Drinking together

Hot beers and lager nights along the Front Range.


Remember beer events? Weren’t they fun? Back in the before-times, it seemed like there was one every day, sometimes four on the same evening.

Granted, we’ve had a few to enjoy these past many months since the Colorado Brewers Guild pulled the plug on Collaboration Fest back in March 2020, but for the most part, beer events have been coming in dribs and drabs. Well, things are starting to look like they are back on the upswing. But before we get there, let’s hit bottom.

Classified in the late-19th century and named after Louis Pasteur, Saccharomyces pastorianus is the bottom-fermenting yeast strain that gives lagers their clean taste and brilliant clarity. And since December 10 is National Lager Day, the good folks at Seedstock Brewing in Denver will be celebrating life on the bottom with $1 off lagers: Czech Pilsner, Munich Helles, Special Hell, and their new collaboration with Jade Mountain Brewery, Jaded Pilsner.

There’s no shortage of damn good lagers brewed in Colorado, but Seedstock continues to move the needle for tasty and historically interesting brews. It’s worth the trip. Check out seedstockbrewery.com for more.

Speaking of lager, did you know that Longmont’s Wibby Brewing has a weekly winter market on Wednesdays? It’s true. Modeled after Europe’s Christkindl markets, Wibby’s Winter Market features new vendors with activities and plenty of drinks each week. Good news for you, you have two more chances to partake: December 15 and 22, hours are 3:30 to 9:30 p.m. Info at wibbybrewing.com/events

And Wibby isn’t the only brewery in Longmont sporting a holiday marketplace this year. Located in the Prospect New Town Neighborhood, Primitive Beer is teaming up with Cohesion Brewing and WeldWerks Brewing for the inaugural Hot Bierfest & Holiday Marketplace, December 18, from 12 to 8 p.m.

Hot beer isn’t something you’re likely to find every day of the year, but the history of beer is the story of locality and seasonality. And when things get cold outside, people want to drink something to warm their insides. Alcohol helps, but so does a nice hot beverage. There’s no end to discovering what has been and can be possible with beer, and few breweries embody those two prongs quite like Primitive and WeldWerks. And with newcomer Cohesion working the horizontal taps, all three are sure to take you someplace different. But I’m sure there will be plenty of chilled and cellar temperature beer should the weather not cooperate or your courage fail you.

Now let’s turn our attention to 2022 with hope and anticipation. The first big festival of any year—Breckenridge’s Big Beers, Belgians, and Barleywines—will not be held in-person with its traditional educational seminars and commercial tasting. It’ll be the second year in a row the beer calendar has felt empty, but, this time around, Big Beers celebrates with a “Craft Your Own” festival.

“It’s about keeping the energy and spirit alive, supporting each other, and continuing to spread the word about the unusual and amazing big (seven percent alcohol by volume), Belgian (in style), and experimental beers these artisans continue to create,” Laura Lodge, Big Beers Educational Foundation Executive Director, says in a press release. So far, 90 breweries have committed to CYO Big Beers 22 and will be offering special promotions during the first weekend of January (the traditional Big Beers weekend). Information is still developing, but the brass behind Big Beers is working with the Digital Pour app to coordinate. Check bigbeersfestival.com/craft-your-own-tasting/ later this month for more.

And we’ll conclude by looking even further into the future—hopefully, a future with eased restrictions, diminishing mandates, a healthy populace, and a robust Collaboration Fest 2022, returning April 2 to the Fillmore Auditorium in Denver.

If you’ve never been to CollabFest, this should be the year you remedy that. Where else can you drink beer lautered through a tree, walk two tables over to drink beer brewed with breakfast cereal, and in between: a beer brewed with space yeast? 

“The sheer number of collaboration beers tapped in one single day is phenomenal,” Shawnee Adelson, Colorado Brewers Guild Executive Director, says in a press release. “Beer lovers will get to sample everything from tried-and-true styles to some off-the-wall creations. There will be something for everyone at Collaboration Fest.”

And with any luck, there’ll be something for everyone in 2022. Maybe not immediately, but hope is omnipresent.

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