This weekend offers quite the range of options, from anniversary parties to cooking with beer! And of course don’t forget to stay the course for Stout Month.
Friday 23rd – Saturday 24th: Halfpenny Brewing Company wraps up their 2nd anniversary week with their final special tappings, live music, food, and giveaways.
Friday 23rd – Saturday 24th: Sort of Halfpenny’s older brother, Goldspot Brewing Company will celebrate its 3rd anniversary over with special beer releases and a big 16-beer menu over the weekend.
Saturday 24th: If you want to mix up your Stout Month and take a break from Vine Street Pub, head east to Ursula Brewery for their release of nine different versions of their 180 Gram Twist and Stout including barrel-aged, flavored, and a 2016-18 vertical tasting
Saturday 24th: The SOWN III expo comes to the Oskar Blues Brewery downtown Denver location at 2:00 and spotlights local ingredients in beer, pouring beers from seven area breweries that use local Troubadour Malts. Additionally, they will host a panel discussion with local brewers and growers on the importance of locally-sourced ingredients. Note: This is a ticketed event ($5).
Sunday 25th: Beer is Food! At least according to Living the Dream Brewing Company, which is holding a contest for recipes containing their beer. The cutoff for entries has already passed but stop by and vote for the best use of beer in food!
Now that we’re pulling out of the deep winter doldrums many more breweries are holding weekend events. Among others, Call to Arms highlights one of my favorite harbingers of spring – Mardi Gras! And don’t forget, it’s still Stout Month at Vine Street Pub along with Frozen February at Wild Woods Brewery in Boulder.
Friday 9th – Sunday 11th: Drop in on Ratio Beerworks’ 3 Year Anniversary Party where the name of the game is live music all weekend, complemented by special tappings and a recovery brunch at 11 on Sunday.
Saturday 10th: Mardi Gras rolls into town at Call To Arms Brewing Company with New Orleans food, music, themed beer releases, and even a small Mardi Gras parade featuring tiny floats from several local breweries.
Saturday 10th: Head for the hills to join Holidaily Brewing Co.’s second anniversary at their Golden taproom featuring beer specials, live music, food and giveaways all day long.
Saturday 10th: Fiction Beer Company will appeal to your pre-Valentine’s sweet tooth with a beer and cupcake pairing at 1:00.
Saturday 10th: Finish out the day swinging with Dry Dock Brewing Company’s Valentine’s Sock Hop dance. Starting at 7:00 the South Dock offers live swing music, dance lessons, a costume contest, and desserts- all for free!
Sunday 11th: Grab some food and music from 11-3 at Station 26 Brewing Co.’s Bluegrass Brunch featuring the Order 26 foodtruck and Big Time Rascals band.
Sunday 11th: If sweets are more your style, Dry Dock Brewing Company finishes out their Valentine’s theme with Valentine’s Beer and Dessert Pairing from 1:30-3:00 at the South Dock. Note: This is a ticketed event.
January closes out strong with a couple of big festivals and some options for good eats on Sunday. Personally, I’m viewing this weekend as training time for Stout Month at Mountain Sun and their sister pubs in Denver and Boulder.
Friday 26th & Saturday 27th: Denver Winter Brew Fest comes to Mile High Station for two evenings and features over 40 breweries. Proceeds benefit Swallow Hill Music Association. Note: This is a ticketed event.
Saturday 27th: Get your dark on at River North Brewery’s SuperStout Party featuring big, dark beers on tap starting at noon.
Saturday 27th: Put on your Viking gear a head up to Golden for the UllrGrass Music and Beer Festival, where the name says it all – bluegrass & beer. The festival takes place at several indoor and outdoor venues in Golden and while Saturday is the “beer” part of the fest, activities and music will take place throughout the weekend. Note: This is a ticketed event.
Sunday 28th: Fire up the crockpot and the spices for Little Machine Beer’s Chili Cookoff from 12:30 to 4:00. Email the brewery to enter or just show up to taste and vote for the best chili in several categories. Winners get some pretty sweet beer prizes!
Sunday 28th: If you’re looking for fancier fare, Briar Common Brewery holds their seasonal Five Course Beer Pairing Dinner this evening. Note: This is a ticketed event.
After visiting Colorado Plus Brew Pub I developed a keen sense of envy of folks living in Northwest Denver. Colorado Plus combines a solid brewing operation of their own with a well-curated menu of Colorado beers, plus a full kitchen, all presented in a comfortable taproom.
BEER LINEUP: Colorado Plus has a limited menu of their own beers plus dozens of guest beers and cider from across Colorado. Colorado Choice’s brews are all on the lighter side (Cream Ale, IPAs, Saison) but the guest beer collection appears to be thoughtfully put together with some of the usual suspects and many truly unique one-offs. There’s something for every taste. Finally, this is one of the rare craft breweries that offers Happy Hour!
ATMOSPHERE: The taproom feels like it used to be a local hole-in-the-wall bar that’s had a quick makeover. The interior is dark and comfortable, with the low-key vibe of a neighborhood joint populated by diverse groups of all ages and numerous families. There’s also a small patio out front.
