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.
If you’re looking for an excuse to get out and drink beer this Saturday June 3, head down to Ursula Brewery in Aurora and help them celebrate their 3rd anniversary starting at 11:00 am.
They’ll have live bands and a pig roast, along with (of course) new beers on tap and a special release. At 11:00 am they plan to release Angel of the Odd, their new sour
If you’re needing an excuse to get out to try new breweries around town and meet some new people check out the Denver Mug Club. It’s basically a traveling version of the mug clubs that many individual breweries have, where you get your own personal mug that gets you discounts on fills and other perks. From the sound of it, they lug a case full of mugs to a different brewery every month and you get your first beer free, discounts on additional beers all month, and some other perks. All this for 10 bucks a month.
- March: Fiction Beer Company
- April: Briar Common Brewery
- May: Bierstadt Lager
- June: Spangalang Brewery
- July: Great Divide Brewing Co.
- August: Bruz Beers