2017 is off to a bang in the Colorado craft beer world, with many local breweries releasing new beers and new additions to their packaged offerings. So start off the new year by mixing up your usual beer order and exploring these exciting updates from some of the top players in one of the craftiest beer states in the U.S.
You may have tried Upslope Brewing Co’s exceptionally refreshing Citra Pale Ale at one of the brewery’s two Boulder taprooms, but as of February 1, the Citra Pale Ale will be available as part of the eight-year-old brewery’s year-round line-up—replacing Upslope’s flagship brew, the original Pale Ale. Floral, juicy, and brilliant are the three words branded on the Citra Pale Ale’s new 12 ounce can design. The 5.6-percent ABV beer will be available in six-packs, twelve-packs, mixed boxes, and full-time on the taps at both Upslope taprooms. 1898 S Flatiron Ct, Boulder, 303-396-1898
City Star’s Barrel-Aged taproom-exclusive series isn’t exactly new in 2017, but their first addition to the series in the new year is one of their best barrel-aged beers yet. The Wood Belly Imperial IPA is a smooth, double dry-hopped IPA that spent seven months aging in a boozy whisky oak barrel from Lyons-based Spirit Hound Distillers. This beer is so good, it’s dangerous. If you’re not careful, this easy-drinking big beer will sneak up on you at 10.6-percent ABV. 750 ml bottles of this limited-edition brew are available at the City Star taproom in Berthoud. 321 Mountain Ave., Berthoud, 970-532-7827
Two weeks ago at the Big Beers, Belgians & Barleywines festival in Breckenridge, the head brewer at the Denver Beer Company poured me a taster of the brewery’s 2016 GABF medal-winning Drama Queen—and it rendered me speechless for a moment. When I regained my senses, I learned that the brewery had plans to release another tasty brew in January—the Four Sheets Belgian Quad—a new addition to the popular Mile High bomber series. This big beer weighs in at 11-percent ABV and boasts a malty profile with caramel, toffee, and plum notes, and is perfect for indulging on during those cold Colorado days. 1695 Platte St., Denver, 303-433-2739
New year, new packaging. Although Longmont-based, Left Hand Brewing Company isn’t totally ditching bottles, they’re making some major overhauls to their canned beer offerings, including a new quarterly saison series to be sold in 16 ounce 4-packs, and three new canned seasonal offerings: Good Juju Ale, Well Played Red IPA, and Study Abroad Belgian Single. Left Hand will also offer three additional beers in 12 ounce cans this year: the Travelin’ Light Kolsch, Sawtooth Ale, and the Polestar Pilsner. 1265 Boston Ave., Longmont, 303-772-0258
One of Denver’s longest-running craft breweries is mixing things up in 2017. For starters, Great Divide will be releasing two new beers around springtime. First up is the Hop Disciples Rotating Hop Project IPA. Available in 12 ounce cans, the hop-forward IPA will feature a different hop each year and is expected to hit shelves by April. The brewery is also planning to release the Roadie Grapefruit Radler sometime in the spring. At only 4-percent ABV, a can of this refreshing but slightly tart beer will most likely make it into your hiking or biking pack at some point this summer. Also on tap from Great Divide in 2017 are a Strawberry Rhubarb Sour, a Chai Yeti Imperial Stout, and a series of barrel-aged beers in 12-ounce bottles. 2201 Arapahoe St., Denver, 303-296-9460