SERVICE: Colorado Plus is one of the few breweries with table service, and in our case it was a mixed blessing. Our server was super-friendly, knowledgeable about the beers, enthusiastic, and on top of our orders . . . when we could find him. The bar seemed to have a abundance of equally friendly and efficient servers so perhaps we just had bad timing when needing a refill.
LOCATION: Tucked off 38th Ave in Wheat Ridge, Colorado Plus fits nicely into the working-class neighborhood of main street small business and small homes on side streets. While there may not be many reasons to linger in the immediate area, 38th Ave features numerous restaurants and other business if you want to hang or need to run errands. Parking is ample, both onsite and on the street.
STANDOUT BEER: Skalds, Colorado Plus’ saison, displayed a golden-orange color and the first sip offered a full-bodied beer with light farmhouse notes and spicy/savory flavors as well. While not as adventurous as some of the guest beers, Skalds proved an interesting and pleasant offering.
When some friends scheduled a Happy Hour at the Coors-owned Blue Moon Brewing Company taproom in RINO I tried to keep an open mind, but unfortunately the experience confirmed my worst fears and in some areas lowered the bar to surprising depths. On the positive side the exquisite space shows what Coors-level money can buy. On the downside the beers were generally bland and the service was abysmal. Given that Great Divide Barrel Bar, Mockery Brewing, and numerous other RINO breweries are a short walk away, if you come to this area for craft beer you can do much, much better.
BEER LINEUP: Blue Moon offers a range of styles, including a number of barrel-aged options. However our group’s consensus was that most of the beers were washed-out versions of their advertised style. The only exceptions were a few of the barrel-aged and high gravity brews that exhibited some sparks of taste.
ATMOSPHERE: Trendy-industrial. The indoor and outdoor spaces were definitely the high point of the visit. Blue Moon offers a spacious patio along with a modern-industrial take on a brewery space. Like many taprooms there are lots of hard surfaces, which are offset with colorful, quirky décor. The circular central bar looks like it could have great service potential and the taproom has a full kitchen (see service below). The patrons looked to be an upscale mixture of tourists, business people, and families.
SERVICE: Truly awful. When table service proved rarer than Haley’s comet, a trip to the bar was met with workers who shuffled past waiting patrons in a seemingly zombified state. Even getting their attention didn’t generate much reaction as they very slowly got around to providing service. The server who eventually cruised by the table compounded the disappointment with a scolding for those thirsty few who had the nerve to walk to the bar, then proceeded to ignore half the table, and delivered the requested beers at a snail’s pace.
NEIGHBORHOOD: Blue Moon occupies the fast-developing Brighton Boulevard portion of RINO. While street work currently causes some headaches in getting around, once complete the area will no doubt have a long-overdue facelift with even more convenient access. The surrounding area offers only a few retail business today but with the development slowly creeping out from downtown it will no doubt pop in the near future. In addition to some street parking, Blue Moon offers a decent-sized lot as well.
STANDOUT BEER: None, really, although I had a sip of one of their high-gravity beers that seemed to have some potential.
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
So right off the bat, yes, Breckenridge Brewery is owned by Inbev so it rides the line between craft beer and big-bad-industrial-beer ownership. And frankly, it also feels rather mass-produced (though The Farmhouse was completed before the Inbev deal). Perhaps Breck intended for the suburban crowds of Littleton and Highlands Ranch to feel like they have a “craft brewery” in their neighborhood without actually having to travel or subjecting themselves to anything unfamiliar. Be that as it may, a friend suggested Happy Hour there so off I went and, as designed, had a pleasant and non-challenging experience. The Farmhouse serves all the Breck standards and happily seems to now use some of that added brewing capacity to make stuff you can’t find at the local liquor store. They also do have some pretty great comfort food. I certainly wouldn’t recommend it as a destination, and truthfully there are plenty of actual, great craft breweries within a couple of miles, but if you do go (perhaps with kids or grandparents) everyone will likely have a pleasant-enough time.
BEER LINEUP: Improved. Previously The Farmhouse offered the same old Breck brews you could get at any restaurant or liquor store (think Avalanche, Agave Wheat) but has since expanded into some one-offs like an orange chocolate stout and barrel aged beers. While not covering every style they have a broad selection from very light Kolsch to deep, dark stouts. Nothing way out there like sours, though.
ATMOSPHERE: Cracker Barrel on steroids – like a rustic building decorated by a midwest housewife with lots of tacky stuff to buy. It definitely has a family restaurant atmosphere, much like White Fence Farm in Lakewood and it almost seemed like more people came to eat than drink. I guess that’s not surprising considering the food was fantastic. During the summer the large patio and recreation area offers additional hangout options.
SERVICE: Fun, at least at the bar. The servers flirted and teased the customers and each other. It seemed like the servers actually enjoyed their job. When we needed anything or placed an order they were fast and attentive.
NEIGHBORHOOD: None to speak of. Breck sits on its own semi-rural campus between downtown Littleton and C470 on Santa Fe. The campus backs up the Platte River and trail, and features numerous production buildings for both Breckinridge and contract brewing along with an unrelated winery.
STANDOUT BEER: Dry Irish Stout on Nitro starts off thick and creamy with heavy roast malt and, as promised, a drying sensation on the tongue which left minimal aftertaste. Simple but pleasing.