Beer Me: August 16, 2016 – August 22, 2016
Is craft beer flying too close to the sun? While many have expressed concern over the rapid growth in the craft beer sector, when it comes from noted beer writer Lew Bryson, it’s worth paying attention. In a piece over at The Daily Beast, Bryson opined about “Craft Beer’s Looming Crisis”. (Sidenote: Coincidentally, the first beer piece I ever wrote was an interview with Bryson about the inaugural Newtown Beerfest in 2006 for The Philadelphia Inquirer.)
Back in ‘96 craft beer went through what is referred to as “The Shakeout” when approximately one-third of the existing craft breweries and brewpubs went out of business. Could craft beer be headed toward a similar fate?
“The main concern,” writes Bryson, “is that despite the hype around craft beer, its rapid growth may have peaked. Thanks to an explosive decade, where the category went from representing under 4 percent of total beer volume in the U.S. to more than 12 percent in 2015, sales during the first half of 2016 were considerably slower.”
The growth was bound to abate at some point. Bryson points out that if it continued at the current pace, craft beer would make up the entire U.S. beer market in 17 years, which is unrealistic. I mean, what would we fill our beer bongs with if there wasn’t fizzy yellow suds?
Last year, Colorado witnessed the opening of 50+ breweries. More than 8 months into 2016, the state has seen 15 new breweries open for business, which seems to be a much more reasonable number.
While there is no prescribed number of breweries when it comes to figuring out what the tipping point will be, as long as quality is paramount and breweries continue to build strong communities around their beers and taprooms, Denver (and Colorado as a whole) can sustain its tremendous craft beer culture.
Remember, it was only earlier this year that the United States eclipsed the previous record for most breweries in operation set in 1873 when there were seven times less people alive.
Now, go get you some beer!
Falling Rock will tap 20 beers from Wicked Weed to mark the revered Asheville, North Carolina brewery’s first foray into full-time distribution in Colorado. The lineup includes a selection of the brewery’s American and Belgian ales along with several selections from their sour-centric and barrel-aged offshoot, The Funkatorium.
Wednesday, August 17, 2016: New Beer Releases
Celebrate Hump Day with any number of new beer releases. At 4pm, River North will tap a five-gallon batch of Hiphopopotamus American IPA, which features Citra, Simcoe, Equinox, and CTZ hops. Crooked Stave will release Batch #200 – aged for months on whole raspberries and then dry hopped with aromatic hops – at 5pm. And, Renegade will celebrate the birth of owners Brian and Khara O’Connell’s twins at 6pm with two Maibocks, one aged in red wine barrels and the other in white wine barrels.
Thursday, August 18, 2016: Oktoberfest Releases
Though you may be clinging to these last days of summer, fall is right around the corner meaning it’s time to start tapping the Oktoberfest beers. Originally brewed for a celebration, Festbiers are a great way to shift from summer-style beers to the richer, more malty releases of fall and winter. Odyssey Beerwerks in Arvada will tap theirs at 3pm. The 5% ABV German-style Marzen was brewed with 100% German malts and hops and lagered appropriately. In Longmont, Wibby Brewing will have their WIBtoberfest available in cans and on tap starting at 4pm. Live music and a food truck will complement the tapping.
Call to Arms releases the second installment in their Carriage House Series, which showcases the brewery’s wild, sour, and barrel-aged program. Frightened Baby Chipmunk is a “wildly tart Farmhouse Saison blended with D’Anjou Pears…Pouring a hazy golden hue, you can expect aroma and flavor notes of passion fruit, cantaloupe, soft farmhouse funk, ripe pear, and lemon zest – with a slightly tart finish.” Only 100 375mL bottles will be available along with a limited amount on tap.
The greater Denver area’s newest taproom opens its doors in Centennial. Beers will be based on recipes devised by Zac Rissmiller, who won a silver medal at the 2015 GABF while brewing at Elk Mountain Brewing Co. The initial tap list at Resolute will run the gamut from an American Blonde to a Cascadian Black along with a few special tappings over the course of the inaugural weekend. Rotating food trucks will round out the celebration.
Brewed once a year, Black Shirt’s Imperial Red IPA – with notes of caramel, toffee, rye, Colorado wildflowers, foxtail pine, grapefruit, and citrus – will be available on tap and in very limited 32-ounce crowler fills. Colorado Raw will be shucking 1,500 oysters starting at 1pm and Tyler Imbrey and The Ghost Review will play at 7pm #grandmama
Saturday, August 20, 2016 @ 5pm – midnight: Denver’s Pokemon Go Bar Crawl in RiNo
Head to Hall Brewing’s farm location and help them pick the hops that will be used to brew Black Hoppy Ale and a traditional four grain Farmhouse Saison to be served at the Bines & Brews Hopfest in Monument on September 17, 2016. Helpers will be treated to free food and refreshments. RSVP via email or the Facebook event.
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” and Certified Beer Server, 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.