Updated: The Great American Beer Festival 2012 calendar of awesome events
Updated with new events: Tourists may go to Rome to see the Coliseum, but it's the side streets, the adventures and the hidden cafes that typically fill their cameras and their post-trip stories. The same is true of the week surrounding the Great American Beer Festival. The event is the centerpiece, but there is so much more to do and see.
Attendees of last year's fest take some time out.
It wasn't always that way. Just a few years ago, you could count the number of craft beer-related venues and events inspired by the GABF on one hand. But times have changed, and it's now almost impossible to list every party, dinner, tap takeover, pub crawl, beer class, rare beer rollout and meet-the-brewer night in town -- let alone attend them all. But you can certainly try. Here is a rundown of some of the coolest places to drink good beer in Denver during GABF week. We'll keep updating this list as we hear more. Cheers.
The Falling Rock Taphouse gets the week started right with its 15th Annual GABF Kick-off Party, starting today around 5 p.m. When the countdown clock that has been going since January 2 reaches 000:00:00:00, the dean of Denver beer bars will tap ten special kegs it's been saving.
Wynkoop Brewing releases an uniquely ballsy and indigenous stout today at 5 p.m. that has been crafted with roasted bull testicles. Seriously. The brewer's ultra-popular Apil Fool's spoof (and the amazing video that accompanied it) have turned into reality; the beer features flavors of roasted malts, coffee and nuts. Or does it?
Boulder's West End Tavern and bar manager Caroline Johnson will host the Great California Beer Dinner today at 6:30 p.m. It includes a four-course menu from chef Chris Blackwood paired with beers from Stone (16th Anniversary, 21st Amendment, UnReal Black Ale), Firestone Walker (DBA, Wookey Jack), Moylan's (Hop Craic, Barrel-Aged Kiltlifter) and Marin Brewing (San Quentin's Breakout Stout, Star Brew Triple Wheat Ale). Moylan's brewmaster Denise Jones and Marin brewmaster Arne Johnson will lead the beer-tasting and discussions about brewing, the inside baseball of GABF Week and designing award-winning beers. Tickets are $45.
Oskar Blues and the Crafty Ladies Beer Club will descend on Highland Tap & Burger tonight at 6 p.m. to tap First Lady, a special Gubna-Dale's Pale Ale firkin, along with various other Oskar Blues beers. Chris "The Gubna" Katechis will also be there, grilling up his signature beer can chicken and corn on the cob.
Twisted Pine Brewing in Boulder re-releases Ghost Face Killah, the spiciest beer in the world. A small quantity will be available each day throughout the week, and purchases will be limited to four bottles per customer.
Tuesday, October 9
Hops & Pie taps a great lineup of brews from Florida's Cigar City all day today. The beers include Jai Alai IPA, Maduro Brown, Cubano Espresso Brown, Raspberry Saison and Peach IPA.
Beers Made by Walking -- the program that invites brewers to make beer inspired by nature hikes and urban walks -- will tap ten of its beers today from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Wynkoop Brewing Company. Over the past summer, ten Colorado breweries attended hikes as part of the program, identifying edible and medicinal plants along the way and then using them in their beers. For $15, you get to try four-ounce pours of all ten beers; you also get a special drinking glass made for the event. Participating breweries: Crooked Stave, Lone Tree Brewing, New Belgium, Oskar Blues, Phantom Canyon, Pikes Peak Brewing, Ska Brewing, Strange Brewing, Trinity, Wynkoop.
Strange Brewing will tap several kegs of beer made by Tim and Harry for its recurring One Barrel Wednesday series. There will be live music from Indigent Row at 6:30 p.m.
Last year, the Rackhouse Pub brought in Gwen Conley, the Sensory Goddess for California's Lost Abbey/Port Brewing Company (and GABF beer judge), to teach a class on Sensory Training 101. It sold out in three days. This year, Rackhouse owner Chris Rippe plans to take you back to school with not one, but four days of beer classes taught by some of the most knowledgable people in their fields. Oh, and there will be beer drinking as well -- but each class is limited to just sixty tickets. Today's class is Sensory Training 101, in which Conley gives you a full education in palate development, flavor recognition, style guidelines and overall beer enjoyment. It takes place from 6:30-8:30 p.m.; tickets, $35, are available at www.brownpapertickets.com/producer/25220.
Falling Rock Taphouse will tap the famed Goose Island Bourbon County Stout today at 5 p.m., along with Lolita, Juliette, Madam Rose and Bourbon County Coffee Stout.
Renegade Brewing will release its first-ever beer in a bomber bottle today, barrel-aged Elevated Wood, a version of Renegade's double IPA that has been aging for six months in bourbon barrels. Bombers go on sale at 1 p.m.; the tapping is at 6.
The Cheeky Monk welcomes Ginger Johnson today from 7-9 p.m. She'll talk about women in beer and Belgian beers, specifically St. Hildegard of Bingen. There will also be a tasting of some of their favorite Belgian brews. Tickets are $25.
The Kitchen Denver will host an Afternoon Brewmaster and Founder Meet and Greet with Jolly Pumpkin, Crooked Stave and Upslope Brewing from 3 to 5 p.m. Specialty barrel aged wild ales and beers from all three of these progressive breweries will be available to purchase, in addition to beer flights and food pairings.