Beer Me: June 14, 2016 – June 20, 2016
When viewed at the surface level, all seems well in the world of Colorado craft beer. New breweries continue to open and taprooms across the state are packed with thirsty patrons. Collaborations between brewers abound, there are multiple beer festivals every weekend, and when someone threatens the status quo – like, say banning dogs – the confederation reacts en masse.
But fissures have started to appear in this delicate ecosystem. Colorado, long immune to the recent spate of corporate acquisitions and buyouts, was dismayed when AB InBev purchased Breckenridge Brewery. Sure, macro-brewer Coors was always in our backyard but this was an affront. Then the news broke that 10 Barrel Brewing, also owned by AB InBev, would be opening an outpost in RiNo, the heart of Denver beer country. The first missile had been launched.
The attacks are not confined to outside brewing interests, however, with national retailers petitioning for full-strength beer to be sold at their Colorado grocery stores. While most – though not all – rallied against SB 197, a fragile (and not necessarily popular) compromise was struck when Gov. John Hickenlooper signed a bill last week that would allow grocery stores to sell full-strength beer at up to 20 locations throughout the state over the next 20 years.
The latest and possibly most telling schism came this past weekend when the always-on-top-of-it Jonathan Shikes of Westword reported that the Colorado Brewers Guild had “imploded.” Fourteen independent breweries – including the state’s four largest – are branching out to form a new organization called Craft Beer Colorado that, “aspires to be open, responsive, proactive and effective on issues that impact its members.” The Shikes piece gives an excellent account of what precipitated the split and outlines the implications of this high-stakes beer brouhaha. Definitely worth the read.
For now though, continue to savor the beer boom with these events…
Every year Denver Beer Co. hands out Cascade, Centennial, and Chinook hops to anyone willing to give hop cultivation a shot. Once the hops mature in the fall, growers bring them back to the brewery where they are incorporated in the annual Hop Swap Ale. DBC will give away 150 baby hop plants on a first come first served basis.
Interested in upping your beer IQ? Join Altitude Beer Ventures at Crazy Mountain as they lead an interactive education session geared at helping you hone in on what flavors your palate is most partial to. The session includes a tasting flight of five Crazy Mountain beers, a brewery tour, and a free pint. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 day of event.
Get ready for a hoppy, hazy bacchanal at Odd13 when they unveil Robot Librarian, a collaboration Double IPA brewed with Cerebral Brewing Co., Fiction Beer Co., and WeldWerks Brewing Co.. Cerebral’s Rare Trait, Fiction’s Cosmic Unity, and WeldWorks’ Juicy Bits will also be on tap #robotparty
To celebrate the release of The Motet’s latest studio album, Totem, and headlining show at Red Rock in July, Crooked Stave brewed a pair of beers with the band. Damn! IPA is a hop-packed citrusy, tropical summer IPA while, true to Crooked Stave form, Totem Wild Ale is a bottled blend of a few special barrels the brewery holds sacred.
Head to Sunnyside for a stacked lineup of local comedians at Diebolt along with food from Lucky Eatz. Performers include Jacob Rupp, Brett Hiker, Dave Losso, Ben Bryant, and Christie Buchele. FREE.
River North is cranking out classic beers from their massive new facility up north. On Saturday, they’ll re-release J. Marie, an 8.1% ABV Imperial Saison and Quandary, a 9.6% ABV Quadrupel first brewed in 2012. Food will be available from Pikine Grill.
Sunday, June 19, 2016: Happy Father’s Day
Celebrate pop during one of several Father’s Day shindigs across Denver. At Black Shirt Brewing Co. they’ll be throwing a BBQ with Maine Street Barbeque Co. starting at noon. Ratio Beerworks is holding a progressive three course, three location (Ratio, Rackhouse Pub, Epic) beer and cider dinner from noon to 6pm; Tickets are $45. Declaration Brewing will be serving up $5 beers and beermosas while Matt’s Snack Shack will be serving up the eats. Each beer purchased at Factotum Brewhouse will enter dad into a ½ BBL brew session giveaway #score
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.