Pikes Pub: Craft Brew Week a chance to try the latest Colorado beer trends

March 15, 2017 Updated: March 15, 2017 at 6:11 pm
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A flight of ciders at Colorado Common Hard Cider is pictured on Tuesday, February 21, 2017. Photo by Stacie Scott, The Gazette

Residents from Durango to La Junta and all points in between can raise a pint glass this week to the state's burgeoning beer industry as brewers band together for Craft Beer Week starting Saturday.

Steve Kurowski with the Colorado Brewers Guild said the weeklong celebration gives the state's tipplers a chance to toast one of Colorado's creative and industrial powerhouses.

"We change communities, help our neighbors and the economy with our efforts in making beer," Kurowski said.

The week includes festivities around the state. Details can be found at coloradobeer.org.

Kurowski said it's also a week when the state's brewpubs will roll out new selections.

"They will be tapping some brand new and rare beer," he said.

Two trends will stick out to beer-lovers. First is the cloudiness that's starting to cover pale ales. Kurowski said hazy IPAs are all the rage in 2017. The ales get their appearance from a lack of filtering in the brewing process. And by holding off on the filters, brewers have delivered fuller flavors and deeper aromas.

"It's creating a lot of popularity for brewers," Kurowski said.

The second big trend: Lawnmower beer.

For years, microbreweries have prided themselves on high-octane concoctions that deliver a wine-like punch of alcohol.

But brews that have a double-digit dose of booze may have lost their luster for those who enjoy activities like walking in a straight line.

Kurowski said some of those strong knee-walking beers are being replaced in 2017 with lighter concoctions.

"You will see breweries offering lower-alcohol beer," he said.

The new beers have about 5 percent alcohol by volume, putting them on par with their mass-produced cousins. The thought behind the low-booze beers is that patrons will be able to have more than one before they need to summon Uber.

"It's a great idea for festivals, sporting events and backyard barbecues," Kurowski said.

The lightweight beers, though, aren't intended to replace low-rent beers in the heavy drinking collegiate market. Keystone, Pabst and other beers known for quantity over quality still have their place, Kurowski said.

"I don't think we're going for that crowd," he said. "That's an economic piece, not a flavor piece."

If you're not a fan of low-alcohol beers, you may want to catch a flight to Scotland.

Brewmeister brewery in Aberdeenshire cooked up one of the most dangerous beers ever conceived.

"Snake Venom" is a barleywine for the brave packing 70 percent alcohol by volume and earning it the title of world's strongest beer.

Look it up here: http://www.brewmeister.co.uk/

If you want to sample the latest flavors in the Colorado microbrew universe, Craft Beer Week has an event for you.

Collaboration Fest, set for March 25 at the National Western Stock Show grounds in Denver will bring together about 200 brewers to roll out 100 or more new concoctions.

"Every beer tapped at Collaboration Fest has a unique story as two or more breweries come together to brew something special," the festival says on its website.

Tickets start at $60 and can be found online at https://www.collaborationfest.com/

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