based beer with sweetness reminiscent of the South American beverage of the same name
- Turkish Coffee Stout, which combines rich roasted malt and coffee flavors, pretty much as advertised in the name.
- BA Imperial Turkish Coffee Stout, a spiced-up and boozed-up version of the coffee stout. It adds pepper, mace and other spices to create an intense and savory effect. I found it slightly addictive but was also happy I followed the bartender’s recommendation and got a short pour.
Definitely give anything here a try before you jump into a pint because many of the beers have a strong flavor profile. The only disappointment was, like my first visit, a noticeable lack of patrons. Although the bartender injected some energy into the place, it felt a little dead so my recommendation would be to bring some friends with you when you go!
2018 has come roaring in with a weekend packed full of festivities that mixes up traditional events like anniversaries with some pretty unique morning events and a traditional Wassail Winter Carnival. If you have the time and a strong liver you can pretty much have a beer in your hand from Friday evening all the way through the Monday holiday.
Friday 12th: Oscar Blues Brewery kicks off the grand opening weekend of their Denver taproom at 1624 Market Street with food, drink, and music at their live music space next door. Celebrations continue on Saturday. Note: The live music is a ticketed event.
Saturday 13th: One of two anniversaries this weekend, Kokopelli Beer Company celebrates with limited-release beers and giveaways.
Saturday 13th: Get up early and start your day at the Beer, Bacon, and Coffee Fest at Denver Beer Co’s Arvada taproom. Note: This is a ticketed event and also doesn’t seem to specifically involve beer.
Saturday 13th: Cellar West Artisan Ales in Boulder celebrates their first anniversary with a bash that includes special tapping of their beers plus collaboration, along with BBQ to munch on.
Saturday 13th: If you’re looking for something a little unusual (though not exactly beer), C Squared Ciders hosts their Winter Carnival in The Rackhouse featuring a tapping of their winter wassail and numerous activities to frighten away evil spirits and summon good ones for the upcoming year. The evening will include Magicians, Jugglers, Tarot Card Readers and Live Music. The show keeps rolling on Sunday as well.
Sunday 14th: You can get a head start on today’s iteration of the Winter Carnival with Station 26 Brewing Co’s Bluegrass Brunch from 11:00-3:00 featuring live bluegrass, a brunch food truck, and of course beer!
Monday 15th: Call to Arms Brewing invades Euclid Hall for a Kick the Keg Tap Takeover starting at 11:30am if you have MLK day off and are looking for something to do. The menu features seven Call to Arms beers along with a special pairing menu from Euclid Hall’s kitchen. The person who gets the beer that kicks each of the kegs wins a prize!
Wednesday 17th: While not technically a weekend event, the Strange/Wit Meet & Greet at Strange Craft sounds pretty cool. From 4:30-6:30 interact with a panel of the owners & brewers of Strange and Wit that focuses on the topic of seasonal ingredients. Note: This is a ticketed event.
Buried deep in suburbia-land in a quiet strip mall at County Line and Colorado, Blue Spruce Brewing Company wouldn’t seem particularly promising on the surface, however the breadth and quality of their beer combined with their food menu provides a welcome surprise.
BEER LINEUP: Blue Spruce features a full range of traditional styles from cream ale to brown with all the steps in between. They also offer modestly different takes on the standards such as an apricot blonde and a vanilla porter. All the beers I tried were well-made and generally true to style. For non-beer-drinkers Blue Spruce carries a small selection of wine and hard liquor.
ATMOSPHERE: The taproom definitely draws from Highlands Ranch, with lots of families and a laid back atmosphere that winds down shockingly early in the evening. This brewery is clearly outside the hipster zone. The rustic communal bench seating, small bar, and heated patio provide a welcoming atmosphere to relax, eat, and of course drink. Blue Spruce also features a full kitchen with an extensive and tasty menu and occasionally bands.
SERVICE: Uneven. The bartender was great – engaging, informed, and efficient. The table service, not so much. We never went thirsty but we did watch our server aimlessly cruise around the dining area while we tried to flag him down, and most every interaction involved some kind of confusing interjection.
NEIGHBORHOOD: Definitely the ‘burbs. Blue Spruce sits at the far end of a retail strip mall surrounded by housing. It can be hard to see, as it’s located below Dry Creek’s street level but once you find it you’ll also find ample parking. There’s little else to do in the immediate area.
STANDOUT BEER: Serrano Sunrise Chili Beer. I’m a sucker for chili beers and this one stands out above most. With medium heat and a slight roasted-pepper taste laid over what appeared to be a copper-colored Vienna Lager, the Serrano Sunrise made for a pleasant and complex beer with just the right amount balance of heat and flavor. Though not particularly hot, it must have offended many Highlands Ranchers, as the servers are comically obsessed with making you try a sample before you order if you say you’ve not had it previously.
It seems like everyone is recovering from the holiday hangover and events are few and far between this weekend. However if you want to make a trip to the mountains for some beer drinking and/or skiing/riding Breckenridge is hosting the Big Beers festival this weekend. Probably best not to combine the fest and the slopes on the same day, though!
Thursday 4th – Saturday 6th: Big Beers Belgians & Barleywines Festival brings tastings, beer dinners, homebrew competitions, and seminars to Breckenridge. Additionally, many Colorado breweries are hosting tappings and related festivities at numerous locations around town. Note: Some events are ticketed.
With the Monday holiday it’s a jam-packed weekend of celebrations to usher in the new year and then recover from all that celebrating. Numerous breweries are hosting New Year’s Eve parties as well as New Year’s Day recovery parties so whatever your mood you should be able to find a reason and place to celebrate 2018.
Saturday 30th: New Year’s Eve Eve celebration at Station 26 Brewing Co. with a live band playing songs from musicians who passed away in 2017.
Sunday 31st: Start your festivities early at Avery Brewing Co. with their New Year’s Eve Brunch beginning at 11:00AM and featuring beer flights and a long menu of delectable dishes.
Sunday 31st: If you want to continue on the gourmet food and beer train, head over to Copper Kettle Brewing Company for their annual Beers & Cheers NYE Black-Tie Dinner featuring four courses of beer and food pairing. Note: This is a ticketed event.
Sunday 31st: And finally, if you want to skip the long lines and cover charges at clubs, many of our local craft breweries are having special New Year’s Eve parties featuring special tappings, live music, and other fun. Some of the breweries with festivities are Fiction Beer Company, Beryl’s Beer Co., Ratio Beerworks, and Caution Brewing Co.
Monday 1st: Get right back on the horse with a Hangover Brunch at Ratio Beerworks from noon – 3:00.
Since the Christmas holiday takes precedence this weekend, there are few events on the calendar. However a number of breweries including River North and Intrepid Sojourner are clearing out merchandise and beer to make way for the new year so check your favorite local for possible last-minute gifts or a treat for yourself! And of course – Merry Christmas!
Saturday 23rd: Get comfortable at Zuni Street Brewing Company with their Cheese & Cheesy Sweater Party, which gives you the opportunity to don your worst Christmas sweater for a beer and cheese pairing starting at 4:00 (ticketed event $16). Regardless of whether you want to get cheesy, Zuni Street will offer beer releases and live music for all.
Monday 25th: If you run out of beer or simply want to enjoy the holiday with like-minded drinkers, Alpine Dog Brewery opens at 11:00 for an all-day Christmas party which will include several tappings and other treats.