What: 34th Anniversary Beer Rave
When: 2-6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 7
Where: Boulder Beer Co., 2880 Wilderness Place, Boulder
Tickets: $30; available at the brewery or online
Info: 303-444-8448 or boulderbeer.com
In 1979, when the Boulder Beer Co. was founded and became Colorado's first microbrewery, there was a fondue pot in nearly every home, Hamburger Helper was a dinnertime staple and most American beers were yellow and fizzy.
The thought of commercially brewing full-flavored porters and stouts, as Boulder Beer founders David Hummer and Randolph Ware did in a repurposed goat shed just outside of town, was a revelation.
Fast-forward to the early 1990s, after the brewery had moved to its current location and survived the beer drought of the '80s despite several ill-advised marketing moves, and brewmaster David Zuckerman changed the beer landscape again when he introduced the light, easy-drinking Buffalo Gold Golden Ale and Singletrack Copper Ale. Hazed and Infused shook things up again in the early 2000s with its hop-forward flavor and aroma.
"Buff Gold and Singletrack might seem like old news because they've been around for 20 years, but back then they were innovative," said Dan Weitz, Boulder Beer's marketing director. "And a decade ago, Hazed and Infused was a bold new flavor, and now it's considered mild because it's not bitter and has a great floral aroma."
And so it goes that yesterday's innovations become the standard from which new ideas are born.
Boulder Beer will celebrate the lineage of innovation in Colorado's craft-beer industry during its 34th Anniversary Beer Rave, 2-6 p.m. Saturday at the brewery. The event will feature experimental and taproom-only beers from 34 Colorado breweries, as well as a dozen specialty beers from Boulder Beer.
The beer fest will take over most of the brewery, with tasting stations inside and out, live music on the patio and food donated by Jimmy John's. Tickets are $30, and proceeds benefit Boulder's B-Cycle Program and the Colorado Brewers Guild.
"Bringing these taproom-only beers to one location is a great way for beer lovers to experience something new," Weitz said. "It's like taking a state of Colorado brewery tour without driving."
Brewmaster Zuckerman personally curates the beer lineup and strives for a broad and representative sampling of Colorado's beer scene. The lineup includes diverse and innovative offerings such as Drink a Peach IPA from Crazy Mountain; Sour Abbey from Oskar Blues; Rhesus Peanut Butter Stout from Twisted Pine; Trip 16 Farmhouse Rye Saison from New Belgium; Musty Cedar Box, a bourbon-barrel aged burgundy sour from Crooked Stave, and Sorachi Sun Strong Golden Ale from Wild Woods Brewery.
Of course, Boulder Beer is well represented with 12 Brewer's Choice specialty beers developed on the brewery's pilot system, including I Am The Eggman bourbon barrel stout; Black & Yellow, its farmhouse honey saison aged in chardonnay barrels; Heisenburg strong Oktoberfest, and Albino Rhino, a white IPA.
Many of these beers are one-off offerings, but there's a good chance guests will be able to sample beers that, a few years down the road, will be released commercially as the next big thing. That was the case several years ago when New Belgium introduced its Tart Lychee at the fest and later released the sour beer as part of its Lips of Faith series.
"That one shocked everyone because it was so different," Weitz said. "And that's the beauty of the beer rave," Weitz said. "If you find something that doesn't fit your palate, there are dozens of other beers that you can try."
Hear from pioneers
If you'd like to hear more about the early days of Boulder's beer scene and how it has evolved, the Boulder History Museum will host a Brewery Founders Speaker Panel and Happy Hour beginning at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Museum of Boulder's future location in the Masonic Lodge at 2205 Broadway.
Trailblazing entrepreneurs David Hummer, founder of Boulder Beer; Eric Wallace, founder of Left Hand Brewing Co., and Bob Baile, founder of Twisted Pine, will share their insight about the state of beer in Colorado and the business of brewing.
Admission is $10 ($7 for museum members) and includes one drink ticket. A cash bar also will be available. The event is being held in conjunction with the Boulder History Museum's current exhibit, "BEER! Boulder's History on Tap," which runs through Oct. 27.
Contact Tom Wilmes at email@example.com.