Beer calendar: Featuring new beers from Wynkoop, Station 26 and Copper Kettle

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Photos © Brewers Association
Tim Myers of Strange Brewing receives his award.
The Craft Brewers Conference, a national trade show that brought more than 8,000 brewing-industry pros to town, wrapped up last week in Denver with the presentation of awards in the World Beer Cup, a prestigious biennial competition. There were 4,754 entries from 1,403 breweries in 58 countries this year, but Colorado held its own, bringing home two dozen awards. The winners included Loveland's Verboten, which won two medals; Strange Brewing; Wit's End; Aspen Brewing; BJ's; Boulder Beer, Eddyline, Dry Dock, Odell, Elevation, Left Hand and Cannonball Creek.

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Beer calendar: the Craft Brewers Conference brings all the beer to town, all of it

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The Craft Brewers Conference begins in earnest today with speakers, seminars and a trade show for the 8,000 or so craft-beer industry professional who are in town for the annual event -- which takes place in Denver this year for the first time. But just because the event is closed to the public doesn't mean that local bars, breweries and restaurants are -- those doors are wide open. In fact, many are hosting special events complete with rare and unusual beers along with out-of-town brewer guests. You can check with your favorite spots to see what they are up to; in the meantime, turn the page for a list of some of the highlights.

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Beer calendar: Baseball, blondes and the Craft Brewers Conference

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Brandon Marshall
The Brewers Association released its annual accounting this week of the top fifty craft brewers in the nation as base on sales, as well as the top fifty brewers altogether. In Colorado, New Belgium, Oskar Blues, Odell, Left Hand, Boulder Beer and Craftworks -- which owns the Rock Bottom and Old Chicago chains -- remained on the first list. But Left Hand launched itself onto the second list as well for the first time, becoming the fiftieth largest brewery in the United States. At the same time, the Longmont beer maker released its own numbers, saying that its volume grew by 32 percent in 2013 to 65,879 barrels; Left Hand predicted that will brew 85,000 barrels in 2014.

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Beer calendar: Euclid Hall gets props; Colorado Craft Beer Week continues

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The new taps at the Governor's Mansion.
Colorado Craft Beer Week kicked off last Friday at the Governor's Mansion, where our brewer-in-chief, John Hickenlooper, toasted the brewing industry in the state and unveiled three draft handles that will now serve the historic home. But the events at breweries, restaurants and bars around the state will continue through this weekend. One of those restaurants is the beer-centric Euclid Hall, ranked this week by Travel + Leisure as one of America's Best Beer Bars. The magazine listed places based "not only on the number of taps and uniqueness of the kegs (plus extras like beer-focused menus and on-point design), but on "knowledgeable bartenders to help you sort out your saisons from your stouts.

"Locals belly up for 12 taps, beer cocktails, and an extensive menu of bottles and cans quirkily ranked by mathematical difficulty ('Arithmetic' session beers to strong, complex dubbel bad boys under 'Quantum Mechanics')," the magazine wrote. "Bestsellers like Boulevard's Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale and Avery IPA get paired with way-above-average bar bites by James Beard-nominated Top Chef Masters star Jorel Pierce."

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Beer calendar: Italian beers, Collaboration Fest and Colorado Craft Beer Week

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Birra Italiana Facebook page
Bryan Jansing and Paul Vismara, who've been slinging suds at the Falling Rock Taphouse for years, will release their book, Italy: Beer Country The Story of Italian Craft Beer, in a couple weeks with a couple of launch parties. The fully-illustrated book covers the "story of the Italian craft beer movement from its improbable beginning to today's explosive growth." The first party takes place April 1 at 7 p.m. at Falling Rock, where you can buy a copy and try some Italian beers. The second is on April 6 at 1 p.m. at Backcountry Pizza & Tap House in Boulder. Here, you can hang with the authors and with Giovanni Campari, head brewer of Italy's award-winning Del Ducato brewery. Also on tap will be more than twenty sour beers from around the world including Del Ducato's Blueberry Nightmare and Brett Peat Daydream.

And finally, on April 8 at 1 p.m. at Falling Rock, enjoy Italian Beer Day by meeting the authors and charismatic Toccalmatto brewer, Bruno Carilli, who will be sampling beer from Toccalmatto, as well as Birrificio Italiano, Del Ducato, Loverbeer, Panil and Baladin.

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Beer calendar: Smoked beers, books and barleywine are on tap

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Eddyline Facebook page
Governor John Hickenlooper, co-founder of the Wynkoop Brewing Company, signed legislation this week that will continue to fund the Rural Economic Development Initiative, a program that "encourages local governments and businesses to join forces to develop community infrastructure and private facility projects and job training grants," according to the state. One of those projects: Eddyline Brewing in Buena Vista, which will receive a $125,000 grant toward a $1.4 million expansion and the creation of eighteen new jobs.

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Beer calendar: Shoulder-season brews celebrate St. Paddy's Day, skiing and pizza

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Denver Beer Co Facebook page
Two Denver breweries recently announced changes to their beer-making staffs.

Denver Beer Company hired Austin Wiley, who had been with Great Divide since 2007, to take over as the lead brewer, heading up recipe development at the Platte Street taproom, managing the operation and overseeing the barrel-aging program. Nick Bruno, who had been lead brewer at DBC, will move over to the company's new production facility, which should go online this spring. Owners Charlie Berger and Patrick Crawford will continue to oversee brewing operations at both facilities.

And Prost Brewing has hired Larry Leinhart, who worked for 26 years for Anheuser-Busch, as its head brewer. Leinhart replaced Prost-co-owner Bill Eye, who resigned in January. The owner of a Fort Collins hops farm, Colorado Gold Hops, Leinhart has also worked for New Planet, Fort Collins Brewery and Pabst.

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Beer calendar: Quads, sours and bocks are all a blessing

Odell Brewing takes pride moving slow, and in expanding at a reasonable, measured pace -- which is why the Fort Collins beer makers was so deliberate last week in announcing that it would enter the Texas market -- the company's first new state in two years. To help out, Odell produced the above online-only commercial that is pretty funny. Also pretty cool is the fact that Odell made a special beer with former top brewer, Joe Mohrfeld, who left a couple of years ago to open his own place, Pinthouse Pizza, in Austin. The beer, T.A.P. TX, is a session ale.

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Beer calendar: Pliny, Bligh's headline major beer releases, plus two new breweries open

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Kannah Creek Facebook page
Kannah Creek Brewing in Grand Junction has just released a new beer in bottles called Crossed Irons Irish Ale that it will use to help raise money for the Colorado chapter of the Terry Farrell Firefighter Fund, which helps injured or sick firefighters or the families to those were killed in the line of duty. Kannah Creek began helping firefighters in 2008 when a local firefighter, a regular at the brewpub, was diagnosed with leukemia. Crossed Irons (which refers to the tools used by firefighters) is a 5.2 percent ABV red ale with medium malt body and light hop bitterness. It will be available throughout Colorado.

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Beer calendar: craft brew, chocolate and the occult -- what could be better?

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Renegade Brewing announced last week that it will begin bottling some of its beers for the first time; the initial offering will be released next month. The brewery's Conviction Series will include 22-ounce bombers of four limited-release beers: Sunday Morning, a coffee-infused American strong ale; Alpha Maiden, an India wheat ale; Beetnik, a French-style saison fermented with beets; and a fourth, still-to-be-named beer. Renegade currently distributes four beers in cans.

Turn the page to see all of this week's craft beer events.

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