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.
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.
Or as Copper Kettle Brewing Company calls them, the Twelve Firkins of Christmas . . .
Forget about silly lords-a-leaping or turtle doves – this’ll get you in the Christmas spirit! Today through Christmas Eve Copper Kettle continues their longstanding practice of releasing a firkin a day to count down to the holiday. It’s one of my favorite holiday traditions and the menu looks to give everyone at least one beer to be thankful for this season!
- 12/13 Black Berliner Weisse w/ Blackberries
- 12/14 Gingerbread Latte
- 12/15 Bourbon Barrel Aurora Strong
- 12/16 Key Lime Wit
- 12/17 Imperial Smoked Porter
- 12/18 Passionfruit Charlie’s Golden Strong
- 12/19 Eggnog Stout
- 12/20 Mocha IPA
- 12/21 Imperial Cafe Con Leche
- 12/22 Basil Cherry Blond
- 12/23 Golden Stout (Imperial Cream Ale with Chocolate and Lactose)
- 12/24 Christmas Spice Strong Ale
Tis the season for fall beerfests & Oktoberfests and a great time to get out of Denver to check out the aspens in the mountains or have a weekend getaway in another part of the state. It seems like almost every little town has its own beer festival in the fall and some of the ones coming up in the next couple weeks include:
Telluride Blues & Brews – Sept 15 – 17
Steamboat OktoberWest – Sept 16
Loveland Oktoberfest – Sept 16 & 17 at Grimm Brothers Brewhouse
Louisville Red White & Brew – Sept 16
Colorado Springs Pawtoberfest – Sept 16
Longmont Oktoberfest – Sept 22 & 23
Fort Collins Fall Harvest Brewfest – Sept 23
Manitou Springs Heritage Beer Festival – Sept 23
Monument Bines and Brews – Sept 23
Canon City Bikes and Brews – Sept 23
Denver Micro Brew Fest – Sept 23 (yeah this one’s not out of Denver but looks really promising!)
If you’re looking for an outdoors beer-drinking experience this weekend, Great Divide Brewing Co. is having their Summer Block Party right outside the doors of their original taproom at 22nd and Arapahoe. They’ll have games, bands, and of course beer in a new urban greenspace. The party kicks off at 2:00 and they have different levels of tickets that get you different levels of beer – from the basics all the way to some of their pilot beers.
While I’ve been to Dry Dock Brewing Co.’s South Dock in Aurora dozens of times over the years, this past weekend I finally made it to the Canoe Room at the North Dock, partly to check out their taproom and partly to try their disc golf course. The taproom side was much less busy and and more laid back than South Dock but the beer selection didn’t seem to be much different, despite what I had previously heard. The disc golf course was fun but a little rough, located on an old industrial site filled with prairie dogs. If you golf, grab a map from the taproom before starting, since some of the hole alignments are hard to decipher. We didn’t fully realize that until we got back to the taproom and realized we missed an entire hole. There are some challenging placements right on the edge of a ditch that runs through the site, but overall the course is on the short side.
BEER LINEUP: From what I could tell the lineup looked much like South Dock, ranging from light Pilsners through the IPA and Amber range up to a couple stouts and their famous Vanilla Porter. Basically they offer something for about every taste, generally solidly-made.
ATMOSPHERE: The taproom had a chill, fun vibe going on in with a graduation party happening as well. Aside from the wood-paneled taproom, the Canoe Room has an industrial back room in the production area featuring couches and games like air hockey. People kept drifting in and out of the different spaces and the brewery so the whole thing seemed a little more like a college party than people trying to make a scene, as in some breweries in town.
SERVICE: Reasonable. We asked for beer; the server delivered. Not much chitchat but after a hot day of disc golf we happily settled for an efficient beer-delivery mechanism.
NEIGHBORHOOD: Kansas, basically. Clearly a production facility vs. retail, the industrial location east of the airport puts function over form. Don’t count on any food or other local businesses to visit. However it is easy to find on Tower Road just south of I70, with clear signage and ample parking. The truly cool thing about the remote location is that it leaves room for the disc golf course, which is a pretty unique amenity for a brewery.
STANDOUT BEER: Maybe it was disc golfing in 90-degree weather but the Wheat offered a refreshing and satisfying experience. Normally I wouldn’t get too excited about a wheat but this packed more complexity than your stereotypical light-yellow beer. The maltiness on the front provided a unique surprise for such a light beer, but then some hefeweizen-like banana esters kicked and pulled it back in the wheat direction. The end result was a beer with a lot going on but ultimately a refreshingly balanced and satisfying beverage.