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Local Life

Breweries bring A-game to summer season

Options abound for fans of beers and spirits alike

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For many in Colorado, summer often means cold drinks in the outdoors.

With more than 300 breweries in throughout the state — to say nothing of distilleries, cideries and wineries — the state is a smorgasbord of options for those in search of refreshing drinks and even better company.

“I grew up in Montana, so drinking outside, particularly on a river, is one of my favorite things,” said Paul Thompson, owner and founder of Morrison’s new Red Rocks Beer Garden. “There’s just a more social aspect to it, and people love drinking outside.”

Almost every brewery is going to celebrate the season in its own way. Many are unveiling new or seasonal recipes, while others are hosting special events, including concerts and a brewery bike loop. And some, such as Thompson’s beer garden, see the coming months as the perfect time to launch a new business.

“There are so many breweries out there, we have to find ways to set ourselves apart. And this loop adds a sense of discovery to the event,” said Dave Bergen, co-owner and brewmaster at Joyride in Edgewater, which launched a new brewery bike loop with WestFax, Hogshead and Seedstock, also in the east Jefferson County area. “It’s always more fun to do these kinds of events with groups of people — and everyone is going to meet cool people along the way.” (Keep on reading for more on this monthly event.)

People should visit websites and social media pages of their favorite breweries to see what has been scheduled. Here are some of the kinds of activities you to expect:

A drink to break the heat

There’s a beer or spirit for every season, and when it comes to summer, breweries and other businesses go for drinks that are light, cool and refreshing.

Longmont’s St. Vrain Cidery will soon reveal its Pink Guava cider, which is made by fermenting pink guava and apple juice together to create this tropical refresher.

Lone Tree Brewing has a seasonal Cucumber Wheat that is the perfect pairing for summer months, according to Emily Hutto, with the brewery. Lone Tree also unveiled the Hoppy Little Trees Project, a fresh year-round rotating IPA series.

These IPAs be available exclusively in Lone Tree’s tasting room and will include Cascade, Amarillo, Centennial, Willamette and experimental YCH hop varieties.

“We have a plethora of other hop varieties in the cooler,” explained head brewer Josh West. “This new IPA project will allow us to make some super hoppy IPAs while taking full advantage of our robust inventory, which give us brewers the chance to experiment with new hop combinations.”

Lone Tree also joined with the Trubucha Kombucha company to make drinks that employ tart cherry, blueberry, raspberry, lemon lime ginger and more.

New breweries to visit

Morrison is the kind of quaint small town that people love during the summer and its proximity to Red Rocks makes it a particularly popular place from May through September.

Which made the end of April the perfect time for Thompson to open Red Rocks Beer Garden at 116 Stone St.

The garden features 100 percent Colorado beers, wines and foods, and offers a historic cottage and garden for customers’ drinking pleasures. Brews like Mountain Toad Brewing, Telluride Brewing Company, Dry Dock Brewing Company and Left Hand Brewing Company will all be available.

“We wanted to create a place that is more of a self-serve and self-seat instead of the formal restaurant atmosphere,” Thompson said. “We were inspired by places like Golden City Brewing that my wife and I love so much.”

Concertgoers can get $2 off their first beer by showing their event ticket, and there will be ticket giveaways to Red Rocks shows throughout the season.

The season will see numerous new breweries coming to the metro area, including the Burly Brewing Company in Castle Rock, Colorado Plus Cidery and Pub in Golden and Coal Mine Ave Brewing Company in Littleton.

Events that make the season bright

Breweries and other spirit-related businesses take advantage of Colorado’s beautiful summer weather in a variety of ways.

The Lone Tree Brewing Company hosts an annual summer solstice celebration to honor the longest day of the year, and this year it will be a summer solstice market on June 23 and July 22. The market will feature face painting for children, local clothing vendors, local snack vendors and more.

The West Side Brewery Bike Loop will be held on the last Saturday of the month through September and highlights the unique creations of four west metro breweries — Joyride, WestFax Hogshead and Seedstock. As promised, here’s the details on the event.

The 6.7-mile loop was developed by Ginny Mason, a local cartographer, with a focus on creating a route that could be safely and casually traveled by cyclists of all skill levels. It begins at WestFax, 6733 W. Colfax Ave., at noon, and the longest portion is the first — a 2.2-mile ride from WestFax to Joyride, 2501 Sheridan Blvd. From there, it goes to Hogshead, 4460 W. 29th Ave., and ends at Seedstock, 3610 W. Colfax Ave.

“The tour was partly inspired by brewery bus tours that have popped up,” said Taylor Porter, taproom manager at Seedstock. “We’re all neighbors in this great brewery community, and this gives everyone an opportunity to meet each other and try new places.”

The highest profile events are the concerts at Breckenridge Brewery, a series of three charity concerts hosted in partnership with 97.3 KBCO.

The first concert is on May 13 and includes Manchester Orchestra, Preservation Hall Jazz Band and Phillip Phillips. Past performers include Nathaniel Rateliff and the Nightsweats, Leon Bridges, Dispatch and Big Head Todd and The Monsters.

Ticket proceeds benefit 1 Million 4 Anna Foundation, which helps fight the battle to eradicate Ewing Sarcoma, a bone and soft tissue cancer primarily in children and young adults.

The other two entries in the series haven’t been announced yet, but the brewery is also hosting its 28th anniversary Hootenanny on July 7. The event will feature Mike Gordon, Hard Working Americans, Billy Strings and more.

Tickets and more information can be found at www.breckbrew.com.

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