The first week of October offers an embarrassment of craft beer riches thanks to the Great American Beer Festival.
But it creates a good-to-have problem: How do you pick where to grab a beer in Denver if there are so many special events at the same time?
This is where we can help. From our ultimate GABF week calendar, we selected the five can’t-miss events this year:
Beers Made By Walking, Oct. 3, 6-9 p.m.
The most unique craft beers poured today are the ones defined by their terroir — the ones that embrace and reflect the surroundings of where they are made. The Beers Made by Walking festival is the showcase for those beers, challenging brewers to draw inspiration for a beer by taking a walk in nature and foraging ingredients local to their area.
“Each beer is a unique, drinkable portrait of the landscape,” according to organizers.
This year’s event will feature more than 30 brewers who hiked 14,000-foot mountains, wandered through community gardens and camped in national parks to form their recipes. Twenty of the beers were made just for the event. And the brewery list includes some of the most innovative brewers in the country, including Black Project, Four Noses; Haw River; Burial Beer; Fonta Flora and Trophy. Tickets cost $40 and proceeds benefit the museum. More details here.
Denver Museum of Nature and Science, 2001 Colorado Blvd.
The Crooked Stave Portfolio Tap Takeover, Oct. 5, 11:30 a.m.
Crooked Stave Artisans is much more than a sour-beer (and now IPA) master. The Denver company also owns a beer distribution company. And each year for GABF it puts on a show with the best in the craft business, offering some amazing beers that make appearances in Colorado for only one week a year.
The Crafty Fox is hosting a tasting of Crooked Stave’s distribution partners that pulls from across the country, including Chicago’s Half Acre, Oklahoma’s American Solera, Vermont’s Lawson’s Finest Liquids and more.
The Crafty Fox, 3901 Fox. St.; Oct. 4, 2-6 p.m.
Plus: Hops and Pie in Denver is pouring 23 breweries distributed by Crooked Stave a day later, including Oregon’s Ale Apothecary, California’s Societe and Connecticut’s Two Roads, as well as “additional treasurers.”
Hops and Pie, 3920 Tennyson St.
Colorado Invitational: GABF Kickoff Party, Oct. 4, Noon-3 p.m. and 4-7 p.m.
A new event this year is drawing some huge hype. The Colorado Invitational will feature six breweries that are making some of the most interesting beer in the state right now.
The lineup includes three breweries known for making some of the best hazy IPAs — Odd13, WeldWerks and Cerebral — as well as the well-regarded 4 Noses and innovative Wiley Roots.
New Image Brewing, which is known for their hazy IPA East Coast Transplant, is hosting the mini-festival for two sessions. Each brewery will bring two beers and New Image will pour its full list and special one-time releases. Brandon Capps, the brewery’s founder, said he wants it to be an intimate experience — unlike GABF — that allows people to talk to brewers in depth about the beer.
To add to the fun, the event will take place outside and include live music. Tickets cost $35. More details here.
For a bonus experience, test Colorado’s IPAs against some of the best in the nation later that evening at Falling Rock Tap House. The Denver craft beer bar is hosting an All-Star IPA Throwdown at 9:30 p.m. that features Wyoming’s Melvin Brewing, Maine’s Bissell Brothers and many more.
New Image Restaurant and Brewery, 5622 Yukon St., Arvada
Casey Brewing and Blending Tasting, Oct. 6, 11:30 a.m.
Casey Brewing and Blending in Glenwood Springs comes down the mountain only so often to share its coveted Belgian-inspired beers. And GABF week is one of those times.
The best time to taste Troy Casey’s beers is Friday at Hops and Pie. The brewery is offering nine different barrel-aged beers and the side-by-side experience allows fans to experience the nuances of how different fruits and wild yeasts come together in the barrel to produce unique beers. Translation: Geek out.
The tap list will include The Cut: Sour Danube Cherry, Dry Hopped Apricot Casey Family Preserves, Dry Hopped Oak Theory, The Low End, The Cut: Grape, The Cut: Plum, Cherry Fruit Stand, Grape Fruit Stand, and Plum Casey Family Preserves.