Weekend Beer Update

This weekend comes jam-packed with anniversaries and ugly sweater parties, plus a few culinary events and – if you are willing to brave the elements a bit – the monthly brewery bus tour. Cheers!

Friday 7 – Sunday 9: Up in Brighton, Something Brewery celebrates their third anniversary with a weekend-long party focusing on unique beer releases including a cookie-themed lineup on Friday and barrel-aged beers on Saturday.

Saturday 8 – Sunday 9: One of the newest entrants into the brewery20181201_180521_hdr.jpg scene celebrates its first anniversary this weekend. Alternation Brewing Company will mark their first anniversary with bands, food, and their first foray into canning and bottling.

Saturday 8: Time to break out the hideous Christmas clothing for what has become an annual tradition: The Ugly Sweater Christmas Party! Kicking off the season, Westfax Brewing Company starts the fashion freakshow at 11 a.m. with some free glassware plus food and of course a prize for the ugliest sweater at 1 p.m.

Saturday 8: Things will also get ugly at Landlocked Ales in Lakewood, as they host an ugly sweater charity 5k run along with an ugly sweater party and contest. The entry fee gets you a bunch of swag and supports Drink for Pink Colorado, or you can just come to drink some beers and gawk at the sheer ugliness of it all. Note: The race is a ticketed event.

Saturday 8: On a nicer vibe, Dry Dock Brewing Co. also gets into the holiday spirit with a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. In addition to the festive pair, Christmas carolers will help set the holiday mood.

Saturday 8: Not to be left out, Strange Craft will hold their own ugly sweater party starting at 6 p.m. and will also celebrate the anniversary of Wit’s End Brewing Company, which merged into Strange last year.

Saturday 8: It’s also anniversary time for Station 26 Brewing Co., which celebrates five years of brewing with two special releases, live music, and food.20180129_163411_HDR

Saturday 8: The anniversary-filled weekend continues with Lone Tree Brewing’s seventh, featuring special beer tappings, food, and a casino night benefiting Freedom Service Dogs.

Saturday 8: Up in Longmont, Grossen Bart Brewery turns four with special beer releases, music, giveaways and even face painting.

Saturday 8: Also up north, Asher Brewing Company in Boulder holds their ninth anniversary bash with pours of their organic beer (it’s Boulder of course!) along with food and a photo booth.

Saturday 8: The final up-north anniversary this week is Funkwerks’ eighth, where they will release two special beers for the occasion, with a free cheers at 5 p.m.

Saturday 8: Back in Denver, Our Mutual Friend Brewing Company celebrates six years with special bottle and tap releases.

20170211_211127Saturday 8: For foodies, Fermaenta Brewery will host an all-day beer and cheese pairing that matches four of their beers with four cheeses selected by a Certified Cheese Professional (sort of like a Cicerone of cheese). Note: This is a ticketed event.

Saturday 8: For those with a sweet tooth, Fiction Beer Company Fiction Beerpairs four of their beers with chocolates custom-designed by Chocolate Lab all afternoon. Note: This is a ticketed event.

Saturday 8: If all of these options have your head spinning, then take the easy route and latch on to the West Side Brewery Bus Loop, which this month includes Joyride Brewing Company, Call To Arms Brewing Company, Westfax Brewing Company and Zuni Street Brewing Co. As usual, a $5 ticket gets you a ride on the bus from brewery to brewery and those who complete all four get a free future beer. Start at any of the participating breweries and, no surprise, the theme of the month is ugly sweaters.

 

Brewery Update: Strange Craft & Wits End

This was my first visit to Strange Craft since they merged with Wits End and I’m happy to report there’s been little change since my original post. Strange is still the same quirky, cozy taproom in an industrial park, with friendly staff and satisfying beers.

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BEER LINEUP: Little difference from the original post, with the addition of a limited selection of Wits End beers. There are definitely fewer than were on tap at the old Wits End.

ATMOSPHERE: Pretty much the same, although Strange has reconfigured their main taproom and added some tables in the space next door to offer more indoor seating. The biergarden is still a rather depressing gravel patch next to the railroad.

20180331_151504_HDRSERVICE: Unchanged

NEIGHBORHOOD: Unchanged, naturally

STANDOUT BEER: Good old Cherry Kriek. Thinner than most Belgian’s I’ve had, the red-colored beer still offers a good hit of sweet cherry with strong Belgian yeast flavors. A lot of krieks tend toward the sour side but this one only gives a hint of that.

Wits End Moving to Strange

Reminder that this coming weekend Wit’s End Brewing Company will be closing their 2nd Ave location to move in with Strange Craft Beer. They anticipate celebrating the completion of the move the following weekend. Given Strange’s already-cramped taproom I have difficulty envisioning how the combination will play out, but I suppose that’s just one more excuse to stop in and enjoy a few beers!

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Brewery Snapshot: Wit’s End Brewing Company

UPDATE: As of the end of late 2017 Wit’s End has combined forces with Strange Craft Beer Company. The flagship beers and brewer are the same but now produced and served at Strange’s location near 13th and Zuni.

A lot has changed at Wit’s End Brewing Company since my last visit a couple of years ago. On the positive side they have broadened and deepened their beer menu by adding a number of darker beers, high gravity beers, and barrel-aged beers. They truly offer a curated menu where most beer drinkers will find a sweet spot. On the other, bittersweet, side they will shortly be closing their brewery/taproom and moving in with Strange Craft Beer Co. so while they will continue to brew and pour, they won’t be doing it in their own unique space. In recognition of that I’ve truncated the review below to focus mainly on the beer.

BEER LINEUP: Very broad and comprehensive with good variety of light, medium, dark, IPA, and barrel-aged. All the beers I tried were very smooth and easy drinking, sometimes dangerously-so on the high-gravity beers. Everything seemed very solidly-produced and true to style.

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ATMOSPHERE, SERVICE, and LOCATION:  Wit’s End is currently buried deep among growhouses in an industrial park off of 2nd and Federal, which may contribute some to its sleepy vibe. The small taproom sits in the same space as the brewery, giving the whole place a stripped-down industrial look. The service was great and the bartender happily guided our party through the variety of selections to help us make our selections. If you want to visit this location, you better hurry and get there before Thanksgiving!

STANDOUT BEER: Scotchy Scotch Scotch – 2015 and 16. You really need to have both of these Scotch Ales to appreciate them, although I would heartily recommend either on their own. Obviously from the dates they have been barrel aged, though surprisingly the 2016 has a much smokier and Scotch-like flavor.  Both beers have a thick consistency and very smooth, sweet, and syrupy base. They feature big, intense hits of roasted malt and almost woody flavors. In the 2015 the sweetness wins out to the point that I got some marshmallow undertones occasionally. In contrast, the woody and smoky flavors dominate the 2016. Scotch-lovers would be all over 2016.