Beer Me: March 29, 2016 – April 4, 2016

Last week, the Brewers Association (BA) released the 2015 growth figures for the craft beer industry. There is no doubt we are living in heady beer times with more craft breweries than ever before (4,269 to be exact) producing an impressive 24.5 million barrels.

crustlessThe number of operating breweries is up 15% from 2014 and the number of barrels brewed up 13%. That shakes out to a 12% market share of the overall beer industry. Back in 2013, the BA set a lofty goal of 20% market share by volume by 2020.

“For the past decade, craft brewers have charged into the market, seeing double-digit growth for eight of those years,” said Bart Watson, the BA’s chief economist, in a released statement. “There are still a lot of opportunities and areas for additional growth. An important focus will remain on quality as small and independent brewers continue to lead the local, full-flavored beer movement.”

Nationwide, 620 breweries opened their doors in 2015 while only 68 shuttered. The fastest growth was seen in Virginia, North Carolina, Texas, and Florida with each state seeing an increase of more than 20 breweries. According to my calculations, 46 breweries opened in Colorado last year with 14 in Denver proper.

Beyond the beer, craft breweries also accounted for nearly 122,000 jobs across the country, up 6,000 from 2014.

“Small and independent brewers are a beacon for beer and our economy,” added Watson. “As breweries continue to open and volume increases, there is a strong need for workers to fill a whole host of positions at these small and growing businesses.”

Here’s how to soak up that good beer good will this week…

Tuesday, March 29 – Friday, April 1, 2016: Collab Week Begins at First Draft Taproom & Kitchen

First Draft has got you covered if you were not able to attend the sold-out Collaboration Fest. They’ve got their hands on several of the featured brews (along with some other collaborations) and will be serving them all week in their taproom. Check out the full list of beers here.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016 @ 5pm: Stone IPA Madness Tapping at Freshcraft

Freshcraft is tapping a trio of Stone Brewing India Pale Ales, including Enjoy By 4.20.16, Pataskala Red X IPA, and 08.08.08 Vertical Epic Ale, the 7th beer in the 11-beer series. It’s their West Coast take on hop-driven Belgium beers packed with Simcoe, Amarillo, and Ahtanum hops, weighing in at 8.9% ABV.

Thursday, March 31, 2016 @ 6pm: Social Run at Shoes & Brews

If you’re a runner who also likes good beer, one of the biggest letdowns of many organized runs is the post-race free beverage. It’s usually one of those low-carb, low-calorie, no-taste atrocities. Thankfully, Longmont’s Shoes & Brews is fighting the good fight to provide runners with tasty craft beer options. This week, Oregon’s Ninkasi Brewing Co. will be testing out their Beer Run IPA, designed specifically to meet the post-workout needs of athletes. A “casual, social running group,” you can choose your distance and speed. Afterwards, enjoy drink discounts. Altra Running will have shoes to demo and Farmer Girl Food Truck will be serving eats.

Friday, April 1, 2016 @ noon: Pink Boots Society Gose Tapping at Dry Dock Brewing Co. – South Dock

On International Women’s Collaboration Brew Day, female employees from Dry Dock, Barrels & Bottles, Wonderland Brewing, BSG CraftBrewing, and local homebrew clubs got together and brewed Pink Boots Gose. This version was infused with hibiscus, rose hips, and pink Himalayan salt and then kettle-soured with Lactobacillus from Inland Island Yeast Laboratories. Get a taste of this beer before it’s gone!

Saturday, April 2, 2016 @ noon: Crustless (formerly known as PB&J Porter) Tapping at Ursula Brewery

Ursula Brewery née Coda Brewing is bringing back one of its more popular offerings, rebranded as Crustless, fittingly on National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day (a real thing). The PB&J-inspired English Porter will be available on tap and in growlers. Bottles to come soon.

Saturday, April 2 & Sunday, April 3, 2016Grand Re-opening Party at River North Brewery

After being forced out of their namesake neighborhood due to Denver’s astronomical real estate market, River North is rising from the ashes just a tad north of their original location. The new space is much bigger, offering 16 taps and an upgraded brewing facility. The grand re-opening party will run noon to 10pm on Saturday and noon to 7pm on Sunday. There will be classic River North beers and a selection of barrel-aged specialities, along with food trucks and brewery tours. Come party! 

Monday, April 4, 2016 @ 7:30pm: Colorado Rockies Season Opener at Locavore Beer Works

Can the Rockies finally get over the hump and actually lose 100 games in a season? The hunt starts tonight and Locavore is celebrating with a triple release of Not Your Quell (Czech Pils), Muncher Dunkel (Munich Dunkel), and RIPpLe (red India Pale Lager). There will also be $8 Mas fills (litres) and all-you-can-eat peanuts.

Still thirsty? Use this handy map of Colorado breweries and other drinking establishments to plan your next adventure. Cheers.

Matt Sandy, a self-proclaimed “Beer Gadabout,” has been enjoying beer since he was of legal drinking age. Having been born across the pond where “legal drinking age” is a relative term, let’s just say he washed down a shandy or two while still in short pants. He moved to Denver in 2007 and immediately took up residency at the Great Divide taproom. Since then, he’s enjoyed exploring all of the craft corners of this great town and in this column will highlight weekly beer-related events that you should consider drinking in.